A delusion is a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary.


  • No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.
  • The easiest thing in the world is self-deceit; for every man believes what he wishes, though the reality is often different.
    • Demosthenes, Third Olynthiac (349 BC), as translated by Charles Rann Kennedy (1852)
    • Variant: There is nothing easier than self-delusion. Since what man desires, is the first thing he believes.
  • What the Buddhists teach is to free yourself from the three great evils in life: greed — which means all kinds of craving — hatred, and delusion. But delusion is really the cause of the other two. We crave that which we delude ourselves into thinking will bring happiness; we hate those whom we delude ourselves into thinking stand to stop us from getting it.
  • Adam: Nature mandates that mankind will eventually succumb to its poison. However, humans created their own poison, called medicine. It's delusional to believe you can poison Nature to avoid your fate.
Stiles: No... It's delusional to dismiss people's deaths as "fate."
  • It is not by delusion, however exalted, that mankind can prosper, but only by unswerving courage in the pursuit of truth.
    • Bertrand Russell, "The Pursuit of Truth" in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell (1993).
  • Delusion will vanish as the light becomes more and more effulgent, load after load of ignorance will vanish, and then will come a time when all else has disappeared and the sun alone shines
  • We all have our little solipsistic delusions, ghastly intuitions of utter singularity: that we are the only one in the house who ever fills the ice-cube tray, who unloads the clean dishwasher, who occasionally pees in the shower, whose eyelid twitches on first dates; that only we take casualness terribly seriously; that only we fashion supplication into courtesy; that only we hear the whiny pathos in a dog's yawn, the timeless sigh in the opening of the hermetically-sealed jar, the splattered laugh in the frying egg, the minor-D lament in the vacuum's scream; that only we feel the panic at sunset the rookie kindergartner feels at his mother's retreat. That only we love the only-we. That only we need the only-we. Solipsism binds us together, J.D. knows. That we feel lonely in a crowd; stop not to dwell on what's brought the crowd into being. That we are, always, faces in a crowd.
    • David Foster Wallace, "Westward The Course Of Empire Takes Its Way," Girl With Curious Hair (1989)

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