Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Part One: Where Has the Magic Gone?

"We all accept the reality with
which we are presented."
The Truman Show

Part One: Where Has the Magic Gone?
-Jeff Thornton

The overwhelming success of the Harry Potter books and the recent
release of the movie, to which people are flocking in droves, has
gotten me thinking about society's fascination with magic. Of
course, Harry Potter is just the latest entertainment success playing
on the magical theme. There have been many others, surely more than I
know. The Jedi Knights of Star Wars performed a type of magic by
working with the Force and we all know how popular Star Wars was and
still remains. I Dream of Jeanie, Bewitched, and Sabrina the Teenage
Witch all gained huge success on television. Magic is an integral part
of the Lord of the Rings novels, and has become a principal theme of
the fantasy genre as a whole.

So why do we love the idea of being able to snap our fingers, twitch
our noses, or blink our eyes and have whatever we want whenever we
want it? It's undeniably appealing.

These novels, movies, and television shows are so successful because
they demonstrate the type of power we all want. We'd all like
to be able to manifest things right out of thin air. We'd all
like to be able to move things with our minds. We all want to have
mental command of our physical world. And, strangely, it almost feels
like we should be able to do these wonderful things, "like it's
somehow our birthright." ( quotation marks mine!)

Certainly we are not the first culture to connect with the concept of
magic. Stories of people who could perform physically impossible feats
have traveled down through history to us. Magic was an integral part
of the history of the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Mesopotamians,
the Persians, Greeks, Druids, and Celts, not to mention the more
commonly known legends of medieval Europe.

Can these stories be just the whimsical fantasies of a people long
past, a people entrenched in a difficult life and just simply wishing
for the power to make it better? And is that why we love these stories
so much because we wish life could be easier for us? Or is
our emotional connection with the concept of magic an intuitive
feeling, a subconscious knowing, of what we, as humans, are actually
capable of being?

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