Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Housellama » Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:24 pm

MarbitChow wrote:
Kreistor wrote:Science isn't just a method, it is also the set of discoveries made by that method.

Now you're equating science with scientific knowledge. Science is a method. Scientific knowledge is the result of that method.


Lemme see if I can cut through some of this. Let's start with some definitions. I'll divide them up into categories the way that I see it, which is pretty close to Marbit's

1. "Science"
1a. Science - Science is the scientific method. The methodical testing and verifying information that we all know and love. Or at least know.
1b. Scientific knowledge - Scientific knowledge is the summation of the results of the scientific method, no matter what it was applied to.

2. "Forces"
2a. "Physics/Physical Force" - Physical force is any force that are have a source within the material world. This also includes forces that have a physical reason that can be explained within the physical universe that we either don't know about yet or do not have an working theory for. This is gravity, electromagnetism, etc.
2b. "Magic/Magical Force" - Magical force is any force that does not have a source within the material world other than the intervention of a conscious effort of will. This is a force that is only present with the application of conscious thought and has no other source in the material world.

3. "Applied Knowledge
3a. "Technology" - Item created based on applied knowledge of physical forces.
3b. "Magic Item" - Item created based on applied knowledge of magical forces.

Science is just a process. How we learn. Scientific knowledge can be about anything. Science can be applied to baseball. To plant growth. To someone's efficiency at work. Including magic.

Gravity works whether anyone's thinking about it or not. A magnet is still a magnet even if there's no one around to affect it. All physical forces are mechanistic, in that they do not require the intervention of a consciousness. They act in ways that are logical and predictable (eventually) and happen no matter what. In some realities, this may include certain forces that we in this reality would call magical. If the force is mechanistic and works in predictable ways that work whether or not a consciousness is involved, then it is a physical force, no matter how magical it may seem to us.

The distinction between the two is that 'magic' is a force created purely from the human will alone. Using a magnet to move a paperclip to you is a physical force. It has an explainable causation withing the physical world. Magnetism is a known force that works everywhere.

Moving the paperclip with nothing but your will is not a physical force. That is a magical force. You are using a force that has no causation in the physical world and cannot be explained in any way except by the application of the human will. When you stop applying your will, the force ceases to be. And that's the distinction. Magical force has no cause that isn't based on consciousness. It is non-mechanistic. Consciousness is the key.

That's how I see it, and I believe that's probably a pretty good summary of how Marbit sees it.

If you wish to argue that 'magic' is simply a physical force that we can't explain yet, I would accept that, but that's not the argument that most magicians make. They argue that it is will alone outside of the physical universe and that is where the problem appears.
"All warfare is based on deception" - Sun Tzu, Chapter 1, Line 18, The Art of War

"The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing." - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Earth, Go Rin No Sho
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Mon Nov 07, 2011 6:08 pm

On the subject of magic, Alan Moore has a few things to say, relevant because he's spent quite a bit of time studying traditions that are associated with magic.

In brief, his stance (expressed in that clip and other places) appears to be that Magic is Art, and vice-versa, ie a way to influence or explore minds, and which also has the ambition to influence events. It is governed by rules in as much as language and art are governed by rules. Is this the "right way" to look at magic?

It's certainly not the only way, but I'm with Sieggy when he recommended reading Crowley (who among other influences Moore). There's various ways people interpret what the word "magic" means based on what their degree of familiarity is with the history of the practice. At least to some of its practicioners/hobbist followers, in which category I'd include Alan Moore and Carl Gustav Jung, magic is not so much about unexplained and unruly (though it definitely sets itself as something other than scientific explanation and physical law), less about imposing one's conscious will upon the universe, and more about navigating the maze that is one's mind.

It also means in common parlance unexplained. It also is used to mean as yet scientifically unexplained. It also is used to mean something which is capricious, unruly, lacking/not providing a principled explanation/backing/justification ("[black] magic" as used in the optimization algorithms community, "magic numbers" as used in software development).

Just how like "science" in common parlance refers to method AND knowledge gained through such, as well as a certain worldview that is often equated with materialism (in the philosophical sense).
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Sieggy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:22 pm

Science is Magick reduced to its most basic elements, subject to objective analysis. Science asks, for the most part, 'how'?
Magick is Science enhanced to art by poetry and will, reified by subjective analysis. Magick asks, for the most part, 'why'?

The textbook definition of Magick is "The art and ability to cause change to conform to will". Whether this is the conversion of U-238 to PU-239, the conversion of a gangly kid to an NBA champion, or a garage hobby to a billion dollar corporation, intense focus of will is required, only the instrumentality changes. The insight that led to Kekulé's discovery of the benzene ring was pure magick; it was will and art that was critical. Those lacking these qualities would never have been able to make the insightful leap needed for such a critical discovery

This is why the hard sciences are observational only - there is no communication, only analysis of data derived from observation. The techs at the LHC don't ask elemental particles if they have any Higgs bosons in their pockets - they smash them and see what comes flying out.

Soft sciences depend on communication, even if the communication is non-verbal. A surgeon working on your brain doesn't know you, doesn't care about you - he's working on a piece of hardware, much as a technician working on your computer doesn't care if you have your magnum opus on the hard drive . . . Which, BTW, is the greatest failing of modern medicine - it has ceased to be a healing art and has become a reparative technology. A doctor doesn't see you, he sees a case. You're not a person, you're a knee (or whatever else needs fixed).

A therapist or psychoanalyst has to communicate, to seek truths which are by definition subjective. The tragic thing that that these approaches are not mutually exclusive, in fact, I suspect one of the great philosophical challenges of the 21st century will be to synthesize them. I think one could make the case that Einstein was the world's greatest composer, as he wrote the score that describes the music of reality, and Beethoven was history's greatest sound engineer . . .
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Housellama » Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:25 pm

Sieggy wrote:This is why the hard sciences are observational only - there is no communication, only analysis of data derived from observation.


I would disagree with you there, or at least think that your definition needs tweaking. All science is transactional. That's the very heart of the observation problem. The scientific method requires that variables be changed and that tests be run. In that process, there is a transaction between the scientist(s) and the environment. A transaction has taken place. When the results are viewed, another transaction has taken place. Both the viewer and the thing being viewed are affected by the process.

Hard science, soft science, it doesn't matter. Anytime an observation is made, a transaction has taken place. "Communication", the way you are using it, need not occur for objects to be affected by one another.
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"The principle of strategy is to know ten thousand things by having one thing." - Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Earth, Go Rin No Sho
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Sieggy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:09 pm

Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights on this.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Sieggy » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:19 pm

Sieggy wrote:Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights.
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Re: Inner Peace (Through Superior Firepower) – Episode 002

Postby Housellama » Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:41 pm

Sieggy wrote:Transaction is not communication - that implies a give / get, an exchange. An experiment is conducted on a passive medium, and changes are interpreted. When dealing with sentience, you have to deal with the fact that subjective, and immeasurable variables creep in. If the chimp you're testing is in a crappy mood that day, it can skew your observations inexplicably. But then, that's a being capable of communication, even at a rudimentary level. Protozoa, OTOH, is not an issue as no one has ever found a happy or sad paramecium.

You might want to read some Ken Wilber on this, he has some exceptionally interesting insights on this.


Never argued that it was. However, sentience is not required on both sides of the equation change to occur. That's the point of the observation problem. When you get down to a certain level, it becomes impossible to observe something without changing it. In order to 'see' things that tiny you have to bounce something else off of it. That inherently changes the thing being observed. It's no longer in the state you sought to observe it in, because the act of observing it changed it. I'm not even going to get into quantum information theory because that stuff gets really booping weird.

Even things outside of quantum physics are affected by observation. Especially since no real experiment is ever passive. If you're running a correlation study, sure. That could be called passive observation. Even then though, you're still having an effect on the object. Even something as simple as walking closer to a rock to get a better view. You are changing the gravitational forces on the rock, the weight on the ground around the rock. Your breath is affecting air currents that interact with the rock. Your body heat also interacts with the environment in ways that affect the rock. Just BEING there to observe it inherently causes changes. By the same token, the rock's proximity is having similar effects on you. See the problem?

So communication, yeah, then you're getting into theory of mind and philosophy. But you don't even need to go that far to find influences based on interactions between two agents. Simple physics will do that for you.
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