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Essays

Introduction to Muggle Studies

by Edis Bevan

(Just for fun, here's one fan's concept of what a Wizarding Muggle Studies textbook might be like...)

Travel and space

Understanding Muggles perceptions of how the world connects up is a big problem for wizarding people. We have to let go of a lot of our assumptions to grasp how limited Muggle perceptions can be - but understanding this is vital for an understanding of how the wizarding world can exist unperceived alongside the Muggle world.

As an example, take travel to Hogwarts school. A Muggle given a simple explanation of (for example) the Hogwarts Express, the ban on Apparation in Hogwarts, the apparent inability to link to the Floo Network, and the apparent inability to fly in by broomstick from long distances away will be in considerable confusion.

Why for example do Hogwarts students have to go to 'London' to catch a train to Hogwarts? The answer, immediately obvious to anyone with a knowledge of the basics of Magical Geometrics, will so thoroughly confuse Muggles that they will spend years arguing about contradictions and logical impossibilities and come to no (Muggle) sensible conclusion whatsoever. Exercise 3B in the associated workbook of this chapter will take you step by step through how Muggle Geometrics work to show you how they get to that peculiar state of mind.

Another problem will almost certainly be on Apparating. This is more understandable, as the magic basics of Apparition require a level of magical resonance some wizarding folk find it difficult to grasp. Wizards might understand this a little if the Magic is compared to the way a Muggle learns to ride a bicycle (see the Bicycle exercises in the workbook on having to turn right to go left).

What a Muggle and some untrained wizards will find extremely difficult to grasp here is that because Hogwarts is both present and not-present in magical space, and is multiply Unplottable, anyone attempting Apparition automatically ends up at their starting 'point'. That is Apparition is not impossible. It actually occurs but is in many senses of the word totally pointless.

Muggles, however hard they try to imagine a different order in the world, cannot rid themselves of the illusion of somewhere having to have an absolute fixed point in space.

When it comes to the advanced space-shifting spells (and the associated security measures) that allow the Hogwarts Express to exist, or allow Apparition-like approaches to unplottable location boundaries, matters go right beyond their comprehension limits.

Muggle concepts of Quantum Physics are oversimplified attempts to grasp these realities. Advanced students should see 'Magical Misdirection in Muggle Science' for references to the recently declassified work of MOM Unspeakable agents in shaping Muggles away from inconvenient understandings. The work of Wizards Einstein and Heisenberg is especially interesting.

Advanced students with access to the InfoMagic Grimegoire (restricted library rules apply) may also want to carry out the suggested exercises in the Ministry of Magic's Muggle Diversion Units so-called 'INTERNET' sites; for example the International Federation MOM disinformation site commonly known in the Muggle world as HPForGrownups. The day by day strategies used to confuse inquisitive Muggles will be instructive.

Preliminary Self-Assessment Question

It is impossible to set a Portkey to travel into an Unplottable location from outside that location where the first journey is inwards. But a Portkey can be set to travel from an Unplottable location to a space outside that location and take back to that Unplottable location anyone who made the outwards journey, and only them.

Attempt an explanation of this using only Muggle concepts of space and time.

For special credits: Do Muggles have 'Time' problems regarding the 'duration' between outwards and inwards journeys in the 'From-Unplottable' round trip case? What are the problems Muggles face and how do these illustrate Muggle worldviews?

WORKBOOK OF
PRACTICAL EXERCISES

(And answers to SAQs)

***** MOM security spells apply. These pages will appear blank from this point to any Muggles who by chance come across them ******

QUALIFIED WIZARDS: To reveal text perform basic Fiat Verbum

STUDENTS text will reveal as appropriate preliminary work is completed.
To unlock first stage, make a satisfactory attempt at the preliminary SAQ and submit to the book using the usual procedure where anti-cheating safeguards are in place.

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page 253  End of workbook

copyright 2001 Edis Bevan, used by permission

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