The Map Trap
Today´s article begins with a provocation. Without delay, let's go to it: what is magic?
Now, some must be thinking I'm crazy. Definitions of magic are around the world in droves. The most famous being Crowley's (I imagine). So a quick googling would answer that question.
The problem is that knowing the formal definition of magic is far too little. After all, I know what a spaceship is. I know here, in my head. If I close my eyes, I even see one. However, I have never been inside such a ship and much less have I flown it. So, even though I know what a ship is, I don't have the experience of the ship.
Thus, although many know what magic is, some do not have the experience of what it is. Now, to gain this experience there is only one way: to do magic. This action, moreover, will enable you to create your own definition, which may or may not agree with the current ones.
There is an affectionate nickname for these people who know everything about of magic, but only on the mental plane: armchair magician. I think this nickname is funny, but I don't know if it really communicates the whole idea. For me, these guys are even more complicated than mere readers.
First, there is nothing wrong in being a reader. Studying is cool and important. However, just reading is an intellectual work. Reading about surgery just doesn't enable someone to operate on a patient. Therefore, those who only study are either a theorist or a curious person. Since magic is not a theoretical discipline, we have to say that the reader of magic is merely curious. It is like someone who is content to know the world by looking at the world map hanging on his wall. Or as if there were a carpentry theorist. It just doesn't make sense.
The guy who is going to explore, well, this one takes chances and faces crowded airports, canceled trips, jetlags and tourist traps. He cuts himself on the stones of the trails in that natural paradise. He discovers that the map does not give details such as a loose stone there, a snake hidden there and some dart traps at the entrance to that temple up ahead. The explorer will live the map and have an experience that is very different from the theoretical one. The explorer is making something living.
Of course, ideally, these figures mix. The explorer takes not and draw maps and with that he is also a cartographer and a theorist. So far we’re fine. The problem is when we have that figure that is a “passive cartographer with Indiana Jones syndrome”. The guy who takes the map that someone else drew, reads, understands and thinks that he really walked those trails, knew all those places and lived all the adventures that place reserves.
Therefore, the armchair magician is not a magician to begin with. He's just sitting in a chair. However, instead of recognizing himself as a curious, he proclaims himself as the guardian of the mysteries, without ever having lived them. He points out the mistakes of others with ease, because in the recipes of the books there are no mistakes. These recipes do not account for the human unpredictability and the unpredictability of the world. This armchair guy thinks he is superior because he is able to memorize detailed information, but he would not know how to get along in a situation that required the inventiveness and common sense that comes with experience.
Magic is a living thing. Real magic will not be understood only trough books. Anyone who dares to call himself a "magician" must have a callus or two in his hands. Without it, there is no doing magic and magic is a thing that we do.