10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read... with a punch!
I've read Illusions easily 30 or more times. It's a book that should be on everyone's list. And, unless you are a religious zealot, you will surely find the book entertaining and stimulating.
First of all, regardless of the message, the book is very well written and enjoyable. Moreover, it was written long before the "new age" trend and...
Published on Jun 14 2004 by Patrick Cooper
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All the catch phrases with no actual enlightenment
I want to post a review contrary to every one I read here: I don't think this book is really going to help most people on their journey, one, and two, the holly rollers calling this stuff heretical is so ironic I wish I could sit down and chat with each one for an hour, just for entertainment.
Here's my gripe: Yes, the world is fully an illusion. We are all One, and...
Published on Nov 6 2002 by Greg Connell
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding read... with a punch!,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I've read Illusions easily 30 or more times. It's a book that should be on everyone's list. And, unless you are a religious zealot, you will surely find the book entertaining and stimulating.
First of all, regardless of the message, the book is very well written and enjoyable. Moreover, it was written long before the "new age" trend and "dime-a-dozen" inspirational stories, so it's not written with the intent to sell you on a new self-help plan.
In this story (as in most of his stories), Bach tries to enlighten readers that maybe life is not as complicated as is often thought. Everyday, from religion to politics, we are constantly presented with the message that life is difficult and you had better follow the highly complex set of rules that governs what you are, where you will go and how you had better get there. In Bach's story, however, the reluctant messiah learns a new perspective. Maybe, he comes to find, he already has the answers to his life, or at least the answers to how to pursue a good life... if he would just stop listening to his pre-conceived ideas of limit and complication.
I highly suggest reading the book. I also highly suggest remembering the book is fiction! Think about the message and concepts. Instead of trying to "vaporize clouds," try maybe to vaporize some of your problems. And, instead of walking the world professing a new faith or perspective on "God" after being inspired by Bach's ideas, try instead to overcome one of your own, preconceived limits, or re-examine what you've been taught about the
Having met Mr. Bach, hearing him speak and reading every one of his books multiple times, I can assure you he is a real person with real ideas. Moreover, I feel sure that he would agree, that he writes "stories" to help people expand their minds. Too often, his work is misinterpreted to be a "gospel." Instead, in my impression, he simply wants to share new ideas, or as he said, "when he get's an idea, it bothers him until he writes it an let's it go..."
We as humans evolve not from one or two ideas, but from a lifetime of learning. Mr. Bach, in my opinion, is one of those highly insightful individuals who has inspired millions to look at life through a slightly different lens. Mr. Bach's Illusions is a fantastic journey - one of many - on the lifelong road of growing as a person.
I hope you enjoy it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All the catch phrases with no actual enlightenment,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I want to post a review contrary to every one I read here: I don't think this book is really going to help most people on their journey, one, and two, the holly rollers calling this stuff heretical is so ironic I wish I could sit down and chat with each one for an hour, just for entertainment.
Here's my gripe: Yes, the world is fully an illusion. We are all One, and all of this duality is just a big fat movie to occupy each node of existence with conflict/balance issues for eternity. Great, Rich has written a Hinduism for dummies. But he dumbed it down so much as to make it seem that, hey, all you need to do is REALIZE you're staring at yourself everytime you look at a fellow creature, rock, or phenomenon, and WHA-bam, you'll be able to manipulate the whole mess like Sim City 3000. Miracles, bug-free airplanes, impossible feats of yahda, yahda, yahda. I'm not saying that's impossible--I've witnessed a miracle or two in my time; I'm saying that WE, human beings, mere mortals, though we may perform the very miracles ourselves, cannot, do not, will not, can never do so at the demand of our conflicted minds. When we do something phenomenal, like an athelete, like a musician, like a messiah, it is simply through the QUIETING of the ever-chattering voices in our heads to such a point that the devine will, the will of the universe flows through us. When we flutter like a flag in the wind, rather than the rigid pole, we execute the impossible. We move with rhythms beyond our mortal selves. And without fail, the most unrestricted of these movements never fail to be biblical in their effect on our lives and of those around us.
This is my gripe with the book. It really doesn't address this issue of Self, and the chatter of our minds. In fact, I felt that it glorified, like a Hollywood movie, the X-man quality of enlightenment--just point your palm at the sky, and pow, you COMMAND a miracle! If you walk away from this book thinking, wow! enlightenment, what a thing to shoot for, I wanna be enlightened, I just have to remember: it's all just an illusion! then you're already turning away from what is ALREADY the entire power of the cosmos inside and surrounding yourself. To think of life as an illusion is to denounce just how REAL it all is as well. Sorry, ya'll, there's no 'easy out' for facing both sides of the equation in every respect. It isn't God, it isn't Illusions, and it isn't this book.
If you want a very powerful yet realistically inspirational story about miracles and how they come about, try the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, or for a philosophical breakdown that pretty much tackles every angle of human thought: try Cloud Hidden, by Alan Watts.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Green Eggs and ham as Life Philosophy (emphasis on ham),
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Paperback)Perusing the 200 odd reviews of this book -- 98.9999% of which award a Five-Star rating -- I am compelled to admit... never in my life have I seen the phrase "tears of joy" used by so many people in so many ways.
But I am also compelled to admit that Richard Bach's "Illusion" is as others claim: it is a simple and easy read. But so was Robert Munsch's book "The Mud Puddle" and Dr. Suess' "Green Eggs and Ham". And while I enjoyed both of these books at seven, neither, I think, changed my life in fundamental ways. I just got a kick out of the rhymes and the pictures. Unfortunately for Bach, his philosophy is so simple that his pictures can't help. Oh. And he doesn't rhyme either.
People complain that philosophy is usually presented in "dull and complex" ways. The reason for this, is that philosophy includes COMPLEX IDEAS. And complex ideas, regardless of literary approach and style will remain complex. Stephan Hawkings' "A Brief History of Time" proves this. Sure, we can all read about wormholes and envision Asimov-esque time machines. But can we place these ideas into their proper context of complex astro-physical calculations? Unless you sign with S-A-G-A-N, I wish you good luck.
Truth is, Bach's "Illusions" is simple because the philosophy is simple. In a line: "You can do what you want!" He's taken the story of Christ (the misunderstood, persecuted Messiah - Don) sprinkled on some quasi Buddhist ideas (Illusions / Renunciation - Don "quits" because no one listens) added one part Nietzsche (Be creative! Take control!) and topped it off with miracles to hold the interest of those already bored with the ideas and the pictures.
What this books amounts to is philosophical windowshopping -- pluck all the fuzzy happy ideas from some major historical schools of thought and put them into a fuzzy happy feel-good-about-myself story. Be sure to avoid the darker areas of life. Write safely. Take no risks. Cross no lines.
It would be nice if we could all walk on water. It would be nice that anyone not born into privilege could "create" the same opportunities for themselves through "hard work" and "will". But this is often not the case. (See HISTORY 1000 B.C. -- circa NOW). Read Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha" for a better literary rendering of the life of the *real* Buddha. And read "Ecce Homo" or "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Nietzsche for a truly stylish account of joyish affirmation.
In the end, this is a book is simplistic borderline boring. Its for cozy people without a whole lot of real problems. And if you're wondering what I mean by this -- If you can turn to any page of this book and there's a quote there to solve your life's problems, then you really don't have any problems.
You probably just forgot your cell phone near the cappucino machine back at the condo.
3.0 out of 5 stars Jonathan Livingston Seagull Stuttered,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I can't help but get the vague feeling that Bach wrote this book because not enough people "got" the ideas behind Jonathan Livingston Seagull, to which Illusions has often been called the sequel. I believe "repetition" might be a better word for it. Repeat the same basic lessons and subtext of that book, but add into that stickier and overly complex explanations of the exact same ideas and club people to death with the meaning. If you're bright enough to understand the lessons in the aforementioned book, you're much off better with it. "Illusions" is more or less just pummeling to death with new-age philosophy, and not even philosophy without significant holes. I can't say that it's altogether poorly thought out, or wholly uninteresting, but the resulting sticky, sugary mess of text is just a bit much to stomach.
5.0 out of 5 stars don't go by the number of pages,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I read this book 2 years ago (this time bought it for my friend). This is really a small book when one goes by number of pages but, when one start reading it, giving some thought to what is written there... that's quite a revealation. It is kind of a book one should read numerous times (keep learning new things from it).
5.0 out of 5 stars Illusions revealed,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)This book is a charming insightful work that should be read along with mark Twain's Letters from the Earth as a part of the eduction of every young person. It was a gift to me. I started to scan it as I drove on the freeway, was captured by its magic, pulled over and read it cover to cove on the shoulder of the highway.
5.0 out of 5 stars Shallow Towards Deep - A good step!,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I was given the book when in high school by an older male friend. He had purchased the book three times because each copy he lent out, never found it's way back to him. I did the same thing and at this moment, I think my daughter, now 18, has my latest copy. I continue to buy new copies as I lend them out too, not because I cannot live without it, (one can read it once and then perhaps in ten years if you are forgetful), but to 'pass on' - it feels almost as if it were, to me anyway, meant to pass along. I noticed also that my friend and I are not the only ones here to pass along and repurchased the book. There is at least one other review that mentions the give out/buy another cycle with her experience. I wonder, hmmm. It's also nice to just "have around" and in the library here, to me, it feels good to have it around!
If you or someone you know is not too terribly deep, or perhaps still a teen or young adult living an active but hardly reflective life, it's a great book to give them Not to change them into deep by any means, but to help them see that in life, there are options, perspectives and various ways to think about your own life and your own journey and place in it.
I read it at age 17, or so, and after I finished, I felt strongly moved. I did not care much about reading, and this book was gripping in a way, (very creative), and at that time, it was short enough to not feel defeated or negative from the start. I felt reading was for school, living was not books. But then again, we all our on our own journey... and as long as one is growing and not stopped in one place of not growth and just "waiting" for life to move on, one is successful.
The book changed me, no matter how corny or flowery I see it now or how important I felt it was then. It was the first book I felt I read for pure pleasure. I read it in one sitting, not too difficult to do as it is not that long. I used the quotes in the book almost like a study guide. I was moved enough to re-read them, (easy to find) and try to apply meaning as compared to who and what I was then. This was a first look at 'me' ... a first look into a world of possibilities and one in which e there may be some wild stuff in life we may never ever see, as we speed though living our lives, we may miss our own adventures with a
Teens are often looking for books to read for school and book reports. I think this one will tickle them as far as the length and dirty pages, but more importantly, it will not be a quickie report that they scribble out and rush though. It will be fast to read, but slower to explain or report. and although it may sound a bit sneaky on my part (or your part as a parent), it's good to have opportunities to slip in "little extra" thinking games when your children) don't know it! (hey, my daughter was an A student and a high B in college now... slip that stuff it!)
It's just beyond basics in self thinking, and a bonus for the hurried, it's short too! All and all I would recommend that you read it. It's not a huge investment, especially the used sales ops you get here.... it's an investment that is small for a book that may have you finding a new personal perspective to "think on" for months to come after you have finished. If you are not impressed with it as a whole, maybe you are reading too critically or are too advance a soul and scholar to read this, but I doubt it, it's rare. (and I don't think such an advanced soul & scholar would be here on this page in this place.... prob. more so out there saving the world from democrats or other such evils.. And since the investment can be a dollar or two used,
5.0 out of 5 stars Illusions The Adventures Af A Reluctant Messiah,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Hardcover)This book is an esential paert of a library for a person wnating to fully appreciate what life is really about. Such insights as "perspective us eit or loose it ....." This book is the equivalent of myold testament , without the religios guilt trips. Get You won't regret. i hav emost likely given 200 copies away in my life.
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Things Never Change,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)I read this book more than 20 years ago, and while I realize that is it old and dated, I believe it still has merit. I still have to credit this book as being instrumental in starting me on a journey that is still in progress. The story may be quaint, but the message is still the same. If you are looking for cut and dried answers or fill-in-the blank processes, don't come here...this book doesn't provide them. If you are looking for more questions to further your own exploration of life, the universe and everything, then I recommend this book as a quick read that serves that purpose on an entertaining yet introspective level.
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, but a bit dated...,
This review is from: Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (Mass Market Paperback)The Plot
In this story, "Richard" a biplane pilot, encounters a fellow barnstormer, "Donald", who happens to be a spiritual master and retired "Messiah". As they strike up a friendship Donald teaches Richard the lessons a Messiah must learn.
This book came out in the 70s when the hippie generation had figured out that drugs and free love hadn't filled the spiritual void that was created when they deep-sixed their parents' religious values. Against that backdrop, this book is sort of a first stab at creating a "New-Age" doctrine.
By mixing spiritual blurbs ("You seek problems because you need their gifts") with events in the story meant to convey a particular lesson, Bach attempts to explain our own nature and the nature of what we call "God".
The picture of "God" here, is essentially that which mystics of all spiritual paths (including Christian mystics) seem to arrive at, ie.an all-encompassing consciousness that is beyond description and can't be anthropomorphized in the way that we love to do. Donald refers to this God as the "Is". This particular idea is addressed in passing several times but not harped on (what purpose is there in trying to describe something that can't be described).
The picture of humanity is the main focus and Donald tells us that we are all our own Messiahs, that we are all gods but have just forgotten that fact. Thus, our spiritual challenge is to transcend the illusion of our current physical situation and reclaim our true spiritual identities.
(Note: I'm a Christian, but believe that when you move beyond a literal interpretation of Christ's words and see the symbolic message in them, it's not too different from what's in this book. But that's a big leap for most Christians and this book will probably make their blood boil).
Two points of philosophical contention for me were:
1) Bach suggests that we are unconnected with others and have absolutely zero moral obligation toward them. More recent philosophical teachings incorporated ideas concerning the interconnectedness of all things which lends a note of compassion that this story simply doesn't have.
2) In the story Donald can defy the laws of nature - i.e. walk on water, levitate, etc. The idea here is that our physical reality is an illusion, nothing more than a lucid dream that we can manipulate to our liking if we will just wake up to the illusory nature of our situation. Unfortunately, this concept is presented in a way that unwittingly replaces the "guilt" of our parents' religion with a feeling of ineptitude. Before, I was a moral reprobate because I lusted over women, but now I'm spiritual moron because I can't levitate a wrench. What's missing here is the fact that we're all on a spiritual journey - some farther along than others and that it's okay to be where we're at - ie. we're not idiots just because we haven't solved the puzzle yet.
Overall, the story is average and the philosophy warm and fuzzy. More recent books convey similar concepts more completely. Nevertheless, this book was a stepping stone in the ever-evolving American spiritual psyche, and is worth reading for that reason.
"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho - a simple story rich in symbolic meaning for all spiritual seekers.
"A New Kind of Christian" by Brian McLaren - A wonderful, open-minded view of how Christian thought is evolving - for Christians who sense that standard Christian doctrine just doesn't quite add up.
"The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning - A wonderful discussion of the magnatude of God's love - for Christians who have problems or addictions, or feel like spiritual failures, or have been beat up by life.
"Putting on the Mind of Christ" by Jim Marion - for Christians particularly impervious to heresy and willing to read a more involved, serious, and thought-provoking treatment of the symbolic, mystical message of Christ. You won't agree with all of it but it will definitely change the way you think about your own spiritual journey.
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Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach (Mass Market Paperback - Oct 10 1989)
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