Magic : Short paragraph on Magic!
Magic is a system of manipulation by which an effect is sought through the action of unseen powers.
The magician attempts to control the powers by magical practices not validated by scientific knowledge, such as rubbing a stone on the diseased part of the body to make it get well, walking on fire without being burnt, eating glass pieces without shedding any blood, turning a piece of charcoal into a rupee, making a body disappear, getting a purse out of the pocket of a man without going near or about him.
The students might have witnessed such and other magic games in a college or on a street.
Frazer in Golden Bough distinguished between two kinds of magic, imitative and contagious. In imitative magic an individual imitates what he wishes to happen. Thus an Austan who wants rain to fall, fills his mouth with water and squirts it out in different directions.
To get rid of an enemy, a wax image operates on the principle that whatever would come into contact with supernatural power, will be swayed by it. Thus the forehead of a person may be rubbed off with some ashes so that he may be free from headaches. Many children are made to put on a mascot to save them from an evil spirit.
Magic and religion differ. Some authors believe that magic is a form of religion but others choose not to characterise magic as religion. According to Malinowski, magic practices are distinguished from the religious ones by the fact that they always have a definite end in view, which is immediate, practical and usually private.
They are intended to produce a definite effect. Religion, on the other hand, has no definite end. It is always an end in itself—the placing of worshippers in contact with spiritual forces. In the case of religion the attitude is humble, the worshipper seeks to obtain something from God through prayer, magic on the other hand seeks to attain the thing directly by the use of disproportionate means.
The intellectual content of magic is narrowed by its highly utilitarian purpose. A magic seeks to get things by threatening or intimidating gods while a worshipper seeks them by praying and petitioning to gods. A magical behaviour is a commercial transaction in which trickery and deceit become possible. Religion establishes a bond between man and God but in magic such a bond is absent.
Magic diverges most from religion when it is used to accomplish aims not sanctioned by the group. It may be employed to achieve vengeance, to acquire property illegally, to steal another man’s wife etc. Selbie says, “Magic is now, and for a long time has been regarded with some moral reprobation. If it comes under the head of religion at all it is religion of an illicit and degrading kind.”