I love to write about magic. I love to read about it and watch it as well. Not stage magic, but real magic (which doesn’t exist). And it’s worth asking: why? What makes the idea of magic so compelling?
I think part of it is the secret guilt of the toolmaker. We humans obtained our position atop the world through our tools, but sometimes it feels like it’s all about our technology, and there’s no power in ourselves. We stand in awe at the mighty tiger or bear, even though we scrawny humans dominate them.
Magic is a way for the power to be in us, and for it to not be our tools, but us humans that are the key. We can cease feeling like the weak core in a shell of technology, and pretend we’re the strength.
The other half is the dream that knowledge should directly translate into power. Many societies venerate knowledge, but the smart never seem to prosper in their youths, whether it be from old standards like bullies or the lack of immediate positive reinforcement that physical excellence (such as sports) provides.
But when you can study your way to power, and the way is straightforward … it’s actually a fairly intellectually lazy way to acquire power through knowledge, but that straightforward path appeals in the same way the dream of studying hard to get in a good college and get a good job does.
Perhaps those are just my reasons though, or the only ones I recognize enough to spell out. What are yours?