Illusions (Bach novel)
|Publisher||Dell Publishing Co., Inc.|
|Media type||Print (Paperback) & AudioBook (Cassette)|
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah is a novel by writer and pilot Richard Bach. First published in 1977, the story questions the reader's view of reality, proposing that what we call reality is merely an illusion we create for learning and enjoyment. Illusions was the author's followup to 1970's Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
With some similarity to Nevil Shute's 1951 novel, Round the Bend, Illusions revolves around two barnstorming pilots who meet in a field in midwest America. The two main characters enter into a teacher-student relationship that explains the concept that the world that we inhabit is illusory, as well as the underlying reality behind it:
'What if somebody came along who could teach me how my world works and how to control it? ... What if a Siddhartha came to our time, with power over the illusions of the world because he knew the reality behind them? And what if I could meet him in person, if he was flying a biplane, for instance, and landed in the same meadow with me?'
Donald P. Shimoda is a messiah who quits his job after deciding that people value the showbiz-like performance of miracles and want to be entertained by those miracles more than to understand the message behind them. He meets Richard, a fellow barn-storming pilot and begins to pass on his knowledge to him, even teaching Richard to perform "miracles" of his own.
The novel features quotes from the "Messiah's Handbook", owned by Shimoda, which Richard later takes as his own. A most unusual aspect of this handbook is that it has no page numbers. The reason for this, as Shimoda explains to Richard, is that the book will open to the page on which the reader may find guidance or the answers to doubts and questions in his mind. It is not a magical book; Shimoda goes on to explain that one can do this with any sort of text. The messiah's handbook was released as its own title by Hampton Roads publishing company, inc. The book itself mimics the one described in Illusions, along with more quotes based on the same philosophies displayed in Illusions, (ISBN 1-57174-421-5) (ISBN 978-1-57-174421-0).
An adaptation of Illusions was serialized in the comic strip "Best Sellers Showcase" in 1978.
A number of personal development teachers have cited "Illusions" as a major influence on their life path, including Dr. Joe Vitale, Bob Doyle, Brad Yates and Mike Dooley.