I don’t believe in magic.
I don’t care if you code-word it and call it a miracle. The reality of human existence is such that we’re subject to these systems, these symptoms of existence, these rules of entry. We live within them, by them, subject to them. They are as unavoidable as gravity and as obvious as light, yet as forgettable as gravity and as indiscernible as light. Define: irony.
I believe that these rules intelligently exist. Not in the limited ‘creationism’ sense, but in a more universal sense; a sense that everything exists in this incredible state of connectedness, and our limited human perception keeps us from properly seeing or experiencing it. There is a web at once so immense and so infinitesimal, it hides in plain sight. It contains everything that is, was, will be, shall be, might be, might have been, could have been… everything that is, and inasmuch has a consciousness that we can’t fathom enough to even recognize as a consciousness. It is everything. It just is.
It’s not pantheism that I’m suggesting. But I am suggesting that we are soaked in it. We are surrounded by it without our knowledge, and governed by it without our leave.
So you’re telling me, that within this beautiful sinewy construct, this magnificent intelligence is so limited in forethought that it frequently must, at almost every turn, break the system to drop some magic on us to make a point?
Perhaps the water did seem to part for Moses and his people. But was there a mighty gushing stroke of thunder at Moses’ staff as water began to levitate and part in a magnificent spectacle worthy of a Charlton Heston film? Or was it a matter of perception, and was it the perception that’s been reported, recorded?
Does it truly matter?
The fact is, much study has been given to the question of how such a phenomenon might occur. I recall a documentary on the exodus and the natural series of events that could actually occur, and indeed actually have occurred at other times in human history, that would mimic the series of events, from plagues and death to fire and water seemingly responding to Moses’ every whim. All very possible within the confines of creation as it exists. So what was the miracle? Not the magic, my friend. The miracle was that it happened at the right time, at the right place. The miracle was that Moses was so in tune with the infinite that he felt it, knew it to be coming. The knowledge existed. Moses was, simply put, tapped into it.
That shows him to be a prophet. That shows him to be a holy man. That shows him to be an exceptional, guided, spiritually pure man. But at no point does it show him to be a god or a magician, nor did he claim such a position.
This also solidifies the ultimate message we are to get from the tale, from the behavior of the people who followed him.
They asked for a leader, and they got him. They asked for freedom, and they were granted it. They asked to be led away from their captors, and they were shown to the water. They were asked to be protected from pursuit and nature took its course and they found themselves a sea apart. And when they were left to themselves for a time, their great leader up the mountain, what did they do? What did they do? And how could they do so had they witnessed such colossal feats of magic? How?
Because they didn’t witness magic, my friends. Whatever they did witness was, for some reason or another, feasibly refutable in their physical reality; the question is, was it refutable in their hearts? Were all those seemingly granted wishes good grace or just good fortune? The human brain of now is the human brain of a hundred years ago, of a thousand years ago, of three thousand years ago – the only thing that’s changed is what we stuff it with. And the conflicting thoughts of faith and reason and the difficulty in reconciling the two is just as prevalent now as it was back then.
In every aspect our lives today are signs; moments where we may receive what we asked for or needed and we find ourselves questioning if it was divinely brought, or personally achieved. Burt Reynolds cried out when he was stranded in the water, promising the things he would do better should he be saved. And he swam. He made promises. And he swam. He saw the island, and he thanked God. And he swam. Then he got closer, and the promises stopped. He got closer, and the justification began. The hemming and the hawwing. And by the time he reached the shore, he was back in his old character. After all, he did all the swimming. His path from danger to safety was very logical and explainable. Wasn’t it?
This is what we learn from the story of Moses. This was the test of human faith and reason, which many failed while Aaron did not. Enlightenment in situations such as these is about parsing the events, measuring what was asked for or needed against what you actually managed to receive. If an anthropomorphic entity descended in front of those people and told them what to do and demonstrated limitless cosmic power, then where is the faith, the deduction, the reasoning in obeying the will of such omnipotence?
A dog obeys you because you are the master. Is there any glory or enlightenment in that dog’s heart because he simply sees your power and obeys? No, he is simply a dog and responds to the obvious. There is no test of the soul for him. And he could neither be praised nor condemned as a creature higher nor lower than other animals for anything he does. He is a witless beast.
Magic tests no man. In fact it cheapens both the message and the journey of the man, because it adds a compulsion that requires no faith, only recognition of power and might and magic. And miracles as we believe them as children are magic, brewed to simplify complex morality tales for us at that age, or for an age, an era long gone – that of humanity’s proverbial childhood. The reputable books are always vague, and focus on the message of faith, not on the explicit, physical, visual details – those intellectual crutches are saved for movies with excellent budgets. And overzealous, intellectually lazy preachers.
Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Mohammad – they were not magicians. Some of the uninitiated or unenlightened may have viewed them as magicians, because of the miraculous natures of their lives and the occurrences within them. But did they ever claim to be magicians and miracle workers?
The expert jeweler knows just where to tap the crystal to make it a diamond, and just where to tap it to turn it to dust. That doesn’t make him a magician, it makes him enlightened.
Now, consider again, the infinite network that is creation. Is the miracle in the ability for it to shatter our laws of existence at every turn to deliver us magic for our eyes to feast upon? Or is the miracle the fact that the system is so intricately, perfectly, systematically woven together, that no magic is needed for the right things to happen at the right time? Isn’t that a more awe-inspiring feat? A feat so unfathomably inimitable that only it can, in its unfathomable inimitability, aptly represent such a truly all-encompassing singularity. No U-turns or fixes needed at every turn. The system adapts and adjusts and tilts and steers all things towards the equilibrium that is within its fabric.
As has been said over and over and over again in our books, the signs are all around, and you can choose to witness and appreciate them, or you can choose to ignore them or explain them away. Such is the nature of faith, the tricky beast that it is. It is your choice. It is your choice. There is no compulsion.
Tap into it. That’s what these religions, philosophies, spiritual explorations are all about. Tap into it. It is there waiting for you. Strive to meet the conditions of enlightenment, and enlightenment awaits. But you must strive. That is your clarion call.
Until you set your watch against the time of day, you’ll never know what time it is at night.