There is something about childhood that, once lost, it changes how you see the rest of the world. We can call it magic, mystery, or anything else but it’s that that in us that doesn’t understand everything…and it’s OK.
As we get older want more control, we want more agency in our lives and as such we pull the wraps off of things, want explanations for everything, and we want to know the Why behind every action of inclination. There’s wisdom in all of that, of course, because adults have motivations completely alien to what kids have and by the time you reach adulthood you have learned some hard lessons, from kids AND adults, and we build up armor to protect ourselves. It makes sense. It’s reasonable.
But in creating so much armor we lose something.
We lose our sense of hope, and wonder, and yeah, magic.
Just think of movies, and how we view them.
We want something safe, familiar, and known.
We want franchises and sequels and shared universes.
And that’s fine, that’s swell, but it closes us off to discovery. To finding those new worlds and adventures and stories that may show us things in ourselves that we have forgotten or never knew were there.
By explaining everything, showing everyting, and demanding all mysteries be revealed we cheat ourselves of that discovery. It’s the spoiler and troll culture that has popped up, demanding to know all so we can be better informed, warned, and, honestly, so we can ruin the fun for other people.
Why spoil a plot, a reveal, or a mystery?
There’s a difference between boasting to have seen or to know something and then there is the bitterness that comes from a need to ruin something for others. Knowledge is power, as they say, and to be able to force your knowledge onto others gives you power over anohter’s own agency.
It’s the sort of mentality of looking for presents as a kid. Sure, you’re curious, but once you know, well, you know. There’s no ceremony, no anticipation, and the fun of What If is gone.
It just is.
Doesn’t mean that IS is bad, just that the build up is gone.
Movies, for me, are away to connect to my youth so it’s movies that become touchstones for me. I remember when the movie CLOVERFIELD came out and it came out of nowhere, all mystery and unease and I loved that. I loved that I had no idea what I was getting into and loved that there was a mystery to unravel. My hope is that when I write I Can capture some of that mystery. Some of that wonder.
Sure, I want to know it all. I want to know the where, why, when, how – all of it.
I also want to be able to discover it and put it all together myself. I admit that I like to compare what I saw and felt with what the ‘real’ answer is, deciding for myself, but it’s that feeling of being on the edge of a high building that draws me. The exhiliration of discovery.
The more we remove the mystery, the wonder, the more we pen ourslves into safe, obvious lives where the only mystery left is when we’ll die. Magic is that feeling that the world has dropped out from under you, where you don’t know what is coming but cannot wait for it to come. It’s not a feeling of danger or fear but of expectancy. That feeling you got as a kid when you realized how big the world was and how many things you didn’t know and didn’t care. The darkest places in the night held horrific that frightened but excited us. We could be anything. We could do anything. We could dream anything. Even if we knew deep down that those things could never pass we did it because our imaginations drove us and controlled us.
But at every turn we want to stamp out the wonder and mystery of things, trading that itchy nervousness for the icy comfort of the known. Preferring the safety of the light than the danger in the dark and learning nothing of ourselves and who and what we are in exchange.