Modulated insanity

Weirdness is a defining feature of reality, most basic to the experience of sentience. We do our damnedest to filter or block it out — a tactic which invariably backfires when life actually happens. This manifests as varying degrees of neurosis, psychosis, and insanity of all kinds. So, you want to be a wizard? It may be best to learn how to switch your filters on and off — to, in the phrasing of the Order, move skillfully from horseback to dolphin-surfing and back again.

While it’s essential, at a certain phase, to enter into all manner of ritual and meditation practices to master the trick of shifting awareness to see different layers of experience, it is good to have some context going in. And, of course, experience is the best provider of context there is.

Though generally full of fluff, popular philosophy sometimes throws up a winner. Astonish Yourself: 101 Experiments in the Philosophy of Everyday Life is such an outlier. Roger-Pol Droit presents a series of 101 magical exercises that I’m sure he would not be thrilled to hear called magical exercises worthy even of the attention of people who have been doing this wizard crap for a while. But for the beginner? It could be sanity-shattering a kick-start into an exciting career as a do-it-yourself Gandalf.