He was exasperated, demanding, “but what are the rules for magic?” He leaned on the word “rules” desperate for a clear answer, and clearly tired of the wizard’s bullshit.
“That is a good question.” Redgrove adjusted his robes, and sat in his tall, wingback chair. “What rules do you follow, and how did they come to be?”
“What? What are you talking about?”
Redgrove locked eyes with him. “Think about it. Really take a moment and think about your life. Who are you, what are you doing, why do you do it?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed.
“That’s exactly it. The real truth of the thing.” He paused, gathering his thoughts. “Each one of us is a whole world, a little ball of twisted thoughts and feelings floating through space, trapped in a corporeal form, forced to reckon with the fact that we exist and we have no fucking idea why or how.
So we take in information, light, sounds, cold, wind: that summer morning when you woke up and the air was so perfect you felt like you had been transported to another world and everything was just so green; or that time your little brother chased you around the kitchen with a bread knife; or that time you kissed your grandma’s forehead while she lay in her lavender coffin and it was soft and cold and smelled like talcum powder; or that time you were half asleep and listening to music and suddenly everything seemed so astoundingly clear, and you got up to write it down but when you woke up the next morning what you had written didn’t make any sense and you could feel the certainty melting away again…
We’re all just here. Experiencing and reacting to things, reading books and listening to teachers and constructing a whole library of cataloged information and emotional history that makes sense to only us and is deeply and incorruptibly our own.
Even when you believe something wholeheartedly and it seems so obvious, and you meet another person who says the same things back to you, you don’t actually believe the same thing.
There’s the information (the thing you are sharing in that moment), but all of the background on why you believe it or how it fits into your worldview is personal and uniquely yours and not being communicated at all. You’re like two passing ships in the night, blinking signal lights at each other in the dark, a tiny chunk of conversation connecting the two for a moment, but in no way conveying the whole story of the vessel.
This is the root of all magic.
We run around gathering scraps of information and bits of stories then finding room for it in our universe or casting it away.
The rules we follow, what we do and why we do it, it’s all made up. But it’s made up in the way that everything is… a very real construction made from the material we all share and woven in seven billion different ways.
Do you see what I mean?”
There was a moment of near silence, the only sounds the ticking of the grandfather clock and the popping crackle from the fireplace.
The man flopped down in the other chair, exhausted. “I think I do.”
“I know this is hard for you. I think you’ll have to experience it for yourself to really comprehend it. But that is as simply and I can set it out in words. It can be hard for someone who is used to thinking that everything makes sense, that we are all living in the same world and that there are rules and history that everyone is held accountable to. But that is simply untrue. It isn’t that way and we shouldn’t try to force it to be.”