Saturday, May 5, 2012

“It’s a brand new day, and the sun is high, all the angels sing because you’re gonna die!”

Let’s talk about something as random as magic.

Wikipedia says: “Magic is the art of purportedly manipulating aspects of reality either by supernatural means or through knowledge of unknown occult laws.”

Google says: “mag·ic/ˈmajik/Noun:        The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.”, which is identical to Oxford Dictionaries.

These definitions are wibbly-wobbly. What should one consider ‘aspects of reality’? It would appear practically everything applies. Reality itself can be questioned. But that is the minor flaw.

The definition of ‘supernatural’ is rather vague. Is it simply something we don’t understand? Not ‘naturally’ occurring? In that case, is science supernatural as, for example, the invention of synthetic materials can hardly be called natural, or is it merely explaining the supernatural, thereby reducing the amount of magic in the known Universe? Also, are Murphy’s laws some of those ‘unknown occult laws’, after all they apply very successfully, they can’t really be explained (unless one believes that psychology is a real science) and they have quite a following. Oxford adds ‘mysterious forces’ that ‘apparently influence the course of events’, which can applies to pretty much every physical force there is. We don’t actually know why Gravitons do what they do or why they even exist. We don’t know why matter exists in the first place, and since every force is in a causative (not just correlative) link with the existence of matter itself, which is mysterious, every force must be as well.

So, by analysing the definitions of ‘magic’, we can surmise that every single action is led by a kind of magic. Sort of awesome, sort of… ordinary.

“If everything is awesome and there is no un-awesome, then awesome by definition is just mediocre.” (From Chuck)

And this applies to magic as well. Magic loses its charm by being everywhere, it is no longer the special kid we all know and love.

From Babylon 5: “When we went back in time a thousand years and tried to explain this place to people, they could only accept it in terms of magic.”

“Then perhaps it is magic. Magic of the human heart, focused and made manifest by technology.”

It compares magic with technology and understanding. Yes, magic is something we don’t understand, but so is a lot of technology we have now and most of what we will have at our disposal in the future. Yet we don’t really usually (there are exceptions) consider our phones working on magic. Then where to draw the line between magic and technology?

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