Humans are endowed with imagination, and this has aided us in the symbolic medium of language. We can communicate beyond the easily apparent. We can describe a far-off land, or even better – abstract concepts.
An experiment I try with every first year class is to ask them to show me “one.” I am then usually presented with an assortment of single fingers, pens, and books. To which I respond, that is a finger, pen, etc. Some then turn to writing the figure “1,” to which I respond, “Then show me five.” To this I am offered a “5.” I in turn say, “There is only one symbol there.” The end comes with the realisation that one or five are merely concepts. You can see “one.” One pencil, yes; “one,” no.
So it is that our language captures the concepts and constructions of our imaginations. It is indeed a kind of magic. I can tell you of a peaceful lagoon, with waters that glisten with the lustre of crumpled foil, that has been smoothed out. The blue is that of a robin’s egg, and the sand a coral white. Many of you will be able to share this invisible image with me.
There is the wizardry. We as adepts in our own tongues can create “reality” from nothing!
How absolutely powerful is the creation account of the Judeo-Christian scriptures? For we in our use of language are “in the image of God.” God said in Genesis “Let there be . . .” and it was so. In John’s gospel we similarly see, “In the beginning was The Word . . .” and nothing that was made was made without Him. God created with words, and so do we. [Don’t get me wrong, and think I am equating creation with “magic,” I am merely illustrating the power of words, and any verbal creation of ours must by necessity pale to true physical creation].
We then, as agents of this verbal power should create with good intention. The words we use to paint a sunset, can also be used to bring darkness on the soul of the one we criticise. With great power verbal magicians, comes great responsibility.