Fire & Ice
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The universe began as a magic trick
I’ve been having this strange feeling.
It visits me in the most ordinary places – waiting at a crosswalk, for example, or reaching for a shelf at the grocery store. The feeling catches me by surprise, takes me over like a heat wave. It slows me down. Draws me back.
One step removed from reality, I witness myself in a memory I’ve experienced before. Every fiber of my being tells me I have. And yet, my mind tells me this is impossible.
For a moment I stand before a contradiction between my experience and my logic. Then, inevitably, I choose my logic. I know very well that this is the sensation known as “deja vu” – meaning, in French, “already seen” – and scientists have long designated it as an anomaly of memory, a glitch of consciousness, nothing more than a magic trick of the mind.
The truth is our minds are full of such mysteries – our consciousness riddled with unresolvable contradictions. For instance, our intuition tells us that time is infinite – and yet our minds can’t fathom the idea of eternity. We believe that the universe must have had a beginning – while also believing that it couldn’t have just been formed out of nothing.
Meanwhile the theories we develop to explain the big ideas of our existence serve only to disguise our actual ignorance. Whether we believe in God or The Bing Bang, we all believe that the universe began as a magic trick – an exceptional event in which the known laws of science were suspended to create space and time. We believe in something our conscious minds simply aren’t equipped to grasp.
And yet we have more than our minds, don’t we? We have intuitions, imaginations, dreams. And what if these aren’t mere surpluses of our sentience – some unnecessary faculties we were accidentally burdened with? What if they are the very instruments by which we are allowed to understand the universe?
Let us consider for a moment that the feeling of “deja vu” isn’t a glitch of consciousness at all, but rather a profound insight – a rare glimpse into the greatest magic trick ever invented.
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