I’m not trying to be a dick, but I think you’re all just a little fucking crazy.

That's hilariou-- oh, you were serious?

The Omega Man: Alpha as fuck.

So it’s no big secret that I’m a secular humanist, which is essentially someone who doesn’t really go in for the whole supernatural aspect of reality thing.  This is normally not that big a deal, but sometimes I end up in situations that make me feel either really uncomfortable or like I’m the god damned Omega Man or something.

This kind of happened to me last night.  I had given my fiancée a ride down to Clay on Main, an art gallery and studio space that has a room available to rent out for community groups, so she could go to the Berks County Asatru and Heathenry meeting that’s held there once a month.  The folks there are all warm, inviting, excellent people, and my fiancée is interested in learning more about things of that nature, so I was more than happy to hang out with her while she got involved in the meeting.

MIND FREAAAAAAAK

Criss Angel: famous greasy Long Island boy.

The only issue I had was that the meeting last night was all about the practice of magic, and I don’t mean the kind where you dress up like a douchebag and scam people on the Vegas strip; I mean like, you know, incantations and sigils and all that  stuff, which is fine – I’m not going to sit here and thumb my nose at someone’s personal beliefs or anything – but I felt incredibly and uncomfortably out of place while everyone else took copious and frantic notes during the lecture.

The thought of practicing magic is just… foreign (I was going to say “batshit insane” but I’d never hear the end of it from my fiancée).  I mean, the main gist of what I got from the lecture – which I politely listened to – was that the whole idea is that you simply set your will in motion in order to effect change in the real world.  I don’t see this as particularly miraculous, though; if you want to call that magical or supernatural, you’re more than welcome to, but it seems like a misnomer to me.

The whole idea of applying your will to a situation so it changes to an outcome that you prefer seems more like an exercise in the power of human nature than training  your midichlorians to Force choke General Veers from across the conference room.  If you really feel the need to choke a bitch, you’re just going to go over there and wrap your hands around the bastard’s neck, and you’re not going to let anyone get in your way – friends, neighbors, the State Police, what have you – and people have been demonstrating supposedly miraculous levels of willpower for millennia.

The magic of SCIENCE!

This guy runs faster than me. Not that that’s hard.

The thing is that if one of us can demonstrate that much unwavering will, it’s not anything supernatural.  It’s within anyone’s reach, provided you exert enough concentration and focus.  Now I’m not saying that this is true for everything and everyone, of course.  I mean, you’re not going to be an Olympic athlete if you’ve got cerebral palsy and you’re relegated to a wheelchair.   Well, at least not right now, anyway – but with mind-body interfaces growing more and more complex and nuanced, and with the science of prosthetic appliances and powered exoskeletons forging forward by leaps and bounds, I don’t doubt that eventually we will have people like Stephen Hawking running a four-minute mile sometime in the future.

I don’t know, maybe I’m not being open-minded enough.  If you’re just using a magical ritual to focus your own will so you can accomplish goals that you see as out of your reach otherwise, I can see it as a powerful tool for convincing yourself that you’re capable of achieving those goals.  To me that seems more like Dumbo’s feather than anything else, as you’re kind of tricking yourself into pushing your perceived limitations and boundaries through the help of a supposedly outside source when the power to do whatever you put your mind to resides within you.  There’s evidence of this: people accomplish insane goals all the time, like climbing Mount Everest naked or performing Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony on their taint with nothing but a pair of timpani mallets.  These people aren’t writing down magic runes on their McDonald’s napkins or anything, they’re just going out and getting shit done.

Look, I’m not saying that buckling down and doing what you’ve got to do in order to succeed is easy; far from it.  It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting to pour that much energy into your goals – especially when they’re lofty ones – and plenty of people can’t seem to push themselves hard enough to meet these goals.  I guess that’s why it may seem magical when someone does finally get to the top of their chosen mountain, but it only seems that way.

You will believe an elephant can fly.

Now I done seen ’bout everything.

In the end, what really matters is whether or not you get to the top.  So what if you got there clutching a feather in your trunk or not?  The result is the same – you managed to tap into your own inner potential to do so.  I suppose it just irks me when someone attributes that accomplishment to an outside source and not the innate ability that every one has within us to achieve greatness on our own.

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8 thoughts on “I’m not trying to be a dick, but I think you’re all just a little fucking crazy.

  1. I agree to an extent, but will throw something out there to think about. What if people do it themselves, without their ‘miracle’ or any other outside influence, yet cite an outside influence when discussing their accomplishments with others so they don’t look smug or arrogant? Hypothetically, of course.

    Also, everyone needs some motivation or confidence to be able to do shit like this. Some folks find it inside, and some outside. The object or concept someone uses as a focus, which they use to concentrate their efforts, is really all this is. Some people just use different nomenclature, but realistically it’s not different than pushing to excel to prove something to yourself. They’re all generally functionally the same.

    • I guess it’s not that different than hitting a home run for the dying kid in the hospital than it is believing in yourself or the power of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to that extent.

      All I can think of right now is that line from Major League: “Are you saying Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?”

  2. Was interested in that kind of shit when I was a kid, basically the functional self brain-washing psycho babble.

    Know what I did instead?

    Went out and got shit done. Once you get your first piece of shit done, the rest is easy. It’s like project diarrhea at that point.

    But, I do agree with Mr. Persona: sometimes people don’t realize they can get shit done. Maybe it was a shitty upbringing, being laughed at in high school, or their first manager making a bad call and telling them they were worthless. Whatever the reason, they lack self confidence and NEED to believe in something bigger. Lots of people (non-atheists or non-secular humanists) are like that.

    A lot of people have also been told they’ll never be any smarter than they are, so they’ve never tried to learn. Probably a product of shitty upbringing, too.

    Oh, and people need to learn that getting shit done sometimes means that your shit ain’t gonna be successful. That way, when it turns out completely different than they expect, they can pull their panties out and try again (or on a completely different product) with their lessons learned.

    I will say this, though: all that research makes for a very interesting book collection when you start to research the occult for stories.

    • I hear you; there are some very interesting (i.e. batshit insane) books living in a cardboard box in my parents’ basement right now. Some of the titles are more than a little embarrassing.

      • I handed off about half of them (which filled a legal box) to one of my friends eight or nine years ago. In retrospect, I should have kept some of them. Had some interesting books in there.

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  4. Aw man! I can really relate to your awesome post!

    I’ve come across very similar scenarios, mostly originating from a religion belief rather than a magic show, meeting or whatever it was.

    My gal friend wholeheartedly believes that I’m gifted and able to read minds including hers! I’m like -look! for the last time! I can’t read shit!- She’s a great gal, a genuinely good person, but believes in EVERYTHING!!!! I’m also a good guy but exclude myself from fairies and don’t think that every little bump in the night is some demon, entity nor I am a bit superstitious… what is that called? Occam’s razor theory? maybe that bump into the night was just that! A damn bump!
    I too relate to secular humanism, the idea fits me like a glove, I really enjoyed your post! It was right on! Thanx, man!

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