Inventing Reality – What’s in a word?

People say sometimes that technology has lost its magic – its joy, its wonder, its meaning. But if technology has lost its magic, has magic lost its technology?

Magic, technology: two awkward words. But what’s in the words themselves?

And what do we mean by magic and technology anyway? How do we define those words?

It’s usually magic or technology: two separate worlds, and never the twain shall meet. One world is real, the other false, you’d probably say: and your choice as to which is the ‘true’ one will say a lot about your point of view.

But the purpose of this study is to put the two words together: to look at them in an old way rather than a new one, a world in which magic and technology meet. In defining a word like ‘magic’ or ‘technology’, we limit its range of meaning; if we undefine the words rather than define them – use them to describe rather than delimit – we open them to a wider context in which both words and their many meanings can work with each other. An exercise in thinking about thinking, and in exploring the often strange places to which this takes us.

In doing this, we can find a framework in which ideas and actions can be useful in practice – one in which both magic and technology make sense in the real world we experience. The result should help us to put the magic back into technology, and the technology back into magic – moving towards a magical technology.

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