Chapter 27: Psychic Magic
Monday, September 15
"Did you all enjoy the readings on psychic magic?" asked Professor Lal as she entered the classroom, shutting the door behind her.
Most of the class, Corrie among them, muttered answers, not thinking their answers were what Professor Lal was looking for. Corrie, looking at Dawn, said "no" under her breath. She'd thought the subject would be interesting, but had found most of the readings very dry.
"Yes," called a girl from the back. "No," called a guy from the right side of the room. The rest of the class laughed.
Professor Lal smiled, walking to the desk and resting her hands on the back of the chair. "I expected reactions to be mixed. It's quite an interesting subject, but difficult to read about. Though I hope you didn't have trouble following the experiments." Again, the room was filled with murmurs, most of them agreeing with the professor this time.
She continued, "Since it is so difficult to discuss psionics, as we usually call them here at Chatoyant College, you might be thinking it would be more convenient to simply attempt to practice them. However, there is a reason the segment on psionics is in the first half rather than the second half of the semester: most of the psionic arts are particularly dependent on personal ability, rather than learning and practice, and even those that you may have a particular affinity for take a long time of practice before you will be able to see any results. We will have a day in the second half of the semester when we will attempt various psionic magic, so that everyone will have an opportunity to discover personal abilities before you choose whether to sign up for the class on psionics, in which there is much more time for practice." She pulled out the chair and sat down. "Of course, psionics is a controversial subject, not least because it is one of the few magics that people in the world are likely to believe in and you may have already developed strong opinions on the subject. Shall we begin with questions?" She gestured toward the class, indicating that it was someone else's turn to speak.
The class was silent for a moment, then a girl with a very curly ponytail raised her hand. Professor Lal nodded toward her. She lowered her hand and said, "So psychic stuff--psionics--it's real? Like, verifiable and practical?"
"As much as any other magic," said Professor Lal with a nod. "I could not say that all people who claim to be psychic truly are, especially those who claim to speak to the dead for money, but it is truly possible, for example, for someone with the right training and enough practice to bend a spoon using nothing but his or her mind. I am afraid that psionics are not an area in which I have ever had much interest, so I will not attempt to demonstrate for you. I hope that some of you have friends in Professor Rook's class--psionics is one of his areas of expertise, and he will be demonstrating a few things in their class tomorrow."
Corrie nodded and made a mental note to ask Rico about that. Of course, Dawn would probably think of it first.
Someone else asked, "So if this is all real--and a lot of those experiments proved it--why don't we hear about it more?"
"Ah, that's part of the problem," said Professor Lal. "The experiments may be published, but most scientific journals don't take them seriously, so they aren't available in any publication that is considered legitimate. You could ask the science professors here about them--and most will have heard of them, since they do work at this college--but they will not be able to find them in any of their books or journals in the library. News outlets are unlikely to take them seriously either, so by the time the information reaches you, it is likely to have been filtered through several people with varying degrees of belief in the psychic. It does seem very strange that something scientifically verifiable should not be taken seriously by the scientific community, but the world has its prejudices."
"And it's not always perfectly replicable, which is one of the rules for science," said Roe.
"Exactly," said Professor Lal, nodding toward her. "Of course, I would argue with science there, because what humans do cannot always be predicted with rules and theories. But I would be unable to persuade them."
"So..." began Roe hesitantly. Professor Lal raised her eyebrows, inviting her to continue. Roe took a deep breath. "I noticed that psychic visions weren't really mentioned in the readings. Are they not considered part of psionics?"
"Good question," said Professor Lal. Roe smiled and shrank back in her seat a little. Corrie sympathized with her--she must have been brave to bring up something so personal in class, when no one else in the room seemed to have visions.