Posted by: Jamie Hahn | October 5, 2010

Do you believe in magic?

I believe in magic. Always have. I don’t mean the “dove appearing from a magician’s sleeve” sort of magic. Nor do I mean the “magic” marketing professionals across the globe purport to sell. No, Apple, your iPad is not magic. I’m talking about the kind of magic found in the tall grasses of ancient meadows, within the wing beats of dancing dragonflies, and in the wonders of our universe that can’t quite be explained by hard science.

What does it cost us to believe in this sort of magic? In my book, not a lot. Yet I’m continually amazed by the level of skepticism and closed-mindedness in our Western society. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t believe everything I read, see, or hear. A healthy level of skepticism is important to keep us out of the clutches of the junk bond salesman and Elvis and Madonna’s half human/half monkey love child. But a compulsive and overbearing level of skepticism just makes me tired. I hear the echoes of the chronic skeptic’s protests, “Oh, that could never be true” or “I just don’t believe that.” But why?

It’s safer to be a skeptic. Being a skeptic fits into our insatiable need to control, measure, and categorize. Phenomena that don’t fit into one of our neat little boxes get dismissed out of hand. There’s no wonder, just judgment. We’re very good at judgment. We’ve also gotten very good at hard science. We rely so heavily on “proof” that if we can’t verify and replicate something, then it must be a scam or a waste of our time. I’m a believer in science, and I’m grateful for all that we’ve learned and done, but why can’t we leave a little room for some magic and wonder among our microscopes and test tubes? Isn’t a deep curiosity about the wonders of our universe the root of most of our scientific pursuits anyway?

I’ve decided that arguing with the skeptics is wasted energy. I can’t control them anymore than I can control the weather. I can, however, control my level of openness to the unexplained, and I choose to believe (with a discerning and open eye). There’s just too much out there. There are shamans who travel to other realms and come back with physical objects and wounds; water crystals that are affected by words and thoughts; animals that can communicate across incredible distances; meditations, dances, and music that lead to altered states; memories of the future; ghosts from the past; and everything in between. I have no idea what’s real, but I choose to stay open instead of slamming the door and burying my head among text books and beliefs that make me feel safe and comfortable.

We can spend our lives explaining away all the things that we can’t understand, or we can choose to immerse ourselves in wonder. We can choose to give in, open up, tap in, experience, and feel – feel awe, inspiration, love…maybe collectively…magic (some might call it ‘god’). That magic can take us to new places, if we let it. Let the magic in. You only have to look to the tiny wing beats of that dragonfly – it’s all right there.

“One must explore deep and believe the incredible to find the new particles of truth floating in an ocean of insignificance.” – Joseph Conrad


Image: Simon Howden /



  1. I agree! There is so much I strain to understand. The only stupid thing is closing your mind to a possibility.

  2. Very well said! I completely agree. Magic is all around us — if we could just keep our minds open to it.

    Thanks so much for stopping by.


  3. This is just a lovely post.

    • Thank you! And thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Jamie,
    I was SO moved by your post. So eloquently written, too! Thank you for sharing. I, too, choose to be immersed in wonder. While I also believe in science, I sometimes think it’s foolish for us to think that we have it ‘all’ figured out. Unlike my hard-science hubby, I like to consider the possibility of things unexplained: Big Foot for one :-). I recently read a post about five big cats discovered in South America that have NEVER been captured on film before and weren’t even known to have existed! Why not believe?

    There’s something exciting about the “what if?” and something so sad about the closed door of possibility. I think this ‘open’ attitude is what makes writers so unique. Again, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Melissa. You’re right…why not believe in Big Foot or anything else we can’t explain with our rational minds and scientific experiments. There’s just so much we don’t know. I hadn’t heard of those five big cats that we’re discovered in South America. Sounds amazing. I’ll have to check them out. I often have to remind myself that the mysteries (and truths) of our world are far beyond even our wildest imaginings. Lots of material for us writers!

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