In defense of magic

In defense of magic

Last year I worked through the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series as a first-time watcher. The comparison of what’s old and new is a strong theme in the series and is often projected as magic.

  • The librarian and self-appointed Luddite; the teen computer whiz.
  • The male perception of strength; teen girls fighting villains.
  • The library as an institution of books; the growth of the Internet in the 90s.
  • Magic read from books; magic researched and shared online.
Technopagan is the term

These early references to the internet and computers feel campy now, but I remember the wonder and excitement of having knowledge at your fingertips. It still feels like magic to me.

Willow's mother says, 'But I will not have you communicating with your cyber-cover or what you.'

In The Once and Future Witches, Alix E. Harrow wrote:

That’s all magic is, really: the space between what you have and what you need.

If you work on the web, it’s likely someone has compared your work to sorcery or your skills to magic. I’ve heard arguments that comparing someone’s skills to magic has a diminishing effect and can negatively impact collaboration.

But I think there’s still room for magic. The difference I’m proposing is between assuming that someone is magic and putting magic out into the world. It’s sharing magic.

Whether a few lines of code can make a task easier or a blog post can help explain a concept, these acts of sharing close a space between what someone has and what they need.

Buffy saying, 'If you can't do it on-line, then use magic'

What changes when knowledge is shared online versus requires access to research libraries? What happens when code is documented? Who else will be able to finish their job because you commented with a fix?

Share some magic.

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