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Magic in the Modern World


When I think of October, I think of golden leaves, carved pumpkins, spooky decorations, and, most importantly, magic. I imagine the familiar scene in Cinderella where her fairy godmother, with the flick of her wand and her incantation, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," transforms a pumpkin into a white carriage and the mice into coachmen. One's definition of what magic is can vary by individual or culture. Broadly speaking, magic can be defined as anything explained or conjured up by supernatural forces.


The closest things we have to magic in our world are simple, fun tricks like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Magicians like Houdini have taken on riskier attempts to create more complex illusions, leaving audiences asking, "How did they do it?" Humans create their own "magic" from calculated and orchestrated acts.


Decades after Harry Houdini, one of the most notorious magicians known for his daring tricks, people have attempted to reveal his secrets. By this definition, magic is that which is a mystery to us. As we grow older, our imagination wanes. As children, the world was alive and full of mystery. I used to wonder if the moon was made out of cheese. When the skies were gray, I wondered if the clouds themselves were feeling sad. When I lost a tooth, I hid it under my pillow, hoping for the tooth mouse, Mexico’s version of the tooth fairy, to replace it with money. Although I considered the possibility that my parents were the ones leaving me money, I preferred to envision that a benevolent mouse valued teeth over gold. The moon is a cratered, pale celestial

body thousands of miles from the Earth. No one I knew had gone up there; for all we

know, it could be made out of gold. The world I lived in was made up of magical characters, beliefs, and explanations.


As age sets in, however, there remains the greatest mystery there is, one many have dedicated philosophical thought to: life. As adults, we may have learned how to drive a car, how to file our taxes, or how to budget our finances, but the fabrics of the universe remain a mystery as old as time. We may learn of the material aspects of the universe and how they work, but every day, in existential thought, we search for purpose and meaning in our lives. Modern society has given rise to pessimism; what of wonder? What of a cratered moon, sustained by gravity? What about the sun rising and setting every day? What of magic? The mystery behind how the universe functions and its divine purpose is magical in essence, as is our very existence. Magic hasn’t disappeared; it has crept under the crevices of our everyday life. In small coincidences, in special connections we form with others, in the comfort of a cup of coffee, in small joys, in the reassurance of another, magic remains as it sustains us in a seemingly indifferent universe. For science may provide us with explanations, but magical belief provides us with meaning and purpose in the intricacies of our existence.



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