The Age of Magic and Information
throughout the body? You would probably answer patiently, “The heart pumps the blood throughout the body, ” charmed and seduced by my natural curiosity. However, being an inquisitive sort, I would not be satisfied by that answer, “HOW does the heart pump the blood throughout the body,” I would insist. “The heart is controlled by a part of the brain that automatically sends an electrical impulse to it,’” you would say. “How does the brain do THAT” I would ask, “and how does the brain know HOW MANY times the heart should beat” At this point you would probably be looking for a piece of candy to give me or trying to find some other way to distract me or divert my attention. Any 5 year old child can bring the curtain down quickly on our mental arrogance, on our thinking we really understand how things work.
We live in a magical universe. Every facet and function and nuance of life is miraculous, mysterious and, to use a very overused adjective these days: Awesome. We associate the term m agic with sleight of hand showmen, who create entertaining illusions, clever deceptions. But real magic is the magic of reality, the magic of nature and the universe. For instance the magic of a flower, the magical transformation of a seed into a plant, then into a flowerChildren see the world as magical, and they are right, it is. Adults stop noticing the everyday miracle of life as our accumulation of facts about the world replaces the awe that once filled our hearts and minds. The child may ask, “How does a plant grow from a seed?” And we would tell the child of water and soil and sunlight, careful not to confuse him with big words like “photosynthesis” and other advanced concepts that we adults understand. We equate the viewpoint of children with the viewpoint of the uninformed and uneducated. But I wish to start off this book with a question. Do we really understand what we think we know?
For instance, if I was a child and asked the question, “How does blood circulate