But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence ... illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.
It is not that we mistake photos for reality, we prefer them to reality. We cannot bear reality, but we bear images - like stigmata, like children, like fallen comrades. We suffer them. We idealize them. We believe them because we need what we are in them.
David Levi Strauss: The highest degree of illusion.