I found this question on Quora.

Here’s my answer:

Magic is not really a thing. Magic is a way of thinking.

Imagine you see a man in wizard robes gesture at a car just before it bursts into flame.

If you think “Wow, magic!” you are engaged in magical thinking.

If you think “I wonder how that happened…” you have taken a step toward scientific thinking.

Your reaction is the true difference.

If you investigate scientifically and discover that the man caused the fire in some manner previously unknown to science, you’re just expanding science’s knowledge. You haven’t discovered magic any more than the discovery of electricity was magical.

Magic is a word that makes you stop thinking. That’s its purpose.