Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Science and magic(k)

The more I live in this world, the more I believe that science and art and magic are all facets of the same reality.  The only differences between the three are perspectives and vocabulary.  Last week Pagan By Design had a rather fascinating post on energy.  One comment that really captured my attention the idea that science figuring out the hows of the Universe makes magic(k) less magical.

I have had a life long love of science.  As a child, I always aspired to be one, though the exact type changed a few times (paleontologist, Egyptologist, biologist, geologist, and finally anthropologist).  I have loved magic and fairy tales and believed in them for just as long.  For a while, I thought that these two sides of myself were incompatible, but I'm learning now that they can, and frequently do, coexist harmoniously in me and many other people.

Just because science doesn't understand science and magic isn't always measurably testable by science, it doesn't mean these things don't exist.  They are ways of understanding, of learning about and making sense of the world.  They are limited only by our human understanding and ability to curiously explore our world.  In practicing both, you must always ask the right questions to get your answers; you must observe the environment and process, and you must accept failed experiments as learning opportunities.

Knowing how and why photosynthesis happens doesn't take away from my appreciation of plants. Understanding the geologic processes that shape the landscape around me actual makes me appreciate each location and stone as unique manifestations of long and complicated existences.  Astronomy and microscopic photographs simply increase my appreciation of the beauty of all things.  Particle physics and nanotechnology are the very stuff of legends and folklore, and yet, they are also the cutting edge of science and technology.  Humans are limited in our ability to directly sense many parts of the Universe, but it does mean that a whole Universe of wonders exists.  Our ability to explore is only hampered by our ideas of what is and is not possible.

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