“Black magic”

I believe that the black magic of witchcraft has been much more practical and much less poetical than the white magic of mythology.  I fancy the garden of the witch has been kept much more carefully than the woodland of the nymph. I fancy the evil field has even been more fruitful than the good. To start with, some impulse, perhaps a sort of desperate impulse, drove men to the darker powers when dealing with practical problems. There was a sort of secret and perverse feeling that the darker powers would really do things; that they had no nonsense about them. And indeed that popular phase exactly expresses the point. The gods of mere mythology had a great deal of nonsense about them. They had a great deal of good nonsense about them; in the happy and hilarious sense in which we talk of the nonsense of Jabberwocky or the Land where Jumblies live. But the man consulting a demon felt as many a man has felt in consulting a detective, especially a private detective; that it was dirty work but the work would really be done. A man did not exactly go into the wood to meet a nymph; he rather went with the hope of meeting a nymph.  It was an adventure rather than an assignation.  But the devil really kept his appointments and even in one sense kept his promises; even if a man sometimes wished afterwards, like Macbeth, that he had broken them.

The Everlasting Man (1925).

Published in: on August 5, 2009 at 7:11 am  Comments (1)  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://chesterton.wordpress.com/2009/08/05/black-magic/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Peter Kreeft remarks in one of his talks that there is an interesting relationship between religion, magic, science, and technology. If given these four things and two “boxes,” and then told to place two similar things into each box, people generally place magic and religion into one box and science and technology into the other. However, it is more reasonable to place religion and science into once box and magic and technology into the other, because religion and science are both means at understanding the world, whereas magic and technology are both means of controlling the world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: