When Fiction shapes Reality

Posted on August 16, 2012
Filed Under Magic, pop culture | Leave a Comment

I read an interesting article which discussed how you can lose yourself in a fictional character and how that can affect your identity in real life: “When you “lose yourself” inside the world of a fictional character while reading a story, you may actually end up changing your own behavior and thoughts to match that of the character, a new study suggests.” Reading it reminded me of Pop Culture Magick, specifically where I talk about how you can take on the identity of the pop culture character and mimic their behaviors.

According to the article this is called experience taking and can involve the person taking on the identity of the character, including feelings, emotions, thoughts, mannerisms, etc. But this experience taking only occurs if the person is able to put his/her own self-identity aside in favor of the identity of the character. It’s essentially an immersive experience. I’d suggest that this also applies to movies and video games which can be just as immersive as books.

The magician can take this concept and apply it to his/her magical work, whether its with pop culture or more classical culture. It comes down to identification, specifically how well you are able to identify with a particular character and take that character on. And you also have to bear in mind that you are mediating that character’s identity. In other words, it’s still your perception about the character that’s shaping how you take on the identity of the character.

In my own work I’ve sometimes found it easy to recall a specific character by either visualizing the character or humming a tune from the game that reminds me of him/her. This shows that while reading or watching or playing is needed initially to take on the identity of the character, it’s possible to also recall that identity of the character. Essentially you create an anchor around the character experience that is used to recall that experience even if you haven’t read the book, etc, in a while.

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