Through Magic We Can Explore Mutuality
Although apparently very different, magic and science have much in common. Both strive to understand how the world works and the manner in which people can benefit from its workings. Science divides the world into matter and energy and seeks the forces that shape them or the chemical and biochemical dynamics that animate all things. Magic sees spirits in the land, considers how people and animals are related, and tries to understand transformations around birth and death. The forces defined by science find echoes in magic’s insistence that spirits animate the world. Beneath our more superficial thoughts and discussions lie deeper intuitions and desires concerning our relationship with the world. Here magic and science diverge. The practices and philosophy of magic come from a sense of kinship with other living things, the landscape and the heavens. Through magic we can explore mutuality: how we are joined to the rest of the universe and the manner in which we can affect things around us through ways of participating, which have as a central element a set of moral concerns. Scientific understanding derives from abstraction, through the quantification of matter, energy and force by means of mathematics, but also through logical reasoning from elementary starting points, such as Newton’s Laws, towards the true profusion of the world. Science separates people from the world, whereas magic immerses us in it, raising also questions of our moral relationship with the universe in a way that science does not.
— Magic: a History, pp. 12-13
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