I Don’t Believe in Magic

I Don't Believe in Magic

Ok… I don’t believe in “magic” exactly — but I do believe in mystery in the esoteric sense.

This song doesn’t reflect that because it was — like many of my songs — not written from my point of view. Rather, it takes the form of a (hopefully) character-revealing soliloquy from the song’s protagonist.

He’s clearly a guy at a point in his life when he feels everything of significance is known and those clinging to the idea that life has purpose or meaning or mystery are simply fooling themselves, unrealistic pollyannas clinging to a foolish, if comforting, self-deceit.

And, yes, I guess, maybe that was me, once, at a time when I was overwhelmed by the implications of the anachronistic and simplistically determinist world view I had at the time.

As a teenager, my extremely conservative school district had little use for science, offering the bare minimum to support state requirements. And that, unfortunately, left me with a stunted, 19th century view of the world.

It wasn’t until I got to college and was exposed to a proper exploration of the scientific method and contemporary scientific findings and explorations that I started seeing the world as the wonderful and mysterious place I now find it to be. And I don’t think that’s actually a paradox.

Most folks think they know a lot more than they actually do. Their lives are a gloss of undigested facts, false assumptions, and irrational misapprehensions they’ve simply been indoctrinated with or adopted to fill ontological voids.

I’ve long tried to balance my own skeptical nature and the respect for science fostered by my classic liberal college education against my perhaps juvenile lust for the unknown and the just plain weird, all the while still accommodating my rediscovered sense that there is some mystery central to life that is perpetually just on the verge of being answered — but that never will be.

For me, that balance means using the eyes and brains God and/or nature gave me to observe and measure the world, to collect facts and use my intellect to weave those facts into knowledge. It also means not assuming that everything — or almost everything — is known or that authorities, whether spiritual or intellectual, are always right.

The more I find out about how the world really works — the more mysterious and “magical” life really seems.


I don’t believe in Magic
that stuff’s for young girls
Self-deception is tragic tragic
I’m a true believer in the real world

I don’t believe in love
that’s just a social fiction defined by pain
I don’t believe in the meaning of life
it’s just a meaningless story scrawled by a fool in the dirt
again and again

I don’t believe in magic
I’m a true believer in the real world
Self deception is tragic tragic
I’m a charter member of the real world

I don’t believe in god
I don’t believe in humanity
I don’t believe in abstract knowledge
ideology is insanity

I don’t believe in destiny
any fool can see
the world’s just atoms floating in space
that’s the bottom line on reality

I don’t believe in magic
I’m a true believer in the real world
Self deception is tragic tragic
I’m a charter member of the real world

(C)1980, TK Major


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