Magic in Real Life (Part 3)


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

-- Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

This oft quoted Arthur C Clarke third law is more relevant now than ever.

In Part 2 of this series, we considered that magic and science were two alternative mindsets that controlled our perception of reality. If our mindset includes the possibility that magic exists, we will interpret our sensory perceptions to include a magical, paranormal or non-material experience. If our mindset excludes the possibility of magic and non material reality, then any sensory experience will be interpreted so that only scientific, materialistic or rational causes will be considered, often using tortured logic. If all else fails, it will be interpreted as ‘mere coincidence.’

In this, the last part of the series, I propose that there is NO difference between a magical and scientific mindset and that what we are experiencing in magic is merely science that hasn’t been explored yet. Our culture, like many cultures, prides itself on being more advanced and technically sophisticated than other, older cultures. Some of this is just pride, but our pride has some basis in fact. Our science actually works. We have conquered many of the ills that tormented our forebears by using our scientific mindset. And we have discovered how to harness natural forces to make our lives more pleasant.

But in our quest to become more scientific, we have discarded many of the interpretations of reality that seem superstitious and religious. Gods, spirits, angels or magical talismans aren’t allowed to cause anything anymore. We have been forced to consider only those interpretations of events that can be verified by results of scientific experiments involving complex machinery and comparing them to ‘random chance’ in order to concede that something has actually happened.

However, as we have seen, this necessity limits us. Subjective experiences are just that, subjective and often too dependent on uncontrollable variables such as the emotional state of the observer. They don’t fit the paradigm, so they are often discarded as irrelevant. But as we have seen from the recent experiments in Quantum Physics, subjective experiences may be all we have to verify that something actually happened.

So, we need to include such subjective experiences into our scientific mindset. Our science will someday have to include non-material realities that have their own laws and patterns which can be described and used to predict effects from various causes. Our nomenclature may be different. We may describe energy fields rather than the astral plane, just as psychologist Carl Jung calls ancient gods, goddesses, angels and demons ‘archetypes.’ But we haven’t changed those experiences or beings by calling them different names.

They are still magic.

So, ultimately, we will find that magic is just a part a scientific worldview that we haven’t explored yet. Our mindset will one day expand to include material and nonmaterial reality. We won’t expect ghosts and fairies to allow themselves to be scientifically measured in order to be considered ‘real.’ They will just be part of our non material reality, to be detected with the measurement of the heart, rather than just the mind.

Like love. And romance.

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