It occurs to me that magic, by definition, doesn't exist. The definitions presented by the dictionary are distinctly unsatisfying; most refer to the occult or supernatural. But when it comes down to it, something is "magic" if it simply cannot be.
All kinds of things (for example, predicting the future, influencing the weather, or instantaneously appearing and disappearing) are dubbed magic. We name a thing magic if we cannot tell how it could possibly happen. Either we know it to be impossible on the face of it (levitation, invisibility, etc.) or we know that it can be done, but not without certain prerequisites that aren't currently present (moving from one location to another without travelling the space in between, for example).
It has been argued that we need magic. I won't disagree; one of my favorite quotes is "Logic gives man what he needs; magic gives him what he wants" (Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction). But in terms of what stock we put in it, it's important to recognize just what we categorize as magic. It seems that, for all practical purposes, magic is the same as imagination. It just now occurred to me that they even seem to share a common root... I'll have to crack open the OED on that one sometime. We do, I think, need the ability to conceive of and comprehend the impossible; otherwise, new things never become possible. But knowing the difference between imagining a way to cure cancer with crystals and actually believing that you can do it, right now, can be a life and death matter.
There is still a lot in this world we don't understand. Most of it has to do with how we work; we're still quite foggy on just what makes us self-aware, intelligent, or even alive. We can say "this is alive" and "this is not alive," but we don't know how to go from one to the other (without using a currently living organism to process the non-living matter, anyway). But calling such a thing "magic" can be misleading. It implies, to many people, that it not only isn't possible for us to do now, but that it never can be understood; that its very nature is supernatural, which of course is a paradox.
Ok, done babbling, back to calculating mortgage payments for my math homework that was due last week... and I'll be dreaming of some magical way to have all my homework done while I read