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Witch Choice is Best?

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Imagine you’re a Muggleborn wizard, and you receive a letter from Hogwarts one day. You come from an incredible family home, unlike poor Mr. Potter. Your parents love you and you don’t feel the need to run away. You also have little interest in learning, even about magic, unlike Hermione Granger. Unlike Harry or Ron or Hermione, who follow family tradition, thirst for knowledge, or crave meaning in life, you’re absolutely ordinary. So you don’t open your letter from Hogwarts. Instead, you throw it in the recycling bin and go about your life.

You don’t go on to become a wizard, let alone a squib. Maybe you feel as if you’re unnaturally talented at little things working out for you (e.g. yellow lights lasting longer, squirrels always moving out of the way). You don’t end up wreaking havoc with your untrained magic, because you never chose to manifest it. You chose to stay the same.

To clarify: Choosing the ordinary is never a bad thing. Choosing to not change is a bad thing. In this example, it means remaining as a non-magical being. There’s nothing to say that your life is any less happy this way. Consider this though, as a carrier of the magical gene, who’s to say one of your children won’t get that same letter on his or her eleventh birthday?

That is very much a possibility. If any of your kiddos manifested the exact same magic you had the chance to explore, what would you do? Would you deny them their choice, forcing them to go to a wizarding school? Would you spend the entirety of their lives living vicariously through them? You could do that, or deny them the privilege entirely and remove their chance at manifesting magic. Or, you could tell them that you once received that very same letter. And you’re not unhappy, at least not until your child receives that letter.

The Wand Chooses the Wizard

I always found this turn of phrase rather confusing, even as a child. It invokes thoughts of instant connection with something that understand’s one’s essence. How would a magical amplifier do that? Criticism of wizardry logistics aside, each sorcerer’s wand extends and expands his or her ability. In the real world, outside of a classic children’s series, your wand is your agency.

In psychology, agency indicates your sense of ability in decision-making. The Latin root for agere, the origin of agency, translates to “someone or something that produces an effect.” In Harry Potter, the wand usually produces the desired effect of its bearer. Your choice is the production of your thoughts, thus the manifested magic.

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This diagram from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People demonstrates the necessity of choice and response.

Both Manson and Covey are magicians in their own right. They’ve mastered one of the most important aspects of manifesting raw potential. Their recognition comes from the meaning they found in their sensed ability to respond. Manson merely names it as one of the underpinning values in practicing the unseen arts, thus its natural subtlety. Covey goes on to address the results of choosing, especially in regards to repeated choice (i.e. habit).

Manson illustrates the necessity of recognizing choice’s significance when taking responsibility for your actions. He comments on the relationship between responsibility and fault, noting how they’re often conflated. For example, look at your hypothetical rejection of the invitation to wizarding school. It’s not your fault you didn’t know about magic, yet you’re responsible for throwing out the letter. You could try and blame something else for throwing out the letter, or for your wasted life. In this scenario, you seem to have made the best of the situation. Yes, you grew up ordinary, but you ended up with kids. I can only assume you’re a good parent and partner, most likely because of your ordinariness.

Covey’s model expands on the basic concept of choice and details why we choose what we choose. Manson’s explanation mostly stems from the ultimate goal of not giving a fuck. Although he notes the import of response ability, I need more theory to manifest my raw power. I’m more personally motivated by the determination of my motivations. I’d prefer to understand what’s at the center of my choices.

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These are the ten centers Covey notes, although he places principles in the center.

All too often, we tend to throw our energy into one of these sub-centers. The ultimate goal is the middle of principles. Covey goes describes these principles as the seven habits in his book. He details each one rather well, often relating aspects of each to the various sub-centers. If you want a really detailed explanation, read his book.

Each of these sub-centers should ideally work together. Notice how the generic principles are the theoretical center. A real wizard accepts responsibility of every center in their life. Each sub-center we focus on is always done in choice. You can claim that your life is horrible because of you never see your friends, or that your family is stifling you with expectation, or that you’re unhappy because you don’t travel enough with the salary you make. Whatever you blame for your unhappiness, scry upon a looking glass and find the truth. It’s you.

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