I'm reading "The Magicians" by Lev Grossman. (Actually, that's not true. I've been listening to it. The audiobook is great. It keeps my mind occupied while sitting in traffic.)  Entertaining book, so I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Hopefully this won't reveal too much, but if you plan to read it and want to start with a blank slate, you should probably stop reading now.

There's much said in the book about learning magic.  I'm taking math classes, and I can't help seeing parallels between learning math and the way learning magic is described in this book. If that sounds ridiculous, stick with me for a bit.

Consider the following excerpts;

"Learning magic was nothing like that. It turned out to be about as tedious as it was possible for the study of powerful and mysterious supernatural forces to be. The same way a verb has to agree with its subject, it turned out, even the simplest spell had to be modified and tweaked and inflected to agree with the time of day, the phase of the moon, the intention and purpose and precise circumstances of its casting, and a hundred other factors, all of which were tabulated in volumes of tables and charts and diagrams printed in microscopic jewel type on huge yellowing elephant-folio pages. And half of each page was taken up with footnotes listing the exceptions and irregularities and special cases, all of which had to be committed to memory, too. 
Magic was a lot wonkier than Quentin thought it would be. But there was something else to it, too, something beyond all the practicing and memorizing, beyond the dotted i’s and crossed t’s, something that never came up in March’s lectures. Quentin only sensed it, without really being able to talk about it, but there was something else you needed if a spell was going to get any purchase on the world around you. Whenever he tried to think about it he got lost in abstractions. It was something like force of will, a certain intensity of concentration, a clear vision, maybe a dash of artistic brio. If a spell was going to work, then on some gut level you had to mean it. He couldn’t explain it, but Quentin could tell when it was working. He could sense his words and gestures getting traction on the mysterious magical substrate of the universe. He could feel it physically. His fingertips got warm, and they seemed to leave trails in the air. There was a slight resistance, as if the air were getting viscous around him and pushing back against his hands and even against his lips and tongue. His mind buzzed with a caffeine-cocaine fizz. He was at the heart of a large and powerful system, he was its heart. When it was working, he knew it. And he liked it." 

― Lev GrossmanThe Magicians

“You cannot study magic. You cannot learn it. You must ingest it. Digest it. You must merge with it. And it with you.” 

― Lev GrossmanThe Magicians

I'm feeling distracted as I'm writing.  I have homework I'd like to get finished by today, and other to-do list items (groceries, bills, taxes... #yayadulting). I suppose I'll leave those quotes here for you to consider, and perhaps return to elaborate on my take.


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