"I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life - all mystery and magic." - Harry Houdini
"If you go back a few hundred years, what we take for granted today would seem like magic - being able to talk to people over long distances, to transmit images, flying, accessing vast amounts of data like an oracle. These are all things that would have been considered magic a few hundred years ago." - Elon Musk
I recently traveled to Disneyland with my family. It got me thinking about magic and its role in our day-to-day lives. It is perhaps magical that, during our trip, we were able to walk all of those miles, that none of us were trampled by the crowds, and that we only gained a little weight from the plethora of magical food offerings. Yet, one could certainly see the difference in the experience of “magic” when comparing the children’s faces to the expressions on the adults walking around. Where did the magic go?
When we were younger the presence of magic and the hope it brought us was very engaging and supportive of our dreams and efforts. However, as we get older, there is an increasingly ambivalence toward things we don’t understand and not much energy is injected into our day by previously magical things. Of course there are a number of reasons for this trend but let’s revisit magic itself for a moment.
Our quotes today point out that we are constantly surrounded by magic. There is the magic that we just fail to see and there is the magic we just take for granted.
I would argue that seeing and recognizing “magical” things helps us to more accurately position our intellect and comprehension in the universe. Do you understand everything? Do you understand the inner workings of all processes, technology, life, etc? Of course not. There is a lot to know.
Many times it seems that we just have a case of sour grapes when it comes to things we don’t understand – I don’t understand it, and I don’t want to understand it. If we put our ego to the side for a minute there is more value there than it might first appear. Yet the idea, and the hope, of magic come from the implied message that it might be possible to understand something that appears supernatural or beyond comprehension today. Yes, we don’t understand now, but wouldn’t it be exciting to know? What if we could harness this thing that seems beyond our abilities? What could we accomplish? Where could we go?
Children naturally feel this way. Magic is cool and exciting and leads us forward. It encourages us to dream and expand our horizons.
Sometimes adults say “there is no such thing as magic” but the correctness of that statement really depends on what you mean. If you’re referring to power that accomplishes things that you don’t understand yet, then I’d say magic is everywhere. I think Harry and Elon would agree.
Let’s give magic another chance. The magic of magic is its ability to energize your life and your dreams. It would be a shame to not tap into that power we once had.
Spend a few minutes looking around and see the magic that is there already. What do you see? If you need help, ask a kid!