What is MAGIC?
It sounds like a simple question and the answer to this question has been the subject of serious studies across time since the very beginnings so I will try to guide you (on my own terms) through the chaos of intercepting and overlapping opinions to finally arrive to our port of destination. It will take more than one-part posting and you??re welcome to abandon ship at any time and at your own convenience.
Where do we start?K? Oh, yes! Let??s begin with the essence of Magic. To that end I decided to use a method that works wonders for me in the past and even today?K I will bring you a quoted paragraph from a serious (or assumed as so) source and we will discuss it together. To begin with the first of our studies let??s see what Magic looks like from the psychological side and make some examples of it, how??s that sound?
Psychological theories treat magic as a personal phenomenon intended to meet individual needs, as opposed to a social phenomenon serving a collective purpose. The explanatory power of magic should not be underestimated, however. Both in the past and in the modern world magical belief systems can provide explanations for otherwise difficult or impossible to understand phenomena while providing a spiritual and metaphysical grounding for the individual. Furthermore, as both Brian Feltham and Scott E. Hendrix argue, magical beliefs need not represent a form of irrationality, nor should they be viewed as incompatible with modern views of the world. (end of quote from Wikipedia)
These analyses are pretty sound to me and I explain you why in a second. The main difference between religion and magic is that the first is intended to be public and including in their practices. It means that for a church (of any kind) to survive both financially and ideologically speaking it has to bring closer under the same roof hundreds if not thousands of followers: they need their money and their minds to keep going. The money is the easier part to collect but to be able to collect people??s minds and have a monopoly over their sense of beliefs, you need something a little stronger than a collection basket?K you need a dogma.
Magic on the other hand is and should have always been private practice hidden from the un-initiated masses. The power of own-magic gets stronger as the degree of isolation and privacy increases. The moment you use true (natural) magic to amuse masses and to financially benefit from their ignorance you are becoming just as impure as those priest that spread dogmas on Sunday morning and abuse children the next day?K That is why churches in general warn you about the dangers of magic practices because magicians represent a materialistic competition to their enterprise.
Magic ?Vjust as you read on the quote on top- is meant to meet your individual needs when you apply to your daily work, personal life or the fulfillment of your own intellectual needs. In simple words?K Magic is very personal. Let??s quote a thought from Marcel Mauss:
?KIn practice, magic differs from religion in desired outcome. Religion seeks to satisfy moral and metaphysical ends, while magic is a functional art which often seeks to accomplish tangible results. In this respect magic resembles technology and science. Belief in each is diffuse, universal, and removed from the origin of the practice. (end of quote)
This is G R E A T Mr. Mousse! Magic ?Vespecially natural magic- is pure art with elements of science and technology applied to acquire its own goals. Let me bring an example to you: Michael Faraday. I know what you??re thinking?K(??) I??m not a ??mind reader?? but you are probably thinking that this man was a follower of a British Christian sect at the time he performed his experiments that conducted to what we know as the modern theory of Electro-magnetism (one of the 4 forces) and he was not affiliated to magic circles at all. Yes! But he used magic thinking and that makes him a magician even without his personal blessings. Faraday had absolutely no knowledge of physics not to mention mathematics (the language of science) however he was able to IMAGINE the setting and results of experiments that propelled the entire human society into a new stage of technology. Faraday saw the essence of the magnetic field as a light shield around a conductor when current was allowed through it?K in a way; he performed a magic act based on a tenet that characterizes magic: A prediction of a phenomenon whose theoretical premises go beyond COMMON SENSE.
I sincerely hope that you??ve enjoy the first part of this posting and you??re very welcome brothers and sisters to comment on it.