Magic and Science – Two sides of the same coin?

I’ve already told you something about my passion for magic. And recently, it started to come up again. You know, I never stopped to think about why I like Magic in general, but now I did. I think the answer is in the title of this post.

Let’s say that you’re a spectator of a big show of some important Magician in a theatre. Let’s say you don’t know anything about Magic: you don’t recognize the moves, you don’t realize misdirection and you don’t pay attention to the rest of the scene. Whatever you see, and I say whatever because this Magician is really good, must appear as a miracle. It may seems that Magic is so different from Science. Magic is so enjoyable, simple, refreshing and dreamy. How can it have something to do with a hard, precise and logic field, such as Science? It seems that Science don’t leave any room for emotions, for interpretations while Magic is all about that.

Let’s say now that you’re the Magician’s master who is sitting in the audience. You taught to the performer almost everything he knows right now. Now every trick, every effect and every vanish/production appears as obvious. And now you know how many  hours of training that magician must’ve been through to get to that level of skill, you now know how precise, logic and hard it is to be a Magician. Oh wait, these are the same characteristics of Science aren’t they? Yes. Yes, they are.

So what’s the real difference between these two perspectives? Knowledge.

Not necessarily a real Magician, but he wants you to know what it’s all about.

Would you think that the master is enjoying himself less than other people sitting in the audience? I would argue to say no, or at least in a different way.

When a normal person look to a magic trick, he/she try to explain what he/she see, from the final result. But without knowing any of the intermediate steps it’s almost impossible! What the master can do is explain every step of the trick. And what an intermediate magician can do is try to explain the trick knowing only part of the steps that maybe he knows from another performace.

Don’t you see where I’m getting to?

What do a scientist do in the lab? Well he/she start from a result he/she sees and try to explain it knowing some/most/none of the steps necessary to get to this result. It’s the same thing! The same process! And with the same process come the same pleasure and satisfaction.

I love science exactly because we don’t know every step of the way to the result! But we want to know! And we see beauty and excitement exploring all the possible routes that could’ve brought to the result. It’s the same as the guy who asks the magician to repeat the trick to try to understand how he did it!

But this can go further. There’s a tendency in ourselves to fill the whole created from the lack of knowledge with something else. If you really don’t undersand how a trick has been done, you’ll probably just say: “It’s magic man. It must be magic”. But on the moment you know every step of the way, you switch. You just know that everything can be explained through normal actions, rules and objects.

I hope you can forgive me for this comparison which can be seen as wrong, but that’s just how I see it. Take a religious person who think that a God must’ve been creating life because nothing else could have. This is the same exact thing! I believe that we don’t need to invoke “Magic” or “God” to explain something that we don’t know right now. There will be that moment in which we’ll know every step, and then it will seem as obvious as the master thinks about his student’s tricks.

Exploring and finding the steps of the way is a process by which Science progresses. And you should love it with us!

So, whether you want to learn Magic or Science, know that they’re two sides of the same coin and that they proceed on the same road. AbraCadabra or Eureka!? While you’re deciding, let me tell you another story..


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