Magic is a funny word. The dictionary claims it stems from supernatural or otherwise mysterious forces, but I think the dictionaries are missing the point. Magic is not a power, it’s a quality, do you see?
There is an element of whim to magic, a pinch of just because. Attribution, to a third party and his/her/its obscure motivations, just dissolves that implication amidst endless speculation.
Sight is magical. Senses are magical. Symbols are magical. Science is magical, so is technology. Magick is magical. The smell of freshly cut grass reminding me to buy lemon-scented air freshener, is magical. The bluish-white carpet of dew on grass early in the morning tickling down from my ankles, that’s magical. Melancholy is magical. Stars are magical. Electronics are magical. Psychedelics are magical. We don’t seem to perceive magic because we live in it. Mundanity stands out only because magic seems unfairly ripped out – like the vibrancy of colour from a fading photograph.
But just because sounds indulgent, slightly amoral. Wait. That’s cynicism talking; cynicism, that antidote to fun and faith. There is glee in just because, and purity without ulterior motives – an almost one- dimensional single-minded benevolence. Just because takes weight and aroma from the wholesome ‘right’-ness of a solid gut feeling. You’ve got to learn to trust your instincts – that’s also magic.
Magic isn’t something to be suspicious of, nor scared of. Magic is flair, more sublime. Magic’s sole raison d’être is to impress and to amuse. A layer of glamour and glitter over the mechanistic gears that turn the Universe. Magic is the difference between a good job and a great job. And in doing so, magic re-affirms, re-assures and reboots your faith. Hope is the prophet and patron saint of magic – that despite all the apparent macro-scale determinism of the Universe, small unsynchronised events can yet affect every possible outcome every time.
Magic is in our free will! Emotions are whimsical, read magical. Imagination is magical. Speech and writing are magical; one can influence another, change history itself, via arcane scribbles and hurried syllables, as surely as abracadabra. And together, they take rationality out and insert randomness instead, just because. Stories are magical. Our need for drama is our need for stories – to interpret time as a continuum, joining the dots of cause and effect. Making sense of the past to better prepare for the future. And yet this is a drama largely unscripted, and the present is always kept distinct from the past and future. The present is laden with potential, you see? The present is magical because presents are magical.
Reason is rational, magic is irrational. Pure reason makes us robots, and only magic sets us free with naïveté. Innocence is magical, but not ignorance. Ignorance is just innocence overstaying its welcome. Science explains mechanisms but these explanations don’t dispel magic – the why-something-is-like-that is not sufficient to explain as why-something-is-like-that-and-not-like-anything-else.
Magic is the spark of life, magic is the proverbial soul. Death is magical. All of existence, all that can be known and also everything that will always remain unknown. The non-existent and the infinite, not just co-existing but cooperating, are magical. Patterns in chaos and the unpredictability of potential. Magic is change, magic defies cosmic boredom. Ecstatic epiphanies especially, are magical.
So when you tell me I’m too old to believe in magic, I can only reply with a cheerful smile. Just because.