Reader, friend, and Boomershooter Sean sent me a link to this article in the Weekly Standard, Return of the Tribes. It’s kind of a long article but all very interesting. Near the end is a section on Magic vs. jihad and from there Peters goes on to explain that “magic” is an essential part of dealing with people and how the magic of the forests and jungles in the hands of people that didn’t even have the wheel defeated the Muslim jihad that had swept through nearly every other culture the Muslim encountered:
The spread of Islam into Europe and Africa struck very different, but equally potent, barriers in the north and south. In Europe, it could not overcome a rival monotheist faith with its own universalist vision. In West Africa, Islam stopped, roughly five centuries ago, when it left the deserts and grasslands to enter the African forest, that potent domain of magic.
It should excite far more interest than it has that a warrior faith with an unparalleled record of conquest and conversion dead-ended when it reached the realms of illiterate tribes that had not mastered the wheel: In the forests of sub-Saharan Africa, Islam could not conquer, could not convert, and could not convince. On their own turf, local beliefs proved more powerful than a faith that had swept over “civilized” continents.
His thesis is that essentially all people need magic in their lives. In our country we have our own substitutes for it. As Sean rightly surmised this would push a button of mine. Magic???? We don’t need to stinking magic! Well… maybe I don’t but most people do and failure to take this into account will result in unexpected results when you deal with them.
As Barb points out at times I am frequently bewildered at the unexpected results when I deal with people. Apparently it’s not that they are stupid, as I would like to claim, but that they believe in magic. I guess I can buy that. From airplane security to gun control to socialized medicine they all believe in magic not realizing it’s nothing but a comforting illusion.