The history of human civilization is rich in magic, and the future of civilization will depend on it as well. Taboos and totems, priests and shamins, tokens and talismans are present in all cultures including our own, despite the generally accepted belief that our own time - of science and industry - has risen to a new level of truth.

Max Weber - a powerful figure in social academics - equates the rise of capitalism to the fall of magic.

In the last resort the factor which produced capitalism is the rational permanent enterprise, rational accounting, rational technology and rational law, but again not these alone. Necessary complementary factors were the rational spirit, the rationalization of the conduct of life in general, and a rationalistic economic ethic. (Weber, 1927, p354)

He uses the word 'rational' 7 times in 2 sentences, a brave gesture in any language. Weber, unfortunately, died before the advent of television. Had he lived to study it, he would have found a new spell upon the land.

People are continuously and willingly duped by media magicians on television, radio, in front of magazine racks and behind newspapers. Then, trancelike, we walk about through our lives and among other people, learning our parts by rote and repetition by what we say, based largely upon what we ourselves have heard. Concepts and opinions, rumors and allegations, slogans and bi-polar party positions are assumed as one's own identity and embraced like personal name or homeland.

We are duped into thinking our neighbors are our enemies; that politicians are our friends; that the politics of the rich and powerful is the party of the working class; we are pitted against each other and the poor wage earners in other countries willing to work for less, while courting their employer - the multi-national corporation that pollutes the planet, exploits the consumer and sets the agendas of its puppet nation-states.

Rational idealism is at its basis magic. It is a mental phenomena. Its hocus pocus is "divide and conquer". If we can be made to work against one another - if we regard other nationals or class or single mothers as alien to us - we will give our power to the those warlords who will protect us from the warlord on the other side. We will be taxed - or pledged to be taxed - to produce redundant methods of global annihilation and gross profits. And we feel great pride in this. What nonsense!

 

 

 

 

Links

Physics 150

Chemistry 1B