Magic by another name

"VIVI vs Blackwaltz" | Art by corbergh. Used with permission.
Sometimes I find myself wishing I lived in Hogwarts or Middle earth. Why? Because of magic, of course. But after a bit of thought, I realized I’m not really missing out on much, because magic exists in my world already.

Do you believe in magic? And when I say “magic,” I mean as it is often depicted in fiction: a seemingly all-powerful force which can only be harnessed by a certain number of gifted people. So do you? No?

You’re not alone.

Magic is generally accepted by our modern society to be an impossibility, and to say otherwise seems like nothing but foolery. However, “nothing but foolery” is my middle name—well, close enough. I believe magic is, in fact, a very real part of our everyday lives. We just know it by another name.

I believe that even the most deeply spiritual occurrences can be explained scientifically.

In order to dismiss magic as an impossibility, you should first be able to not only define it, but explain why you believe it cannot exist. I would define magic using these words: that which is amazing and unexplainable.

In Season 5 of Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum describes magic exactly how I see it: “All magic is science!” she says. “You just don’t know what you’re doing, so you call it magic!” (Episode 26: “Wizards Only, Fools!”)

Take Hermione Granger from Harry Potter casting “Alohomora,” for example. Is it scientifically impossible to unlock a door? Not at all. Can we explain exactly how her magic spell accomplishes this? No. Our quick dismissal of its possibility simply stems from our own lack of understanding. Or consider Vivi from Final Fantasy IX casting “Firaga.” Is it impossible to create a massive fiery blast which has the ability to harm multiple targets? Of course not. Can we explain exactly how his magical spell accomplishes this? Again, no.

It’s more than likely that Hermione and Vivi are just as unaware of how their spells work than we are. But they don’t need to understand exactly how their magic works, only that it does. In each of their respective universes, there must have been wizards who pioneered the usage of those spells long before our main characters were born.

I like to think of Hermione and Vivi as computer programmers, making use of the hardware and framework set up for them by a long line of predecessors without needing to fully comprehend how it functions.

There are two ways you can look at this: either Hermione and Vivi are their worlds’ equivalent of scientists, or—my favourite of the two thought processes—that our own real-life scientists are actually wizards. Science is moving at such an intense rate that its results are virtually indistinguishable from what previous generations would have regarded as magic. Is it scientifically possible to play games, watch videos, and connect with people worldwide using a small tablet? Of course; nowadays, that’s a no-brainer. But can you explain exactly how the hardware of an iPad works? Most people will answer negatively. Therefore, we can conclude that technology is magic!

Do you believe in magic?

I believe that even the most deeply spiritual or unexplainable paranormal occurrences can be explained scientifically at some level, even if humanity may never reach that stage of comprehension. I believe that God created laws in His universe, and works within them. There are very few things, if any, that are completely impossible to the physical laws of the universe, and that’s what makes things we perceive as magic so amazing.

If the mysteries of the scientific world can be called magic, then I’d say we have a very magical future ahead of us. There will always be new and exciting things to discover about our world. Despite our limited understanding of the physical universe, it’s still as amazing of a place as Hogwarts or Middle Earth ever could be. I don’t want to take that for granted by wishing I was somewhere else.

Mark Barron

Mark Barron

Guest Writer at Area of Effect
Mark Barron is a carbon-based humanoid life form recently discovered in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Scientists have confirmed that he responds positively to anime and video games.
Mark Barron

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