Evolution and the Anthropic Principle
Richard Dawkins vs Ken Wilber
Where Am I
The Cheshire Cat
I Could Have Been a Contender
What I Wish Id Said
Keeping Up with the World
The Flight of the Phoenix
The Power of Fog
Naming the Unnamed
Principles in Art
Spirit and Matter
The Enlightenment Conundrum
On Believing
Water? What Water?
Telling Stories 2
I believe in Rainbows
Whom Can We Believe
Patterns by Paul Simon and Douglas Hofstadter
Copyright Inheritance
Broad Minded
Beliefs Part Two
A Long drawn-out solstice
The Quest for, and the Illusion of, Certainty
To the Ends of the Earth
The Meaning Of Life
We Hold These Truths
There are Beliefs
Music and Language
Circular Thinking
Runaway World
Deep Playmate
An Alchemy of Telling
Cultural Genes
The Joy of Science
The Conundrum of Human Nature
No, The Computer Isn't Smarter than I Am!
A Rant on Religion
The West Wing Turning Right?
The Geometry of Spring
Music as Language
What is Art
Beauty and Spirit
You Don't Understand Us
The New God of Probability
Gene Hackman as President
Being Lifted Out of the Ordinary
The Head and the Heart
Pay Attention!
Music Poetry and Meaning
On Seeking Truth
Perceptions and Reality
The Marriage Bond
Taboo is a Right
Copyright versus Copyleft
Cycles of Transcendence
Ego and Self
The Big Picture
Mindfulness as Larger Mind
The Power of Words
The State of the Union
Out of My Mind
Family Thoughts
One Life
Telling Stories
Small World
Bigger Realities
What Comes Next
Humor as a Higher Level of Consciousness
Sometimes Everything Goes Wrong
Emotional Resonance
Extraordinary Respect
Insight Meditation
Us and Them
Paradox and Paradigm
To Reach
I Don't Know
Don the Romantic
The Guy in the Blue Saab
The Sound of Silence
Eating is an Intimate Act
Evolution of Spirit
On Cloning and Other . . .
Creativity and Psychic Phenomena
Magic in My Life
My Difficulty with Aaron
Mindful & Mystic
Taste of Irony
Music Appreciation
Levels of Consciousness

Magic in My Life

In the process of transforming the appearance of my Web site (technology, as always, proceeds at a faster rate than personal growth), I noticed how often I use the word "magic" to describe things in my life that I don't understand. The two notable examples are community magic and musical magic. The "magic" in community has been a focus of my effort for a long time, pretty continuously, and solving the mystery has been a deliberate process. The "magic" in music has been something I've accepted, and I haven't had any particular urge to solve that mystery. I'm happy that it's there for me, the feeling, and of course the music itself. My "project" in music was a concrete thing, involving the rational understanding of what happens physically in the hearing.

Reading a lot of Ken Wilber on psychological and spiritual development, I'm aware that "magic" is an aspect of a phase of personal development. A child goes through the phase in which he or she attempts to get control of the world, and magic is a way to do that (or so it seems to the child). There's a confusion of self-other that hasn't been worked through yet. Most of us outgrow it, and learn that some things in our world are simply not amenable to our desires. So it's interesting to me now that, even though I haven't believed in magic for many years, I would still use such a word for something in my own experience. All well and good that I use the term figuratively; it makes me wonder how much of that childhood phase is still operative in my adult life, perhaps unconsciously. I wonder if I still believe I can control the world in some way just by my wanting to. The example that comes to mind is in driving a car, and feeling some apprehension about the closeness to death one comes, almost constantly, on the highway. Sometimes just a few feet away, a slight movement of the steering wheel, a moment of inattention--is death itself. My wondering is: Do I "not look" so as to pretend it isn't there, and thereby prevent the lurking catastrophe? (If I look--if I make eye contact with danger--will death take my challenge?) No, I tell myself rationally, death is not a matter of making eye contact. In fact, the closer I pay attention, the better chance I have to avoid a collision.

Still, when it seems overwhelming, when I realize that most of my safety depends not upon my actions but upon those of others, I tend (figuratively, at least) to close my eyes and hope for the best. Only in my dreams can I choose to fly, when necessary. Those dreams may play a more important part in my waking life than I'd like to admit.

Wonder if I'll ever grow up?



March 1, 2000
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