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The End of Magic$
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Ariel Glucklich

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195108798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195108798.001.0001

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Magic Explained Away

Magic Explained Away

(p.17) One Magic Explained Away
The End of Magic

Ariel Glucklich

Oxford University Press

Westerners who arrive in Banaras, a city in India, to conduct research, study music, or just live among Indians, waste no time in shedding the outer signs of their Western identity in favor of kurtas and pajamas. During the past century, the phenomenon of magic, which is dispersed more widely than even religion, has been attacked from various quarters. On the one side have been the detractors who deny the very experience that practitioners claim to undergo. On the other side are the sympathizers who accept some magical claims but have found scientific reasons to make magic unexceptional. The experience of magical events rests first and foremost on the sensory perception that all elements in the world are interrelated, not in a mystical union, but in a tapestry of natural interactions. The subjective attitude is the only valid way of considering magic; it is called the “magical experience,” or “consciousness.” Magic should be thought of as the nonverbal power of sound or as the eloquence of touch.

Keywords:   Banaras, India, magic, sensory perception, magical experience, sound, touch

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