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Modern-Day Merlin

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When did you stop believing in magic? Were you like Thomas, 13, who was told by a parent that magic was just a thing of fairy tales? Or were you like Julie , also 13, who says "It's hard to try and believe… like Santa Claus". The New York Times published an article on January 23, 2007, by Benedict Carey about people's belief in magic. It was titled Do You Believe in Magic? In it, Carey spoke about the psychological reasons behind believing in magic. At one point, he says "Children exhibit a form of magical thinking by about 18 months, when they begin to create imaginary worlds while playing. By age 3, most know the difference between fantasy and reality, though they usually still believe (with adult encouragement) in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. By age 8, and sometimes earlier, they have mostly pruned away these beliefs, and the line between magic and reality is about as clear to them as it is for adults." It seems that a child's belief in magic is "pruned" away by parents, and other adults close to them. And those adults had their belief pruned by their parents, and so on and so forth. Adults have always destroyed belief in their children. That is why it is so rare to find one of the few out there who had their confidence in the arcane flourish. Belief has always played a key role in whether something existed or not. How many times have you heard, "Believe in yourself, and you will succeed,"? Or how about "believe in your friends, and your friendship will flourish."? But what if believing in magic could create a spark in one of the many unused pieces of the human brain? And what if, through training and encouragement, it could make you a modern-day Merlin?

Believing is Seeing

How many times has someone told you, "Well I've never seen it. So I don't believe in it."? Do you agree? If yes, then think of this. Have you ever seen a million dollars? Most people haven't, but if you have, more power to you. And, yet, who could honestly say that there isn't a million dollars in this world? Now, there are a few stubborn people who will read this who are now thinking, "But money is something people could see if they tried hard enough. But magic is something impossible to see. No one has ever seen magic." Ok, fair point.Allow me to use a different example. Have you ever seen an idea? Is it possible to see an idea? And at the same time, most people have millions of ideas a day.

So, if we've finally established that you don't need to see something to make it real, what do you need to know? You could look at it like $1,000,000, and if you see multiple small parts of it, you can imagine the sum. Or maybe, like ideas, you have to experience it to recognize it.

"But I've never seen a small example of magic, or experienced it." That's because you don’t believe in it! The human brain contains millions of parts that aren't used. Humans haven't developed far enough to use them all yet. And can anyone honestly say that it's impossible that one of those parts couldn't control a new, undiscovered form of energy? A type of energy that essentially alters matter and creates new energy. And, if so, isn't it possible to use this energy to shoot fire from our palms? Or fly? Or change into animals?

And who's to say that, with all of our technology, we couldn't build a machine to mimic the human control of this energy, and magnify it? Who has the authority over mankind to say "There will never be a magic machine."?

The 300 Charm Light Bulb

We use science to harness the energy around us and make our lives easier. We can control light, heat, and electricity, along with many other forms of energy. We can easily take energy from the sunlight, transform it into the movement of electrons, and then use that movement to heat a pipe for your shower, or maybe cool your bedroom for a warm summer night.

Now, think of a visible form of magic, as we think of it in stories. Maybe you imagined a spark? Or how about a beam of light? Maybe a slight glimmer in the air, similar to heat distortion over a toaster. Sound familiar to things we see every day using science? Magic could simply be another form of energy. And if it's out there, it's only a matter of time before we find it and harness it.

"But we have all this technology, why haven't we found it yet?" Because we're not looking for it! We've convinced ourselves that it doesn't exist; therefore we don't bother even thinking about it as a scientific possibility.

But I'm getting off topic. defines magic as "the art of producing a desired effect or result through use of incantation or other techniques that presumably assume human control of supernatural agencies or the forces of nature." Well, we do that every day! We can take hydropower from a river (a force of nature) and produce an electrical current (a desired effect) by using a generator or turbines ("other" techniques). So, in a way, we already have a form of magic. Have I convinced you yet?

In medieval times, when
King Arthur ruled over England from Camelot, the great Magician, Merlin, ruled over the arcane. Merlin was an advisor to the king, and is said to be the most powerful magician of all time. In the popular book series, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, Professor Albus Dumbledore, an incredibly powerful wizard, was said to have an "Order of Merlin: First Class". In Shrek the Third, a movie by Dream Works, Merlin is a professor of magic at King Arthur's high school. He has had a profound influence on the world today. And yet, if someone today claimed to have the ability to perform sorcery, they would be quickly escorted to the psychiatric ward of the nearest hospital. But what if the belief he had in magic and himself jumpstarted one of the dormant parts in his brain, giving him real power over matter and energy? Well, I think I would like to meet him. After all, he would be one of the first modern day Merlins.

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Saphirra said...
Sept. 19, 2011 at 9:50 am
That really changes the way I think about magic.  I always used to make myself believe that I believed in magic, even though I "knew" it didn't exist.  It was very well written, I really like the way you referred back to Merlin and you used quotes.  Great Job! :D
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