Amagical miracle

I had to get a copy of Arthur C. Clarke’s Profiles of the Future, just so I could have a hard copy of his famous Third Law in my library: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I would be much less excited about this law if its application were limited to technology in the popular sense, that is inventions developed from knowledge gained in the physical sciences.

My belief, however, is that this law applies even more to technologies derived from the humanities, especially philosophy and philosophy’s everted complement, literature.

If you are feeling adventurous try on this thought: What if most of today’s religious institutions are little more than cargo cults formed around miraculous but unmagical ideas and practices handed down from the past, whose proper use is still barely conceived? After all, we feel truth when it confronts us, even if we do not know how to know it. (I suspect magic is what it looks like when we grasp where grasping is the wrong motion.)

Then, if you are feeling extra-brave try this: What if some religious institutions are, in fact, not scriptural cargo cults at all, but only appear to be when we improperly try to grasp them…?

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