Conventional: Supernaturally exercised power over something, whether actual (as in sorcery) or illusory (as in stage magic). In sorcery, the words of a spell can exercise power over a person, even though under natural law these words would have no such power. In stage magic, an illusionist can seem to produce a supernatural effect (e.g. causing someone to disappear), when actually he has produced only an illusion of that effect. ACIM: The ego's alternative to the miracle. Any unnatural (or "super-natural") power, which means any power apart from the Will of God, for His Will is the only power. Specifically, the power to save (or heal) that we ascribe to our own separate self, to certain special people (see T-7.V.3-4), or to various external things (see the list in W-pI.50.1:3). These powers have no real power to save us, for they have no power at all. Like the stage magician, all they can do is rearrange illusions and thus produce an illusion of salvation. Somewhere inside we know this, and so we only turn to magic when we believe that healing is impossible. From the Course's standpoint, a doctor using medicine to cure the body is a magician using magical powers and potions to produce an illusion of healing—an illusion because what has been healed (the body) is illusory and what is real (the mind) remains unhealed. However, turning to such magic can sometimes be the best approach due to our high level of fear of true healing (see T-2.IV.4, T-2.V.2:5-6). The Course mentions two types of magic (see T-2.V.2:1): 1. Mindless magic, which means using external agents (such as physical medicine) to rearrange external conditions (such as the condition of the body). 2. Miscreative magic, which means using the mind itself to directly rearrange external conditions.

One Comment

  1. Joseph Miller
    Posted October 15, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    This is an excellent explanation. Also, in stage magic something appears to have happened which really didn’t. This might be related to the Course’s notion that the sin that we wish to pin on our brother never really occurred.

    I like to think of the miracle/ magic distinction in terms of what truly ‘makes a difference’ in life. The miracle is a fundamental, lasting change (healed perception); whereas magic protects the mindset of attack and fear by externalizing the change.

    To the ego it ‘makes a difference’ that my brother is a sinner, because it justifies my exercise of condemnation and attack.

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