Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What is magic?

What is magic?

Since my thesis was basically a study on magic in Archaic and Classical Greece I have spent a great deal of time analyzing what magic is defined as and where the lines are drawn around that definition and now that the chaos of school is over I have begun to ponder that myself in relation to what I believe to be magic.  Essentially magic only appears to be labeled as such in opposition of something else - usually religion or science.  We've most likely all heard a variation of the quote "one man's magic is another man's engineering/science" and the same really is applicable to religion.

We live with and use these labels, at the same time many rebel against the connotations that come with such labels claiming to want to do away with the negativity and stereotyping yet have you ever tried to have a conversation about the topic of magic without using the word?  Let me tell you, even writing my thesis, focused on a time period in which the term magic didn't really exist, it was impossible to complete any kind of analysis without using the terms: magic, science and religion.  These terms are defined by our social ideologies and, lets face it, the predominantly Western Judeo-Christian world that we live in.  For the Greeks magic really came into being when it became something viewed by society as 'other', something in opposition to science, religion and the moral practices of society.  So if you had to define magic for yourself what would you say?  How would you describe it?  Would you create your own term?  Would you use the word but redefine it?  How do you create a definition that adequately sums up all that falls under the magic category?  In my studies there wasn't one word, in fact there were a hell of a lot.  Does it even need redefining?  If the term magic is a reflection of social preconceptions than isn't the current definition adequate?  If we are tossing aside social ideologies and creating our own definition how do you get a consensus on the outcome?

I don't have an answer that I'm satisfied with myself right now, so I put it to you to ponder it, do some research, it is really a very interesting topic.

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