Thursday, December 01, 2011


Magicians do not claim to be practising magic in the literal sense. They see themselves as entertainers who hood-wink the public by what they call “tricks”. It is the self-styled “psychics” who are the problem who claim to be exercising special powers and who take advantage of the bereaved to make a show of pretending to contact the spirits of the dead.

Many, perhaps a majority, believe that there is life after death. Although a number of churches discourage the view, some draw the conclusion that it is therefore possible for the living to contact the dead and vice versa. This is the basis of spiritualism and its "mediums" between the living and the dead. Spiritualists have evolved an elaborate theory to explain how this is possible but most adepts are no more interested in this than the average church-goer is in theology. It's the simple, popular belief that it is possible to contact the dead that attracts them. Science is based upon knowledge and knowledge only. Observation, experiment, classification, generalisation, are its methods. Since there is no scientific evidence of life after death, it's reasonable to assume that mediums cannot be contacting the dead. So what are they doing? Some will be out-and-out frauds who are deceiving vulnerable and gullible people as a way of obtaining the money we must all obtain, one way or another, to survive under capitalism.

Socialists see humans as an animal species that has succeeded in adapting the natural world to meet its needs. We view with wonder and astonishment its magnificent accomplishments in the fields of agriculture and technology . We place our faith not in supernatural forces, but in the intelligence and knowledge of the working class. Socialist understanding is based not simply on a materialist approach to history but also on a materialist approach to the universe, and also to life – this is the only one all of us are going to get, so let's make the most of it.

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