Microbial Magic

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Spiritual Journey

I woke up in the morning to discover there’d been an escape attempt. The thick deep red-purple liquid sprawled across my kitchen floor from where the ‘must’ had risen up and overwhelmed the airlock on the demijohn. It was a mix of words and terms I’d never thought I’d use in that way outside of a sci-fi story.

As soon as I’d finished filtering the must into the huge glass jar I got a sense that something very special was happening. The initial fermentation hd led to nothing more dramatic than a very full plastic bowl of sugary fruity water sitting on my kitchen worktop. But not it was confined I could see the endless stream of bubbles careening up the sides, gathering at the top and forcing the lid of the airlock to rise and fall with regular staccato ‘pop’s. It was fascinating. And I had made this thing happen, provided for it, guided the pieces into place. For a short while at least I had given a living thing the perfect home, warmth and food and an environment in which to thrive. Why mince words about it, right now, for those yeast cells, I’m as near as damn-it to a god.

So yes, brewing is magic. Which kind if drags me back to a question I’ve been having about magic. You see, the idea of magic being something fundamentally unknowable, something that’s evoked solely for the inexplicable does not sit well with me. It’s somewhat akin to the “god fo the gaps” idea, in which mysticism only features in the places that haven’t been thoroughly plundered by science. It’s a dangerous approach and one that leads to a gradual painting into the corner. That’s not the way I see magic.

There are times magic is explicable by other means. Those tarot cards aren’t actually connected to anything mystical, it’s just random brain stimulation allowing you to access your subconscious, etc. No, screw that, because that approach falls foul of another fallacy, that the answer you get depends on the question you ask. If all you look at is the mechanism, you’ll get a mechanistic answer.

Put another way, don’t worry about how it works just so long as it works.

So yeah, home-brew, it’s magical.


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