Magicians are reality benders.
We think they exist to fool us. After listening to a podcast with Tim Ferriss and Aussie magician Simon Coronel from Melbourne, I got chills down my spine. Magicians find glitches in reality.
I was fascinated to learn that The Magic Castle in LA is where many great magicians are born.
In 2011 the castle caught fire. It happened on the same date Houdini died 85 years earlier, and at almost the same time. That night they had a costume party at the venue called “Inferno at the Castle.”
The one room of the castle that didn’t get damaged was the Houdini room. Onlookers speculated it was the work of Houdini himself. What started this rumor was a promise he once made.
He said if it were possible to communicate from the afterlife then he would. Magic fans believed the fire was his work.
The Magic Castle is a place where magicians practice, often, to small crowds to perfect their magic.
They practice so much that eventually their trick is able to transcend foolery and find glitches in reality that humans miss no matter how hard they try to discover the sleight of hand.
As I listened to the podcast, I felt as if a lot of the time the best magicians even seem to surprise themselves.
As if their magic starts out as an act and slowly helps them bend the laws of physics to make the impossible, possible.
Glitches in reality exist.
Here are a few ideas I’ve found that recreate that feeling.
The greatest catalyst for progress in history
The global health disaster of March 2020 seems like a tragedy.
That’s not how I feel though. 2020 created a glitch in reality. It forever changed the course of human history. It forced all of us to get stuck in our homes and focus inwards.
We all collectively had time to think for the first time ever.
What has followed has been truly remarkable:
- Work culture has transformed.
- Technology has gone into hyperspeed beyond what anyone could have ever predicted.
- And we’re witnessing a digital renaissance that’s letting anyone become a creator and earn a living.
Maybe we needed a deadly virus to transition from the old world to the new world. A world where the order of superpowers is shifting and a new financial system is rising out of the ashes of the 2008 financial crisis.
The future is spectacular.
The strange AI relationships we will have
AI came from nowhere.
And it’s here to stay. Author Tim Urban pointed out that we will have AI friends, and AI romantic relationships too. No doubt there will one day be AI husbands and wives.
Will AI have the same right as humans? Will an AI be able to change gender without an uproar? And what if a human and an AI have a baby together? Will it be possible for a kid to have one human and one AI parent?
What if AI decides to sneakily kill a human? Can an AI go to jail?
These are the issues we will face, and they’re right here right now.
AI has created a glitch in reality, where humans may not be the dominant species anymore. That could take some getting used to for certain ego-centric, influential humans.
A moment that halts human consciousness
The gym is a spiritual place.
That’s not gym bro talk. Anyone that has trained at a gym and learned the art form from a professional knows it. Let me explain.
You’re taught at the gym to lift weights with your body. You’re supposed to keep doing reps of an exercise until failure. When your arms, for example, can’t lift the weights anymore, you feel like you want to drop them.
All the muscle growth happens beyond this point of failure. The next few reps make you question reality. They force you to question your sanity. Onlookers think you’re nuts to keep pushing.
Your arms feel like jelly and the pain intensifies. Time feels as if it slows down. It’s at this moment when human consciousness changes.
Your mind is able to bend reality and push through limits that seem impossible. It’s why weightlifting is a sacred practice that has little to do with being buff or trying to be cool.
The point of muscle failure is when glitches in reality appear, they let you see into a 4th dimension for a few seconds.
The effect of war on the mind
One experience unites us all: war.
Not because it’s good, but because of the devastation it creates. When we think of war it brings forward memories of innocent people losing their lives to an argument that’s likely nothing to do with them.
A rocket hurtles through the sky toward a multi-level building. Inside that structure are humans going about their day.
They don’t realize that a small rocket made by their fellow humans is about to blast through the wall and crush their surroundings.
They can’t see or hear their own death until it’s too late.
For years people will mourn them after these few split seconds. They won’t be there to witness it.
Thinking about war messes with the mind. It reorders time and creates a different version of reality. All tragedy or suffering you face in comparison to war looks foolish, laughable even.
If you want your problems to feel small then think of war.
The simple path to an out of body experience
Human consciousness has been forever altered.
When smartphones went mainstream with the launch of Steve Jobs’ Apple iPhone, a second brain formed for each of us.
Much of everyday life now happens through that second brain. The problem is it messes with our first brain.
Zach Pogrob reminded me that we can shut down this second brain and experience life as it was before the 2007 iPhone.
All we have to do is switch off our phones.
It feels impossible to do in a world where a phone feels like it creates the difference between life or death. Where if you miss a phone call, it could end your job.
Switch it off and see what I mean. What really starts to feel crazy is when you have no phone for a week or even a month. Reality completely changes if you do that.
A downgraded experience of this is to buy a dumb phone with no apps and only be reachable via a traditional cellular phone call. Try it.
The source of life-changing ideas
Zach also taught me about where big ideas come from.
Many of us have been waiting our whole lives to have an idea that changes everything. But we don’t think of them. They come to us.
The glitch in reality that allows big ideas to be attracted to us is boredom. It’s the downtime when we’re doing mediocre tasks. It’s why I’m obsessed with doing the dishes or cutting leaves off an overgrown tree.
When we do mundane tasks it allows our mind to escape reality for a while and come back with a few ideas. Boredom is where my best ideas come from. Warm showers for 30 minutes are a similar source of inspiration.
Doing nothing is underrated.