When I lived with my parents in Chile, I used to watch lots of movies and TV shows with my dad. We saw some good and some very bad ones, but all made lovely memories.
Usually, during the movie, my dad would find lots of inconsistencies, mistakes or things that “are not like that in real world”, making him lose interest in what we were watching. Most of the time he was right, someone made a stupid decision, something that was physically impossible happened or it was just complete nonsense. Of course there are terrible movies and those mistakes are just a small part of what makes them incredibly bad. But if we try to analyse every detail, look beyond the 3D animation, the actors and make-up, we will find something very disappointing… IT’S JUST A MOVIE! IT’S NOT REAL! Yes, everything is make-believe - it’s camera tricks, 3D animated characters, not historically accurate and perhaps not even based on “real life events”. At first, we can think that we’ve gained something with this knowledge, but perhaps we also feel like something was taken away from us.
It’s just like with magic, there is a big smoke screen and we think that by looking through it we will find the real secrets and that, finally, we will feel satisfied, and complete. But most of the time we end up feeling disappointed, because maybe knowing the secret wasn’t what we were really looking for. Maybe we don’t need “just a trick” and the answer to “how do you do it?” don’t lead us to the real secrets of magic.
I think magic “offers the pleasure of something plain and ordinary, unexpectedly elevated to a marvel. It’s a redemptive feeling, a reminder of many potential wonders. When a magician places a coin in his hand and makes it disappear, it is a reminder that there’s something about coins and hands that we’ve failed to appreciate. Unlike a mere deception or a simple secret, which gives the impression that something’s been taken away, a great magician makes you feel like something’s been given to you.”*
Looking for answers, judging and categorising things has helped human beings to discover amazing things. But, by labelling and judging everything, we could lose our ability to wonder and enjoy the simple things: good company, watching a movie, drinking hot chocolate, or just walking in the park.
I’m not suggesting that we need to throw our brains down the drain! We need them to be what we are, but sometimes, if we let our brain rule us, we lose the ability to feel and and truly enjoy experiences.
Thinking is an incredible tool, but we don’t need to think that we are happy to actually be happy, we don’t need to think about sounds to enjoy a song and, perhaps, we don’t need to peek behind the curtains to enjoy the show. Even though we see the smoke and mirrors, we can still enjoy the movie, not because we don’t see it, we know it’s there, but maybe, just for now, we can let it go, sit down and enjoy it for what it is, JUST A MOVIE!
At the end, even though my dad analysed most of the movies, we still enjoyed a lot of incredibly stupid ones (like Underworld or Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer, amazingly fun to watch!), because we knew that they were just stupid movies or maybe we just enjoyed each other's company.
*Quote from: Hiding The Elephant, Jim Steinmeyer
Recommended book: The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley
Recommended video: Alan Watts, Let go of controlling everything
Aside from being an Abracademy Magilitator, Thomas is a magician, philosopher and former electronic engineer. He is working towards a path of happiness, meaning and virtue (a life in eudemonia) combining philosophy, psychology, and a bit of magic. Visit Thomas' site to find out more.