Flashback: The Magic of Reality Deployed!

Sometimes a little flashback can be sort of fun. Here’s a post I jotted down way back in October of 2011.  Fast forward five years, and we tell this story from time to time, much to my now young adult daughter’s chagrin…and to be honest, I think she’s still a little miffed about my then lack of compassion regarding her mortal dread of fictional creatures!

The Magic of Reality Deployed!

MagicofRealityI let my 12 year old daughter watch Insidious.  There, I said it.  The cat’s out of the bag and I’m officially a bad dad.  Since that night, she’s manifested an incredibly irrational fear of the supernatural.

At about the same time as she watched the movie, I bought Richard Dawkins’ new book, The Magic of Reality. This is a wonderful book geared to be understood by kids about her age, yet entertaining enough to be enjoyed by kids about my age!

So I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to her about some of the first big ideas Dr. Dawkins introduces in the book and she’s actually started reading chapter one.

First and foremost, I wanted to break out for her the three kinds of magic as Richard describes them:

  1. Supernatural magic  – the kind of magic that exists only in fairy tales, myths, and of course, fiction (movies, books, etc.). It only lives in human imaginations.
  2. Stage magic – the awesome slight of hand and illusory magic performed for our entertainment by David Copperfield, David Blaine, Penn and Teller, etc. These are magic tricks. The tricks only work because our rational brain knows that what these guys just pulled off, makes no sense in the real world! It’s great stuff.
  3. Poetic magic – the kind of magic that one “feels” when you see something beautiful, natural, artistic, poetic, etc. This is the “magic of reality.”

With this understanding, I wanted to ultimately give her the logical tools to quite easily tell the difference between these three types of magic as a means to help her regain control of her rational brain, and unload that nagging nugget of irrationality that has been embedded like a splinter ever since she watched that dadgum movie!  Poor kid.

Here’s hoping for a good night’s sleep!

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