Can We Choose to Be Unafraid?
I like the self-assured, because there are so few of them. I don’t mean the competitors who believe they have advantage because of some trait they think is greater than others. I don’t mean the great intellects, the women who realize their own beauty, the sports person with great skill, or the person of wealth. These are attributes, sure, but they do not equal self-assurance.
The self-assured, the ones who truly don’t care what others think of them, or labor under the weight of social and material expectations, they are the truly free. How many have you met? Do you believe there are many? Are you one of them?
I watch people like a predator, not to take advantage or to harm, but to steal away a bit about them. To notice, since I cannot find myself, if they have found themselves, the person they truly are. To witness, even a brief glimpse, of their true free nature. Have they found the door into which they can place the key? And, even if they have, are they willing to turn the key and open the door? Or does fear, family, love, hate, or some other emotion hold them back? I watch, because I want to see how humans work, I study because there is something about humanity that puzzles me, something that has either eluded me all of my life, or has eluded all of us for many centuries.
I’m betting on the latter. I think we, human beings I mean, had something at one time that we now lack. I think one thing we never really had much of was imagination. And, if we study it a bit, our imagination is held back by our fear. Fear of change, of being different, saying something out loud that might make us seem different. Fear drove out imagination. But I have a theory, and if you’ll stay with me just a bit I’d like to expound on it. I think, I actually believe fervently, that our imagination and indeed all of human misery has been driven, since pre-history times, from a basis of fear. And that fear had throttled our imaginations to the point that we can’t see the obvious right in front of us. And if we do, we get scared and run. Or, if we don’t run, we get thrown into psychiatric wards because other people are afraid of what we have been willing to see.
Take color for example. We have colors that are based on the colors in the spectrum that we can see when we refract light. And we base all other colors on variants of these colors from the spectrum. But, if we had imagination, if our minds were free from the fetters of our fear, would we see an entirely new color? Could we see what might be there, hiding in the corners of the spectrum of light or perhaps not part of that spectrum at all, but just waiting somewhere for us to notice it? Is there more out there that we can’t see? And why can’t we see it? What holds us back?
This is the third option. Moving beyond the thing that holds us back. To say our fear holds us back, I think, is too easy, too pat. Fear is certainly a strong emotion. A useful one, in the right context. But only one. Could it be the emotions themselves, the feelings, that keep us from seeing what might, and I say might because I can offer no proof, what might be right here under our noses? A beautiful universe of possibilities that we can’t even see because our normal gets in the way. A brand-new color, a completely never before seen color, a door to which I have the key.
Helluva third choice, don’t you think?
from "The Scientific Theory of Magic"