Magic is real. It’s not quite like you imagine it to be and certainly not like the tricks of stage magicians. But what exactly is it, can it be measured, and can it be scientifically proven.
This is the premise of Dean Radin’s Real Magic. Radin holds a PhD and has done many experiments for psi research.
I listened to this in-between finishing A Flaw in All Magic and Solve for Happy. I could only take so much of this book at a time. And just as the process would have it, some of the sections I listened to in conjunction with Solve for Happy were entertaining. Sometimes it felt as if the two were at extreme odds with either other and I got to see two sides of how scientific minds explore similar topics. At other times, they were in agreement, but saying it in two ways based on their own life experiences.
Before I go further, let me state that part of the reason I could only listen to this for small sections at a time was two-fold. First, the material was intense. Sometimes it was hard to keep up with Radin’s thinking. That might have been easier if I’d been reading the book rather than listening to audio, especially when other thoughts could interrupt the flow of my concentration. Secondly, the narrator was hard to listen to. Toward the end, when he was reading credits or some sort of afterwards, I remember thinking that his voice had changed. It wasn’t the stodgy, old professor reading any longer, but someone I would have enjoyed listening to if he didn’t have his “scholarly persona” on.
I also disliked the parts where it felt like Radin was taking out his personal grudges on vendettas against him in the scientific community. Every time I felt that anger come through, I began to really dislike the author and his research. It seemed like he never took the high road and was the better person about it. No, he kept lowering himself to the same degrading remarks that they made about him. I could have done without it all. But, it was his platform, so I let him have his rants, though I might have fast forwarded through some of them.
One other thing that bothered me was the beginning of the audiobook where it is being set up as a futuristic archaeological study taking place approximately 900 years in the future based on an article that will be written about 80 years in the future. Yeah, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that. It felt very jarring considering I was ready for a scientific non-fiction book.
Then it went into a history of magic and magical beliefs. That was fascinating. It was nice to get a full sequence timeline as well as reasons for all the happenings.
Then we got to a modern age where experimentation of paranormal happenings became standard practice by skeptics, scientists who want to keep their limited views, and religious organizations who saw, and still see, psi activity as a threat.
All the math went over my head. I’m sure some people would love having the calculations all worked out, but I’m good with just summing it up. Sometimes all the statistics behind it seemed more like a flaunt in the face of other scientists who disagreed with Radin. Some spots felt like a true vendetta.
So, if you want to wade through all that, it is an interesting study in all types of psi phenomena. It’s a great discussion over a wide spectrum. Yes, I do plan on going back and listening to it again at some point, possibly when I find another book that I need frequent breaks with. *grin* It gave me new ideas to contemplate and maybe even some what if questions for some of my fiction.
While most of psi ability can now be scientifically proven, if you are to believe Radin’s studies, most people will still not accept it. Yes, we might get to the point that was setup in that fictionalized at the start of the book, but until we do, it remains in the realm of untruths. Maybe some day we’ll laugh at psi fiction as much as we mock some of the science fiction of the 1950’s. How silly they were back then — ha ha!