“Everything happens for a reason.”
“All my hard times were to help me get here.”
No. No, no, no, no, no, no. NO.
A lot of things happen on a daily basis, both positive and negative, that might be difficult for us to understand. For some reason, this is frequently and quickly framed as spiritual, karmic, or, as I refer to it, “magical.” Why think logically and use common sense when it’s so much more fun to make up elaborate stories about the universe wanting you to live your life a certain way?
I know life isn’t great. We live in a world where a Cheeto-colored dictator is president, people die in the millions from cancer annually, and the Packers haven’t been to the Superbowl in six years, so the escapism to ideas like magic and fate is tempting. But I think living in reality is essential for society to progress. So here are the three things I’m most tired of being framed as “magical.”
I was watching a couple of David Blaine street magic specials on Netflix last week, and found myself amazed — not at what Blaine can do, though. While he is undeniably impressive, I was shocked when the people he showed his tricks to were so terrified that they would consistently do things like run away as though Blaine was dangerous, cry, or tell him he clearly was not human — that he was something akin to an X-Man.
Really, folks? I understand the things he does are unbelievable, but that’s his job — to be so good there’s no way to guess how he’s manipulating your perception. It just means he works his ass off, and because his shows aren’t contrived like Criss Angel’s or really showy like David Copperfield’s, they looks more legitimate. He doesn’t have a sixth sense, he’s studied cold reading. He can’t really levitate, it’s a trick!
At no point has Blaine pretended to be anything other than excellent at his job. He even talks about how he spends hours and hours practicing his tricks before he goes on the street with them. Yet this gets ignored, because for some reason it’s easier to assume he’s an extraterrestrial, a superior being, or Satan.
Why do we ignore the obvious, realistic solution and choose the most ridiculous one?
Ugh. If I never hear the word “fate” again, it will be too soon.
As I’ve written in the past, I tend to keep my romantic life private, in a large part because I don’t want to trigger the same “fate/magic” script that so many people feel the need to begin when they hear someone is in a relationship. This is very tied to the “everything happens for a reason” (lack of) logic I cannot stand — the idea that you have to go through terrible relationships, “kiss a few frogs before you find your prince” garbage.
Are we really saying that if and when we find someone who is a good match, it’s because the universe or some god designed it that way? Perhaps, perhaps if that happens, it’s because we’ve taken stock of what went wrong in the past and improved ourselves, and so has the other person or because both people are so desperate to fulfill society’s requirement to be partnered or married that they no longer care who it’s to (*cough* “Bachelor” contestants *cough*).
There seems to be a cultural ideal of romance as emotions without thought, which I find annoying but also incredibly dangerous. If the only way to “prove” I care for someone is to act without thinking, that’s how folks end up broke, homeless, heartbroken, and completely confused about what went wrong.
Simply opening up to someone at a reasonable pace is enough of a stepping stone in a relationship. You don’t have to throw away every ounce of reason to show you want to be with someone or force relational milestones to test “fate.” Get to know them and learn what you both want, and if things go well, stay together. That can still be plenty romantic if you’re with someone who is a good match. Logic doesn’t have to be the antithesis of passion. And yet if you claim this, you’re told that you don’t understand because you’ve clearly never really cared for someone or you’re too immature to understand what love is.
Please, come back and remind me about that during your divorce proceedings
This one seems silly, right? Hear me out.
When generations in the past didn’t know what gravity was, they assumed it was magic. How could items possibly just fall to the ground without some supernatural forces behind it?
Obviously, we have come a long way since then … at least in the actual science community. Hearing people talk about scientific advancements, however, is like going back to ancient times.
A new pill comes out that helps some terrible disease: “It’s a miracle!” No, it’s not. It’s science. Your prayers, thoughts, and Facebook likes didn’t help someone get better — science did.
It’s a free country, so believe what you like. Just expect to see my roll my eyes when I have to hear about it.