The Magic Department has been thrilled to welcome a new member late this summer. Veera Hyytiä is a genius friend, sensemaker, project manager, graphic designer and a Kaospilot graduate from Helsinki. We sat down with her to explore some of our favorite questions for getting to know one-another – welcome onboard Veera!

Hi Veera! What 3 words would you use to describe yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?

I’m a cheerful, straightforward Finn.

What’s the best, best & worst of your day so far?

Best has been the sense of being unhurried - to wake up before the alarm, next to another body and feel rested. Another best has been to giggle and laugh a lot today. Worst was maybe when my gloves got wet when biking this morning – I was using them to wipe the bike handles and saddle.

If you had an infinitely wise fairy godmother that could answer any question you have regarding life or work, what would you ask them?

I’d like to ask them how to die well. Or more so, how to live and die well. I feel they are quite personal questions to some extent, but also very general.

Why this question?

It’s a very profound question. I don’t really know what else I’d like to ask. In some sense the purpose of life is to live well. And I think living well to some extent means to die well – content with one’s life, ready to let go of this temporary existence. So it’s interesting to me to consider the answer.

When do you feel brave?

I feel myself brave in group situations when there is an invitation to do something new. It often feels easy for me to go first. It makes me feel brave to realize this isn’t so self-evident for everyone.

You have joined The Magic Department. What is magic to you?

In my view magic is something that creates tension in-between what we think is possible and what’s our actual [lived] experience. Magic brings forth a different layer in our everyday lives – one that necessarily isn’t possible to describe, but is based on experience. Something odd, that’s in contradiction to what we thought is.

It’s interesting to see when people realize something has happened that they thought not possible. To witness something magical happen, as often does between people; and see what that can enable. When people see that oh, this time it wasn’t as I imagined – and what follows afterwards.

I’m also very interested in fantasy literature and entirely different worlds, have been since I was a child.

Leaves photo by Andrey Konstantinov on Unsplash

If you could use magic to remove a barrier in our society, that makes things seem not possible, which barrier would you like to remove?

Somehow I’d like to remove the experience of aloneness in our culture. Not the feeling of aloneness of an individual person – as there’s also a lot of people who choose to be alone and I think there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we are limited in that we think that an individual can’t change – poke, bumb, push – anything. I feel this limiting myself in some ways. There’s me, an individual, and then there’s the state - which seems not formed by a group of Finnish people, but a bureaucratic machine living its own life. The government machine is the safety net, the only system that takes decisions and changes things. And this machine is very far away from the individual. So when there’s an experience of something community-based, a common possibility [to create change and move things around] – it feels nice.

What is a dream project you’d be really excited to work on next?

I notice my first reply is a “business-me” response [thinks further]. It’d be nice to do something really small. A crafts club project [laughs]. Elements that excite me are encountering people and doing by hands. They create a layer of meaning of their own, when there’s direct contact with people, and you see results. They may be small, but you can see them – that excites me. Something’s happening!

Think of someone who knows you well. What would they say you’re good at?

They’d say I’m good at bottom-lining – crystallizing many perspectives, lots of data, or a conversation into clear points. They’d say I’m good at being strong and vulnerable [at the same time]. Someone would say I’m good at visualizing. And that I’m great at rolling up my sleeves and taking action.

We spoke of death in the beginning. How would you like to be remembered when you’re no longer here?

I’d like to be remembered with warmth. I’d like to leave a mark that’s not entirely free of contradictions. What I mean by that is that I’d like to be remembered as active in my own life, having made choices (that people may think differently of) that somehow epitomize playfulness and steering of one’s own life. A goofy, odd type.

Finally – what’s a tip you’d like to give to yourself for the coming year?

Focus on the essential.

Short & sweet. Cheers Veera!

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