Charles Payne

In 5th Century B.C., Zeuxis was a celebrated artist of good humor and unique style. His technique created volumetric illusion by manipulating shadow and light. Eventually his style influenced the artists that shaped the Italian Renaissance. His command of light and illusion continue to be legendary to this day, and yet there was one contest in which, even he was bested.

Chronicled by Pliny the Elder in his book, "Natural History" described an ultimate contest of artistic illusion that was staged to determine the greatest artist. Rivals; Timanthes, Eupompus, Parrhasius, Androcydes, and Zeuxis all produced illustrations that showed great skill.

According to Pliny the Elder, "Zeuxis produced a picture of grapes so dexterously represented that birds began to fly down to eat from the painted vine. Whereupon Parrhasius designed so lifelike a picture of a curtain that Zeuxis, proud of the verdict of the birds, requested that the curtain should now be drawn back and the picture displayed. When he realized his mistake, with a modesty that did him honor, he yielded up the palm, saying that whereas he had managed to deceive only birds, Parrhasius had deceived an artist."

It wasn't that long ago that President Obama was able to paint a picture of America in ways that didn't reflect her true beauty or nature, and that the masses would believe. People began to see with their mind's eye, while forgetting past greatness, and ignoring future potential that was promised as part of the pact of being an American. Instead, we were told oceans would stop rising and we could stop working, and all the wrongs of yesterday would be resolved. We were told not to dream, because in this world grapes grow everywhere and everyone is entitled.

Like birds flocking to Zeuxis' painting, the masses truly believed a master illusionist could wipe away the hunt for happiness and inner satisfaction, with free stuff and flowery language. It made for such a wonderful picture until it failed to sate our hunger...because it was never real. Now, Americans are like those fooled by Parrhasuis trying to pull back a curtain to see what's behind the facade. However, we keep finding out that it's all a facade. None of it has been real, except the disappointment, the frustration, and the lingering doubt about everything.

Words (and actions) to live by in 2014:

It looks like the word for 2014, will be turbulence closely followed by defiance.

Charles Payne

Charles V. Payne is a regular contributor to the Fox Business and Fox News Networks. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Principle Analyst of Wall Street Strategies, Inc. (WSSI), founded in 1991 which provides subscription analytical services to both individual and institutional investors.

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