Primal Science

In some ways, for the primitives, magic resembles scientific processes much more than we at first might think. There is a certain manner of long-range determinations that have been made regarding the various techniques and fetishes used to subdue the natural world, often the failure of magical theory might result in the death of a magical “scientist”, rather than the mere refutation or downfall of a theory. Our more modern understanding and cultural vocabulary of magic relates to a world of super nature and fairy tales, speaks of powers from beyond, or calls upon numinous systems and energies that override the material systems. Early magical systems may not have differentiated themselves in this particular way. There may not have been this now declared dichotomy between nature and super nature, indeed this split may never prove to exist. Whatever works, Frazer concludes, is science; whatever doesn’t work, that is magic.

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