Magic Explained Away

Ariel Glucklich

in The End of Magic

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780195108798
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853434 | DOI:
Magic Explained Away

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Westerners who arrive in Banaras, a city in India, to conduct research, study music, or just live among Indians, waste no time in shedding the outer signs of their Western identity in favor of kurtas and pajamas. During the past century, the phenomenon of magic, which is dispersed more widely than even religion, has been attacked from various quarters. On the one side have been the detractors who deny the very experience that practitioners claim to undergo. On the other side are the sympathizers who accept some magical claims but have found scientific reasons to make magic unexceptional. The experience of magical events rests first and foremost on the sensory perception that all elements in the world are interrelated, not in a mystical union, but in a tapestry of natural interactions. The subjective attitude is the only valid way of considering magic; it is called the “magical experience,” or “consciousness.” Magic should be thought of as the nonverbal power of sound or as the eloquence of touch.

Keywords: Banaras; India; magic; sensory perception; magical experience; sound; touch

Chapter.  2645 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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