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Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous. No original source where Einstein supposedly said this has been located, and it is absent from authoritative sources such as Calaprice, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein. Misattributed I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots. Variants : I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots.
I fear the day when technology overlaps our humanity. It will be then that the world will have permanent ensuing generations of idiots. Although it is a popular quote on the internet, there is no substantial evidence that Einstein actually said that. Contempt prior to investigation is what enslaves a mind to Ignorance. This or similar statements are more often misattributed to Herbert Spencer , but the source of the phrase "contempt prior to investigation" seems to have been William Paley , A View of the Evidences of Christianity : "The infidelity of the Gentile world, and that more especially of men of rank and learning in it, is resolved into a principle which, in my judgment, will account for the inefficacy of any argument, or any evidence whatever, viz.
Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Then I looked to individual writers who, as literary guides of Germany, had written much and often concerning the place of freedom in modern life; but they, too, were mute. After the quote appeared in Time magazine 23 December , p. I made this statement during the first years of the Nazi-Regime — much earlier than — and my expressions were a little more moderate.
Cornelius Greenway of Brooklyn, who asked if Einstein would write out the statement in his own hand, Einstein was more vehement in his repudiation of the statement 14 November  : The wording of the statement you have quoted is not my own. Einstein also made some scathingly negative comments about the behavior of the Church under the Nazi regime and its behavior towards Jews throughout history in a conversation with William Hermanns recorded in Hermanns' book Einstein and the Poet The concentration camps make the actions of Ghengis Khan look like child's play.
But what makes me shudder is that the Church is silent. One doesn't need to be a prophet to say, 'The Catholic Church will pay for this silence. Hermanns, you will live to see that there is moral law in the universe. There are cosmic laws, Dr. They cannot be bribed by prayers or incense. What an insult to the principles of creation. But remember, that for God a thousand years is a day. This power maneuver of the Church, these Concordats through the centuries with worldly powers. We live now in a scientific age and in a psychological age. You are a sociologist, aren't you?
You know what the Herdenmenschen men of herd mentality can do when they are organized and have a leader, especially if he is a spokesmen for the Church. I do not say that the unspeakable crimes of the Church for years had always the blessings of the Vatican, but it vaccinated its believers with the idea: We have the true God, and the Jews have crucified Him. The Church sowed hate instead of love, though the Ten Commandments state: Thou shalt not kill. All the wrongs come home, as the proverb says. The Church will pay for its dealings with Hitler, and Germany, too.
The fear of punishment makes the people march. Consider the hate the Church manifested against the Jews and then against the Muslims, the Crusades with their crimes, the burning stakes of the Inquisition, the tacit consent of Hitler's actions while the Jews and the Poles dug their own graves and were slaughtered. And Hitler is said to have been an alter boy! The truly religious man has no fear of life and no fear of death—and certainly no blind faith; his faith must be in his conscience.
I am therefore against all organized religion. Too often in history, men have followed the cry of battle rather than the cry of truth. It is indeed human, as proved by Cardinal Pacelli, who was behind the Concordat with Hitler. Since when can one make a pact with Christ and Satan at the same time?
And he is now the Pope! The moment I hear the word 'religion', my hair stands on end. The Church has always sold itself to those in power, and agreed to any bargain in return for immunity. It would have been fine if the spirit of religion had guided the Church; instead, the Church determined the spirit of religion. Churchmen through the ages have fought political and institutional corruption very little, so long as their own sanctity and church property were preserved. Variant: The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology.
Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism. These two statements are very similar, widely quoted, and seem to paraphrase some ideas in the essay " Religion and Science " see below , but neither of the two specific quotes above been properly sourced.
Matters do not go as planned — Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Amazon synopsis: "Excitement fizzes through the Bennet household at Longbourn in Hertfordshire when young, eligible Mr. Charles Bingley rents the fine house nearby. He may have sisters, but he also has male friends, and one of these — the haughty, and even wealthier, Mr.
Fitzwilliam Darcy — irks the vivacious Elizabeth Bennet , the second of the Bennet girls. She annoys him. Which is how we know they must one day marry. The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and Darcy is a splendid rendition of civilized sparring.
As the characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, Jane Austen's radiantly caustic wit and keen observation sparkle. Amazon synopsis: "Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as "human computers" used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country's future. Amazon synopsis: "Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America's rush toward the twentieth century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair's brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country's most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.
The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his 'World's Fair Hotel' just west of the fairgrounds — a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,degree crematorium. Erik Larson's gifts as a storyteller are magnificently displayed in this rich narrative of the master builder, the killer, and the great fair that obsessed them both.
Amazon synopsis: "It is Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist-books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
Amazon synopsis: "The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow. Amazon synopsis: "August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid — but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face.
These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. Amazon synopsis: "America's beloved and distinguished historian presents, in a book of breathtaking excitement, drama, and narrative force, the stirring story of the year of our nation's birth, , interweaving, on both sides of the Atlantic, the actions and decisions that led Great Britain to undertake a war against her rebellious colonial subjects and that placed America's survival in the hands of George Washington. Amazon synopsis: "Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future.
Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow — and Reds like him — are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Amazon synopsis: "Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures.
Mutant cockroaches. There are some odd things about Nate's new apartment. Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn't perfect, it's livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don't nag at him too much. At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment.
And Xela's apartment. And Tim's. And Veek's. Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends. Or the end of everything…". Amazon synopsis: "A simple game of hide-and-seek turns into a thrilling and dangerous adventure for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
Through the wardrobe they enter the mystical land of Narnia, where only the Great Lion, Aslan, can conquer the dark magic of the White witch and restore beauty and peace to the land. Amazon synopsis: "February The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle.
Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying.
Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state — called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo — a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie's soul. Amazon synopsis: "An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind's most thrilling fantasies have come true.
Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them — for a price. Until something goes wrong. Amazon synopsis: "The tale begins with Jonathan Harker, a newly qualified English solicitor, visiting Count Dracula in the Carpathian Mountains on the border of Transylvania, Bukovina, and Moldavia, to provide legal support for a real estate transaction overseen by Harker's employer.
At first enticed by Dracula's gracious manners, Harker soon realizes that he is Dracula's prisoner. Wandering the Count's castle against Dracula's admonition, Harker encounters three female vampires, called 'the sisters,' from whom he is rescued by Dracula. After the preparations are made, Dracula leaves Transylvania and abandons Harker to the sisters. Harker barely escapes from the castle with his life. Amazon synopsis : "The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, 'The Kite Runner' transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction.
A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons — their love, their sacrifices, their lies. Amazon synopsis: "The world will end on Saturday. Next Saturday. Just before dinner, according to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies written in The armies of Good and Evil are amassing and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.
This is still too simple, though. Modern Magic Since about the human sciences have also, reflexively, found magic in enlightened modernity—sometimes white, sometimes black, sometimes just illusory magic. The archive of human science history is crammed with examples.
The young Sigmund Freud — also argued that, far from being dead, magical thinking is the bedrock upon which rational processes are based. These are intimately linked to the processes that patterned magical thought, according to early anthropologists such as Tylor. The magic at work in the primary process is more black than white, though. Doomed to be left behind in the develop- ment of the psyche, it prevents adaptation to reality.
Conversely, Freud treats magic beliefs such as a belief in ghosts as pup- pets of repressed unconscious desire. Academic human sciences still ascribe magic to modern everyday insti- tutions. Hence, I think that an attempt to eliminate magic, in this sense, would involve us in the elimi- nation of vocabulary itself as a way of sizing up reality. More commonly, magic is seen to be darkly at work in avowedly rational institu- tions.
The anthropologist Michael Taussig, for instance, interprets abstract social formations as magical concepts. Clearly they are fetishes, invented wholes of materialised artifice into whose woe- ful insufficiency of being we have placed soul stuff. Hence the big S of the State.
Hence its magic of attraction and repulsion. This brief review of the fate of old magic reveals rifts in the enlightened thesis that magic is dead in contemporary society.
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Nonetheless, the history I have sketched is still largely under the spell of a standoff between reason and magic. We may also argue, as I have, that since magic as magic was never unprob- lematically legitimate and true, it therefore has little to lose by way of legit- imacy and truth. Yet the most important point about magic has still to be made: it occupies a different and new space in modern societies. Chan- neled for the most part into show business and literature, it survives in cul- tural forms that are engaged in the commercial production and distribu- tion of fictions.
At the same time, magic continues to be appealed to in the sector where commercial and orthodox culture is most actively resisted, that is, in the avant-garde. Human-science accounts of how magic works, especially in modern society, barely recognize that magic has mutated in this way. In other words, we need modes of analysis which recognize and accept the fact that modern magic—or what I am calling secular magic—is different from the magic of rituals, myths, and fetishes, as well as that of spirits, universal sympathies and antipathies, or of superstition or credulity.
It is a self-consciously illusory magic, carrying a long history, organized around a still-beleaguered lightness or triviality, which it also massively ex- ceeds. And it requires its own historiography, theory, and appreciation. Unfortunately, however, this challenge cannot be avoided. Certain difficulties in defining magic have already come into view. Further- more, practices which retrospectively seem like magic—divination or al- chemy, say—are not defined as magic where they have legitimacy. Nonetheless, attempts at defining magic have taken many forms. Thirdly, magic may be defined discursively: it is attested to by the use of a magic lexicon, and in the social purposes and effects of such usage.
The categories that border and contest supernatural magic—reason and religion—are of less impor- tance to secular magic, however. The marvel and the illusion are the con- cepts from which it most needs to be distinguished. So I will treat them in turn.
As Stephen Greenblatt has argued, in both the late medieval period and the Renaissance the marvellous was a loosely and variously located no- tion. After the Enlightenment, however, the idea of the marvel was transformed. Theorists of modern secular cul- ture developed complex typologies and subconcepts to describe the work- ings of modern marvels, including two of especial importance: the un- canny and the fantastic.
Yet a host of other, less well-regarded categories mainly based in show business have been neglected. These include the feat, the freak, the thrill, and the quasi-scientific special effect. They can also be regarded as heirs to the divided and dispersed domain of the mar- vellous. In this context the marvel may belong to natural magic. By the mid-eighteenth century, an attitude of anti-wonder—concentrating on simplicity and regularity—dominated Western culture.
Which leads us to ask, how entangled is this sec- ular magic with the older concept of the marvel? There can be no doubt that certain magical performances, as well as the objects exhibited by fairground conjurers or other entrepreneurs in the entertainment business in the eighteenth century, would have been con- sidered marvels in the early modern period.
All had been transformed into jokes or, more precisely, amusements. This stance helped Bacon gain his formidable reputation as a Magus. In secular magic, then, old marvels or wonders normally survive as such only with a tinge of irony. We see this in the late eighteenth-century in- stance of Gustave Katterfelto d.
Even cases which might seem un-ironic exhibit a certain withdrawal from seriousness. To summa- rize: after about , the marvel fell into a relative neglect and obscurity as it was absorbed by a commercial culture and dispersed through an ur- banized, specialized entertainment and leisure sector that favored new forms of magic. Nonetheless, from about like magic the marvellous was resusci- tated by cultural dissidents. This is first apparent in German Romanticism, but the modern cultural politics of the marvel was pursued most systemat- ically by the Surrealists in the s.
Placing the concept near the center of their project, they made it a badge of resistance to rational culture, insisting that, at their historical moment, it was not the magical but the real which passed belief. Since the surrealist concept of the marvellous is a metaphysical notion designed to support a countertraditional aesthetic program, ultimately it bears little relation to show-business wonders of staged illusions, feats, cu- riosities, and technological effects.
Another mode of modernist cultural dissent does welcome such marvels, however—a mode we can attribute to Marcel Duchamp — Although Duchamp makes objects which may pass as art works or marvels, they in fact dissolve art and the marvellous in play, teasing mysteries, technique, and fun. They become, we might even say, marvels which undo the history and ontologi- cal assumptions of the marvel. As already noted, the most widely accepted replace- ments of the early modern marvel remain the categories of the fantastic and the uncanny, which are, however, narrative or discursive rather than visual forms.
In his book on The Fantastic , Tzvetan Todorov ar- gued that this was a new literary genre, which appeared in fiction toward the end of the eighteenth century. For Todorov, the fantastic differs from the marvellous because it applies the narrative techniques of realism to de- scribe nonrealist that is, supernatural events for which no rational expla- nations are given.
As we shall see, among the very first to profit from the pleasures of unresolved puzzlement over natural or supernatural agency were show-business figures like the stage magician Giovanni Pinetti — Arguably, the marvel differs most decisively from the uncanny and the fantastic in that it is not psychologically complex: it carries within itself its effect, if not its meaning.
Hoffmann — In other words, it is that particular form which magic or marvels may take when presented to a specific psychological apparatus. The analytical difficulty with the con- cept is precisely that it relies on two specific theories: first, that the self contains depths which are hidden because of repression, and second, that universal history has progressed beyond magic. That magic demands to be analyzed in terms of a different, looser set of categories. Illusions To what degree were magical acts and magical performances illusions? This question was often asked in relation to real magic, and most directly in the witchcraft literature.
In its most highly theorized formulations, this literature was a mode of stripped-down, learned, black spirit magic, as- cribed by educated men to the most vulnerable members of society, who themselves thought and acted in terms of popular magic. It is important not to pose this question concerning illusion in modern psychological terms, for it was by no means simply a matter of false belief.
A complex typology of diabolical illusions was elaborated by witch-hunters, who were simultaneously theorizers and prosecutors. Hence the apparitions conjured by the devil are in a sense more than illusions, in that they share every perceptible property of the real. From this point of view, witchcraft theory approaches the doctrine that the reality of our sublunar materiality is not the domain of the divine and intelligible. Consequently, whatever is other to diabolical phan- tasms is finally real not by virtue of its materiality, but because it is sanc- tioned by God and falls within the realm of human activities inspired by faith in God.
Figuring the devil as the patron of superillusions has one im- portant consequence. Once magic is placed under the sign of illusion, as it traditionally is, the textual sources for magic lore and knowledge open up, for to concede that magic, trickery, and fiction flow into one another is to accept that the his- tory of magic need not be limited to those texts or traditions which profess real magic.
Both representations of magic and consciously illusory magic fit in the tradition too. And there exist three main textual sources for this kind of secular magic: critiques of real magic which present a detailed ac- count of magic in the course of demystifying it; descriptions of tricks or ef- fects which have been designated magic in, for instance, how-to conjuring books; and fictional narratives of magical events and performances.startupkurzus.hu/profiles/winter/como-conocer-a-gente-en-valencia.php
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Yet even to list these sources of secular magic is to elide problems connected to the primary problem of untangling illusion from reality in magic. For given its suffusion in fantasy, there exists no clear distinction between fictional or trick sources and books committed to real magic. It is also a description of a stageable special effect, albeit too intimate to have been actually performed. Each element—water, air, earth and fire—has its own elemental creatures—nymphs, sylphs, pygmies, and salamanders respectively—that guard its treasures.
During his travels across Northern Europe, Paracelsus collected popular stories about these beings, which he treats philosophically.
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As such, his writing takes on an exhortative and literary tone. Early in the seventeenth century, two anonymous manifestos appeared in Germany, Fama and Confessio Magic cannot be firmly distinguished from illusion, and, historically, the ambiguity consequent on that proximity needs to be understood as a bud- ding of secular magic within esoteric or theosophical magics. Certainly, from within traditional anthropology, the magic world view ascribed to nonmodern peoples does not fit easily with the Western traditions outlined so far. In an influential article, Rosalie and Murray Wax defend a realist and holistic ac- count of magic, couched in these terms: 1 everything that exists is alive; 2 the natural world is largely incorporated into, and classified through, human systems—notably kinship systems; 3 because the motive forces behind natural events are not different in kind from human motives, all causal chains are, at least potentially, acts of supernatural will; 4 certain individuals may gain power over these forces, whether by propitiation, en- tering into a trance, following rituals, inheriting status, or by other means.
However, some of these features the second, for instance are not shared by all magical traditions, especially if we include secular and illusory magic traditions. In fact global magic needs to be construed not as a unity but as a series of distinct if overlapping articulations of how the world works.
At the very least, there exists a magic that modern individuals recognize as such, and which is presented in both secular and nonsecular forms. Sweeping aside these difficulties and niggles, let us assume the existence of a fuzzy and variegated vernacular modern magic, mainly projected within the modes and institutions of secular magic.
This magic may offer the possibility of communications between the natural world and a veiled, supernatural order separated from everyday life by a barrier which is also a threshold. There snakes turn into bridges, hands magically appear and reappear, and so on, all in a dead- pan tone free of the guilelessness that characterizes folk literature, a tone that cartoons and computer-generated imagery will realize centuries later for visual arts.
Although the magical world may be less real to us than everyday existence, this was not so within traditional Western occult thought, where the less material or worldly a concept or entity, the more real it was. But magic may still spill into, or pass as, everyday existence: that is how it becomes the fantastic. Or it may be interiorized in dreams or narcosis. Sometimes, as in The Devil in Love Le diable amoureux by Jacques Cazotte — magicians acquire a supernatural companion or demon.
At other times, access to the magical domain re- mains opaque yet amusing, as through the Ouija board, that spiritualist parlor game first commercialized by the Kennard Novelty Company in It is clear that relations between everyday life and this magical order can be construed in a dizzying number of ways. In each case, though, abstract categories like time, space, and causality which are taken for granted in everyday life or rational thought modulate, bend, or fragment.
To enter the magic domain may be to access a cosmic simultaneity, in which events can be foretold and the past is never erased. In such a domain, individuals may happen upon the sounds of a historical event years after it happened. Just as an object can appear in two different places at once, events may oc- cur repeatedly. The difference between matter and nonmatter may lose stability under the effects of magic when spirits materialize and objects vanish.
Finally, in the magic domain, the distinction between life and death may lapse. Modern vernacular magic, like older magics, also typically requires par- ticular forms of sociability. Magic knowledge, which is neither public nor civil, promises agency over or access into the magical domain. It is via this Baconian sense and critique of magic that most, but by no means all, magics are deemed dangerous as soon as they threaten to become institutionalized or enacted.
Furthermore, magic has different re- lations to particular social groups in accord with this logic: the less power- ful a group is, the more likely it is to be connected to a black magic. This is familiar in both witchcraft and colonized territories. One point needs to be emphasized immediately: there is a structural limit to the relation between the everyday and the magical. As soon as we communicate with or represent the Other, in whatever context, it begins to lose its Otherness. It joins the conceptual machinery of this world. This structural constraint impels magic toward the triviality and banality that perpetually await it: the greater the mysteries that occult magic in particular promises to reveal, the more anticlimactic its revelations will appear to those not un- der its charm.
This constraint also allows magic traditions, characteristics, and modes to be engaged for worldly purposes—to express desires, fears, or critiques, to shape utopias, and to amuse. Magic Discourse One of the ways in which modern culture has celebrated and criticized itself is by describing and presenting itself through a rich vocabulary of inherited magic words. Fascination, prestige, enchantment, glamour, charm, enthrallment, entrancement, and magic itself are terms that trip off the tongue when we wish to describe the power and effects of books, tour- ist attractions, pictures, films, shows, celebrities, sporting events, indeed almost any cultural product.
There are thousands upon thousands of ex- amples.
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Such categories include the surprising, the amazing, the irrational, the crazy, the unstable, the unreal, the sublime, the beautiful, and, of course, the marvellous and its cousin, the wonderful. Magic words mean less than we would like. Priapic amulets armed men against this danger, and the word only became secularized gradually from the later seventeenth century. At first in its nontechnical sense especially associated with Napoleon, around it acquired what became its slightly ironic meaning.
The whiff of spuriousness in words of praise associated with magic as habitually used on cultural or sexual objects is characteristic of modern society, and is one of the most routine features of a culture of secular magic. The spread of this magic discourse has been neglected by cultural theo- rists. Yet it has played a particularly important role when supplementing, or substituting for, such established philosophical and aesthetic concepts as the sublime and the beautiful, and typically when an object of praise is deemed too slight or fugitive to justify inclusion in such aesthetic catego- ries.
This neglect is all the more surprising given that, after about , aesthetic concepts fell increasingly out of touch with the art and literature that were actually being created, while at the same time some forms of popular culture became increasingly respectable. At that time, the magic lexicon became deployed more frequently across both fields. Extended with some rigor and complexity, this mode of deploying magic discourse can transform itself into the suppos- edly more scientific diagnosis of modern forms as magical.
What is strange about this text is its failure to address the situation in which shows like the Tiller Girls are linked to magic in a more literal sense. They emerged from a sector of show business in which magic acts were always important economically. Leaning on this broad description of real magic, this book consists of case studies in the history and effect of secular magic.
The next chapter, how- ever, deals quite philosophically with certain categories within which mod- ern magic has been interiorized, commercialized, and fictionalized: it pro- vides the basis for a theoretical understanding of secular magic. The third, fourth, and fifth chapters are summary narrative histories of entertainment conjuring from the later sixteenth-century onwards, though they divert into adjacent areas like spiritualism.
I aim to resurrect a playful literary magic—a light literature—allied to stage illusions, domestic sleight of hand, and puzzles, whose deceptively minor history underpins the twentieth-century avant-garde. Key figures in this lineage include E. In Chapter 7 I describe the emergence of the London entertainment industry in relation to magic by fixing on two spaces, the Lyceum and the Great Room, Spring Gardens, between about and In the final chapter I turn to optical illusions and film. Tracing their relation to a form of enlightened thought known as Spinozism, I aim to show how both Spinozism and optical illusions share a history which, passing through magic, is marked by contingency and un- certainty.
This is no common-and-garden super- natural act. I could easily have made the Jew a regular conjurer, and the Phantom an ordinary ghost. I have pre- ferred to represent the Jew as disclaiming all pretension, or even be- lief, in supernatural agency, and as tempting Mahmud to that state of mind in which ideas may be supposed to assume the force of sensa- tion, through the confusion of thought, with the objects of thought, and excess of passion animating the creations of imagination.
In the passage where the phrase ap- pears, Coleridge tells us that Lyrical Ballads was to contain two kinds of poems. Indeed, a larger historical logic can be glimpsed through these examples. Secular magic becomes a pivotal component of modern culture at the very mo- ment it is interiorized and made available for a systematic and complex mutation into fiction.
Not all secular magic, however, can be used this way. In this chapter I explore certain strands and entanglements within the pro- cesses which psychologize and fictionalize magic. In part, this involves presenting interpretations of fictions which themselves represent magic performances. Belief Magic has long been psychologized. In the late medieval and early modern period, claims to magic powers, especially those made by witches, had of- ten been attributed to individual mental states.
That witches were medical cases, suffering delusions, was the charge laid against witch-hunters by the Lutheran physician, Johann Weyer — Acceptance of this view has one significant consequence not yet noted: a disjunction between literary and show-business values, which emerges as commercial entertainment devel- ops alongside modern literature. It is a disjunction ordered by a conflict between interiorized and literary magic on the one side, and technolo- gized and exteriorized show-business magic on the other.
For all this, imagination was not the core category through which the supernatural was interiorized. That category was an apparently simpler, less energetic and ambitious one: belief. The passages from Coleridge and Shelley show how belief was supposed to be available for subtle psy- chic manipulation of readers of serious and progressive literature. Finally, though, the centrality of belief as the medium through which modern individuals engage with magic in everyday life is best evidenced in the Tinkerbellish query often heard whenever the topic is mentioned: do you believe in magic?
Philosophically speaking, the question of belief takes center stage in re- lation to the supernatural during the early Enlightenment. Locke proposes that faith in God, which is embedded so deeply in traditional Christian doctrine, be replaced as a paradigm by belief in God. Christian faith, we should recall, is not funda- mentally a psychological category at all. Though Christian sects differ about its role and sense, faith is a gift from God, requiring grace. In- spectable by conscience rather than reason, faith is not meant to provide rules of conduct but to grant or intimate salvation.
This distinction be- tween faith and belief is crucial for the development of fiction. From the Reformation onwards, it is faith as opposed to belief that limits a fictionality that threatens to extend heaven- ward. And the growth of fictionality depends upon the pliability and po- rousness of belief. He is engaged with human understanding of God rather than with the hereafter.
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For him, knowledge of God is neither innate nor certain, which means that evi- dence for belief in God should be discussed and assessed openly, and dis- agreements about beliefs tolerated. This does not mean that Locke is anti- Christian. In the controversies that followed the publication of his case for the evidential nature of religious beliefs, Locke insisted that his work in no way contradicted biblical teachings and doctrine. This was something besides finding an impulse upon his Mind to go to Pharaoh, that he might bring his Brethren out of Egypt: and yet he thought not this enough to authorise him to go with that Message, till GOD by another Miracle, of his Rod turned into a Serpent, had assured him of Power to testify his Mission by the same Miracle repeated before them, whom he was sent to.
In citing them to exemplify revelation, Locke was in spite of every- thing positioning reason as the primary faculty for assessing beliefs. What exactly is this belief that replaces faith? That is because Wittgenstein thinks of belief linguistically and practi- cally, outside of the Coleridgean framework. Wittgenstein insists that if we know something, we do not usually also believe it. The most relevant consequence of this is that people do not hold beliefs in isolation. They have them in relation to what Wittgenstein labeled a language game. Such an account of belief is different from the one implied by the Ro- mantics.
For Locke and Wittgenstein, belief is a relation to a proposition; for the Romantics, it is closer to a subjective state. Not that this distinction carries much weight in everyday discourse. Indeed, a confusion between the two positions seeps into ordinary usage. Nonetheless, no internal sensation or other kind of experience can be checked to discover whether or not we believe a proposition.
Expressions of either belief or disbelief are not grounded in sensations or feelings. Whether or not one believes in magic cannot be checked in the way that expressions of even unhappiness can be verified by internal inspection. If one believes or disbelieves in magic implicitly in order to commit oneself to a wider set of values, then what is the effect of that language game which allows us to suppose that belief is also a subjective state? This question has real force once we examine what is involved in the willing suspension of disbelief.
He is simply not holding fast to the distinction which, at the same time, he understands between a fictional story and a real event. The concept of voluntary suspension of disbelief helps seal this relation. The claim that we must suspend disbe- lief in order to respond properly to supernatural fictions fails to consider an important factor: that once the difference between fiction and nonfic- tion is grasped, and a particular text is deemed to be fiction, then it is impossible simply to believe in the reality of fictional events, whether they are supernatural or not.
Partridge has no disbelief in ghosts to suspend. But he would have been just as proper a spectator if he had suspended his belief rather than his dis- belief like more skeptical spectators. Why is the technique for identifying supernatural fictions as fictions linked officially to skepticism? The answer is that, from about , in general terms fiction was harnessed to the pedagogy of Enlightenment; furthermore, the enlightened consensus is that the empire of disbelief should colonize the territories of faith and fanaticism.
Officially, the suspension of disbelief enables us to engage with a more richly imaginative world than the one in which we live under rational truth. Suspension of disbelief seems to make it possible both to believe and not believe in magic. The reason that one can disbelieve in magic in real life while at the same time believing in it in fictions is that as Wittgenstein helps us realize belief is not an experience, event, or thing, although sometimes it seems to be one. In this way consumers of modern culture learn to accept one set of propositions in relation to the domain of fiction, and another in relation to the everyday world.
This double structure has had broad consequences. As fictional en- tertainments enlarged their reach, they were further commandeered for the Enlightenment project. Hence recogni- tion of the cultural centrality of fiction and illusions was delayed. It did so by helping fiction and entertainment settle at the ideological crossroads of superstition and en- lightenment, where they were nugatory in theory and powerful and profitable in fact.
Enthusiasm This excursion into the nature of belief helps us broadly understand not just the concepts that underpin the interiorization of modern secular magic, but also some of its historical interactions with supernature. There Locke defends belief against faith to cri- tique enthusiasts. In this he was participating in an old war. As we shall see, the en- thusiast also became adept in certain forms of Romanticism. Certainly, by the end of the seventeenth century, enthusiasm could be reappropriated by both literature and criticism.
One of the most sugges- tive moments in this welcoming of enthusiasm occurs in a essay on heroic plays by John Dryden — Commentary on this convention was not limited to epic poetry, because supramundane characters were also presented in plays and masques. First, that epic machinery is outdated, and modern literature ought to represent familiar and ordinary life. Second, that epic machinery is valuable only if it is Christian: this view was expressed ferociously by John Dennis — Third, that traditional epic machinery provides a fit means for expressing enthusiasm and liberating imaginative power.
And fourth, that a new epic machinery was required: the older Dryden put the case for a fusion of Christian and classical elements in his Discourse Concerning Satire And if any man object the improbablities of a spirit ap- pearing or of a palace raised by magic, I boldly answer him that an heroic poet is not tied to a bare representation of what is true, or ex- ceeding probable: but that he may let himself loose to visionary ob- jects, and to the representation of such things as depending not on sense, and therefore not to be comprehended by knowledge, may give him a freer scope for imagination.
Poetry and drama offer occasions to speculate on the unknowable and the uncertain because they serve beauty and imagina- tive expression, not knowledge or certainty. The reason why epic machinery may be grounded on magic is that magic supplies the constitutive alphabet of enthusiastic poetry. Also not in question, then, is a fictionality requiring sus- pension of disbelief. It is the product of a rhetorically ordered imagination, and its truth-value is hypothetical. To appreciate it requires no hygienic measures against false supernatures such as a willing suspension of disbelief.
Adept in prophecy and trance preaching, they had emigrated en masse to London after being banished from the South of France for rebelling against Catho- lic persecution in Shaftesbury, who was thought of as a deist or even as an atheist by contemporaries, was less willing than Locke to accept the idea of contact between nature and supernature.
But for him, as for Dryden, it was because of this unwillingness rather than in spite of it that he was reluctant to renounce magic. Some there are who assert the nega- tive, and endeavour to solve the appearances of this kind by the natu- ral operation of our passions and the common course of outward things. For my own part, I cannot but at this present apprehend a kind of enchantment or magic in that which we call enthusiasm; since I find that, having touched slightly on this subject, I cannot so easily part with it at pleasure.
Following Dryden, Shaftesbury treats enthusiasm as a form of inspira- tion or ecstasy in which the Muses may be invoked and poetry written. Even the cold Lucretius makes use of inspiration, when he writes against it, and is forced to raise an apparition of Nature, in a divine form, to animate and conduct him in his very work of degrading nature, and despoiling her of all her seeming wisdom and divinity.
Seeing that anti-magic can itself become a form of panic—for atheists can be enthusiasts too, Shaftesbury notes—the most trustworthy brakes on enthusiasm are self-inspection and good humor, in that order. By self-inspection, he means certain cultivated and individuated tech- niques for knowing and training oneself to resist every kind of fanaticism.
Shaftesbury turns to popular culture, specifically farce, in an attempt to take his argument further and to elide the difference between cheerfulness and skepticism. In a wonderful passage he claims that a Bartholomew Fair puppet show can prove more effective against the Camisards than official denunciation: 866ot contented to deny these prophesying enthusiasts the honour of a persecution, we have delivered them over to the cruellest contempt in the world. There, doubtless, their strange voices and involuntary agitations are admira- bly well acted, by the motion of wires and inspiration of pipes.
For the bodies of the prophets, in their state of prophecy, being not in their own power, but as they say themselves mere passive organs, actu- ated by an exterior force, have nothing natural, or resembling real life, in any of their sounds or motions; so that how awkwardly soever a puppet-show may imitate other actions, it must needs represent this passion to the life. He does not write about conjuring shows in the same way as he writes about the puppeteers, but these shows often do share the skepticism and humor to which Shaftesbury attaches so much importance. Yet it was prophetic in its own way of the shape and feel of what was to come, insofar as that turned out to be a culture organized around secular magic.
I will approach those forms of secular magic that this book is mainly con- cerned with by briefly describing three fictions which represent magic per- formances. For, as I am suggesting, the history and fate of modern magic is intertwined with the history and fate of fictionality, the category in rela- tion to which fictions are written, circulated, and received as fictions.
At any rate, fictions about conjuring shows provide a particularly suggestive entry point into the culture and structure of secular magic. Also, by in- forming us about the cultural space within which literature and secular magic performances jostle and intersect with each other, they tell us much about conjuring itself. At that time he bare the fame to be the great- est conjurer in Christendom. Scoto that dyd the jugling tricks before the Queene, never came neere him one quarter in magicke reputation.
Only in a fiction can Agrippa call Cicero up from the dead—just as Scotto could only pretend to predict what card his audience had chosen in life. But if it is supposed that conjuring can re- ally raise ghosts, then this incident requires no suspension of disbelief. Although embedded in a fiction, it may even be true. For much of Western history, commentators have focused on fictions of the true massively more than on fictions of the real. This was partly be- cause fictions of the real were the kind of illusions that the devil most de- lighted in, and relied disproportionately on the effects that enlightened critique wished to reduce to their causes.