Socionomics Alert: The New Age of Magic
PJ Media: The Coming Age of Magic
The classic characteristic of magic is wish fulfillment. Sigmund Freud argued that “the motives which impel one to exercise magic are easily recognized; they are the wishes of men … At bottom everything which he accomplished by magic means must have been done solely because he wanted it.” Psychologically it is a most unscientific world. Desires replace the laws of physics.
Ironically that primitive attitude accurately describes the contemporary public attitude toward technology better than rationality. The idea that people ought to know better than to apply ointment sounds bigoted. Things should simply just work. The politically correct solution is to create sunscreen that YOU CAN apply to your eyeballs so you can watch the solar eclipse in safety. The morning after pill, the eat all you want but never get fat diet, the bottomless credit card, “affordable healthcare” despite accepts all preexisting conditions are applications of this principle. The preferred solution to today’s problems is no longer to intelligently avoid injury but to abolish its consequences.
This idea we should be protected from our own choices may have taken deeper root than commonly realized. The right of everyone to be stupid AND avoid the consequences has become mainstreamed as the equality of outcomes.
…While some of this magical thinking can be blamed on the usual Marxist dogma part of it may be due to the growing gulf between the frontier of understanding and popular culture. The Age of Enlightenment enabled the common man to access knowledge formerly reserved to a few. It allowed people to understand for the first time why things worked. However the recent technological revolution has created the opposite effect. Fewer know how anything works. This has widened the divide between the ordinary person and the principles that power his world.
It may get worse as technology become ever more subtle, built in many cases on quantum and other effects that cannot be grasped by “common sense”. The relative percentage of people who actually know how things work may gradually diminish. If Artificial Intelligence ever takes the lead in scientific inquiry, as many predict, the market may see appliances that no one — no human being at least — even understands. It may be no coincidence that two of the most popular entertainment franchises of the early 21st century, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones attract audiences of millions.
The age of magic isn’t dead. Perhaps it has only just begun.