Dr Stewart Hase - Psychologically Speaking

Whatever happened to magic and mystery?

We made our annual pilgrimage to the Folk Festival in Canberra over Easter and stayed with friends on a lovely property near Queanbeyan. When Sunday morning arrived I was sadly lamenting that the Easter Bunny had quite clearly not realised that I was away from home and had not made the all important delivery. Perhaps it was waiting for me under my pillow in Lismore I mused. One of my hosts mentioned laughingly that there was a dead rabbit down the road and that might explain the mystery of my missing chocolate treat. My wife looked over the top of her newspaper and suggested I build a bridge and get over it and, anyway, chocolate was bad for me. It was obvious they were missing the point and their cynicism was very sad to hear. Clearly they did not believe in the Easter Bunny.

Well excuse me, but arent we taking this postmodernist thing just a bit too far here? Where is the mystery and magic in life? I know there are some things that eventually lose their mystery value, such as when you finally have enough money to buy a house with an ensuite. Suddenly nothing is mysterious about your partner anymore unless the thing has thick oak doors and triple bricked walls. And most are echo chambers and toilet paper thin. There is just nowhere to hide.

Im happy to accept that some aspects of life are going to lose their mystery and magic, but lets get real here. The recent debate in the media (the fracas about how Shakespeare is being interpreted in schools) concerning postmodernism, and the myriad ways any experience we have can be interpreted, has been interesting. Mostly so because it has taken so long for this discussion to hit the public domain. The issue has been around academic, literary and artistic circles for a very long time. Personally Im a bit over it and the Easter Bunny saga has put the nail in the coffin.

Ive come to love the mystery and magic in life. I like reading Shakespeare and relishing every carefully crafted phrase. Cant I just marvel at the beauty of a piece of music without having to read into it the revolutionary messages in each chaotic chorus? Do we have to anthropomorphise every aspect of nature so that we can understand it? Im all for freeing Willy (I refuse to eat Japanese food of any kind until the killing stops) but whales are not humans. And what on earth are we doing to our kids if we take away the magic that is life?

Hmm. Life without an ensuite sounds interesting.


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