Wish Granted

If I were to receive 5 million dollars tomorrow, I wouldn’t change my current lifestyle. Whereas if I received 5 million dollars a few months ago, I would’ve changed a lot. What happened? How did I go from living a life I didn’t prefer, to living one that’s basically my childhood dream? Is it magic? Literally, how else are you going to explain it?

In the last few months I’ve done nothing except what I’m told to do. My friend says “jump” and I ask “how high”. Nowadays “Yes ma’am” (pronounced “Yes mum”) is a common phrase uttered by me. And by doing as I’m told, instead of fighting it tooth and nail like I always had, I’ve received so much to be grateful for.

Is my friend a genie? A faerie perhaps? Is she my guide in this gameworld? Is she here to make sure I stay on course, attaining all the good things life has to offer? Is she merely a manifestation of my own design? Or is she simply a good leader that makes good decisions? I don’t know. I probably shouldn’t overanalyze it, just keep my mouth shut and gratefully accept what I’m provided.

If you’re having a good dream it makes sense to go with the flow rather than interrupt it with fruitless analysis. Is everything perfect right now? No, and I suspect if it was, then it just wouldn’t feel right. I think the hiccups are probably part of the transition into my new role. I’d probably feel like an imposter if everything went perfectly — as it is now, I’m quite comfortable, like gradually wading into deeper water.

Throughout these last few months I’ve often been reminded of the archer Arjuna and Krishna his charioteer. Arjuna grew up thinking Krishna was merely his cousin, instead of God-incarnate. He wasn’t just Arjuna’s companion, Krishna was companionship itself. I waited two decades for my friend to enter my life and it literally felt like I was specifically waiting for her — I knew she’d show up eventually.

After her arrival, I spent the next two decades shutting down her suggestions and doing everything I could NOT to listen to her. Why would I do such a dumb thing? Gah. I guess I had a mind full of lack and trusted nothing. Now in the next twenty years, hopefully I’ll just listen and maintain an open mind. I’ve certainly proven my inability to direct my own life, whereas passively following along has been working out quite nicely.

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Magical Mystery

I don’t think there’s any question as to whether magic is real. Magic is the manifestation of intent. From childhood dreams, to success stories, to wishes, to just plain goal-setting, there’s determination underlying whatever comes next. How the particulars happen, we don’t really know or care — external events align and the things we had imagined appear before us.

If the world was purely physical, then things wouldn’t miraculously align like that. The circumstances and people we require wouldn’t waltz into our path like they do. Yet as if by magic, things do synchronize. People do end up fulfilling childhood fantasies, people do meet the spouse of their dreams, people do overcome extraordinary odds, people do obtain success.

So there’s no debate over whether magic exists, the question is, how can we manipulate these forces to satisfy our desires. But a deeper question becomes: can we actually control this magic and do we even want to? Consider this: where do these inspiring daydreams come from? An idea simply pops into our thought-stream and suddenly we want it to come true — but why?

Is there an external narrative going on in which we simply play our part? Perhaps life is purposefully providing the false impression that we have influence over it. In other words, life does all the heavy-lifting but wants us to think we’re doing it ourself. But how could we — we barely know anything. We’re on autopilot — situations present themselves and we simply go along for the ride.

For another perspective, imagine watching a play on a stage. We the audience can’t help the production along — but we can certainly screw it up. We can become overly involved in the plot and shout about what’s going on. We can allow ourself to become outraged over little things or get distracted by a particular scene, focusing on the details we don’t like, no longer paying attention to the action currently happening. We can fail to give the playwright the benefit-of-the-doubt, criticizing the entire time, booing whenever the mood strikes. We can fail to appreciate all the effort that went into the production, yelling about what a waste of time it is.

So which is it? Are we creating the world as we live it — perhaps in a dream-like manner? Is there a pre-written narrative in which we watch as if on an amusement-park ride? Are we capable of changing any or all of it? Do we even want to? Are we the author, actor, or audience? Are the answers to these questions purposefully obfuscated in order to maintain the mirage, adding an element of mystery? Is the world all things to all people, allowing every question’s answer to depend on the perspective?

Rise & Shine

Long ago, in a fertile and prosperous land, the inhabitants knew of and utilized a simple cleansing solution. Yet when their mighty library burned in Alexandria, so too did this knowledge get lost in time. Those people were the Ancient Egyptians. That cleanser was Sodium Bicarbonate — baking soda.

Yes, there are those that stumble upon baking soda as a cleaning-agent, but it’s merely used as an additive — its pure power is not fully appreciated today. Friends, I’m here to reveal to you that simple basic power. Baking soda is a base, a foundation of cleanliness that you should not live without.

Why just mixing a teaspoon in a few ounces of water creates a deodorant that deactivates the malodorous — whether funk resides on the feet or the pit of an arm, it’s a miracle smell stopper. Sprinkle some raw powder in shoes and they’re good as new! White dishes a little discolored and need some scrubbing? Why just pour some powder on a damp rag and rub. Presto!

The best thing about it: you get all this for pennies on the pound. A powder so cheap, it’s virtually free! Yet this is no poor-man’s poultice, it’s a remedy fit for regality. And if you act now, I’ll even include a bonus. From an oasis surrounded by sand to one surrounded by ocean, let me present to you a gift from the tropics: coconut oil.

Yes that’s right friends, pure unprocessed coconut oil. Flakes on the scalp resulting in an early winter’s snow fall? Not anymore with a few drops of oil gently massaged into the follicles. And this is no greasy cover-up folks, it’s the real-deal — your ordinary oils won’t do this. But that’s not all….

Powerful on their own, no doubt. But imagine if that potency could be combined. Well now it can. With a two-step process, the mighty duo becomes Clean & Coat. Got a scrape or cut? Why just spritz a solution of sodium-bicarbonate dissolved in water, pat dry, and salve with coconut oil — Voila!

You can even mix a bit of sea-salt with baking soda and gargle it — or even rub raw baking soda on your teeth and gums. Afterwards coat with coconut oil to seal the deal. Folks, it’s the miracle cure of the ages. Now for the first time in the modern-age, you too can unlock the ancient powers provided by Mother Nature herself. Be sure to pick yours up today!


* Field-notes & Disclaimer:

This product (baking soda) is provided as-is and comes without warranty, yet it has been tested by yours truly over the course of multiple years as a hand-soap replacement, hand-washed-dish detergent, underarm deodorant, and shoe/foot deodorant.

It should be noted that baking soda may be too harsh a cleanser for bath-soap replacement and it may cause dark fabrics to lighten.

And just some tidbits about coconut oil: it remains a solid below 78F and a liquid above that, it’s typically applied after bathing although pre-shower may work if not thoroughly washed out, it’s also effective as an underarm deodorant, and it can be safely applied to the mouth even after brushing.

Wishes – Summer 2017

So as to fully program my mind with only the most delightful daydreams, I’ll be detailing my current crop of wishes (in no particular order):

I wish to fill my evenings with meaningful activity. Instead of just recuperating from the day, I wish to have a task that enlivens and fulfills, leaving me satisfied and ready for sleep.

I wish to sleep through the night and wake-up well-rested. Bed should be a sanctuary I embrace yet happily depart when the new day dawns.

I wish for my work to find its appreciative audience. That which I craft should be a delight to others who subtly display their thanks.

I wish for a healthy, well-functioning digestive process from end to end. Well-prepared food is a delight, and its enjoyment is supported by the smooth action of consumption, absorption, and elimination.

I wish to remain calm, composed, and collected at all times. Feeling startled is a thing of the past, my reactions should be measured and reassuring to others.

I wish to have replenishing resources for spending adventures. From tech-gadgets to trips, cars and clothes, food and funding (creators), gifts and giving, houses and helping — copious cash is there as fuel for the creative process.

I wish my days to contain many moments of levity with my family. I wish to be building bonds of companionship as we lightheartedly ride this spaceship, Earth.

I wish to serve as teacher, a trainer of sorts. Those that cross my path should gain an understanding previously unrealized.

First Steps

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

But Rich, where do I find introductory material on magic? It doesn’t seem readily available.

You’re right, just searching for “magic” will get you nowhere. But if you look past the surface, you’ll see there’s tons of material about magic. For instance, a lot of popular “success” books are straight-up magic. They don’t claim to be such, yet they’re essentially telling you to wish your way to prosperity and fulfillment. They’ll often talk about affirmations and repeatedly writing your wishes down. Or they’ll mention visualization: vividly imagining the outcomes you desire. And of course the “Law of Attraction” a.k.a The Secret is pure sorcery — it’s all about manifesting your materialistic wants.

For many years I was skeptical of such claims, and dismissed followers as fools and proponents as snake-oil salesmen. But eventually I realized that my pessimism was not proof. These people wholeheartedly believed in magic and I was needlessly dismissive of their lifestyle. And here’s the thing, they were living an enjoyable life filled with hopefulness and cheer whereas I was sitting in squalor endlessly complaining about how horrible the world was. Who’s the fool?

So what does one do upon learning the error of his ways? That’s right, take two giant steps in the opposite direction. I’m in full-on magic-mode now. And I’ve read the common success books, I’ve seen The Secret, I’ve watched adherents relate their stories on YouTube — I’d consider myself versed in the techniques of the trade. Therefore, I’ve completed the first three steps: I believe magic exists, I believe it’s something I can practice, and I’ve gone through the introductory material. Currently I’m in the solo-project stage, attempting to self-solve a particular problem.

Using what I’ve learned, I must make something manifest. The biggest hurdle to practicing magic is remembering to practice. My attention is so often focused on the mundane: all the unpleasantries I encounter, the foul odors, the bad attitudes — I’m so easily distracted by the worst life has to offer. Yet I’ve been diligent enough to use these negativities in my favor, using them as triggers, reminders to think magically — believing I must have inadvertently summoned the bitter into being. We must be careful what we wish, because we might just get it — and so I’m careful to keep only what delights in mind.

Even if magic wasn’t real, I’ve become a much happier person simply by weeding out the pessimism. That vacancy has been conscientiously filled with pleasant fantasies instead. And it is magic’s job to bring these particular fantasies into being. In one sense, I’ve really no more to do than wish and wait. But of course, keeping my garden free of dream-choking weeds is a chore in itself. Thankfully it’s a chore that becomes more automatic with practice. So dear reader, there is your answer, the introductory material is where it’s always been: right in your face. Pick it up.

Intro To Magic

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

So the question becomes, how do we program our world? There are those among us that claim such alteration is possible and we have no cause to doubt them. Skepticism is certainly not reason enough, as that’s merely a form of stodgy conservatism. To make any change, great or small, we must believe in its possibility.

Typically, when we start using computers, we’re not even aware that computer-programming is a thing. The operating system, and the applications running on top, just exist. And when we learn that actual people wrote said software, we believe it to be a feat apart from ourselves, a task undertaken by geniuses tucked away in a laboratory. We could never do that, it’s simply not possible.

We wouldn’t even know where to begin. What do we write, where do we write it? And if we dare look it up, we’re deluged by complexity. What if we look for a book? Which book do we pick? And once we start, how do we keep our head above the sea of uncertainty? Plus, a simplistic step-by-step guide is one thing, an unguided project is a far different beast.

It turns out that software development is more art than math. It is not so much completing equations, but a constant treadmill of trial-and-error. We should therefore expect world-level programming to be quite the same. For instance, let’s examine a realistic scene from the desk of a software developer:

“Will it work? Let’s see. Nope. Okay try something else. Nope. Wait, why’s it doing that now!? Okay how about this. Hmm. Okay let me look something up. Ah, okay, I’ll try this. Ooh better. Ahh, nope, now the other part doesn’t work. Okay let me take a break and see if inspiration strikes. [Later that day…] Aha, that’s it! [Fervent typing ensues…] It works! Now onto the next problem….”

This common scenario plays itself out again and again. The solution so often comes from outside the programmer. Either it comes from an actual archive of answers (a forum for programmers), or from some mystical source of inspiration that’s accessed by the programmer’s subconscious once he engages in another task.

Let’s not gloss over this point, that the key to a programmer’s code comes from external sources. One source is a repository of discussion compiled by programmers over the years. And another source is some other-worldly well-of-knowledge that provides solutions for problems posed to it while the mind is no longer actively searching.

So a wizard should expect much of the same. First, he needs to grasp that magic exists. Second, he must believe it’s a process he can proficiently navigate. Third, he must dive into some introductory materials that provide a cryptic set of rules and steps for completing basic but essentially useless projects. Then as aspirations expand, on comes a contentious time of attempting to self-solve a particular problem. This is accompanied by research into the ways of others who solved similar issues, alongside bouts of inspiration from one’s own imagination. Voila! A wizard is born.

In programming, there is no set canon of introductory materials. Programmers learn their craft by various means. There are a myriad of languages and techniques and styles of programming. There’s countless sources of introductions. The common theme though, is the intent and determination of the practitioner. And there is one other commonality: every programmer begins by writing a small program that prints a simple phrase, a very telling phrase: hello, world

Ancient Bindings

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Way of the Wizard: Modern Magic

Okay Rich, blah blah blah computer-programming, but what about magic?

But don’t you see, if the world is a computer simulation, then programming IS magic:
World.place(object)

But here’s the thing, the easiest programming to understand is typically the most restrictive. In the high-level environments you’re granted access to a few preset commands that aren’t very customizable. In order to tap into the low-level stuff that alters individual pixels of the interface, you’ll need to delve into the ancient API.

The problem with ancient APIs though, is their archaic format and overall complexity. For instance: in high-level programming, objects are managed for you, whereas in low-level, you need to account for their maintenance and dissolution. To call something with the ancient API typically takes more consideration and is much more prone to error.

And of course, if you attempt to build an entire program by invoking the ancient API, then the complexity and bugginess is going to compound. To account for this, programmers oftentimes use bindings that simplify access to the ancient API using a more modern parlance. This also allows the program’s heavy-lifting to be done in a high-level style whereas certain customizations can be made with bindings to the ancient API.

This is what we wizards seek, the bindings into the ancient API. It is simply not worth trying to create a program from the ancient API, the time and complexity are too much. We’d be decades working on a teetering foundation — we need instead to stand on the shoulders of giants. But this takes great discernment of course — because how can we recognize what we don’t know?

Yet that is the wizard’s gift — the ability to recognize a source of power. It’s no different than how a chef recognizes a source of flavor — it’s a built-in attribute of the character. And like a programmer, a wizard conjures whatever needs programming. Either he sees a hole that needs filling or he’s the middleman between clients and their vision.

Through observation we can witness that this world is not merely a pre-compiled binary, there’s also some scripting on the fly. As in a scripting language, code can write code. But of course we must know the correct keywords and syntax as well as the appropriate method of code execution. Programmers for instance don’t simply open up a text document and write random words and symbols.

No, wizards must learn their interface, they must study syntax and keywords. They must seek out repositories of source-code, deciphering the instruction-sets within. They must understand where and when to apply such commands and obtain the tools by which to evoke their spells. This is the way of the wizard, programmer of worlds.