Mike posted a thought provoking entry recently on the luxury of energy, noting that the fact that so many people can study magic is a luxury of time that we have access to, that previous generations didn’t have. I agree with him. If you look at the people who were in the Golden Dawn in the late Nineteenth century, all of them were very well off and had the time to study magic. You didn’t see people working at factories having time to study magic (and probably didn’t even know about it, beyond superstitious beliefs).
We do have the gift of free time, but its not just the luxury of time, it’s also the luxury of education and information. We have a level of access to education and information that makes it much easier to find information out on just about any subject out there. The real challenge is sifting through the information to find what’s really useful.
Nick Farrell also made an intriguing point when he notes that the best time to be involved in magic isn’t in centuries past, but in the present. There’s definitely some truth to that, when you consider that the level of information and collaboration that’s available is much higher than it likely would have been in the past. The fact is most modern magicians are fortunate because we have an availability of time and energy we’d likely not have if we lived one hundred years in the past. The immediate needs of survival are much easier to meet when everything that’s needed for survival is easy to access.
So yeah I think a magic is a luxury of modern times. And I have no problem with that because having that luxury is something I enjoy immensely. It’s a significant part of my life and having the time to study and experiment has enriched the quality of life beyond measure.