Is Magic Our Last Best Hope?

Douglas Rushkoff
5 min readNov 3

Mitch Horowitz on a special Team Human Live, recorded at Caveat Lounge in NYC

Below, an excerpt from a great discussion I had with occult scholar and author Mitch Horowitz at the Caveat Lounge in NYC on October 30, 2023. To listen to the whole interview, click on the link below, or see the Team Human feed information at the bottom of this post.

Douglas Rushkoff
Sometimes it feels as if our civilization is past the point of no return, and I should just do palliative care on humanity. Which isn’t a terrible thing in itself: play in the band on the deck of the Titanic as it’s going down? That’s sacred, right? But what I’ve started to wonder is, if there’s no technosolution out of this mess coming from Monsanto or nanotech, then maybe magic is our last best hope. Is it?

Mitch Horowitz
Is magic our last best hope? Well…I’ll give you my viewpoint on magic and you and the attendees can determine whether it meets that criteria of being our last best hope. One of the things that I’ve been really interested in over the past several years — and I think we’ve talked about this on the pod before — is this question of whether the individual can have a warranted, finely grounded, defensible belief in the extraphysical capacities of the psyche. And I believe that that is true. I think we as a human community have enough evidence — not only from centuries or millennia of testimony and human experience, which I value enormously as a record, but also through the hard sciences, the psychical sciences, including sciences that are not controversial at all, like neuroplasticity to demonstrate that what we call a thought (which is something that our civilization has never even defined, even as we barrel towards something called artificial intelligence) what we call a thought is capable of shaping and affecting the matter that gives rise to it. And that is an absolutely defensible statement, which I won’t belabor here, but I’ve written whole books on that topic.

And once that individual has the warranted belief — the finely grounded belief that the mind has extraphysical capacities — my question about magic, which is a way in which you harness this extra physical belief, my…

Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast