There is a relationship between education and magic. For instance, don’t you think creative thinking is more like the mind always up to some conjuring tricks? Or that what we call information is more like a portal that transports us from one plane to another? Jargon or the language understood by a small community of a particular stream is so similar to the magical term ‘hocus-pocus’ – well, the Norse folktale sorcerer Ochus Bochus will agree. Learning some scientific or even literary or historical terminology makes a person more like a juggler out to impress the world. Some will say that ‘Voila!’ and ‘Eureka!’ share their genealogy and that illusion, transposition, and mentalism are things that are as much a part of serious study as they are a part of a magician’s routine. So yes, education and magic aren’t really apart. Arthur C Clarke believes that ‘any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’
Now that we are actually exploring this relationship, why forget that even amongst the teachers and professors one does find celestials, genies, elves, and fairies, and sometimes even maleficent sorcerers, beasts, demons, and devils. Both wizardry and black art coexist. If magicians can deal effectively and play dirty, so can educationists. Shuffling cards happens quite as often within classrooms and staff-rooms… and I mean things way beyond the literal meaning. Illusions and gimmicks are as much a part of learning as they are connected to performance. Levitation too becomes a reality within a campus when the exam paper isn’t as tough as students imagined it to be… and after it is over their joy makes them all hover and not walk! Even terms like palming, patter, peek, and pull connect education with magic… and these are just as popular as others like sleight of hand, substitution, switch, and steal.
Look at people invoking their theories to solve real world problems and you’ll understand the true meaning of terms like enchantment, charm, mystical, and spiritism that have been borrowed from the world of magic. And yes, getting admission to the college of one’s choice is almost like getting access to a magical amulet, right? Isn’t learning actually a magical potion? Don’t books cast a spell on a student? Well, Stephen King has written that ‘books are a uniquely portable magic’.
Step into any place of learning and the heart knows that something magical is destined to happen. Words swirl into formations that create concepts, derivations, and definitions and one knows for sure that this wizardry is going to last until life does… and who knows, even beyond. There is a bit of Hogwarts in every college, a bit of Harry Potter or Hermione in each student and a bit a of Dumbledore in every teacher.
Teachers and students, you truly are the ‘wizards, mermaids, travelers, adventurers, and magicians. You are the true dreamers.’ And universities are like ‘the world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper’, to borrow words from W.B. Yeats. These are places that help us all live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles. I am glad to have been born to parents who considered good and wholesome education to be the greatest gift they could give their child. I am glad to have been fortunate enough to have resources to buy and read books, listen to leaders speak, and watch the experts do what my mind thought was impossible.
Note: This article was first published in Education Post – November 2020 issue – as my editorial.
Written on 02 November 2020