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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. -Arthur C. Clarke
I hear this quote sometimes when talking about what magick is. But here’s the thing: Clarke wasn’t talking about magick, and he wasn’t even talking about actual advanced technology. He was talking about how advanced technology comes off in sci fi books, and advising authors to just say what the technology does, rather than trying to explain how it works in terms of current science (which would necessarily involve misrepresenting that current science). He was talking about how to tell a good story, not how to define the magick we do.
Think about it this way: If you were writing a story about modern life, to be read by ancient Romans, a microwave and a toaster would be indistinguishable. They both heat food, and you can’t explain either of them with Aristotelian physics. And Arthur C. Clarke would probably advise you not to try — simply say that there’s a box that heats food based on modern science, and leave it at that.
That doesn’t mean that Arthur C. Clarke thinks there’s no difference between microwaves and toasters, and it doesn’t mean he’d think there’s no difference between the magick we do and advanced technology. It just means he knows how to streamline a story.If you liked this post, consider visiting my current blog at mikesententia.com.