Our friend Google defines magic as the following:
The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces
Mysterious tricks, such as making things disappear and appear again, performed as entertainment
A quality that makes something seem removed from everyday life, esp. in a way that gives delight
Something that has such a quality
Arthur Clarke gave us this:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Magic has a number of meanings for me. I like Google’s definition #3, the others seem boring. I like Clarke’s observation as well.
esp. in a way that gives delight
How cool is that? To construct something in such a way that it gives delight. Something that gives you a sense of awe and wonder, an experience that makes you look left and right and say, “Hey, did you see what I just saw? Did you experience this moment with me?” And I’m not talking about magic tricks here, I’m just talking about the things that happen. The things we experience: reading a good book, writing a song, a good conversation… whatever.
To Clarke’s point, I feel that magic is also the gap between ignorance and knowledge. The things that I do not know are magic. And there are so many things that I do not know. But the beauty of this gap is this: even when this gap is filled there is still magic. Wonder does not end with the acquisition of knowledge. There is still wonder in knowing and understanding, and that wonder is beautiful. In this sense, things like science and engineering are magic. The pull of a string on a guitar to create a note is magic. There is so much magic.
Magic isn’t just what is out there, it is not the unreachable. Magic is our reaction to what is out there. Magic is our interaction with wonder.