One winter day, when I was working with a utility contractor, I had to use shovels and picks. The newest and youngest member of the crew discovered that we were all eating hot beans for lunch. He was surprised that we could heat our food so far away from any restaurants or stores.
But he didn’t ask any questions, even though I could tell he was tempted to. When we finished eating, the two older guys on our crew went back to finishing the job. New Guy and I took off our gloves and started shoveling a path out of the forest where we were clearing brush. It was cold enough that my breath steamed in front of me as I talked.
The subject came up naturally when New Guy asked me how long it had taken me to learn how to use a chainsaw or drive a four-wheeler. I told him that some things take longer than others, but it’s only ever been about ten years since I first picked up an object and realized that I could make another object move if it moved in a certain way, instead of just thinking about moving objects all day like everyone else does because this is all they know how to do with their minds.
He said he thought it sounded like magic or luck at first when people described the concept of physical cause and effect to him before he knew what these words meant or why they mattered so much more than other words like ‘why’ or ‘how come?’ But now that he understood what they meant, he couldn’t imagine life without them anymore because it felt like knowing every possible combination in advance would allow you to predict every single outcome for any decision you might ever have to make no matter how big or small -- which would give you so much power over everything else in life it might seem almost magical until you realized what an incredible burden having so much power actually was and why nobody ever wanted this kind of responsibility in real life instead of just stories where magic wands gave people special powers over time and space instead of letting them choose between giving away their own free will forever versus doing whatever they wanted at any given moment without consequences whenever they chose not too instead of choosing between doing whatever you wanted immediately with complete control over your actions plus knowing every possible outcome versus giving away your own control forever -- although nobody really wants this kind -- because most people want control over their lives; not knowing everything means sometimes maybe you can feel surprised by yourself; surprises are fun; etc., etc., etc.).
The point is that there are lots of reasons why magic doesn’t exist outside books or movies except maybe as pure math arranged into patterns someone can use for whatever purposes they want including making themselves feel powerful by using these patterns against other people who don’t know about them yet either until after the fact when it doesn’t matter anymore (which seems kind of unfair); plus if somebody tells you something is going happen exactly one way next time no matter what choice you make then nothing feels more powerless than being forced into making choices based on already knowing exactly which outcomes will play out no matter what happens because otherwise plan A won't work; plus if you’re planning on doing something bad or wrong, knowing the consequences beforehand makes it easier to plan around them; and so on.
The point is that magic isn’t real unless people choose not to tell you what they’re doing in advance and let you make your own choices without trying to manipulate you into making certain ones based on what they already know are going happen instead of letting you decide for yourself what happens next.I told New Guy all this after he said he thought it sounded like magic when I first explained the idea of physical cause and effect.
At first he didn’t understand why I was saying all this, but then I said how sometimes people don’t tell me things in advance -- like about why we were clearing brush for a utility contractor even though there were no houses anywhere nearby yet -- because they want me to do something bad or wrong instead of something good or right, no matter how much worse the wrong choice might be than the right one. And at that point, I could feel him listening very carefully even though we were still shoveling snow as fast as we could out of our path through the woods toward our parked four-wheeler trucks.
So eventually when I finished talking about magic and choice versus control, New Guy stopped working with his shovel for just a second before bending down again with his hands wrapped around its handle; then after another moment he looked up at me and asked if there was anything else special about my brain besides knowing every cause and effect combination possible.
And that question made me feel really weird inside -- because nobody had ever asked it before (or at least not out loud) -- but then almost immediately afterward feeling better because now finally somebody knew who I really was instead of just who everybody else seemed to think I was since everybody always told him stories about their dad being such a great guy instead of telling him anything meaningful about himself even though he was only seven years old; plus now suddenly nothing felt more important than getting my true identity across to New Guy so he would know exactly who he really was too; except at first all this took only seconds before everything slowed down again until everything happened way faster than anyone can ever imagine or explain although still slower than normal human consciousness can process information thanks to these special patterns in my brain which let me see each possible outcome instantly without having time pass normally between steps A through Z sequentially like regular humans have tothink through each step slowly one by one over time in order to figure out which correct choice leads where while taking other steps ahead into account -- although sometimes if somebody tells you exactly what will happen next they take away your ability choose any differently from whatever they say will happen next whether anybody tells them ahead of time or not).
The point is that choosing any different action would change history forever depending on how big an event seven seconds was in an infinite universe; so choosing different actions would either never happen again because they’d all change history forever or they might happen again over and over with infinite variations depending on how big a role each second played in our universe versus every other possible one; and that’s why it took longer than people think for me to choose my next action. And the choices available were only limited by imagination itself -- although one of them included telling New Guy about the magic patterns in my brain so he could figure out how to get his own free from everyone else controlling him instead of just being a tool for them to use however they wanted at any given moment.
And I chose this option even though it meant giving away the secret of who I really was forever instead of keeping it hidden forever like I had been before when nobody asked me directly if there was anything special about my brain; plus suddenly giving away this secret felt better than keeping it hidden ever again after all these years -- even if knowing how patterns worked seemed like magic outside books or movies -- because now finally somebody knew who I really was instead of just who everybody else seemed to think I was since everybody always told him stories about their dad being such a great guy instead of telling him anything meaningful about himself even though he was only seven years old; plus now suddenly nothing felt more important than getting my true identity across to New Guy so he would know exactly who he really was too.
So after we finished clearing snow, we sat down on our four-wheeler trucks side by side where nobody could overhear us talking together while waiting for lunch break to be over. And once we were done talking, everything changed forever.