Loving this thread, BTW.
I've met people that were clearly enlightened, I mean just shining like lights, and yet had no clue. Perhaps seeing their 'Buddha nature'? I'm of the camp that there is a pre-process that goes on before any epiphanies occur...that people are unaware of the minute changes that lead up to major worldview changes. Inherently enlightened...but unaware...unawake. So, when an epiphany occurs, when the 'bottom of the bucket' gives way...that this becomes clear to the individual.
Up till then, the illusions/tools are part of the world we perceive. Using these tools, we build our internal world...and lose sight of the horizon.