The following was written as part of an online discussion of perceived reality, one which had already touched upon Buddhism and postmodernism, and had just segued into advertising vs reality and whyinthehell so much money gets spent on advertising if the advertising is seen by some as being just a deceitful waste of time, effort, and attention space . . . .
The issue with advertising and propaganda is not really whether or not a subjective, advertising/propaganda created reality is true, it is how many people think it is true . . . The reason that so much money is spent is because so much more money can be made from these same people . . . But, that mass of people is still not everyone . . . .
From what I can tell . . . which would involve making my own observations, reading stuff, and thinking about associations, there is indeed a main, genuine reality, that which Just Is. Let us call this That Is What Is the Objective Universe, O.U. The bit about Buddhism stating that everything is an illusion, but not being an illusion, is more a matter of everyone creating their own view of what they think everything is, and that becomes the "universal" illusion . . . Call such the Subjective Universe, S.U. where everyone carries around their own subjective view and occasionally tests their subjective views against everyone else's.
The difficult part is that the S.U. is formed from very early on, is psychologically based, and on a large scale is based on such concepts as down is where things go when you let go of them, usually. The much more subtle psychological influences come in with such things like cats being the embodiment of evil, so that all of them must be destroyed . . . . Or, in the O.U., when you were around two years old, you cornered a cat and were batting at it, and the cat clawed the hell out of you to get away, and you hated all of that, at the time, because later, you don't remember it . . . but your family does remember it, but they don't talk about it, where they don't like cats either, they just shoo cats away at all opportunities, especially the ones where you are around, because the cat clawed you, which they remember, but they don't remind you of it . . . and you in turn, are the one who got clawed, and your family keeps shooing them away, so you particularly despise cats, but this hatred is never discussed, it's just reenforced, so, "naturally" . . . very subtly, but totally subjectively, in your S.U., which you think of as the O.U., "Everyone" hates cats . . .
The difficulty from there is indeed the observation and expressing of what is O.U. and not S.U., particularly because of the subtleties inherent in the S.U. . . . the scientific method has gotten to the quantum level of We cannot really know, we can just point at----to state in really general terms---where a large number of S.U.s have taken that to mean "we can not really know, therefore there is no absolute" . . . hence the combined origin and abject and total failure of Postmodernism . . .
From the Buddhist view, there is indeed the O.U. and the O.U. can indeed be apprehended in its entirety by an individual. However, particularly because of the level of subtlety inherent in everyone's S.U., particularly because of the name your quantum effect, only each individual can work to perceive that which is the individual S.U. as opposed to the O.U., only each individual can see for him or herself that All---that is layered upon the O.U. by the personal psychology of the individual---is illusion, and then, having perceived the nature of the illusion, go beyond it . . . .
Soooo . . . Does this mean that Buddhism opposes the apparent conclusion of the quantum theorists, in that Buddhism says that an individual can indeed perceive all that is exactly as it is, and the Quantum types say that "Nothing can be known with certainty!"? No. Not at all.
In actuality, the quantum theorists, et al, simply state that reality can only be perceived to the limit of the observing instruments, particularly when the perceiving instruments wind up disturbing that which is observed in that moment of observation, and, in addition, they also state that these results must be communicable so that they can be tested and confirmed by other independent observers. From the point of view of Buddhism, the view is that the O.U. can indeed be apprehended in its totality, without any intervening S.U., such a condition being the nature of enlightenment, however . . . when someone is enlightened, that information cannot be transmitted, because any transmission that is not the observation of direct, perpetually changing reality as it is becomes subjective at the moment that it is locked into the telling . . . especially if the telling involves language in any form, as language is itself an utterly subjective creation which is indeed shared by many people, but is shared in different, subjective forms.
Thus, on one end of perception there is the flower sermon, stated to be the founding of Zen Buddhism, where Gautama was sitting with a group of disciples one day, and at one moment simply and wordlessly held up a flower. One disciple smiled, because after all, there was no need to subjectively comment on the O.U., the O.U. just is . . . The other disciples were left scratching their heads, commenting Yes, it's a flower, what's the---subjective---point? . . . Subjectively, there was and is no point, as the direct perception and apprehension of the O.U. is the issue, and any discussion, including this, is manufactured and not what just is. ---Note, the pitfall here is to then disappear into one's navel while chanting "everything that is, just is." No, this is a good way to disappear into a different S.U. and be lost. The only way to the direct perception of the O.U. is to actively engage and explore and study the world in all of its details, so as to better perceive what is the S.U. and what is the O.U. . . .
And, getting back to the nature of advertising, out on the other end of perception, there is indeed the advertised reality that Real People Just Love Mom, Apple Pie, and the American Way, the latter of which is Mom, Apple Pie and . . . . . . and in my case, I was an extremely and methodically abused child, so I never had a mom, but I am in favor of moms because to be a mom is to not abuse a child. In addition, I do like apple pie, but altogether I am indeed aware that these are my choices, based on what I have reasoned out for myself . . . and yes, I am American, and rather like it, but that too is reasoned, with acknowledgements of yes, political and historic X, Y, and Z were and are indeed really stupid ideas and actions practiced by moronic or deceitful idiots . . . . who, on the whole, were and are happily in a minority, whether influential or not . . . .
So yes, when I am told by advertising and "popular culture" that X must occur, that Everyone is doing X, yes, I am aware that a large number of people do indeed go through their existences without reasoning their way through what they are told. I am aware that their cojoined S.U.s do indeed provide a lot of momentum to what they think is the O.U . . . . but, I am aware that such is only what they think they are perceiving, not what they know they are perceiving.
Ultimately, this "thinking", being artificial, regardless of how much momentum it has achieved, will never be more than an empty, artificial, advertising and propaganda based S.U.