How Not To Be a Muggle

When was the last time you felt like a kid? When was the last time you felt ardent curiosity for anything in your life? Was it with a book? Or maybe you began to play a musical instrument and discovered that you could express yourself not just with words but with feelings as well and it felt amazing (self-projecting here)? Maybe you just discovered a sport like rock climbing or hiking? When was the last time you said to yourself: ‘Damn, being alive is freaking fantastic’?

The common factor of all these kinds of experiences is curiosity. The best teacher I’ve ever had, once told me that ‘as long as you remain curious, you’ll do well in life’. He was right. 

Why are we alive anyways? To fulfill our duty, to work, to earn money? Of course, but, is that it? Are we only allowed to feel amazement and curiosity while we are kids? Until we become adults and the need for duty supersedes any other need so that we can just focus on duty? Tell me please, who the fuck is ‘allowing’ you to do anything? Society? You parents? The government? Isn’t being told what to do by anyone the greatest part of becoming an adult?

What would you say if I’d tell you that your duty is to stay curious, amazed, engaged, and eager to live fully because you want, not because you have to? To greedily squeeze the juices of life while you’re still here?

Two kinds of people

A couple of weeks ago, I went hiking with my brother and some friends. As we were walking through the dry woods of the forest (it hasn’t rained in a while), one of our friends joked about his goals in life. So, he said that he couldn’t wait any longer till’ he got married, bald, grew a beer belly, had 3 kids, and enough money so that his wife wouldn’t want to leave him. Ha…ha…ha…, it was funny at the moment, I mean, he was obviously joking, but the joke goes really deep if you think about it enough. 

A joke is funny because it shows, in an absurd way, the reality of something. In my hometown, that’s the reality of ‘goals (at least unconscious)’ for a lot of people. There are other goals like becoming successful in business or in your career and be recognized amongst your neighbors and yeah, you know the drill, it’s all the same book just different pages. 

I call these forms of success, canned success. Earn money, marry, be a good worker, do as you told and………. Good boy! Here you go, have some money, some fame, and enjoy your life (in the way you’re allowed to, of course). 

Do all of this and you are going to effectively become a MUGGLE. A muggle is a term I gathered from Harry Potter which is how they call a non-magical person. Blatantly boring, empty. That is what you become when you ‘follow the script’, there’s no fire burning in such a person’s heart and you can notice. 

“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something to tie his self to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self any longer, and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel security again by the elimination of this burden: the self.”
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom

The muggles hide behind a feeling of superiority, that they get from the things they have been told their whole lives will give them value as human beings. Adidas, Audi’s, big houses. Try to talk to them about anything other than earthly success and you’ll soon notice the hollowness of their existence and the desperate but silent cry for magic, magic that’s buried deep inside of them. 

The second type of person is wizards, magical people. They are driven by curiosity and amazement and there is a glow in their eyes. They cannot understand why most people are not absolutely baffled by everything around them, they cannot find enough time in the day to learn and to satiate their curiosity and their need for creation and gifting the world with their intellects. 

Beethoven, Bach, Newton, Einstein, they were all magical people. They did all they did not because they felt a sense of obligation towards what they did, but because curiosity was like heroin for them, they could not live without following their stars. That is the fire of curiosity. 

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle”, he wrote, “that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”

Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist

But be warned. I honestly don’t know why exactly society does not want you to be magical, to be you, in all cases, they want you to behave and to act in predictable ways so that you don’t mess with how the system functions. Why?

“…that the mass of the public are just too stupid to be able to understand things. If they try to participate in managing their own affairs, they’re just going to cause trouble. Therefore, it would be immoral and improper to permit them to do this. We have to tame the bewildered herd, not allow the bewildered herd to rage and trample and destroy things.”

Noam Chomsky, Media Control

Because they don’t trust you? Or because in changing the system, a displacement of power would happen as well? That’s for sure, what would happen, do you think, if you’d stop putting all of the consumer goods on a pedestal and became instead more interested in science or music? 

What would happen if we’d all stop caring so much about consumerism and began to be more interested in ‘creativism’, dialogue, and curiosity? 

Tell me, does a pair of Adidas fill that need to know more about existence? Or do they fill a more hollow need of being accepted by others so that we can call you a ‘good boy!’ Hahaha, I’m seriously laughing right now, the way we see success these days, and the way we teach it to our younger generations, is just fucking ridiculous. 

Work, work, work, not to let your magic die

I’m happy to announce that I just bought a guitar two weeks ago. Money well spent. 

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

I’m learning through Yousician, music is a complex world to get into, and hard as well, but once you start to get how it works, and the possibilities of expression music give you, ahh, there’s hardly a better feeling.

I have to pay for my guitar though. So I need to work, so I work, and work, and work, a lot. I work so much that by the time I can sit down to learn how to play my new guitar, I’m so mentally drained that I’d rather play Red Dead Redemption or watch YouTube than opening the learning app and keep juicing my brains. But see, that’s the difference between a muggle and a wizard. 

The wizard works hard for their magic, especially now. Tell me, who has the time, especially on our times, when money is tight for so many people and unemployment at record high levels, to think about anything else than just getting through. 

By the end of the day, we’re tired, we don’t want to do anything else than to relax and watch movies with The Rock wearing Adidas on them. And you know what, it’s entirely comprehensible. It’s as if the system wants you to become a muggle, disinterested with life, forgetting about the big questions that you had as a child, scrolling your existence away on Instagram. Despising the ones that ‘do have the time’ to follow their passions and be magical. 

How Not To Be A Muggle

I’m not going to lie to you. It’s not going to be easy. You need to eat, you need to pay the rent, and you need to support your family if needed. 

All of these things might discourage you and make you believe that you need to do your duty and work and clean and work and clean and then go to sleep so that you can do it all over again, and say: ‘hey I’m doing what I’m supposed to do!’. 

The world wants you to become a muggle, to restrain yourself from meaning and amazement, from magic. And to be honest, I believe it does, our entire educational system was created precisely for that.

“. . .what shocks is that we should so eagerly have adopted one of the very worst aspects of Prussian culture: an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens — all in order to render the populace “manageable”.”

John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction

Staying magical, staying free, is going to require hard work. You’ll be tired, but you’ll need to read, you’ll be tired, but you’ll need to learn, you’ll be tired, but you’ll need to sit down and do your creative work, and inform yourself so that when you get to hang with wizards, you get to talk about wizard stuff. 

The greatest minds on earth did just that. 

Follow your curiosity and you’ll begin to feed a big and angry monster that will no longer be dominated by the authority or societal norms. 

You might think that ‘if only the system or authority weren’t holding me down’ I would be able to begin my journey in life. But never forget that the only one that is holding you back from magic and meaning, is you. At the end of the day, you decide if you stay a muggle or become a wizard. 

Get busy, get curious, get to work, the rewards will be worth it. 

Don’t be a muggle.

Tell me, do you think the following piece was made out of duty? 

I don’t think so.

Thanks for reading,

Ricardo 

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