Monday, 20 January 2014

Magic of Necessity

You may have heard people state that magic done in desperation is often less effective than under better circumstances and that is certainly true from my limited experience. However, I would like to highlight the difference between desperation and necessity.

The Collins dictionary defines ‘’desperate’ as:
adjective
careless of danger, as from despair; utterly reckless
(of an act) reckless; risky
used or undertaken in desperation or as a last resort ⇒ desperate measures
critical; very grave ⇒ in desperate need
often postpositive and foll by for in distress and having a great need or desire
moved by or showing despair or hopelessness; despairing

It defines 'necessity' as:
noun
(plural) -ties
(sometimes plural) something needed for a desired result; prerequisite ⇒ necessities of life
a condition or set of circumstances, such as physical laws or social rules, that inevitably requires a certain result ⇒ it is a matter of necessity to wear formal clothes when meeting the Queen
the state or quality of being obligatory or unavoidable
urgent requirement, as in an emergency or misfortune ⇒ in time of necessity we must all work together
poverty or want
(rare) compulsion through laws of nature; fate
(philosophy)
a condition, principle, or conclusion that cannot be otherwise
the constraining force of physical determinants on all aspects of life Compare freedom (sense 8)
(logic)
the property of being necessary
a statement asserting that some property is essential or statement is necessarily true... 

Desperation means doing risky things in dire circumstances. The emotions that are involved in such scenarios are often very powerful but are hard to channel or control. Also, the emotions are often not positive or constructive emotions and hence the emotional input that fuels your magic in such circumstances could work but often with side-effects that can cause significant fall-out long after the situation has passed.

There could be similar emotional streams involved in situation that require acts of necessity, but often over longer periods of time and at reduced intensity. Some of the magic that I have learned through necessity has been some of the most powerful and certainly the most repeatable under different circumstances.

For example, when I was a child the family car used to break down quite often. Without really thinking about it, I used to cause a rumble of sound in my chest to mimic the engine starting and imagine the engine sparking to life. With sufficient practice the technique started working time and again, ensuring an engine which was more reliable and a happier atmosphere in the family car on long journeys.

Similarly having spent a lot of time walking place as a child and an adult, I used to play with different ways to try to make traffic lights turn green. In the end I discovered that what works for me is not trying to turn my light green, but to focus on other lights at the junction changing. One memorable experience of changing traffic lights occurred when I was being driven by a close traffic light across London. I confidently stated: ‘I will use positive mental attitude to get us across London’ and sure enough we crossed central London with only 1 red light slowing us down. Another example of magic of necessity for me is rain making. I used to hate sports at school and started experimenting with different versions of a rain dance of my own invention. Having tinkered with this technique over many years I‘ve now got it down to performing the ‘dance’ with just one finger and know approximately how much time to wait until the rain comes.


My last example of the magic of necessity is something that I stumbled across last week. I have been creating doodles in the margins of my meeting note pads for a number of years and it dawned on me last week that these were in fact doodles. The ‘lightning’ symbol represents channelling more energy in to the meeting or people attending to be ‘struck’ by inspiration. The ‘snowflake’ symbol represents calming a discussion that could potentially get rather heated. And the ‘spiral’ symbol represents trapping or containing a thread of discussion to contain it and prevent the meeting from going too far off topic.

Each of these examples sounds small and could be labelled as insignificant. But it’s often the small things that can make a difference in your life, especially if they are driven by necessity. So my question to you is, what magic of necessity have you done and how did you come to learn it?

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Project update 14.1.14

Hebrew Immersion Study Course

The three year project Hebrew Immersion Study Course has finally finished this week. Here is a link to the original post and the update back in 2012. The summary of the project aims were as follows:

  1. To improve my knowledge of Hebrew
  2. To learn the background texts that put Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah in context
Some secrets are only passed over the surface of the water...
And the details are as follows:
Scope: Read all of the 24 books of the Tanach,
Time: 3 year deadline
Cost: Sunk cost of books purchased to date is £82.95. No further purchases expected.
Quality: To be specified, see discussion on difficulty in measuring language proficiency above
Communication: Progress update on chapters covered with excerpts for parts deemed applicable to this blog.
Risks:
1. Daily study is very time-consuming,
2. Study fatigue may kick-in
3. Language skills may not improve significantly
4. May not remember enough of material covered to put learning Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah in context
Issues:
1. Difficult to measure proficiency of language.

Unfortunately the project failed to achieve it's objectives as I did not study all 24 books of the Tanach.
Instead I spent all the time reading the Chumash / Five Books of Moses each of the past 3 years with Rashi commentary (for 2 years) and Ramban (for 1 year).

Also the scope of this project increased to include studying Mishnah on a daily basis. I have finished Nezikin and I am now studying Nashim. The plan is to get through the whole of Mishnah in 6 years and then move on to Gemarrah.

Overall my proficiency of Hebrew has increased in the past 3 years. I feel a lot more confident and comfortable opening a book in Hebrew and trying to make sense of what is being said in the paragraph in context.

But I am still struggling to make any headway in translating Hebrew books in Kabbalah due to 2 reasons:
  1. Translation involves converting the wording in to another language AND the meaning of the text. The latter is much more challenging. 
  2. It still requires a special project set-up to dedicate time & energy to do this work and hence is not yet 'business as usual' wherein I have a set time and day of the week where I only do translation work.
Supporting the Detroit Lions
For the past two years the Detroit Lions have failed to make it to the play-offs. Any magical aid that I might have been able to bring to bear has failed to change this outcome. I take full responsibility for this failure and I'm divided whether or not to try again next year or take a break and come up with a better strategy. The emotional input that I have put in to this project has waned over the past couple of years in part due to what is happening in Detroit itself. I'll know by September whether this project will be revived again or put on the shelf for awhile.