The human experience thrives on a convincing act of magic. At least mine does. One of the most emotionally staggering of all magic tricks is the sudden appearance of a fully formed person — a baby being born.

Of course it follows that the greatest disappearing act of all is death. Once the light in a person’s eyes evaporates into eternity, no investigation of hidden wires, trap doors or sleight of hand can account for its secrets. Search and ponder as you may, but in the end we are at the mercy of our ignorance.

To be sure, anyone who employs practical magic must be skilled in the art of misdirection. The element of trickery must be elegantly masked to generate an effective illusion.

But what about the magic of human interaction?

It occurs to me how easily interchangeable are the stages of a relationship with the categories of traditional magic tricks  — many of the same illusory practices apply:

.                              MAGIC                                                           ROMANCE
• Producing something from nothing              (Two people meet and hit it off)
• Teleportation from one place to another      (A growing together in affection)
• Prediction of an outcome                               (Partners project their dreams on each other)
• Levitation in defiance of gravity                     (Romantic love)
• Transformation from one state to another   (Suspicions and doubts develop)
• Penetration of one object through another  (Sex, or a knife through the heart)
• Restoration of a destroyed object                  (Making up after a fight, or therapy)
• Escape from a restraining device                   (Losing inhibitions, or coming clean on a lie)
• Vanishing                                                         (The breakup, or divorce)

However closely these mechanisms of magic and romance may seem to parallel each other, many would not conceive of romance as being the more unreal of the two.

Consider that, even though traditional illusionism is widely acknowledged to consist of intellectual puzzles and riddles, the audience still wants more than anything to believe the magic is genuine. Why else would they pay good money to experience something they know is fake to begin with?

Sound like any relationships you know?

If secrets behind these tricks were to be revealed, captivation would fall away and, robbed of our amazement, we’d be disappointed that we were so easily taken in.

Stage magic?

Or love?

Our wishes, wants, hopes and dreams are the pilot lights of true prestidigitation. In our finest goals we discover the alchemy of our aspirations.

Where Robert Heinlein remarked coldly that “One man’s magic is another man’s engineering”, an optimist may counter with Danielle Steele’s hopeful notion —  “If you can see the magic in a fairy tale, you can face the future.”

Personally, I’ll go with Erich Fromm who observed, “In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one — and yet remain two.”

For my money, that’s as good as magic gets.

The end of awe is the beginning of hubris. And with hubris, innocence fades, excitement wanes, and love diminishes.

But the foundational root of all real magic is the wonderment we first experienced as children, wide-eyed to everything new in the world — breathtaking music, a child’s first sneeze, the opening of a tulip, a staggering sunset, the allure of a lover’s eyes, the flush from a first kiss.

With each of these enchantments something in you understands that genuine magic is more the province of the soul than of the mind. Any rational account of one’s life requires the inclusion of the mysterious.

Despite the occasional employment of smoke and mirrors, I still very much believe in magic.





31 thoughts on “Magic

  1. Michael, great post on Love, love it. Interesting comparisons between magic and romance. We know magic from magicians is trickery (my grandfather was a known magician in my lucky I was as a child), and we too feel this trickery in the human condition. Is Romance love or the trickery too? The physical body I agree is a object like you say, but through our eyes we see the magic of our spirits which are forever (at least I believe). A child, like all of us, come new from this place and see magic easliy for we are one and the same (real love like real spirit) happiness in the simplest things and most beautiful. However, some grow up and forget; pain, words, in the way..our spirit still there..just barried. Nothing ever really ends..just changes, right? (Einstein: Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another)

    Enjoy seeing the world through your eyes.. and hope to never forget the magic.

    • Tara,

      Reading your keen observations here, I am reminded that love, in addition to magic, and thanks to crassness of reality TV, has now been demoted to the level of spectator sport. Still, some of us soldier on in the faith that it still holds something magically intimate for those who treat love with respect.


  2. I really enjoyed the comparisons of love and magic. I wish more people held on to the essence of it but unfortunately the ‘magic’ sizzles and they feel the love isn’t there anymore.Your site is quite nice. 🙂

  3. Love this post and your comparison between magic and love. I started reading your list and could feel my head going to one side and the ‘aaawwwhhh’ starting in my throat and then I got to the “penetration of one object through another” and burst out laughing. Thanks for that. 🙂

  4. Believing in magic means that your imagination has not been jaded….fireflies are still wondrous, and each second of every day is an adventure. Thank you for visiting my wee little blog! Happy A to Z to U!

  5. Thanks for visiting my blog today. Sometimes certain people pretend to be someone they’re not in order to hook someone into a “romance,” if I could even call it that.

    • I agree it’s unfortunate that deception — or emotional sleight of hand — becomes the front for a potential suitor instead of a genuine face and heart. We have all been so duped. And, though lonely, we are still the stronger for it. Hang in there, kiddo. I sure am.

  6. Beautiful post on magic. We all wish those times would go on forever. Sadly, they don’t. Relationships don’t really work for me, but I will always relish in the beauty all around us in this world, the breathtaking sunsets and landscapes that most people don’t take time for – to really look at because they are too busy. The very work of nature is magic.


  7. Oh my word,Michael, thank you. With each word you wove more mystique into your musings about magic mixed into the merging of love – and their deaths too. We are honestly such emotional beings, aren’t we and we so often do wish the illusion would last – from Father Christmas to that Knight in Shining Armour…

  8. A wonderful comparison of magic and love. I agree with you, the genuine magic is more the province of the soul than of the mind.
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge

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