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Spells prohibited

· Rules for auctioning online ·

Forbidden are items which have no tangible value: this was announced on the famous online auction, eBay. They were referring to things like divination, charms, curses,  magic potions, cartomancy. From 30 August none of these can be acquired (at least not on eBay). One could ask what is tangible in the sale of a video game or and album of music when such products are precisely intangible (i.e. just a download)?

Johnna Hoff, spokeswoman for eBay, clarified, “items that have a tangible value for the item itself and may also be used in metaphysical rites and practices (for instance, jewellery, crystals, incense, candles, and books) are allowed in most cases”, but not those whose sole value is in the intangible, such as potions and charms and like. That modernity has excluded from its horizon of signification anything that even vaguely hints at  man being made, more than even flesh and bone, of the “immaterial”  has been long understood.  It was precisely at  the moment that someone proclaimed an end to all transcendence, that the backlash began – involuntarily one imagines –  with the rise of surrogate celebrations of the intangible: pseudo-religious practices (new age and other cults of various flavours).

To abolish everything that has to do with the intangible from  an online auction seems not only a contradiction but also an unintended irony, a downright gaffe. The digitalized world  has given new meaning to the word: intangible. Are the thousands of  friends one makes on social networks “tangible”? Only  recently  public figures were caught having an excessive number of fictional (intangible) followers on twitter. And one can understand if these poor fellows were amazed. In reality, what sense is there in speaking about the false and intangible in an online world when everything in that world has the substance and physicality of words written on water? There are tens of thousands of under-age persons who have profiles on the more popular social networks, when one is supposed to be an adult to open such accounts (and  age is only the first thing on the list that a user needs to fill out, we hope, truthfully). There are those who even have multiple profiles, for being fluid and intangible seems to be the key to life in this age: it might be said that everything on the internet has the colour, the scent and the contours  of the metaphysical.




St. Peter’s Square

Feb. 20, 2020