Lately I've noticed several acquaintances going on a media diet. They recognize that they are putting too much time into media and saturating themselves with a lot of needless information. I've gone on my own media diets in the past, and still continue to, to this day. For example I don't have Cable, and I don't ever plan on having it. I don't want to watch all the commercials just to see a show, especially when I can watch the same show on netflix without all of the commercials. But my media diet has also extended to the news for the most part. I don't get a newspaper and I don't listen to the radio for news. I do read yahoo news, but I realize I need to cut down on that. Recently I was asked the following question:
Do you think that as the world gets more crowded and people become more busy with work, entertainment, technology etc. that finding this space/time becomes more difficult than say 100 years ago? And if so does that make magical practice all the more important?
The person asked the question in relationship to a status update I made about the importance of making sacred space and time for your magical work. And my answer is that I think all the different forms of entertainment can create a filtered reality, where what is filtered out is a person's awareness of self and the need to make sacred time and space. As much as I am a proponent of pop culture magic and using media for magical purposes, I also recognize that the saturation of media provides so much information, so much other things to focus on that it can be really hard to be present with anything that isn't media related. I certainly see this to some extent with people around me. Everyone is obsessed with having the latest smart phone, tablet, ipad, etc, and most of the time their eyes are on the screen fixated on whatever they are working on or playing (the irony is that right now my eyes are fixated on this screen as I write this). People are so caught up in observing what's going on around them that they are forgetting how to act, how to be present right here and right now.
I think magical practice is more important than ever because it teaches us to act, to rip out the filters and actually explore reality instead of just observe it. Magic is about creating space and time, about engaging reality and what you want to change about reality. The magician knows that a filtered reality is just a reality that has been fed to us as a way of directing what we think and see. All the technology we have doesn't intrinsically improve our lives so much as it filters our lives, distracts us, and otherwise just causes us to ignore our own reality. While I can and do appreciate being able to check email on a phone or write a book on a tablet, I nonetheless also recognize that all the media devices provide a lot of distractions and a way for people to disengage. Magic is about engagement, about being in a specific space and time and using that space and time to interact with reality.
All of the media we have does present us with a lot of information and used just right that information can be helpful for magical work. I enjoy employing pop culture magic when its appropriate, but even then it's about getting rid of the filters and engaging reality directly. And that's really the point of magic. It brings us to the here and now, shows us what could be and allows us to mediate reality instead of just observing it go by. So get off the phone and the ipad and video games and create some sacred space and time for you. Be here now.