Magic just misunderstood energy?

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by takethewarhome, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. takethewarhome midnatt klarhet Registered Senior Member

    I think so. I think that "magic" was a misnomer established by primitive peoples for what we know today to be energy. Thoughts?
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  3. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    What type of "energy"?
    How was it manipulated?
    How did they access/ generate it?
    How do descriptions of "magic" tie in with what we can do with energy today?
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  5. takethewarhome midnatt klarhet Registered Senior Member

    Any type that they might come across. For a quick example, lightning.
    Played with rocks and candles and said words in order to kid themselves into believing they can woo it to do their bidding, whatever that may be.
    Present day energy and what science can do with it is impressive, no? Isn't one of the words people oft use to describe some show of energy "magical?"
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  7. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    It is impressive, but most of the magic I've read about has been shape-changing and stuff like that, in the old myths and legends.

    Of course, on a different note, a decent (amateur) psychologist would have done wonders: a little bit of suggestion here, a look there...
    I once put a "curse" on someone who claimed he was a "black magician". After a week he could barely walk!
    The idiot convinced himself he was ill because he'd "put a spell on me" and I just told him I was "more powerful" and that I'd "reflected it".
    Every time I saw him after that I'd just say "How's your leg? Not too painful I hope"... and there he was limping and in tears after a few reinforcements.

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  8. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right; when he states that something is impossible, he is probably wrong.
    2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
    3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    -AC Clarke
  9. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member



    I was literally about to post that quote.
  10. takethewarhome midnatt klarhet Registered Senior Member

    Another: Alchemy (sort of) supports my idea. "Magic" was in the process of becoming science. Before the days of the forbidden art, wouldn't a burning chemical such as copper (which if I recall correctly) burns bright green be interpreted as some sort of magical happening?
  11. drumbeat Registered Senior Member

    How do you define magic?

    All the magic I have seen is slight of hand, tricks, deception and generally just the magician being clever.

    What does it have to do with energy?
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Sorcerers, Lovers, and Fools

    Not quite. Rather, magick and mythopoeia were early explanations for things people didn't understand.

    The difference is like an old Monster Magnet song: "Place the stones in a circle of twelve." Well, why? Because one will "anger the fire god" if the stones aren't arranged just so? Or because the fire will hop the pit and burn down the forest if it isn't properly built? The one is simply the other in less precise terms.

    Evil spirits causing disease? Whispering temptations in your ear? It's a lot different from our modern perspective as we've gained some understanding of thermodynamics and begun to comprehend how the mind works.

    Now, the thing is that I don't rule out the possibility that there are some real magicks in the world. But for now, I cannot identify them, nor their means for interacting with the real world.

    Meanwhile, in terms of "energy":

    "Energy" is a term that I can't define, at least as I'm using it now: it is uncomfortably vague, and can be twisted into all sorts of bizarre meanings. I've heard it used by sorcerers in a very precise, no-nonsense way, as something they could measure and portion out in precise increments; they even have a word for an increment, though I can't recall it at the moment. I've also heard "energy" used in casual conversation as a way of making something vague and meaningless sound precise and full of significance: "I knew she was mine when I felt the energy pass between us." I've heard natural philosophers use the word much the way sorcerers do, and fools of various flavors use it the way lovers do.

    —Steven Brust
  13. birch Valued Senior Member

    we can say that scientists or science doesn't know everything either. maybe what they think is illegitimate will one day be proven true. it just depends on if it can be or if it can't as well as if it actually is.

    i've already had experiences that science would say doesn't exist. this is only because they can't currently understand or quantify it. this is the issue, if it can't be then it's a non-issue except for those who experience it so you deal with it yourself or share with people who have had similar experiences.

    there are people who exist who have rare abilities, some have been tested to prove it. science doesn't understand why yet but nonetheless there do exist some unexplained phenomenon. for instance, there are some extremely rare people who do have some telekinetic ability. science doesn't currently understand how they do it and neither does the person. this is the stupidity of rote logic. since not everyone has that ability, therefore it must not exist some scientists would say. that's the same type of logic as concluding, not everyone has an iq over 200, therefore it's just hogwash.

    let's take an example that science may not understand. let's take for instance, psychics. their idea of a scientific experiment is subjecting someone who has an 'experience' to random tests as to whether they are basically 'psychic' as if that is an "ability" when the person may not even know what happened or why they had the revelation. this is the blindspot as well. they are not understanding the process either. the ones who say that they are 'psychics' are the con-artists and lying. these are usually just experiences that currently cannot be explained that "happen" to them, it is not an act of will. this is the stupidity of science as well. they are too rote without understanding context.

    let's take another example. a guy was in the shower and his heart suddenly in grieving pain out of the blue, so much so that it startled him. he found out later that a loved one he was extremely close to had died the very moment he was feeling this.

    let's take another example. for some reason there was this guy who had revelations of numbers. this did not occur all the time but when it did, he knew it was significant. perhaps he would pass by a street sign or see numbers on a passing bus and something inside him told him or he had a very strong sense it was significant. it was very compelling. he had a hunch, played the numbers and won some lottery money. did that happen to him all the time? hell no. does he understand the process? again, no. can it be quantified by science? absolutely not, yet.

    let's take another example. i knew this woman who had a dream the night before of a plane crash including the flight number. the next day it was in the news. did that happen to her all the time? is she psychic as in able to tell how many fingers i'm holding up behind my back? hell no. that's not how it "works."

    let's take another example. there was this man who was walking on a path and came upon an old empty bench. for some reason, a very sad and lonely feeling came over him looking at it as if the bench itself was lonely. he couldn't understand why but the feeling was so overwhelming that he took a picture of it so it wouldn't be forgotten. a bench forgotten? guess what? after the photo was processed, a hazy figure showed up in an approximation of a person sitting on the bench. does this experience happen to him all the time? no. it may be be his one and only experience like that. like, how many times is a person going to run into something like that? probably not often. does he have a special ability? probably not.

    are there con-artists and crackpots? of course but that doesn't mean all experiences are illegitimate either.

    i'm not saying science is incorrect with everything but they also have their blindspots. they can only deal with the pragmatic and general at this time.

    this is just some examples. there are numerous others.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  14. birch Valued Senior Member

    things that we pick up and are yet understood really fascinate me. it is dumb to ignore information even if it can't be concretely proven yet. it gives one something to chew on as well.

    i know someone who had open-heart surgery. he told me that something didn't feel right afterwards as if something or a part of him was 'missing', kind of like a part of one's "soul", so to speak. all of our sense of self and experiences occurs and is contained in the heart chakra. the brain is just the computer.

    what struck me was that i had some intuitive sense that it was not all in his head. it may be but it may actually not be.

    why it struck me even more was that we often dismiss the moment of loss emotionally as being imaginary or inconsequential. we also tend to think that only what we see with the naked eye is all there is. this may not be true.

    also, there was a very compelling story of a woman who was at a train station and a young man came up to her who actually looked a spitting image of her friend who was a bit older. he looked strangely out of place but couldn't put her finger on it. she was so confused and she asked him his name which is exactly the name of her friend. after he went on his way, she immediately called her friend and his girlfriend answered. she relayed what happened and there was an immediate silence. she told her that her boyfriend had gotten into an accident there when he was a teenager and actually died for a few minutes but was revived. she wondered, was that the soul fragment of the younger person that had died or was separated from the body of her friend?

    very interesting stuff but not all of it is positive of course or benign. it can be very heart wrenchingly sad to frightening or dreadful. for instance, we usually hear only about near-death experiences as being tunnels leading to light or what have you but there are also that are not positive. a woman who was by her husband on his deathbed relayed that before he passed that he suddenly had a paniced look on his face right before he passed, grabbed her and told her that 'they were coming for me' in fright.

    was it a delusion? is it just activity in the brain? we can't really say for sure or even if the light is what it appears to be either. after all, not everything that appears to be good is either, it could be a trap. the truth is usually a lot more complicated than that.

    or it could be nothing.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2011
  15. nicholas1M7 Banned Banned

    Do not merely ignore it, you should reject it altogether. Use sincerity as opposed to gullibility to sagaciously determine fact from hooey such as the wave of deluded threads generated by the recent Magical realist and the more recent Alexander. For sincerity helps guide one towards naivete - the closest to innocence a self can get.
  16. birch Valued Senior Member

    word salad. didn't even make sense.

    it's idiotic to make conclusions based on little info but there is nothing wrong with leaving things open-ended or speculative.

    don't preach to the choir, plebe nor accuse me of being gullible. you would be very incorrect.
  17. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    The first three laws of magic:

    1) Contagion : things that interact when close continue to interact when apart. Voodoo is based on contagion.

    2) Simultaneity : Something that happens way over there can effect something different that is in another place. Astrology operates on simultaneity.

    3) Payment : You can summon up an entity to take the life of your worst enemy. When he has done so he will require the life of your best friend in payment.

    Just thought I would throw these in here for laughs.
  18. birch Valued Senior Member

    maybe you will be the one who will be laughed at one day. so laugh it up. maybe one and two actually work that way in some instances or for some reason.

    we don't know everything do we? nope, we don't.
  19. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    Does it matter what we call it as long as it works?
  20. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Magic is an ancient form of science/applied science. To create an illusion, such as turning a stick into a snake, there are many considerations that need to be planned out. It is a complicated science project if you don't already know the trick. You also need to know about human nature and the limitations of the sensory systems to make the illusion work.

    Say I wanted to make the Statue of Liberty disappear using magic. One way one magician did it was to make a stage that slowly rotated, so when the curtain was opened, the audience POV had changed and the statue disappeared. This was an engineering feat; make it work without detection. If the magic trick works and nobody can figure it out, science was sort of able to step outside the laws of nature; magical. A good science trick may have been enough to establish some early religions; shock and awe.
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Science and Philosophy in Magick


    I found I was enjoying this: two sorcerers, who had to be dying to investgate one of the more remarkable discoveries in the history of magical philosophy, and they were just going to have to wait.

    —Steven Brust

    To call what he's referring to a "science" would be inappropriate. That is, were it a science, instead of calling it "amorphia", they would call it what it is. And, in this case, I'm not sure what it is, aside from saying it's the common element or energy of all things in the Universe. Raw, unshaped, and supposedly uncontained, for containing it is to define it, and in defining it one makes it something.

    In the first microseconds after the Big Bang, the Universe was a primordial something that would eventually settle into the elements we know today.

    That stuff. That's amorphia. And, yes, a contained river of amorphia on a world where the stuff isn't supposed to exist, since the fact that it exists anywhere in the Universe is a paradoxical fluke ....

    Er, anyway. Yeah, if it was a science, one would inquire differently, and the answers would have different terms, parameters, and implications.

    And what manipulates the amorphia to create sorcery—the Imperial Orb—would be called what it really is, an incredibly powerful quantum computer designed and implemented by someone who had no idea what a computer is.

    (See, that's the whole secret to understanding what's going on in Brust's universe; before he was a novelist, he was a computer programmer, and the one thing I've found consistently in twenty-five years worth of books is that if you look at it like a video game, everything starts to make sense.)

    Within the sorcery of that fantasy universe, there is, indeed, a science. But that science has no idea what it really is.

    It's kind of a paradox, and kind of not.

    But, in the end, sure, it works. And the society would have followed a much different route if it regarded "magical science" instead of "magical philosophy".

    Knowing how to twist the proverbial knobs and get the desired result? That's their magical science. Do this, do that, get a psiprint (photograph). Do this, do that, and you can talk psionically with someone miles away (telephone). Do this, do that, you can teleport (travel). Do this, do that, you can set someone on fire (flame thrower).

    What we would call science? It would want to know exactly what amorphia is, how it works, how it interacts with kyrancteur and necrophia—specifically, we would identify the parameters of its existence in the Universe, and go from there.

    Yes, I admit their sorcery would be nice, but you can't take it with you. That is, if we had a Greater Sea of Chaos and Imperial Orb on Earth, I might be able to tap the power from the moon. But I couldn't from Mars. (If you leave the Dragaeran empire itself, the effect of the Orb fades to nothing, and one loses that particular sorcerous ability.)

    If those processes were scientifically identified, one could calculate the possibility of reproducing the effects anywhere in the Universe. Practically, it makes a hell of a difference what we call it, as there is a fundamental relationship between how we perceive something and how we define it.

    (A note for my more scientifically-inclined neighbors: Yes, fantasy and fiction are excellent illustrative tools, as long as one is not doctrinally bound to perceive and calculate according to crippling literalist constraints.)
  22. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Should be easy enough, even for you

    Make you a deal, Bebelina. You don't ask insanely stupid questions, and I won't bother trying to answer them.

    Easy enough?


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