A General Theory of Magic
Magic seems to be considered as an element that is opposed to religion and science. However, on page 11 of the book it states magic includes, "a whole group of practices which we seem to compare with those of religion." I agree with this statement because magic and religion is pretty similar in some aspects. These aspects include faith and believing something that is of a higher being.
The discussion of magic and religion in the book reminds me of something that I learned last quarter in my sociology of religion class. In the book, "Religion in Society: A Sociology of Religion" by Ronald Johnstone, it mentioned how magic is applied to religion. According to Johnstone, "Where magic is most likely to be practiced and condoned, people make little if any distinction between magic and religion or for that matter among scientific knowledge, religious knowledge, common sense knowledge, and magic. Knowledge is knowledge, be it scientific, religious or any other."
In the Johnstone's text it also contained a list of the similarities between Magic and Religion. Magic and religion has four similarities, according to Johnstone: 1) both are serious attempts to deal with and solve the basic problems people face; 2) both are based on faith in the existence and efficacy of powers that cannot be seen and can only be inferred by results; 3) both involve ritual activity, traditionally prescribed patterns of behavior; 4) both are bona fide elements of the group's larger culture and have well-defined norms and taboos to follow and observe. These similarities between magic and religion shows that both are not that much different after all. Both offer a supernatural answer when no solution is within reach by other means.
Religion is based on beliefs, rituals, and practices. Magic and religion both contain rituals. Both magic and religion can be found to be influential to all cultures. The following link is the wikipedia link that discuss more about magic and religion. It also mention how both are found in certain cultures and the aspect of it in artifacts and rituals
An Analysis and Explanation of Magic’:
Belief, The Effectiveness of the Ritual, Mana, and Collective States and Collective Forces
.Mauss states that he had gradually reduced his study of magic to an interest in‘Collective Forces’,
he had found that they are active in both magic and religion. He believedthese forces could explain the whole of magic and its parts. He also mentions here that all knownmagic is continuous in nature and that its elements are just reflections of the same. Therepresentations seem to have sameness about them all throughout history. Magic is actually very simple, so the collective forces involved with them should also be as simple, which means themethods and use of those methods, by the magician, should once again be just as simple
.Magic is thought of in one aspect like religion, either you believe in it or you do not. Onenegative thought on the subject could ‘topple’ the whole idea, bringing suspicion. “Even in our own days, spirits do not let non – believers into their midst”
.Under the effectiveness of ritual the author relates the following: 1. Sympathetic formulaswill not be enough to represent the total idea behind ‘Sympathetic Magic’. 2. The idea of magicalproperties, themselves, cannot explain the belief in magical facts. 3. Demonology is better suitedto dealing with rites that involve demons
definition of ‘Mana’, “Mana is not simply a force, a being, it is also an action, a quality and a state of being…it is said that all things have ‘Mana’…itis seen to be something mysterious, that which is a spiritual action between sympathetic beings”
“Magic is a social phenomenon that gives form and shape to those poorly coordinated or impotent gestures by which the needs of the individual are expressed…itdoes this through ritual and renders them effective…magic is the most childish of skills and theoldest…magic is nature”
by his and others prejudicial viewpoints. Mauss’s idea of looking at magic from both a historical and an analytical perspective was well thought out.
The book would bevery useful for anthropological research. It has been mentioned that Mauss’s book is basically a book that looks at magic of primitive culturES
the astonishing modernity of the mind of one of the century's greatest thinkers. The book offers a fascinating snapshot of magic throughout various cultures as well as deep sociological and religious insights still very much relevant today.
At a period when art, magic and science appear to be crossing paths OF PURE MADNESS