pretense is the state of assigning non-inherent meaning to something.

for example, i might insist that it's important i'm wearing new clothing, or because i care for the poor, i must be important.

another form of pretense is a constructed identity or public image, even the drama with which people try to adorn their lives.

all pretense assumes life as it physically, actually exists is somehow bad, because it requires something to dress it up so it's palatable. similar illusions: that food must be sugared and salted and fatted in order for it to "taste good," as if good were a single taste toward which all things strive but somehow fail; that life is so bad one needs drugs to understand it, and therefore is addicted and depressed once those drugs are temporarily removed.

when we overcome our pretense, we see things as they are.