Sun, 3 Mar 2002 18:56:32 -0500 (Eastern Standard Time)
> >I had the exact same conversion, from a strict materialist to an agnostic
> Is a strict materialist someone who believes: "Whoever dies with the
> most toys wins!"?
My meaning of materialism is that magic doesn't exist. I have never
believed that dying with the most toys is the goal, and I strongly
disagree that this is implied by materialism. Materialism is not a flavor
> I think that 'whether people benefit from believing in magic' is a
> worthy topic for discussion (not that we haven't covered it more or less
> I think that (the royal) we are worse off with the majority believing in
> magic for many reasons.
...there's a a kind of belief in magic that's about finding emotional
support in a hard world. EG, people going to fortune tellers because
they're cheaper than shrinks, people having religious visions that amount
to facing up to important stuff, etc.
I remember a peak life experience in a homemade sauna in the woods with
some good friends. My friends were hardcore new agers -- one worked for a
psychic hotline and actually believed in what she said on the phone. My
pals sprinkled, ahem, healing herbs on the hot stones and chanted and did
all that kind of stuff. It was hard for me to suspend credibility, but to
the degree that I was able to it made the experience better. I had a
great time sweating my ass off and bonding with a bunch of other chubby
naked people, whether or not sage smoke in your eyes has magic properties.