DURING OUR SURVEY ABOUT MAGIC AND THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT PEOPLE ESTABLISH WITH IT, WE DECIDED TO FATHOM THIS LINK FROM A DEEPER POINT OF VIEW: THAT’S PROPER OF HUMAN BEINGS. SO WE SPOKE WITH AN EXCEPTIONAL MAN, DR VITTORIO CAPRIOGLIO.
Psychotherapist specialized in psychosomatic medicine and Director of the Institute of Riza of Milan, is also Deputy Director of the Institute of Psychotherapy’ Postgraduate School and co-director of the magazine “Riza Psychosomatics”. Author of many books on mind-body mechanisms and co-author along with psychologist Raffaele Morelli of other manuals, he oversees the Riza Institute’s YouTube channel giving his point of view on very common ailments such as headaches and neck, giving them a deeper meaning than simple physiological manifestations.
Dr Caprioglio takes us on a journey to discover the relationship between the human being and magic, shaping it as an intrinsic dimension of man, and guiding us to reflect on what each one of us harbors a magical dimension within himself that too often we forget to cultivate. I recommend you take these few minutes to let you accompany you on a path to explore key issues for our personal growth, explained with exquisite simplicity and foresight.
Let’s find out how magic is innate in us, and how to grow it to be happier every day.
Magic – as a predisposition to believe in something beyond the tangible and the usual – is as old as man exists. Why for sombody it’s natural to believe in a “magical” dimension while others categorically reject it?
They reject it because they fear it, because they are mentally caught by scientific thought. Scientific thinking has become a ‘900 cliche. Like a vortex that sucks in everything, it has created a decisive cultural leitmotif not only in the Western world. Even Eastern from an holistic and more magic vision migrated towards one that is less and less today.The so-called “magic” thought was crushed under the steamroller of the scientific one – which is very weak, but it’s also a winner in this age because has a very strong armed wing that’s technology.
The human being has an ancestral aptitude to magical thinking?
Magical thinking is life. Life is magic. We understand it observing children.
When they come into this world and until they’re standardized by education they’ve got magical thinking. For them here and there is possible; going through the keyhole with your eyes closed; for them reality is a place where you can time-travel; gradually they lose it because they are inclined to – because the call to reality and its codes is stronger: it is the approval effect required by the scientific thought, as an already codified vision and model of behaviors with strands to which we feel that we must conform.
What we should try to bring in our mindset of adults from children’s “magical thinking” to be happier?
The child doesn’t think. The child is instinctive, gives way to emotions and their inner world. Growing up we lose this spontaneity, which is the litmus test of everyone’s ability to fully experience the naturalness of life; The thought – with its restrictive and reductive rational codes – complicated our lives. The convenience of modern life leads us to seek standards even more reductive. Nowadays it is as if we lived all alone on the highways, and all back and country roads no longer existed. That’s why many panic attacks take place on highway: it’s a place where we feel there’s no way out.
Positioned and anchored to rationality, we can no longer see that life is a continuous synchronic event and we lose its magic.
All human beings experience the sixth sense, intuition, the premonition. Is there an explanation on a psychological level, or are innate things that we “encode” as inexplicable why not fall in a rational scheme?
All of us got it innate. That’s life, it is biology. The human body works like this. The human body is a synchronistic event, but we managed to break the anatomical and pathological nature of the human body until we didn’t understand anything anymore. We divided into parts its harmonious and synchronic development and we don’t look at it as a whole thing. Body and mind are one thing, but we do not see it anymore. We only see parts. But the body is a harmonic process. Its own measures are. The Egyptians drew temples referring to the measurements of the human body, believing that they had a sacred value.
This “magical land” on which we rest, today is disowned and as a result we became fragile beings full of worries and fears. Farmers form a century ago were much more solid. They had a more natural vision, immersed more in the sense of life.
And the meaning of life is magic?
The meaning of life is magic because mystery is inherent in it; there is the unpredictable, there is also the fact that in magic there is a naturalness like life provides death, in which death is an event with which we have to live with. Our relationship with life is really lunatic: Jung speaks of the appointment we have with life: every year she’s there waiting for you. Even if you are fifteen, twenty, or thirty years old, inside of you there is the old waiting already. It’s this rendezvous that takes you by the hand and accompanies you, and you can’t afford to miss it, because, biochemically, it is like you missed an energetic appointment.
When a fertilized cell begins his journey – and this is a crazy magic – everything within that cell is already there. You can see it gradually, but since the first moment your face is already there. As well as in a seed there’s already the imprint of the plant that will grow. This magic is precisely the thinnest face of matter: there is everything in the invisible.
In many Eastern or esoteric disciplines the hope is that ego and mind will be put aside in order to bring out our instinctive parts. What do you think?
It’s important to keep this in mind: the cyclical identity rupture. Life is a series of continuous crises – beneficial crisis of maturity. The fruit can not ripen if it’s still a bud. You can’t stop natural processes in the pipeline. Reasoning and rationality are connected to identities that we no longer accept as malleable. We consider them final. But there’s nothing definitive. All “schools of magic” have always aimed to blur identities – in search of another and deeper dimension; to be with yourself without thinking, the emptying of the mind. These are all activities aimed to get in contact with the archaic and cosmic component of each individual. In the individual’s cosmic dimension there’s a magical dimension.
Is it good for adults to have a space to “escape” from reality? Being able to get out of logic diagrams?
It’s good if we don’t see it as a moment of madness, and if we won’t feel guilty for it. If we see it as a living space that allows our inner world to breathe, to bring new ideas, it could be a valuable resource. If we do it with awareness, we broaden the basis on which we rest. Another magical world is the night, the dream. Closing our eyeswe enter into another world, with codes with which we may be different people in different places in different time – because time and space won’t exist anymore. Here, these are the typical codes of magic.
Thinking that the dream, is something that “physically” remains enclosed only in our heads takes away a little magic. But is this is the only way we have?
There are several Eastern Sufis schools whom in 1200-1300 cultivated imagination – underlining how it wasn’t synonymous with fantasy and intangible world, instead it was very real. Imagination is like the dream. Henry Corbin for example, studied the Arabic Sufi thought. He studied the dimension in which the use of imagination opens us to “another world” within us, where to meet another real dimension. From here we understand how much we’re distant to comprehend the magical world that’s within us.
Do we call it “magic” because we are not able to understand it?
We call it “magic” because it’s what the magic has always been involved in. Magic with capital M, not charlatan’s. We use the term magic attributing it to something we don’t understand, that we can’t comprehend.
How will be changed the perception of this world in three hundred years?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I dare to say that will have to change, although I don’t know if three hundred years will be enough. Thinking of how many existential models took turns in the path of evolution, before the scientific thought become the alternative to religions: the irritating question that kids today ask more often is “but it’s scientifically proven”? Unfortunately to date this is the yardstick.
Why man has fear of uncertainty?
Because uncertainty keeps you suspended in a dimension that is no longer usual. In fact, people sometimes turn to a certain kind of magic to get answers. Look at the horoscopes. They give us answers like: “the horoscope tells me so, and I believe it.” And then a mechanism is establishes, by which believing, perhaps the things will work; but we don’t know whether the prediction was correct, or if, soothing us, we simply did what we had to do without worries. The “prediction” gave us the courage and then believing in it we helped it to happen.
So humans need certainties and answers…
Certainty is the daughter of scientific thought. An experiment is valid only if it’s objectified and repeatable – standardized. Everything that’s objectified automatically becomes true, real, tangible. This gives rise to certainties more and more absolute. When black is black for everyone, we heave a sigh of relief. If we look at a world in which reality and its opposite are the same thing we feel lost.
So did we missed the beauty of uncertainty because we didn’t understand it?
Yes, we do not understand. Doubt and uncertainty are malleable phases in which something is emerging, and we need them to have an elastic space in which to move. Doubt is a great and precious traveling companion. Being uncertain is synonymous with intelligence.
Interview by Cinzia Pallaoro