It's a Kind of Magic

The romantics were known for writing stories filled with magic and dreams. They tried to escape their dull lives by creating new worlds with their words. These worlds were a stark contrast to the industrialized civilization surrounding the authors. With every new invention and every scientific explanation the world lost a bit of its magic. At least, that is how the romantics felt about it. They called this process 'Die Entzauberung der Welt' (or 'the world's disenchantment' which sounds much more boring if you ask me).

Over a century later our knowledge of the world and its mechanisms is far bigger than the romantics could have ever imagined. We already know so many things and yet there's so much more stuff we don't even have a clue about. But still we get tangled up and we feel like we could know anything, if only we wanted to (I stole this bit from Max Weber). We feel powerful and smart and chosen to be the rulers of the world if only for our knowledge.

How much do we really know, though? Humanity as a whole certainly knows a shit ton of stuff. But a single person can never know all of this. You can learn as much as you want, read as many dissertations, you're not gonna remember everything, you're not gonna understand everything and you're gonna forget most of it eventually.
There used to be polymaths, like Goethe, da Vinci or Galileo and their existence was possible due to the single fact that they didn't know as much as we do now. There's way to much information to gather nowadays even in one area of expertise, let alone more than one. Polymaths decreased as knowledge grew.
Has the amount of one person's knowledge grown though? In comparison to farmers from the middle ages, yes, probably. But an average person working in a regular job may not know as much as the polymaths used to. Considering this, does the disenchantment really take place?

When I use my smartphone, I usually don't think about how it works. And when I do, I feel like my head's about to explode. To me, it's magical that this little device can do so many amazing things. May it be calculating, calling people on the other side of the world or snapchat filters that make me look like a dog.
I took an IT class in school and although my teacher was an incompetent mess, I somehow learned a thing or two about computers. We learned how to take them apart and rebuild 'em for example. And what was a mystery to me beforehand, suddenly became even more baffling. To know how these things work and how they're put together is a kind of magic, too. In my opinion, the world's magic doesn't get stolen with new inventions, it gets bigger. The more complex our machines are, the more breathtaking they become.

Sometimes we forget how amazing and interesting our world really is and it helps to see it through the eyes of a child. A child sees a plane and is amazed that we got this monstrous metal thing to fly through the air while most adults take it for granted. If we let a bit of our inner child come out every now and then and look at the world like we've never seen it before, we might be more grateful for the knowledge that is available to us and all the amazing things that come with it. And we would certainly feel like we got thrown right into one of the romantics' magical worlds.

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