Wednesday 11 September 2019

Magical places, magical people?

Magic is primarily perspectival - in that if you can't see it, you won't see it. Many people go through life and almost-never notice magic.

But even if or when you can perceive magic, it is not everywhere. Young children, tribespeople, all discriminate - they recognise some places and people as magic, and others not.

There is no magic in bureaucracy (in a spiritual sense, this is the main point about bureaucracy); and that is why there is less and less magic in the world.

As the world is integrated into The System - so magic is suppressed and destroyed, so attention is focused on the world regarded as dead things to be manipulated. So fewer and fewer places are magical - not in the solid and dependable ways that some places used to be magical. 

And this applies to people, too. In my life there have never been many magical people in any environment, they were always a small minority; but now they are fewer, and probably for the same reason that there are fewer magical places. People who were magic, or would have been, are now substantially assimilated into The System (by the extension of mass and social media, by omni-surveillance and micro-management); and they are System-assimilated by their own choice.

If this was something that people resisted, seriously by deep conviction - their magic would up-well from the deep source of the true self...

But people do not resist, and on the contrary they have identified-with The System at a deep motivational level, at the level of primary assumptions and convictions; and thereby have joined-in with crushing their own source of magic. Hence the focus upon appearances, impressions, and manipulation of perceptions - the modern Self is become merely a Public Relations executive for the Modern Man.

Lacking the help of magical places, people, institutions... we are, as usual, thrown-back on our own resources; and must find for ourselves (from ourselves) much that used to be absorbed passively from outside.

If we value a magical world; we ourselves must become more than magic detectors; more than mobile connoisseurs of enchantment -- we must become, if only for our-selves, geniuses of magical creativity.   


Dividualist said...

But what *is* magic?

Bruce Charlton said...

@D - What Weber called 'enchantment', when noticing that we lived in a disenchanted world.

Or what Barfield termed 'participation'.

Dividualist said...

Weber used the word in a very narrow sense, but Barfield was really up to something. Inspired by Barfield I looked a bit into the history of how words changed and I can't help to notice that people in the past didn't stand outside nature, trying to understand it, but felt more like being parts of it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@D - If you can remember early childhood, you know by experience what it is like to live in an enchanted world - that is Original Participation.