moore’s magic

Alan Moore
On Wikipedia I found the following quote from the Philip K. Dick of our times, Alan Moore, author of e.g. Watchmen,’ V for Vendetta,’ From Hell,’ and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,’ illustrating his quite secular vision of magic—the vision of a real magician:

I believe that magic is art, and that art, whether that be music, writing, sculpture, or any other form, is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness … Indeed to cast a spell is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a shaman. (Alan Moore in Vylenz 2005)

Compare that to David Abram‘s (magician, anthropologist, and author of ‘The spell of the sensuous,’ 1996) notion of magic:

You know, we open up the newspaper in the morning and we focus our eyes on these little inert bits of ink on the page, and we immediately hear voices and we see visions and we experience conversations happening in other places and times. That is magic! (David Abram in Abram & London 1999)

ABRAM, DAVID. 1996. The spell of the sensuous: Perception and language in a more-than-human world. New York: Vintage Books.
ABRAM, DAVID AND SCOTT LONDON. 1999. The ecology of magic: An Interview with David Abram. Electronic document. Available online:
VYLENZ, DEZ. 2005. The mindscape of Alan Moore [documentary film]. London, Amsterdam, Wien: Shadowsnake Films, Tale Filmproduktion.
  • metropoli Wednesday, 23rd March 2011 at 18:21

    The writing of lists has long been considered a form of magic, and you could say that a buddhist mantra or sutra is magic–a chain of phonemes or syllables that has a literal meaning and a purpose in the physical and/or incorporeal world.

    It’s interesting the a pencil has always been a branch of tree/piece of wood filled with lead or graphite and a magic wand a branch of a particular kind of tree possibly filled with another material to amplify its magical nature. Pens take a similar shape and are filled with ink(or the inc cartridge is filled with ink), which allows it to be used as a writing instrument.

    • zephyrin_xirdal Friday, 25th March 2011 at 18:58

      That’s an interesting idea, indeed :-) I never had the association between a magic wand and a pencil, I have to confess.

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