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  1. TedM
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    TedM New Member

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    A Quick word on magic, my concept. Looking for thoughts.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TedM, Jan 16, 2009.

    I just finished reading a refreshing enough fantasy series, the Sword of Truth series. I'm turning 15 in 3 months, I've decided to do some hard thinking on politics, religion, magic, knowledge, war and how socializing would work in a world. (Including the differences between Global, regional etc.)

    The SoT series was insteresting and inspirational, but I simply didn't agree with some of the concepts.
    The last few books were essentially dishing out Religion as if it is meaningless and pointless, but Religion, in my view, is a good thing. While it may start wars, wreck lives, ect. (And please do not flame me for respecting religion but: ) I think Religion gives reason for people to be nice, to respect their neighbors, to appreciate life, although in the words of the SoT, religion is just a wish for death. I completely disagree. I think religion is a self imposed limitation on thought that gives people the necessity for etiquette... this essentially describing civilization, a strive to make people equal.

    Sorry if my writing is a little choppy tonight, I'm tired, in a funk, and it's 11:24 on a school night for me.

    Here's a tid bit I wrote on magic about ten minutes ago, I'd like to see your thoughts on it, what you think about my fictional theory, how you see magic yourself, etc.

    -------------------------

    Writing a book is like spending endless hours writing a really long story, rereading it over and over until it just works. When it does, your done... like literally that’s what it is... don’t question me!?!?

    Magic, often described in books of fantasy and such is often described as a thing, or the control of elements without words, a mutation of electricity.
    But those often portray to the rules of science, and if not, only bending them slightly... I think magic is a thing of the mind. It’s a thing beyond our vision, our senses. Our world is what we gather with our senses. What we’ve seen has been light that our brains have put together into recognitions of things we believe. We feel pain, and identify with sight what gave us this pain. This in one way or another limits us. If we received extreme pain from one thing, our senses would make it as such... a thing to avoid. However, now we have the limitation of not trying what we did before... this is natural, the process of trial and error. But if we didn’t have these limitations that our mind, our eyes, our skin, our taste, our smell, our hearing, what would we be? With no tools to identify what is around us, there is nothing to be seen. Magic works in this way, only it is a limitation we enforce on our own selves. From early childhood babies can withstand pain that many scientists say would bring a person down, make them faint, or even die! These children don’t have stupid limitations on their thinking; they don’t have a block telling them what is right, what is wrong. As children mature they make their own limitations, some with much help from their parents.

    When a mother’s child is in mortal danger or something is requiring the human body to go beyond its natural limits, it will. At times of highly elevated fear, glaring at the eyes of death, people forget their limitations, they forget everything that happened. This unleashes a... a magic. Lame people will run, the weak will be strong, the slow fast, the dim smart... this, this is magic.

    But we can go beyond this slight improvement in great fear or the ignorance of our surroundings. If we can accept that limitations set upon ourselves by ourselves, we can blossom. Imagine, you desire a string of red light to float in a certain pattern for you and everyone around you to see, wouldn’t that be amazing? Magic defies itself, by the word magic you impose a nature on it. But it does not have a nature. You can use magic to do anything from duplicate a rock, to build a human being out of sticks.

    Now that brings us to our story. Magic, the item beyond the limitation of our mind, is difficult to use. No matter how much you believe that your limitations are fake, it is still difficult to for you mind, not your conscience, you inner mind, to understand. It’s like telling a child for the first time that Santa Claus isn’t real, only if the child actually believes that it’s a myth, in his fibre and being, will it dawn on him the stupidity of the lie he had been told his entire life. Now let’s flip that around. Santa, the jolly old fool, is real. He REALLY delivers presents to millions of children every year. The problem is, though, that anyone who does not believe in their true inner mind will not be able to see or remember any reference to anything Santa ever did. So you, when you were small, received a gift from Santa, an actual Santa, not some old man that your parents hired off the Wall-Mart parking lot. He really gave you the gift, and you remember your parents knowing smiles when you showed it to them. But really, your parents never knew, and if they did, now they don’t. If you ask them about that gift, they’ll nod and smile to your eye, while in real life, or life with limitations, you would have never asked the question. So basically, what happened for YOU didn’t happen for your PARENTS. For Santa is a thing of MAGIC and for a thing of magic to exist there needs to be no limitations. While you may not believe in Santa NOW, you did believe in him back then, so magic is still in your being... So, now I told you Santa is real. I’m GUESSING you don’t believe me, and if you do, you’re not 100% sure because Santa is simply against the laws of everything you know... after all, it was your parents... but was it? Maybe you are blocked from this world of magic, unable to be exposed to this magic.

    Now, this presents a problem... proof. If people can’t see magic, how can we prove it. I can’t show you a glowing red light floating in front of your face to convince you that magic is real, you must believe. Your mind must be open, though this goal is almost un-accomplishable in today’s society.
    I want to write a book about this, magic. What it is and how people come across it.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to watch the 243rd series of Seinfeld I made with magic that I can watch on my mini magic TV. (Wow... Really REALLY bad joke... not even a funny attempt... just a fail with a ph... like phail...)

    ----------------------------------

    Well, excuse me if I wrote bad or didn't make sense or jumped from topic to topic.. Oh here's another one: if I wrote in run on sentences or said or to much... or if I used my childish humor a little too much....
    WHAT CAN I SAY I'M BORED!

    Well, I hope you enjoyed my little tid bit of text, please comment on what you think about my magic theory...

    I don't totally mind you using this as a main component in anything... after all ideas are free, the outcome isn't. And this is the idea.

    Thanks and goodnight,

    Sincerely,
    TedM
     
  2. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    That is like saying, I have an invisible pony standing next to me, but you can't see it because you lack faith.

    But that idea is not new for what magic is. Matter of fact a few movies have been made about Santa that say that is exactly what magic is. If people believe in Santa then they will see him.

    Another similar idea is in Peter Pan. The fairies exist because people believe. When people stop believing the fairies die.
     
  3. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, it sounds exactly like the 'magic' system in The Matrix. If you recognize the world is false and that it has no limits, you can bend the rules. The OP's magic system applies the same logic to our world, basically saying that physics and such are false constructs and can be overcome with belief and sheer willpower.

    I'm not a fan of it. It has no limits. As such, it can easily result in a story wth no real conflict. If your MC can change the world any way s/he sees fit, what's to stand in his/her way? There has to be some kind of penalty to using this system. Outward conflict just wouldn't work because both participants would be ridiculously overpowered. I can easily see the defeated antagonist saying "I'm not dead because I don't believe I'm dead." Then he comes back to life and the battle begins again, ad infinitum.

    It seems like the only conflict you have room for is internal conflict. Maybe the protagonist is searching for absolute truth or trying to get a grip on reality. Both of these would be severely hampered if he keeps screwing with the world through magic.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm moving this to Plot Creation. There are quite a few threads here on magic systems.
     
  5. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Your document on magic theory was way too long for me to read, but by what other people have posted I can get an idea. I agree that you need limits on it or it would make for a boring story. If you could give me a more simplified statement on what you're aiming for in magic for your story I can provide you with more detailed advice.
     
  6. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with this idea. I've been considering a similar system for a project of mine, dealing with a certain combination of religion and magic, but from my perspective (as the author), there isn't really any magic in the story. I chose the system to convince the reader that there is, and make the rections of the characters believable.


    I do think that one of the issues with using such a system is reader antagonism. Reading your post, I found myself coming up with all sorts of rebuttals and rejections of your theory. There are two reasons:

    1. I don't believe in Santa(yes, I know, it was just an eaxmple; bear with me), and so it seemed a rather ridiculous way to cheat the scientific method.

    2. It really gets rid of the fun of magic (regarding some interpretations of the word) if you must have blind faith in it. Same issue with religion in some senses. If you have blind faith, then what's the point? Everything then is open to interpretation. Your dog died. As someone who believes in magic, you can see that your neighbor put a curse on it because it dug up his flowers. The judge sees it's had a heart-attack, and no traces of poison. Basically, what good is magic if it can't affect those who don't believe in it?


    On ther other hand, that second point has a whole lot of possibilities in terms of politics, religion adn general conflict in a story. :D That's the part of the idea that made it useful in the story I mentioned.
     
  7. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    "Dark City" is a movie where something like this happened.

    In that movie people had the ability to change the world anyway they wanted.

    The balance was kept because the people that could make the changes kept each other in check so no one could dominate the fabric of rality.

    That is until the gentle MC killed them all and let the few humans do what they will
     
  8. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    This was my biggest issue with the concept of magic based upon belief. If my dog died, I wouldn't waste time blaming the neighbors. I would simply believe with all my heart that the dog never died and voila my dog is alive again... at least until someone else comes along who believes the dog is still dead, at which point the pooch keels over again.

    There's no stability in this system. Reality constantly flips from one believed state to another. Alive, dead, alive, dead, alive, dead... when and how does it stop? Unless everyone in the universe believes that dog is dead or alive unanimously, the system remains in a`state of limbo.
     
  9. TedM
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    TedM New Member

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    I do agree with you that this makes a bad story.

    After all if you've seen the Matrix 2 and 3, you know it is horrible!

    I would not use this in my book, for for traditional "combat" using magic, what could you do?

    It would be like trying to drown a fish!

    I'm still working on a way to make it make sense.

    One thing I do not want to do is put any advantage (With magic) on one character, or to make it unavailable to only people born with the magical ability...

    I'm still thinking.

    Sincerely,
    TedM
     
  10. Etan Isar
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    Etan Isar Contributing Member Contributor

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    The method I used in my story with a similar system was to make it fake. Everyone believed in it, and I wanted the reader to halfway believe, but it didn't actually work.

    One reason is because I couldn't imagine how to get a good story if the idea were real...

    The problem with the system is that it has no limits. The only option I can think up is conflict between two sides, correcting what the other screws up. But it would be an ultra-fast tug-of-war. Which would either be too complicated, or not of interest... I'll have to think a bit more.
     
  11. TedM
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    TedM New Member

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    Indeed Etan, but see there could be mind controlling elements, (Perhaps from enemy magicians...?) adding limitations, there could be a limit too, for say, the "nothing is real" factor could draw a person further and further away from reality. This could render them unconscience at random moments, draw them tired and such, make muscles weaker, and make them rely on magic to move their muscles, eventually making them USELESS without magic.

    Limitations could involve taking away from things/people around you, or yourself, making a half-life generating a new problem, maybe even one that could cut them off from these ideas of no limits.

    Just some thoughts. :)
     
  12. lostpyrate
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    lostpyrate Member

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    Hmm, interesting...

    You are clearly very smart, well read and well spoken. Excellent job of communicating your conundrum. I too have a fascination with magic, but with my book, it is purely illusional for the purpose of making crimes appear different than they really are.

    As for magic, I think magic, like religion and science and other directing forces, is absolutely necessary in life, both real and imaginary. The conclusion I've come to regarding magic is that it requires 2 things to be successful: a "magician" who is skilled in his craft, and an audience that is willing to suspend their "disbelief" long enough to be entertained. This rings true at a magic show, as well as in relationships ("I'm going to love you forever, and give you flowers every week, and write you love songs and poems..." the man says to the girl he is pursuing. Of course, he can't possibly honor that kind of a committment, but the girl still gets caught up in the "magic" of the moment, suspending her disbelief for the present satisfaction of the moment), and in writing/reading books. We all want to be distracted and entertained to some degree, so we read or watch TV, and "suspend our disbelief" just long enough to enjoy the show. I view it my job as a writer to create a compelling enough scene that will capture the attention of my audience, and skillfully "transport them" to another place in their mind, and wholly entertain them. Magic is an art of deception, and involves a deciever and the willfully decieved.
     

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