It’s Tuesday. I woke up later because our sleep was disrupted by a sick preschooler. I’ve got some coffee.
I feel like talking about magic.
First, let me inform (or remind) readers that I grew up with two ordained ministers as parents. In my family, we were allowed to read any books that were age appropriate (though my mother cultivated an award-winning library, so things like The Babysitters’ Club and Goosebumps never called my shelves home).
Nothing was off limits. Of course Lewis and L’Engle were good, but I also read a whole lot of Piers Anthony, Anne McCaffrey, and anything with a fantastic bend.
Television was similar. My father loves sci-fi. Growing up, anything sci-fi got at least a few episodes. Any sci-fi movie that was better than B got a viewing. This meant things like Farscape, Babylon 5, and every Star Trek made an appearance on our television.
But we also got to watch magical things. The fantastic was something my father especially appreciated, and had no problems with exploring. His logic, like many curious people before him, was the fantastic allows us to explore all parts of what it means to be human.
By this reasoning, the fantastic is good.
This directly contrasts with more conservative or superstitious beliefs that see magic and anything related as real, dangerous, and of the devil.
Can you hear me sighing across all space and time?
Often magic is a short-cut for anything we don’t understand. For all intents and purposes, anything can be magical, if it creates a certain effect combining mystery and impact in reality.
Words can have a magical effect, which is why historically, poets were feared (i.e. don’t offend a poet or bad things will happen!). Science has magical effects all over the place! Look at cars! Or the internet! These are absolutely magical things!
But isn’t birth also magical? And butterflies? And waterfalls? And the sun? And mountains? Oceans? I could go on and on because frankly, I see magic everywhere. Real magic. Real mystery. Real metaphysical (and quite physical) stuff.
Here is my understanding of magic – I think of magic as the mysterious creative urge. This is something I associate with God, artists, musicians, writers, and inventors. Magic in this sense is an experience of the Divine, not a hocus-pocus parlor trick that calls on broken spirits and fallen angels.
Even if magic, as in the metaphysical power to change reality using spells and potions, was real, it like all other things is a tool. Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right. But isn’t it also the opposite?
It doesn’t matter to me what the tool is, as long as it is used with the highest good for all in mind (i.e. no one is hurt in it’s use, only the best for all concerned is achieved). As long as the intention is love, we’re all on the same side. Likewise, the opposite is true. When a tool or metaphor is used to bring about suffering, we no longer seek the same ends, no matter what a person says about their intentions.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’ve been watching The Magicians. It is a show that if anything, is the exact opposite of my understanding of life, spirituality, and everything. There is nothing in that show that reflects reality or hints at what reality should be. It’s like looking at a mirror, photograph, or video where everything is a little bit off.
Don’t get me wrong – I like the show for this reason. But it also irks me.
I don’t know how other people interpret the dark stories or reactive characters. I don’t know how they feel about the scarcity inherent in or the brokenness required for the magic rules of that universe.
I say all these things because magic, like all things, can be seen as good or bad. It can represent all the beauty and wonder or all the horror and despair. We humans have a gift when confronted with magic, or anything similar – we can choose what it will be. We can choose how we see it and what we do when we encounter it.
Perhaps that makes us the most magical of all.
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- Neither Selfish or Selfless – Only Loving! - April 30, 2018