- Category: Sociology & Psychology of Religion
Dualism is nonsense — and incompatible with magic.
As I mentioned in the last column, the idea that magic and the “real” (physical) world are incompatible is rooted in Western Dualism. The belief that spiritual/ magical/ artistic matters and physical/ fleshly/ worldly ones are so distinct from one another as to have nothing in common is nonsense, but has nonetheless been the dominant paradigm for over 2,500 years. Zoroaster started it, Gnosticism (which was essentially the pre- and early-Christian “new age” movement), Christianity, and Islam continued it; and it then infected Judaism, and the modern philosophy of Scientistic Materialism is perhaps its ultimate triumph. Through the lens of dualism, the “debunking” of all things paradigm-challenging continues to this very day.