Saturday, May 24, 2014

Carl Sagan and Magic

Magic has a bad reputation among literalists...those people who struggle with metaphorical or symbolic meanings. Think of Harry Potter book burnings and the completely-missing-the-point anti-Christian scientific rants that equate all religious thinking with voodoo. Magic, in these extreme cases, is demonized as either satanic or total make-believe.

But magic has lots of meanings. What do people mean when they refer to magic? Are they talking about spells and potions or about amazement and wonder? I'm far too scientific and far too Christian to buy into spells and potions and abracadabras, but amazement and wonder...I relish and happily encourage that sort of magic.

Over the next few months, let's explore what magic means and how we can cultivate it for good in our attitude and perspective on life.

I want to start that exploration with a quotation from Carl Sagan, a man of science and reason, who saw just how much magic humans can perform with funny dark squiggles on paper.


A book is proof that humans are capable of performing magic.

Yep. I love me some of that magic!

How have you experienced the magic of books? What books seem to have a mysterious hold on your imagination and life? How do the books you've read shape you and influence you? What are you reading right now? Do you feel the magic of "binding together people who never knew each other" as you read?


  1. I love this quote! And I love books. :) I think my favorite type of book to read is Historical Fiction. The good stuff, like those by Philippa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon. I realized how good theirs are after recently completing a trilogy of not-as-good "historical" fiction. I prefer to drown in the history of the time. That kind of "binding" fascinates me. I actually want to MEET Richard III or some of the old Scottish clan chiefs.

    Otherwise I'm reading murder mysteries. I like a good puzzle, and I'm usually surprised at the ending, thinking I've figured it out, but rarely do.

    1. I totally agree about historical fiction. Also, historical mysteries. LOVE not being able to figure it out.

    2. BTW, have you read Spencer Quinn's Chet and Bernie mysteries? I know you're a cat person, but Quinn nails the dog perspective perfectly. So much fun!

  2. At my book club this morning a woman said she hasn't figured out the meaning behind the Harry Potter story. I asked why does there have to be a "secret meaning" behind Harry Potter? It can be read just for entertainment value. She was sure there had to be some hidden magic behind it all. When people get all worked up about Harry Potter I wonder why. It's not all magic, it's only a matter of time we will be flying around in the air, maybe not a broom design be something. The man that developed the helicopter technology also developed a one person (think Pogo stick or people mover) flying machine so people didn't have to drive cars. Looks very much like a broom when parked.
    I believe magic can come in a variety of forms.


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!