It's The Year of The Wizard (for me)
A self-indulgent musing on my Word for 2018
It’s been quite the merry-ish journey thus far: from rogue (in 2012) to king to prime* to pirate to gentleman-pirate to jester and now wizard. And yet I’m ever conscious of the ‘I-You’ ratio of my writing—I’ve learnt that it serves for this ratio to be skewed toward you, dear reader (lest you lose interest). But oh the indulgence of writing of one’s own journey! How utterly boring for the reader. And yet still—you may be interested. So, I shall (try to) keep this brief.
* This Word did not serve me well—too abstract and lacking in archetype. But you live and learn.
Why not a warlock, a sorcerer, a shaman, a seer or similar such?
Because those folks rely on innate magic.* A wizard must instead study the magical workings of the multiverse themselves—they must learn it, the hard way.° They are therefore, I opine, the most professionally curious of all magic users.
* Except for the warlock—they rely on a patron. And of course innateness isn’t really a thing.
° Well, sure: shamans and seers must learn the hard way too. But it’s a different path. Oh and let’s suspend your concern of the word ‘magic’ for the time being, and enjoy the narrative while it lasts.
This, in a roundabout way, is me declaring that this is a writing year. As such, there’s a shift in my priorities. The Word (wizard) lets me ‘trojan-horse’ decisions into my life that ‘past-Jason’ might have been uncomfortable with. Things like: saying ‘no’ (or rather: ‘not yet’) to lucrative opportunities or social frivolities, in order to write.
This all translates (hopefully) into new patterns and ways of being. Just as The Year of The Gentleman-Pirate conjured abstract guiding principles like quality in all things and to be a paragon of aplomb, and just how The Year of Jester had a lot of truth said in jest* and comfort betwixt and between paradox,° The Year of Wizard has its own set of abstract principles I’ve manifested to aspire to. Here’s a superficial glance.
* Code for me getting more comfortable with eloquently telling ‘truth’ to those in positions of power.
° And the delving deeper into ‘both-and’, ‘non-dual’ and ‘nonsense’ philosophies.
1. Seek magic
Ask a wizard about magic and they will likely guffaw at you. ‘Magic’ is merely a crude term used by the naïve and mundane to describe emergent phenomena that exists at a level of complexity beyond their cognitive ability to comprehend. Or, as Terry Pratchett puts it: “Ninety percent of most magic merely consists of knowing one extra fact.”* We live in a wondrous, magical and miraculous world yes, indeed—but there is (no) magic and there are (no) miracles.° But there’s still wonder: a feeling of amazement and admiration, relating to something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar. A feeling that leaves you curious and desirous of knowing more—of understanding that which is not yet understood. Thus, for me, this year will see me in a more willing and surrendered pursuit of wonder◊—the seeking the ‘magic’ amidst the more complex, ambiguous and abstract territories most daren't explore.‡
* To further quote Sir Pratchett: “It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”
° Or rather, as Einstein apparently put it: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”
◊ What the heck does this mean? It means I am working on a fancy new book.
‡ Or at least can’t be bothered with, or are too busy to contemplate.
2. A wizard is never late
Any self-respecting wizard maintains a healthy state of optionality.* They are not slaves to a schedule, nor prisoners to a plan. They are wise enough to know that the future is infinitely complex and therefore impossible to predict with any degree of certainty. Thus, they allow for emergent phenomena—not in a resigned way, but in a spirited way that enables them to thrive amidst the inherent order/disorder of the universe. What in blazers does this mean for me? It means cultivating my allergy to rigid/linear planning, and building more slack (empty time) into my weeks and days. It means resisting the heavy (yet oft-fragile) ‘optimising’ that most productivity gurus peddle—the ‘hacks’ that allow you to squeeze more efficiency into each day. Such a philosophy is incredibly ineffective for meaningful work. Rather, I shall live and work in a ‘sub-optimal’ manner, flâneuring through life in a way that allows more room to respond to any tangental opportunities that might emerge.
* That is: 'maximum upside with minimum downside’ (as Nassim Taleb puts it).
3. Eccentricity is authenticity
Authenticity is a bit of a dud construct. For when are we ever not authentic? Hoho, hush now. ’Tis not the time to spar on this topic. But, suffice to say, I intend to sharpen the edges to this ‘Dr Jason Fox’ character I oft inhabit. Wizards are known for their eccentricities, and I’m quite done with the benign banality of a well-rounded persona and life, where none are offended. This year I’m embracing the imbalance, so as to cast a longer shadow. It’ll discomfort some and delight more, but who cares?*
And thus, The Year of Wizard will see me dance (or stumble fashionably) betwixt pioneering philosophy, pragmatism & progress.