David Abram Ecology of Magic

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Humans are born from and return to earth at death; human beings and nature are bound up each other. Yet, the technological modern world has shaped humans to be oblivious of nature and the ethnocentrism has positioned human beings above all other things. Nature has become resources for people and nothing more than that. David Abram, the author of the Ecology of magic, travels into the wild, traditional land in search of the relation between magic and nature; the meaning nature holds in the traditional cultures. Abram intends to communicate his realization of the magical awareness of the countless nonhuman entities and the necessity of the balance between the human communities and the nature to the readers, hoping the Western technologized people to regard nature with respect and wonder. The perceptional differences Westerners and the traditional people hold in regard of nature should be transcended to achieve equilibrium and consequently bring about a healthier society.

What is it that Abram experiences in the traditional land of Indonesia? Abram is also one of the Westerners who lived all his life in the modern technological world; he once was a person who did not know the true value of nature. However, in the traditional, oral land, the author succeeds in overcoming the perceptional differences and realizes the importance nature holds in his life. During the travel, Abram purposefully encounters and befriends the traditional magicians or sorcerers with his sleight of hand magic that buys interest from them. As the author states, “For magicians – whether modern entertainers or indigenous tribal sorcerers – have in common the fact that they work with the malleable texture of perception” (Abram, 3), the common ground of ‘working with the malleable texture of perception’ has let Abram to look more closely into the activities the magicians perform in the traditional oral land. As Abram works his hands to trick the audience, thereby working with the perceptions of...
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