Modern Magic

Magic, sorcery, wizardry, alchemy… all very popular in today’s culture. Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings… they’re practically part of our society. But magic isn’t real, right? There’s no such thing as magic spells and potions. You can’t open a portal to the other side of the world. Or… can you? You can Face Time with someone on your phone, right? A screen you can fit in the palm of your hand that lets you interact with someone in another country is not that far off from being a magic portal in my opinion.

Today’s technology brings humans closer to obtaining and utilizing real magic than ever before in history. To be honest though, my profession is based on technology and I still barely comprehend it – it’s basically magic to me. The things that humans have made technology do blow my mind practically on a daily basis. And I’m not even talking about the popular stuff like the Hubble Space telescope or unmanned flying drones. I’m talking about things like the server farms that host what we know as simply ‘the Internet.’ These huge installments are so complex that I still have trouble believing they work. Entire careers are based on learning just one manufacturer of one piece of these modern marvels. When parts of them fail, other parts seamlessly take over for them and notify someone that something has failed automatically and continue on – even if those parts are located in separate states! And the end user never notices a difference. Freaking magic. It’s almost like another life form! That’ll be another post…

Anyway, do you realize what it takes – research, design, infrastructure, etc. – to let you to update your Facebook status?! You wouldn’t believe me if I told you… But it’s real! And it works. And it’s all based on very basic,  fundamental ideas and components. And these components are not magic; they’re stuff you could find in your backyard, just put together in a very particular pattern. Without exaggeration – you could slap together what amounts to just different pieces of rock and metal you find in the dirt – in a very specific way – which would allow you to perform miracles. Miracles, maybe not to us today since we’re so accustomed to it, but for the vast amount of human history people would unconditionally respond with a sense that they literally witnessed a miracle.

And yes, with pieces of rock and metal you find in the dirt. Again, these aren’t magical components. These are all things found in nature. Even though some people may claim that a certain chemical or product is ‘unnatural,’ the hard fact is that everything is natural. Everything is ‘from the Earth.’ (Or more specifically, from dying stars which created the Earth, but you get my point.) Even man-made things are still composed of natural elements. Everything that makes up the supercomputer in your pocket – I’m sorry, your cell phone – is found on the Periodic Table of the Elements. The glass is silicon, oxygen, carbon – sand basically. Copper for wires, platinum, gold, aluminum… all metals found interwoven with rocks deep inside mountains. All of this stuff is just scraps of dust from the Earth. Put these elements together in a very precise manner and hold this combination of ‘Earth stuff’ into the air while someone is playing music nearby. This music will be magically transported by this pile of elements to the other side of the planet instantaneously! A soul on that side of the planet with another specific combination of elemental material can then listen, and even watch through a “portal” the performance happening thousands of miles away. They can watch, hear, and even interact with someone on the other side of the Earth.

THAT is magic. That is alchemy. That is a miracle! –Only, it’s not…

If you really want to learn “magic,” start learning electronics. Because, it is practically alchemy if you think about it. Granted, it’s not converting the elements to other elements per se, but it is taking basic elements, arranging them in a certain pattern, applying the simplest logic (on or off – that’s it!), then building layer upon layer until you can ‘magically’ communicate with someone on the other side of the planet instantly! In real time! Maybe if we devote just a little more time to learning about and playing with modern technology, we could help to create the environment for which future generations will be able to create things that we would call miracles today…

Eh… I kinda like my shows though… What’s on TV?

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