Why I’m Happy No One Believes in Magic

by Mike Sententia on January 17, 2014

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There’s a meme in movies and tv that people used to believe in magic, and that magic used to be stronger because of it. That our current lack of belief has somehow stripped the world of magic.

We can talk about belief and its proper role in real magick. But I just want to point out one thing:

People didn’t believe in magic. They believed in psychology, hypnosis, placebo, and a dozen other things, erroneously calling those things magic as a shorthand for “we don’t know how they work.” And we’ve since gotten a handle on them, separated out the various mechanisms, and properly moved them to the realm of science.

Magic, meaning “we don’t know how it works,” is the opposite of science. Magick, meaning “phenomena based on ethereal energy, connections, and so on,” will (hopefully) become a science. But magick can only rise as its own field once placebo, hypnosis, and those other easier-to-produce phenomena are separated out, no longer confusing our testing and exploration.

It’s not a tragedy that people no longer believe in magic. It’s a triumph — it means we can truly get to work.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon January 20, 2014 at 1:24 PM

All in all you’re probably right in principle- but, by saying this I think you’re painting yourself into a corner more and more to discontinue the use of the word magick.

We’re back to the Arthur c clarke model here ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magick’. If what you’re doing is at the stage where we no longer have to use the ‘it works but we don’t know how’ then its surely no longer ‘magick’. Its “phenomena based on ethereal energy, connections, and so on,” in need of a name.

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Mike Sententia January 20, 2014 at 8:19 PM

I’m of two minds on this, and it really depends on who I’m talking to. If I’m talking to someone who does magick, then magick is the right word — this blog has to be called “Magick something something” so you can google for it. There’s simply no other word like it that doesn’t also mean a dozen other things.

But, for talking to outsiders, magick is a terrible word. I typically avoid it, instead talking about “my blog on energy healing, exploring the science behind it.”

So, I wish there were another word. But I already have too many of my own words here. But, if someday, I have a company doing healing and I’m going public, yes, I’ll use a different word.

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Gavin January 23, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Yes I agree that if you use well known terminology than you have to deal with all of the preconceptions that the ‘outsider’ automatically associates with that term. Take hypnotherapy for example, one of the main reasons for the pre-talk before the session officially starts is to dispel all the fears and misconceptions that the client has about the term hypnosis.

Although that I concur that magick as you describe it above needs to be developed into it’s own branch of science; I also think its important to look for and reach out to practitioners from other fields that may already be using some form of magick (albeit with different terminology) in their own specialities.

Because if it means that direct magick can also be co-developed under the guise of hypnotherapy, psychology etc. until a better term becomes available; would that not help get the endorsement of the scientific community if it can be demonstrated that some of the techniques are already being used in accepted scientific disciplines?

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