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Do You Believe in Magic?

October 30, 2017

Magic; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.



Halloween is upon us, and with it comes costumes and a celebration of things that go bump in the night. From an early age I was attracted to mysteries and the unexplainable. My first experience with magic came during a school field trip to a San Francisco museum where I saw my first Rembrandt. I knew about oil painting because my neighbor had taken painting lessons and managed to churn out uninspired pictures of apples and eggplants. Seeing a painting of a human being that looked capable of thinking and breathing seemed like magic. Later I’d learn many of the techniques that create what I once considered magic. Today I’m asking myself if I believe in magic at all.


Since I have difficulty buying into the concept of magic, I was surprised at just how much I responded to Harry Potter, since I have difficulty buying into the concept of magic. I think it has more to do with nostalgia, and knowing I would have been enthralled by Harry and his Hogwarts gang in my youth. I’m no longer inclined to describe something as “magical,” even when I’m confounded or amazed.


I’m thinking about this after watching a segment on magic that aired on CBS’s Sunday Morning Halloween Show. People often describe something as being “magical,” but I don’t think that word applies. I’ve heard it said that rain is magical, love is magical, nearly everything can be magical, even my ability to write this blog.  But if everything can be magical, then it would seem nothing is magical.


I recently attended a Cirque du Soleil performance filled with magic acts, and the audience was wildly enthusiastic. We were treated to thrilling eye candy—unexplainable acts where magic was called into play. But was it magic? Did the crowd really think gravity was being defied through the efforts of a sorcerer?


I love the unexplainable. I don’t want the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance solved. I don’t want Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster paraded through the streets. I like art and entertainment that ask more questions than they answer, so it seems odd, even to me, that I currently have issues with the concept of magic. 


Do people really want to live in a world where magic truly exists? I don’t think so. How would this magic be used? What if it fell into the wrong hands? What about Voodoo or other so-called black magic? Literature is replete with stories about people with magical powers using them inappropriately. If certain individuals did have magical powers, should we fear them, incarcerate them? Witches were once thought to have magical powers and many were hung or burned at the stake. Is there a place for magic in modern times?


Yes; I believe there is—it flourishes in my secret retreat, a place my imagination takes me when I need to recharge my batteries. Science is making it harder to believe in magic; fire was once thought to be magical, and millennia later the notion of lighting the night without it would seem impossible without magic, yet today we don’t even think twice while extinguishing darkness with the flip of a switch. Is it possible to live in a world without magic? Yes. But I wouldn’t want to live in a world where I couldn’t dream it.


Perhaps there is magic in the world. Maybe it goes by another name—imagination.


What about you? Do you believe in Magic? If so, how do you define it?



 Happy Halloween!




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I like my magic in fantasy stories. Magic tricks are just impressive slight of hand. Now miracles - those I do believe in.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 30, 2017
I don't believe in hocus pocus Harry Potter magic but there are plenty of supernatural occurrences out there.
By: PT Dilloway on October 30, 2017
If you call the ability to trick the human mind into believing something happened then yes. When I saw a pretty lady in a cage hanging from the ceiling change into a tiger in the blink of an eye, I believed in magic...oh I know it is "just a trick" but for someone to make that illusion to work takes a certain magic, the magic to fool.
By: cranky on October 30, 2017
I like your comparison of our imagination to magic, this is an excellent way to describe the majority of things we call magic. Spiritual forces present in our world I don't want explained, things like the presence of loved ones who have passed away, I choose to believe this, because they are comforting to me. Slight of hand and tricking us into believing the tricks magicians pull off are entertaining. With this said my description of magic is, imaginative, spiritual, and or entertaining, and I enjoy it all.
By: Jimmy on October 30, 2017
Like the mind of a child and 'make believe' the imaginary world can be special and considered magical. The unexplained filters into entertainment, and in the realm of spiritual, supernatural and paranormal. Then there is the brand of magic involving trickery, slight of hand, illusions etc.
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 30, 2017
I don't believe in Harry Potter kind of magic but I do think that it is possible to manipulate the energy that underlies everything.
By: Ellen Abbott on October 30, 2017
The trick of the magician I find very entertaining even the whole while I am trying to solve the trick. But for true magic, I may have believed as a child but no more. In a way I am sorry I have lost that belief.
By: Arkansas Patti on October 30, 2017
I don't believe in magic but I am fascinated watching a good magician work!!
By: fishducky on October 30, 2017
I love the way you define "magic." I'm realizing how similar "magic" is to "imagination." Yes, I believe in magic - especially given the way you've defined it.
By: Robyn Engel on October 30, 2017
I'm still waiting for my letter from Hogwarts so I must believe in magic but I can't define it. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on October 30, 2017
The magic of our imaginations is a lovely thing. As for voodoo, and it's companion the grisgris in the swamps, i don't make fun of it. Weird stuff has happened and i just stay away.
By: messymimi on October 30, 2017
The imagination is a portal to the magical. The wonder of nature is akin to magic. Transformation and transcendence are in their way magical. Magic, the desire for magical ways is in many ways symbolic of human aspiration for that which is beyond our understanding or control. As for the more "mundane" form of magic-I am an absolute fan of magicians and magical shows. There is much of the modern world that ancients would consider magic. And there are also many things that remain beyond our ability to explain-but those things lead us. Einstein's understanding of physics, DaVinci's concept of flight, etc, etc. Once magical notions become science.
By: Tom Cochrun on October 30, 2017
I love Harry Potter stories but they belong to fiction and not fact. There are, however, a lot of unexplained things that could be put under the umbrella of 'magic'.
By: Eddie Bluelights on October 30, 2017
I don't want to live in a world where there was not magic. I see things as magical that brighten my senses and bring joy. Things I just can't explain like the day one of my chickens said "Barack Obama" very plainly. I think she was pulling my leg. Magic.
By: Kate on October 30, 2017
Clever post. You bring up some excellent points. Reality? No to magic. Showmanship? Lots of magic. In our heads there is some magic as we believe some very strange things.
By: red on October 30, 2017
I find nature of all kinds to be the closest thing to magic there is for me. So-called magic shows just make me cranky!
By: jenny_o on October 30, 2017
I believe in imagination and magic. Definitely
By: Kathe W. on October 30, 2017
I like to try and figure out how magic tricks are done. I know it's not actual magic, but a clever use of props, and a LOT of practice. I do believe there are energy and forces that we do not yet understand, which result in what we call "supernatural" occurrences.
By: Val on October 30, 2017
I don't believe in magic, but use the word often to describe things. I don't like to watch magic shows on TV with Jerry anymore. All he would do would be to sit there and repeatedly ask, "How'd they do that?!?' I would respond in disgust. I don't know! It's magic!!!
By: Mitchell is Moving on October 31, 2017
Magic is just that which we do not yet understand . Losing the romance of it by knowing the cause does not make it less wonderful. For me reproduction/birth is really magical.
By: Tabor on October 31, 2017
I sometimes forget how magical it is just to be alive at all.
By: Tom Sightings on October 31, 2017

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