It's a kind of Magic

Magical worlds are everywhere in fiction. From Harry Potter and Middle Earth to the Legend of Zelda and The Elder Scrolls. Magic can be found at the heart of more books, stories and games than might fit comfortably within the infinite, multi-dimensional library of the Unseen University. I am sure that at one time or another many of you out there have wished you were living in a magical universe; and if that's the case I have some good news for you. I think we are.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

There appears to be a rather ungenerous tendency for those who favour rationality and critical thinking to be seen as unromantic or unpoetic; immune to wonder, excitement or a sense of awe. Infact, the critical thinking is sometimes even seen as somone who is intent on stamping out the very idea of magic from the world; putting everything in a laboratory to be coldly analysed, understood and neatly labelled; until there is no more magic in the universe.

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

W.B. Yeats

As it happens, I believe in magic. I think magic exists in every part of your body, in every atom and every cell of every living creature. I think that without this magical force we would not be alive. This exact same magic, can create an invisible force fields that pushes away objects, or pull them towards us. For centuries scholars have studied magic and have learned to harness its power. They have created magical devices that glow and move, generate heat, or remove heat. They made devices that can stop a man's heart; and others that can start it again. They can even use it to keep a heart beating for a lifetime when nature has failed. We use this magic to see to the far edges of our universe and deeper into the hidden worlds of atoms and the quantum realm. We use this magic to travel the world, capture representations of it for others to see. We can use it to instantly see and speak to people on the other side of the world. We use it to learn; to build and to grow. We are on the way to harnessing this magic to create new forms of intelligent beings, and possible even new forms of life.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke

Now; I am sure you have realised that I am talking about electricity, and maybe you think this is a cheap point. But humour me. Why isn't electricity magic? It certainly looks like it. Take a look at a lightning storm and tell me that doesn't fit the description of magic.

You don't think its magic because you feel you understand it. Because it's normal, it's everywhere. These aren't wizards, they are just electrical engineers. It's not a magical glowing tablet, its just and iPhone. Because it's powering the screen in front of you and about 50 other devices in your immediate vicinity it's boring and ordinary and uninteresting.

Well; I still think its magic and I would offer my own little corollary to Mr Clarke's third law.

"Magic, sufficiently understood, is indistinguishable from science."

William Owen

I don't think you do understand these things you use, not really. And even if you can, can you really explain to my why its not magic? Do you how your phone works; or your computer? You might know how to work with these things, maybe even swap out a few parts or repair them; but do you know how they actually can do all the things they do? How are the properties of electricity bringing them to life? You probably only have the vaguest idea about how your hairdryer works or your toaster. Many of you would struggle to understand explain how a light switch worked or a lightbulb.

It's not magic because you think to understand it; even though you probably don't. But mostly it's not magic because you think it's normal.

It's still magic even if you know how it's done.

Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

Science is the study of magic. I think it's amazing. I think as a critical thinking I see the magic in the world that really is there, and all around us. No one has to make anything up. To see whats realy there an engage in the never ending exploration of how amazing it all is; is the very essence of scientific enquiery. We know so little, and yet we can say for sure we are surrounded by amazing things. Tools like science and rationality are just ways in which we explore just how amazing and magical it all is. So if some feel that they wished there was more magic in the world; perhaps they are the one that are a little unromantic.