First, you must know I am a very enthusiastic fan of Harry Potter and his universe. I am not embarrassed by this in any way, but I have not reached true fangirl status (dressing up, fan mail, fapping to movie posters and the like). Still, if the HP universe existed, I would be leaking happiness! You would hear me squeal out various spells as I breezed past you on my broom.
I’ve been cruising AverageWizard (which is filled with many more intense fans than myself) and imagining what it would be like if my life truly was magical. Would being a skeptic mean something different than it does today? If magic existed, would we believe in a supernatural realm? What would be the cause of this magic? Since many spells fight the natural laws of our current universe, would these laws endure in the Harry Potter universe? Would there perhaps be new ways to explain magical events like transfiguration, immortal life, and flying broomsticks?
And as usual, I find that I am not the first to think of such things. Take Roger Highfield’s book The Science of Harry Potter for example.
[Highfield uses] the Potter corpus as the launching pad for a wonderful foray into genetics, biology, quantum theory, behaviorism, mythology, folklore, and more, bolstered by drawing on and extrapolating from the work of a great variety of scientists and scholars. Magic, like science, he states, affords many insights into the workings of the human brain, which he designates as the greatest wizard of all. Whether dealing with flying broomsticks, Quidditch, or Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, Highfield demonstrates how Muggle science has a leg up on many of the phenomena in Harry’s world. The book’s second half focuses more on the origins of magical thinking.
George Plitnik, a physics professor at Frostburg State University, even offered a seminar using the book. Talk about making science fun to learn!
So, would life be different for you if magic existed? Do you think supernatural beliefs would be more or less rampant in society? Would Jesus Christ have been a magician instead of a rabbi? Would we be suffering from the same crises of war, hunger, environmental pollution, and poverty? Would Harry Potter be the messiah in our next religion? Could a Satan myth exist in this world as the ruler of all dark magic?
P.S. Just in case you didn’t know, Daniel Radcliffe, the actor behind Harry Potter, is an atheist!