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Thread: Your Thoughts/Wishes About Magic

  1. #1
    Scala Mountains Resonance's Avatar
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    Your Thoughts/Wishes About Magic

    Quote Originally Posted by Quintessence View Post
    If only we could find a way to harness magic (or even prove it exists- I'm convinced it does), we'd be unstoppable
    That would be stellar - so far all my research points to the necessity of first creating the system which will result in the experience of 'magic' as we imagine it. People (especially smart people) are notorious for taking the wondrous, the fantastical, and the amazing (electricity? evolution? flight?) and distilling it into a well-understood and dry phenomenon to be abstracted away, memorized, and at best, engineered. Even if we did encounter such a thing as 'magic', it wouldn't stay fantastic for long, once its existence was proven and its basic behaviour analysed.

    The closest I have come to feeling like a magician (and I have explored many, many avenues) is in the manipulation of abstract symbols and instructions within a computer system, weaving arcana together to summon the spirit of the machine and force it to perform a desired task. I have a friend who is a chemist and she reports something similar: drawing on her knowledge of chemical processes and working out a formula to mix and heat and stir to create some useful compound from a set of indistinguishable reagents. It doesn't seem magical because every step is properly understood, or at least documented in a textbook - but it really is far beyond the capability of mundane folk to even guess at what processes were going on at the atomic level or why.

    So instead of 'what is magic and how do you harness it,' I would ask you, 'what do you want magic to be and how do you intend to create it?'
    Last edited by Ptah; 02-10-2015 at 07:32 PM. Reason: (Ptah: this OP split from another thread)
    Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    The closest I have come to feeling like a magician (and I have explored many, many avenues) is in the manipulation of abstract symbols and instructions within a computer system, weaving arcana together to summon the spirit of the machine and force it to perform a desired task. I have a friend who is a chemist and she reports something similar: drawing on her knowledge of chemical processes and working out a formula to mix and heat and stir to create some useful compound from a set of indistinguishable reagents. It doesn't seem magical because every step is properly understood, or at least documented in a textbook - but it really is far beyond the capability of mundane folk to even guess at what processes were going on at the atomic level or why.
    Chemistry did start as magic, in fact. Alchemy and the search for the Philosopher's Stone. A lot of art seems to have been, in the beginning, religiously inspired and considered to have special powers. Statues were not just images of gods and goddesses, but were conduits for them. Astronomy started as astrology. I'm sure there are other examples.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MarkovChain's Avatar
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    I see you like magic.
    Last edited by MarkovChain; 02-10-2015 at 08:17 PM.

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    Tsundoku LordLatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkovChain View Post

    Spoiler: I like the Dark Crystal reference.
    That's my poop stirrin' stick- Don't touch it! You don't know which end is the handle..

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    Member Aurast's Avatar
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    Simply put, magic is an effect that the observer can't confidently ascribe to a cause.

    The most magical thing to me is that there is something rather than a whole lot of nothing. By its very nature as the "first thing", the existence of the first thing can't have a cause. That would seem to make it inherently magical in a way nothing else is. So maybe I feel the most wizardly when I study the most primordial things: math, physics, cosmology. While most people don't understand how programming works, they do realize that it all lies within the domain of human understanding. So I don't think it stirs up that sense of magic like how things recognizably beyond the complete knowledge of mankind do. In that sense, nothing we create will ever be as magical as the things that were already here.

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Magic fills a similar role to religion - it satisfies the existential crisis of meaninglessness.

    Long ago, when humans understood very little about the world around them, anything they couldn't explain was magic. Magic was the province of the gods, the spirits, the good and evil forces which dictate the states of being we can't control. We'd use divining rods to tap into the mystical, using the wisdom of otherworldly forces to guide us. I Ching, from monasteries of antiquity to baccarat tables of the modern age.

    People have largely woken up to the internal inconsistencies that haunt religion, and at the same time, science has provided content and context to explain much about the world we live in. There is still a ton that we don't understand fully, but the point is that most sensible people believe that these things are explainable, even if the explanations have not yet been obtained. There's an expectation of future knowledge now, not of divine inspiration, but of gradual evolution.

    But there's a terrifying truth that comes with such knowledge - the loss of god. Just like one's parents as an infant, we look towards the heavens to define our role in the universe. As we gradually accept that god is dead, and that meaning is subjective at best, nonexistent otherwise - magic is a bit of a relief. To be able to believe that there are forces we don't understand, supermen to protect us, an escape from the responsibility for defining one's place in the universe - for some is comforting.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

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    Meae Musae Servus Hephaestus's Avatar
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    I think that understanding how amazing shit works is more magic than magic. I'd much rather be a competent Wizard than a mere user of magic trinkets.

    This should surprise no one.
    I'm suspicious of people who say they'll die for a flag but won't wear a mask for their neighbor.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MarkovChain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLatch View Post
    Spoiler: I like the Dark Crystal reference.

    Spoiler: I like the "The Holy Mountain" reference.

  9. #9
    Magic is a shamanic state of mind in which all things are holy, and I create it by doing drugs or meditating. It is shamefully easy and that is kind of why I'm a loser. Technical magic is boring and hard, takes a long attention span and time commitment and pays great. Dang.

    Luckily sober enlightenment is still a thing to attain to, so there's a goal yet. Helps the shit jobs go by easier.
    Last edited by flurps; 02-11-2015 at 06:01 AM.

  10. #10
    Married Mouth-breather JohnClay's Avatar
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    This is an interesting ebook called "Magic of the Future"
    http://www.xtrememind.com/a_amagicofthefuture.pdf

    BTW if magic really did exist it would be good if it was like it is in Harry Potter books/movies.

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