“Magic, Motorcycles, and Mandelbrot”
This is the tagline to my blog. It’s a TERRIBLE tagline from a marketing perspective. I do know that. It’s almost like I’m hoping people WON’T come and read my blog, b/c you show up for the first time to check out this Dan Dolderman guy, you take a look and you’re like…huh? Who is this person? What are they all about? Riot police. Magic….motorcycles….Mandel-who? Yah, whatevs, I’m out.
I should go with a better tagline — but I’m gonna stick with this one for now. Why? Because it’s REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT!!
But seriously — it is really important.
Now, I realize the importance is not immediately apparent. Like what the heck does “magic, motorcycles, and Mandelbrot” mean at all? You’re too busy for this nonsense, right?
Well, I challenge you to stay. Stay for 10 minutes, and join me on a ride through life, and meaning and death and everything in between. Kind of like Dark Side of the Moon.
And by the end, if you agree with me that we need a global revolution of “the people,” then let’s talk! Leave a comment at the end — even just say “hi!”
Or, if you think there are other super-cool approaches to solving the problems of the world, then let’s talk! Leave a comment at the end! One thing I’m sure we agree on — there are some problems out there in the world. And there are some worthwhile opportunities to be found in solving those problems.
Part 1: Magic
Let’s start with when we’re young. Really young. As young as we can remember. I wholeheartedly believed in magic when I was a kid. I’ll bet you did too. You might have held onto it as an adult, but you probably didn’t, or at least, it faded and changed. This “loss of magic” as childhood morphs into adulthood is such a cliché that it is, in fact, a theme in many children’s stories themselves.
As a kid, oh man, I believed in magic SOOOOOOOO hardcore. I was sure, like 100% sure, that I would eventually figure out how to wield energy, or fly, or have telekinesis, or something cool like that.
Nobody has to convince you to believe in magic. Not at first. It’s just so awesome, of course it’s true! And the world is so wonderful, so fascinating, so surprising, so beautiful — magic weaves through everything! OBviously.
Then you start finding out that magic isn’t just Dungeons and Dragons and Using the Force, or little kids believing their stuffed animals have consciousness. (And hey, don’t be dissing my stuffies. I still know that Slider has consciousness. I don’t care what you say….)
But seriously, magic has deep, deep roots. It’s understood in many different ways through many ancient systems of wisdom and spiritual tradition. You understand Magic in far deeper ways than you could have imagined, in Shamanism, Yogic practices, Chanting, Community healing ceremonies, many indigenous cultures and practices, ecological wisdom.
The more you learn this, the more I think your ability to hang onto “magic” into adulthood remains intact. Or grows.
Otherwise, magic fades, or has to morph into some other kind of fixed-belief system. It might turn into God-faith — I.e., Religion. It might transmute into some kind of ideology or extreme political belief system, which often are tinged with faith themselves. But MAGIC, that initial wondering-at-the-world kind of openness and basic, peaceful, kindness and lovingness towards the world that goes along with the childhood belief in nature spirits and fairies and the Old Stories, THAT kind of magic, tends in most cases to fade as you “grow up.”
In its place rise the concerns of Ego, of Achievement and Society and the Machine, of Competence and Power and Freedom and Individualism and Be All You Can Be!!! And for sure, in place of mystical arts of “universe-bending,” you get procedures and rules, structures and guidelines, Sign Here, and Signs, signs, everywhere are signs. You get control. You get science and technology, certainty and Knowledge.
In other words, Motorcycles…