Conversations of Wizards

“So then, master, how does it work?”

The pupil tried to stay close on the busy street as their master strode ahead at an even pace. They had arrived on the street in an instant, before having been on a vacant beach. It was as though reality had suddenly changed for them, though to the master, it seemed as simple as breathing.

“Your knowledge of sciences will serve you better than you knowledge of magic, here,” The master said as they walked.

“And how is that?”

The pupil suddenly found that they were no longer on the same city street. The air had changed to a dry, biting cold, and the cobbled walk was dusted with ice and snow.

“Patience. You see, when you look at a thing, you believe you know what it is. But our words only describe what we need it to be in the moment. Tell me, what is this chair?”

The master turned and sat at a oaken table; they were inside an empty hall of what appeared to be an old castle. The musty air betrayed the age of the building, and the evidence of neglect which it had endured over centuries of isolation.

“Wood, iron. Nothing more.”

“No? What is the chair composed of? Wood and iron only?”

“Yes… No. I don’t know.”

“You do, stop thinking about it in so abstract of terms. What comprises the chair?”

“Atoms.”

“Go deeper.”

“Protons, electrons.”

“Deeper.”

“Quarks.”

“Deeper.”

“I do not know.”

“The Fundamental. The Particle. Matter. Energy. It is the finite and the infinite. The composition of all things.”

The master stood. They walked forward, the chair and table vanishing from the ancient stone hall as the light of a noon day sun filled their surroundings. They stood on a dune in an endless desert as a mighty wind whipped and buffeted them.

“Then at that point,” The pupil shouted above the thunderous wind, following their master as they walked, “if we address all things in such a way, how can a chair be any different from an apple, or me?”

“Now you are asking the right question. Tell me, what makes them different?”

It was suddenly quiet. They stood on the planks of a still fishing boat as it bobbed soundlessly beneath and endless starlit sky.

“The amount of matter is different,” The pupil said.

“Is that all?” The master replied.

“No. The configuration of them is also.”

“Precisely. This is magic: to know the configuration, and the patterning for changing them.”

“But surely there must be more to it than that.” The pupil reached over the side of the boat and scooped a handful of water. “Knowing a thing is water, and having the power to make it ice are very different. What is it that allows us to change the patterning? This is my question.”

“That is not a question,” The master said, cupping their hand beneath the pupils and receiving the water. They flung it overboard, and it became a falcon. “It is the answer. Tell me, do you control you body?”

“I do.”

“All of it? Do you control the cells in your arm as they heal from a cut, or the blood in your veins as it moves at your heart’s beating? Do you absorb the nutrient in your gut as you swallow the mashed fruit and flesh, and do you cause your marrow to quicken?”

“These things happen without my thought on the matter.”

“So are they not you, then? What is it to be a being? Where is the line drawn where you begin, and the existence of life as a Fundamental ends? Can you answer this?”

The master stepped toward the pupil, the boat and water and night sky changing all at once to the dusty back room of an old library. They were squeezed between two stacks of books that reached to their own height.

“I cannot,” The pupil said.

“You believe you cannot too quickly,” The master said, sidling free of the book stack. “You are the entirety of your being. Every part of you, every Particle and jot of Matter is you, patterned in your image, existing beyond your conscious thought. Conscious thought is in fact the illusion. You are Matter, not mind. Mind is matter. Matter is Particle. Particle becomes a thing by the patterning it abide. You and the chair are the same. The universe experiencing the universe either as you, or as a chair, all at once, none at the same time.”

“How is it then that particles are the same? Is this true even across great distances?”

“You do not see yet. There are no particles. “

Once more they walked down the city street, a clocktower glinting in the distance ringing out the coming dawn.

“You speak in circles,” The pupil said. “How can there be no particles yet you say all things are the same matter?”

“Because there is only the Particle. It is all the same thing. You and I are the Particle. Infinite is possible because all things are one thing.”

The pupil stopped following.

“You look troubled,” The master said.

“Not troubled. Frustrated. With your cyclical thinking.”

“Just because a truth is irrational does not make it false. “

The master held out their hand and traced in the air the circular face of the clock tower. “The irrational is often the purest form of universal expression. When you can count to the final digit of Pi, you will know the Particle.”

“An impossible task,” The pupil said.

“Then you had best begin.”

Published by AC Moore

My goal is to one day change the world in the same way Shakespeare did: by infusing the thoughts of the human race with such language and turn-of-phrase that they say them daily, and never even know it was I who wrote it.

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