Home > Magic, Purpose > Do you believe in magic?

Do you believe in magic?

A little over a year ago, I had a dream. “Do you believe in magic?” they asked me. To my surprise, I found myself unable to respond, and woke up feeling very strange.

I’ve said before that reality is a very flexible substance, but it’s something entirely different to have an experience confirming it firsthand. I strongly dislike the terminology and vibe associated with concepts like intention manifestation and the law of attraction, but when I say “magic”, I actually mean something pretty close to it, though it’s a bit harder to describe exactly.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I decided to conduct a little experiment. I’ve always wanted to see a Beethoven sonata playing live, So I decided to will it into existence. Just like that. I made that decision and then forgot about it and went on with my life as usual. Nothing happened, for quite some time, which was not very surprising. But then a couple of days ago, being at a friend’s place I saw a flier which just happened to be lying around, advertising a piano function featuring a famous soloist playing sonatas by, you guessed it, Beethoven.

Of course I wanted to go, but I was a bit concerned about the money. Tickets weren’t very expensive, but considering my current financial situation, the amount wasn’t meaningless either. But I couldn’t let that stop me, so I decided that the money issue was going to resolve itself, somehow.

This was scheduled for wednesday, so yesterday I got online to get my ticket, only to find out that they had moved the function to that same day. This meant rescheduling a lot of stuff, so I was tempted to back off again, but I the end I pushed through that inner resistance and decided to go no matter what.

I finally couldn’t get tickets online due to a random technical hurdle, but I had come way too far to give up, so I just headed to the venue to get one right before the function. I was already standing in line when a complete stranger, who had unsuccessfully tried to exchange her ticket, walked up to me and offered it to me, for free. So much for having a financial excuse to justify letting myself down.

The evening was amazing. The music moved me to my very core. It was every bit as great as I had imagined it. And it happened, all by itself, just because I wanted it to and acted on the opportunities that arose.

So, what does this entire thing mean? Well, it depends on your worldview. The circumstances are innocent enough for a skeptic to offhandedly attribute them to coincidence, and perhaps I would have done so too a year ago. But I don’t feel that particular version does this series of events justice. Belief is a thing of fabula, the personal experience we create around the things that actually happen (to paraphrase Corvus). I don’t care anymore what anybody else thinks, because from my entirely subjective point of view, the world just bent over backwards to make a little dream of mine come true.

Do you believe in magic? In my case you don’t even have to ask anymore, but what about you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Categories: Magic, Purpose
  1. September 3, 2008 at 8:16 am

    I have long believed in the power of will to, if not actively shape, detect, respond, and minutely influence the subtle shifts in the patterns around us. Most of my life has consisted of “bending my fabula” to suit my needs in much the way you describe here. It doesn’t always work, but it works enough that I have difficulty chalking it up to coincidence.

  2. September 4, 2008 at 3:25 am

    In my days of mystical quest, I derived some of my mysticism from choosing a particular quantum interpretation (in a manner which owes a debt to the guerrilla ontologist Robert Anton Wilson): that interpretation is observer created reality (OCR). I found that the more I believed in OCR, the more often I was able to manifest what I willed – in a manner wholly consistent with what Wiccans and other neo-pagans call magic. It is also, although I would have refused to see it in such terms at the time, what prayer is to a Christian.

    It is always possible to dismiss any observation as coincidence, a word which means “two things happen at once” and thus is not much of an explanation. But the diehard skeptic’s reliance on this term – their belief in coincidence as an explanatory tool – closes their world to any manifestation of this phenomena. I feel that, even if it were possible to prove that the power to manifest the will were merely the psychological ability to accord chance occurrence with mental states, it would be foolish to choose this model (which gives its believer nothing) than to choose the alternative belief system, and be rewarded with delight.

  3. September 5, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    Corvus,

    I think you touch on an important point here. Any shift created this way will always be very subtle. So subtle in fact, that it’s often completely transparent to anyone but you.

  4. September 5, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Chris,

    I dislike the term coincidence too. It implies that no further explanation is needed, because there is allegedly nothing to explain, that nothing special could be involved in these two things happening at once. This very statement, however, stems from a certain belief structure, and it is there where some atheists are completely inconsistent (in not recognizing that their point of view is just that, a point of view, while dismissing any other belief unexamined – as bad as any religious dogma). I’m not saying that atheism is not a valid belief choice, but it’s not automatically more true than any other just because it’s base resides in down to earth logic.

    The idea of finding meaning for oneself even if that meaning may be false is also interesting. I think Steve Pavlina mentioned something along those lines in his articles about subjective reality. If your belief makes you more successful, happy and fulfilled (no matter how you measure those things), then anyone questioning said belief based on your lack of evidence to prove it is missing the point entirely.

  5. September 8, 2008 at 5:20 am

    Yes, I take your point here – I would wave at the dogmatic Skeptics rather than the atheists, though, although most dogmatic Skeptics are atheists… The problem is not atheism, per se, as it is dogmatic materialist belief systems that cannot see their inflexible roots.

    There is a tendency for those whose belief systems are entirely within the imminent frame to subconsciously believe that those beliefs are superior because of this aspect – what you refer to as “residing in down-to-earth logic” (this will come up in the serial on “A Secular Age” shortly).

    Yet what purpose do our beliefs serve if they do not enhance our own lives? Truth, as an absolute value, is greatly overrated. 🙂

    Best wishes!

  6. September 9, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Chris,

    I see we pretty much agree on this topic, though I must admit you are much more apt at finding just the right words to express it. 😉

    Vitor

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