No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
HerrWalrus - 01 Sep 2018 16:15:50 (#1 of 290)

The universe.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:16:24 (#2 of 290)

True, that.

indlovubill - 01 Sep 2018 16:18:11 (#3 of 290)

Magic is an illusion, often involving black cotton thread and a black background.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:19:17 (#4 of 290)

Yes. You didn't read the link, did you, Billers? :)

TauCeti - 01 Sep 2018 16:19:57 (#5 of 290)

Ther are many things explainable by science end even more unexplanaible by anyone; nothing to do with magicians on stage pulling out rabbits etc anyway; magic could be what is 'supernatural' thus natural but unexplained; yes the Universe; this binary system Eart/Moon ... anything not man made ....

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:22:34 (#6 of 290)

I'd better posts a few bits from the link, I see.

The universe of magic is a large place. It contains phenomena ranging from simple good luck charms to complicated systems of belief and practice such as astrology and alchemy, and it comes to us from prehistory, and from every part of the world, and it still flourishes today. The variety of ideas and objects it contains is almost limitless; the one thing they have in common is that rationalism would scoff at all of them as absurd, outdated, meaningless superstitions that aren’t worth wasting time on.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:22:40 (#7 of 290)

I find it endlessly fascinating, and I call that world “imaginary” not to disparage or belittle it. Imagination is one of our highest faculties, and wherever it appears, however it “bodies forth / The forms of things unknown” (Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream), I want to treat it with respect. At its most intense it becomes a kind of perception, as in William Blake’s notion of “Twofold Vision”, by which he means what we see when we look “not with but through the eye”: the state of mind in which we can “see a World in a Grain of Sand / And a Heaven in a Wild Flower”. Other poets describe something similar: in Wordsworth’s “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” he recalls a time “when meadow, grove, and stream, / The earth, and every common sight, / To me did seem / Apparelled in celestial light, / The glory and the freshness of a dream.” Thomas Traherne’s vision of “orient and immortal wheat” in the everyday corn comes from the same apprehension.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:22:58 (#8 of 290)

I’m relying on poetry to make this point because I think that poetry itself is a kind of enchantment. The effect that certain lines and images can have on us can’t be explained by translating them into simple modern English. The very form is part of the meaning, and the sound the poem makes works like a spell on our senses and not only on our minds. But it’s not just true of poetry. Everything that touches human life is surrounded by a penumbra of associations, memories, echoes and correspondences that extend far into the unknown. In this way of seeing things, the world is full of tenuous filaments of meaning, and the very worst way of trying to see these shadowy existences is to shine a light on them.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:23:19 (#9 of 290)

Fine writing, as ever, by Pullman.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 16:24:00 (#10 of 290)

I have a high regard for the scientific writing of Richard Dawkins, but I think that sometimes he expresses a view of the imagination that I simply can’t agree with: “We don’t have to invent wildly implausible stories: we have the joy and excitement of real, scientific investigation and discovery to keep our imaginations in line.” (The Magic of Reality, 2011: my italics). If we have to keep our imaginations in line, it’s because we don’t trust them not to misbehave. What’s more, only scientific investigation can disclose what’s

On the contrary, I’d rather say that there are times when we have to keep our reason in line. I daresay that the state of Negative Capability, where imagination rules, is in fact where a good deal of scientific discovery begins.

indlovubill - 01 Sep 2018 16:27:33 (#11 of 290)

Yes. You didn't read the link, did you, Billers? :)

Did! I merely gave you a simple example. Put another way magic is the magician knowing what is going to happen when the audience doesn't know. I used to do magic with a dog, under particular circumstance i would know exactly what he would do. I would say a command and it looked like I was in control but he was actually doing what he would have done anyway.

Verdigris - 01 Sep 2018 16:39:49 (#12 of 290)

Bill, the dog's bollocks of the Magic Circle.

TauCeti - 01 Sep 2018 17:06:27 (#13 of 290)

poetry itself is a kind of enchantment.

thanks, from a poet

uranrising - 01 Sep 2018 18:48:55 (#14 of 290)

Interesting, fenders. I pick out these to quote

This shadow world – the state that Keats called “Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason” – is where the imagination is at home, and so are ghosts and dreams and gods and devils and witches.

and this from earlier

Trying to understand superstition rationally is like trying to pick up something made of wood by using a magnet.

and from just before that

Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto (I am human, I consider nothing human alien to me).

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 18:51:33 (#15 of 290)

Good article throughout. I do like doubt and mental space, for sure. I doubt his views are poetry and especially original, btw, but I am stimulated by them very much; intrigued.

uranrising - 01 Sep 2018 18:56:59 (#16 of 290)

I'd say he is slightly tiptoing around this all, and might gain from exploring, even experiencing, some of these practices (as I've recently been reminded when learning to swim.) You can't succeed with that either by thinking about it.

fenderstrat - 01 Sep 2018 19:04:28 (#17 of 290)

Indeed you can't. I suspect Pullman isn't unfamiliar with imagination, or changed states of consciousness, though, uran!

TinyMcOtter - 01 Sep 2018 19:11:19 (#18 of 290)

I wish I had a magic dog.

phantlers - 01 Sep 2018 19:13:26 (#19 of 290)

Magic is phenomena we have yet to understand.

bossab2 - 01 Sep 2018 19:18:23 (#20 of 290)

The universe is definitely a bit weird.

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