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How I define magic

The ability to achieve results through the use of non-linear methods.

Good magic is the ability to achieve desired results consistently, through the use of non-linear methods.

Moral magic is the desire to bring about results without harming innocents....

Of course to some extant even after all is said and done, it is still true, that "I may not know what magic is, but I know it when I see it."

to paraphrase the classic art line.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Ooh, non-linear. Good phrase. I think you're right - magic is mysterious! There is a sense in which we all fall short of explaining it but then we can point to it and go "ah-ha!"
May. 2nd, 2010 04:23 pm (UTC)
I've prefer "acausal" to "non-linear".
May. 2nd, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
The prefix "a" means "not." Thus, acausal would mean not-causal. How can one produce an effect without being causal?
May. 6th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
My use of "acausal" is influenced by Jung's descriptions of synchronicity. (Which is NOT to say that Jung's model of synchronicity is a sufficient model of magical "causality".) I'm not suggesting that there is no component of "causality", but that the standard mechanistic model of causality doesn't encompass the complexity of how magic works. What's more, magical "causality" doesn't necessarily occur in conventional time sequence; in magic, the "effect" can precede the "cause", which is forbidden in conventional causality.
May. 6th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
That's not entirely true. Perhaps you should check out some Aristotelian notions of causality.
May. 6th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Perhaps you should check out some Aristotelian notions of causality.

I have--thought it's been many years. I did write "standard mechanistic model of causality" for a reason. (In general, I strongly believe in using the fewest sufficient words.) I am familiar enough with the history of ideas in the West to know that understandings of causality have shifted over time. (Though nowhere near familiar enough to trace those changes. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a philosopher.) However, so far as I remember, nothing in Aristotle mentions effect preceding an efficient cause. Can you tell me where I would find that?
May. 8th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
You'd find it in his discussions of teleology. He discusses how the effect can be a cause, for instance, in the goal-driven concept he has of species. He wasn't an evolutionist, but it's by no means an alien concept in traditional philosophy (and that's one area in which I'm an expert, as much as one can be at my stage of the game - I'm getting a PhD in it).
May. 3rd, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
Acausal in what sense of the word? At the most basic- "having no cause" I have issues with- for if magic works without cause, then nothing I do or don't do really matters. I'm simply hoping that whatever whim bring about such change winds up in my favor.

I find spells and methods can be tweaked, refined, honed and even codified. Though given that magic is still an art more than a science- all of that work also tends to be highly personal- and may even be counter to your own findings.
However, as shared experience increases it also becomes more and more likely that a spell that works for one person will also work for another.

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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