I stared out over the vast expanse of wilderness with my two alien friends watching the humans collect food and create clothing. Even as I was staring at it, I found it difficult to imagine living in a time without the modern conveniences to which I had become so accustomed. The various shades of greens and browns that comprised the forest offered no hint of indoor plumbing, highways, electricity, or cable television. The horizon was not yet lined with telephone lines, power plants, or cell phone towers.
“I wonder if they have any idea of what is to come,” I said.
“They have visions,” said Iman, “but not too far beyond their own horizons. Still, they are already showing great capacities to manifest their visions and create their own magic.”
“Magic?” I said. “What does magic have to do with it?”
“You know,” said Yewell. “Abracadabra.” With that, he vanished.
I turned to ask Iman where he went to find Yewell standing beside him, a large grin on his oblong face.
“How did you do that?”
“I thought we were discussing magic?”
“Cute. What do you do for an encore?”
“Encore?” he said. “I’ve barely begun my first act.”
“And what’s that?”
“To teach you about magic. Abracadabra.” And he vanished again.
“How long is he going to keep doing this?” I asked Iman.
“Until he grows tired of it or until you understand. I hope he grows tired of it soon.”
“Funny. What am I supposed to understand?”
“What magic is,” Yewell said from behind me.
“And what is magic?”
“Abracadabra,” he said again. As he started the first syllable, I reached out and grabbed his hand to stop him. As he finished the word, I found myself instantly transported to the other side of Iman.
“Hey, you’re picking this up faster than I thought,” said Iman.
“Uh, yeah,” I stammered. “Can we not do that again? It kinda freaks me out.”
“Yeah, that is a rather harsh one for an initiate,” said Yewell, “but I think you get the general idea.”
“So magic is saying a funny word and being generally annoying by popping from place to place?”
“No. Magic is making your imagination manifest by the power of your will. That’s what those people down there are doing. That’s what they will continue doing for the next several millennia.”
“I thought that was just life.”
“Life is magic,” said Iman. “Life was the first magic trick ever performed. From nothing came something.”
“From the imagination and will of God?” I asked.
“That’s the power they’re attaining to,” Yewell gestured toward the people in the valley. “Don’t you know what abracadabra means?”
“It’s actually derived from the Hebrew words adabra and ke. It means what I will say like what will become.”
“And that’s where magic comes from?”
“That’s what magic is,” he corrected. “Your kind has placed some sort of mystical showmanship around it as if it needs to be something extraordinary and inexplicable, but it really is much simpler than that. It is merely wishing for something to be and making it happen.”
I looked down at the people in the valley. “They’re making loincloths out of palm fronds. I fail to see the magic in that.”
“But think about where it’s leading,” Iman said. “They are creating something which didn’t previously exist. What would happen if you introduced them to a cell phone? Would they not think that was magic?”
“Sure. I guess.”
“Just as you think that my transporting myself from here to there is magic,” added Yewell. “It’s just a matter of context.”
“The point, Steve,” Iman said, “is that humans have taken this power upon themselves, the power to manifest their imaginations and create new things. They will go on to create new tools and technologies, societies and infrastructures, traditions and communications. Enmeshed in all of those things, they will be longing to find their purpose.”
“What is their purpose?”
“To find their purpose.”
“You’re talking in circles.”
“It’s all in circles, Steve. This is the beginning of the revolution.”
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Come back weekly for the next part or order your copy in ebook or paperback today!