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How to explain technocrats not knowing , some of their effects are obviously magical?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post

    I liked your theory, but does the books say that? That they think you must be crazy to be able to shoot fireballs?

    That's another thing i always wondered, how the technocrats explain mages casting spells just with their hands/voices/wands and why they don't tey to learn that, since it seems a lot more easier and independent.
    Shooting fireballs (outside of special exceptions like fireball-generating implanted tech, for example, and psionic pyrokinesis) is reality deviance. Every book (practically) underlines this idea that RDs are crazy or unmutual or not fit for existence.

    And the majority of Mages could have more convenient beliefs and practices. In fact, it would be very convenient for me to believe that charitable/kind acts were for suckers, and that the only morally righteous thing to do is follow a doctrine of Rational Self-Interest. But that's not what I believe, and I can't change it on a whim for the sake of convenience.

    Black Suit simply doesn't believe in "magic", in a word. Hermetic Apprentice doesn't believe he can conjure fireballs with his smart phone. They'd both have an easier time, arguably, if they had technomystic/magi-technical beliefs which let them create fireballs using smart phones, but they don't believe that reality works like that. Even if they accept that other "mages" can perform magick that way (very likely for the Hermetic, who sees Virtual Adepts about their business, and potentially possible for the Black Suit who constantly witnesses Reality Deviance and might realize that he has the potential to do what they do), they simply won't because of their principled beliefs.

    It all comes back to Focus; Magick depends on it. And Focus = Paradigm + Practice + Instruments. The Black Suit is able to act as a Mage because his Might Makes Right Paradigm feeds neatly into his Martial Arts / Hypertech / Social Domination Practice, which he performs with Weapons, Vehicles, IDs and Warrants, Gadgets and Devices etc. etc. He's able to alter Reality because he believes in something very strongly. He can't flippantly decide to embrace something else because it's "easy", especially while being a servant of the Technocratic Union, who reject many practices as unmutual.

    To almost the same extent this applies to our Hermetic. Sure, he could draw the Pentagram and Circles with a Graphics Pad, and do everything digitally, but he likes the way he does magick. It's what he's good at. If he took the time to develop Computer/Science to match his Occult/Esoterica/High Ritual, then the two might be equivalent. But he's heavily invested, both in terms of Dots on the sheet and concept, into the Hermetic Practice. It isn't a simple matter of him going "well this would be easier in this day and age". Hermetics are proud; THIS DAY AND AGE IS WRONG. Magick still exists, and every time I do things MY WAY I prove that.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Enginseer-42 View Post

      That's true. Because 90% of Technocrats aren't mages. The Enlightened portion of the Technocracy is not the majority of the organization.

      Anyone enlightened enough to use procedures knows what they're doing.
      I believe other books explicitly state it is true even for enlightened members. Honestly you can tell just by reading the character profiles for various members > lower ranking technocratic mages think as scientists, while the roleplaying hints on some higher ranking ones has them explicitly admit that they are mages

      It was even true back in the time of the order of reason, with the outer labyrinth not knowing that they are altering reality

      Edit: so, i just thought that maybe lower ranking(but enlightened) technocrats are conditioned(AKA social conditioning) to believe that their laser guns require special DNA clearance , or something like that. Dunno if it makes any sense. It does sound a little stupid to me
      Last edited by mark; 04-06-2019, 03:39 PM.

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      • #18
        Let's step away from the notion that it's all the same thing for a moment, and consider it from the perspective of the Technocracy. In particular, let's take seriously their notion that Enlightened Science is something fundamentally different from Awakened Magick.

        It's not so much that you have to be crazy to work Magick as it is that you need a very different mindset from the one that the Enlightened have; it's one that's less about seeking truth than it is about imposing your will. As well, you need to engage a wild, untameable power, a fact that is amply demonstrated every time a Backlash occurs. Indeed, whatever it is that mages deal with seems at times to have a will of its own, and actively resists being constrained. This combination of willful mages and willful magick is a dangerous combination. Furthermore, it's only accessible to a rare few who have the Gift, whatever that is; this shuts most people, including most Technocrats, out.

        Enlightened Science is different. It's fundamentally about understanding, not ego; and what it harnesses are reliable if obscure forces of nature, not capricious powers with their own agendas.

        It's not that Technocrats don't believe that Magick exists (although I still contend that you can find a surprisingly high concentration of Negation Men — Denial-based Marauder variants whose disbelief tends to shut down Magick in their vicinity, reinforcing their disbelief and driving them further into Denial — in their ranks) as it is that they don't see it as a viable option for them (as most Technocrats, even the Enlightened ones, don't believe that they have whatever unique quality mages have that let them wield magick), and they look at those who do use it with distrust (but not envy; Enlightened Science has proven to be a match for Awakened Magick, and then some).

        There are technomancers who don't think this way, primarily among the Etherites (see the Scientific Mystic merit for what happens when you take the opposite view to its logical extreme); but it's an unpopular view, to say the least, in the Union.


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        • #19
          I agree that they could find logical explanations for the mystic effects, and that they might not be able to replicate them, since they mindset is quite opposite.

          But to not believe something that they often see is kinda illogical.

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          • #20
            Yep. It's almost as if Technocrats who don't believe in something that they often see are in Denial…

            Elaborating on this: I don’t believe that there are all that many Technocrats who don’t believe in Magick. I do think that there are enough of them that it’s a problem (i.e., a significant minority), and that those who do deny the existence of Magick are all in a state of Denial to one extent or another; and the worst of these have crossed the line to being Negation Men. But the “typical” Technocrat? “Yeah; Magick is real. And it’s something different than what we do, and is inherently dangerous.”
            Last edited by Dataweaver; 03-22-2020, 06:54 AM.


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
              I agree that they could find logical explanations for the mystic effects, and that they might not be able to replicate them, since they mindset is quite opposite.

              But to not believe something that they often see is kinda illogical.
              It's not that they don't believe it is possible. It's that they believe it shouldn't be possible. That it's bad, that it's unscientific, that it harkens back to an age of darkness and primordialism where humans shat themselves to death because there was no sanitation and lived and died by random chance effecting crops.

              Technocrats are opposed to Reality Deviance because as a Union they've come up with a (mostly) coherent vision of Reality, and they reject anything that doesn't fall within that vision.

              Naturally these views get more sophisticated and nuanced as you go up the ranks, with the exceptions of Mages who are plagued by Denial Quiet. But the full gauntlet of "this is possible, but outdated, and has no place in the modern world" to "yeah it's just reality deviance, don't think about it" is present.

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              • #22
                There are as many attitudes about why Superstitionists can do what they do, as there are Technocrats.

                One idea I like links directing to the idea of Intrinsic vs Extrinsic models of Magick. Specifically, that some Technocrats might believe both sides use their "Enlightenment" to change Reality. It's just that Technocrats have made a very specific value judgement about which is better (it's Extrinsic, obviously). To them, it matters what's "doing the work" behind an Effect, and what that method does to the Enlightened individual.

                Technocrats let their tools - whether a machine, institutional mechanics, or properly used (and modified) bodies - do all the work. All they have within their "minds" is understanding. The superstitionists, meanwhile, use their "tools" as simple props, to focus the true source of their power: their brains. Not their minds, their BRAINS. As far as some Technocrats are concerned, the mystics are just delusional psychics (just as the mystics are prone to believe that the psychics are delusional mystics). Save for a few Technocrats who employ psionics - a technique (Practice) that is heavily monitored - the Technocrats eschew this method.

                The reason, so the Technocrat would say, is because having the Mage's brain/mind do all the work has terrible side effects. On both a neurological and psychological level. The burden of superstitionist methods take their toll. Accepting strange and mutually contradictory models of reality. Modifying their brain chemistry with drugs, pain, stress, and periods of physical deprivation. Using such focus that they placebo their brains into growing aberrant glands on their cerebrum. (Even if they are too tiny to be noticed). Concentrating so much on deviant methods that it creates quirks in their psychology.

                All of this even before you get into how many superstitionists open their consciousnesses up to alien beings from other dimensions, which has who-knows-what negative effects on their psyche profiles.

                Combining these forces, it's no wonder their "Procedures" have a tendency to backfire (or backlash) on them, directly. The harm done to their bodies. The delusions and manias formed in their minds. Beings from other worlds or constructs of their subconscious being summoned to "punish" them (see also Forbidden Planet). At least when a Technocrat's Enlightenment goes haywire, it usually affects their tools or the outside environment. At least, so the Technocrat says.

                To the Union, it's not so much that Deviants must be crazy to believe in mysticism. It's that believing in mysticism MAKES them crazy, over a long enough time period. Honestly, to the Union, capturing superstitionists and conditioning them to use only Enlightened Procedures is "doing them a favor".
                Last edited by Bluecho; 07-22-2019, 08:28 AM.


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
                  One idea I like links directing to the idea of Intrinsic vs Extrinsic models of Magick. Specifically, that some Technocrats might believe both sides use their "Enlightenment" to change Reality. It's just that Technocrats have made a very specific value judgement about which is better (it's Extrinsic, obviously). To them, it matters what's "doing the work" behind an Effect, and what that method does to the Enlightened individual.

                  Technocrats let their tools - whether a machine, institutional mechanics, or properly used (and modified) bodies - do all the work. All they have within their "minds" is understanding. The superstitionists, meanwhile, use their "tools" as simple props, to focus the true source of their power: their brains. Not their minds, their BRAINS. As far as some Technocrats are concerned, the mystics are just delusional psychics (just as the mystics are prone to believe that the psychics are delusional mystics). Save for a few Technocrats who employ psionics - a technique (Practice) that is heavily monitored - the Technocrats eschew this method.

                  The reason, so the Technocrat would say, is because having the Mage's brain/mind do all the work has terrible side effects. On both a neurological and psychological level. The burden of superstitionist methods take their toll. Accepting strange and mutually contradictory models of reality. Modifying their brain chemistry with drugs, pain, stress, and periods of physical deprivation.

                  All of this even before you get into how many superstitionists open their consciousnesses up to alien beings from other dimensions, which has who-knows-what negative effects on their psyche profiles.

                  Combining these forces, it's no wonder their "Procedures" have a tendency to backfire (or backlash) on them, directly.

                  To the Union, it's not so much that Deviants must be crazy to believe in mysticism. It's that believing in mysticism MAKES them crazy, over a long enough time period. Honestly, to the Union, capturing superstitionists and conditioning them to use only Enlightened Procedures is "doing them a favor".
                  Agreed with all of this.

                  And if the Union wants to prove any of this, they just need to point to Marauders, and to Reality Deviants who behave in "insane" ways, anything from Nephandi to cultists. There are some merits to these beliefs; we have a word for separating your own beliefs from baseline reality to the point where it inconveniences and/or harms you. We call it mental illness.

                  The Traditions are a collection of Psychics and Precursor Scientists (alchemy is messy pre-enlightenment chemistry, for example) who are slowly driving themselves insane. From the perspective of some Technocrats at least.

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                  • #24
                    That's not that far removed from how the Order of Reason conceptualised their magic.

                    Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                    (although I still contend that you can find a surprisingly high concentration of Negation Men — Denial-based Marauder variants whose disbelief tends to shut down Magick in their vicinity, reinforcing their disbelief and driving them further into Denial — in their ranks
                    Is that from the books or is that your idea? If the latter, that's really good.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Michael View Post
                      Is that from the books or is that your idea? If the latter, that's really good.
                      Negation Men are in the books, if you mean that part. If you mean the idea of them being "common" in the Technocracy, then I'm not sure if the books ever imply or state that. I've thought it would be quite fitting in the past, since they're anti-magick given form almost, especially if their Denial didn't extend to standard Technocratic Procedures.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                        Negation Men are in the books, if you mean that part.
                        Any idea where?


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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Michael View Post

                          Any idea where?
                          They're in Book of Secrets, the systems for them are described under the parts about Marauders.

                          The idea is that they have gone into such intense Denial Quiet that they have given up on the idea of Magick existing entirely, and they can no longer use their Spheres directly. Instead they just exude countermagick. They keep their Arete rating, and they use that to determine the range and intensity of their disbelief. This Arete rating can even increase, making them bigger forces of Reality's static nature.

                          They're essentially anti-magick/counter-magick incarnate.

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                          • #28
                            Negation Men

                            The maddest thing a mage can do is to deny the existence of magick. Even Technocrats – who suppress the very idea of magick – still enjoy the powers of Enlightened Science and hypertech control. Certain Marauders, however, negate the effects of magick because they refuse to believe it exists. Walking paradoxes, these Negation Men assert the strength of the Consensus through sheer deniability.

                            Not long ago, the idea of such Marauders would have been inconceivable; the Mad Ones, after all, assert Dynamism, not Stasis, and strive to bring humanity into some new, chaotic Mythic Age. But in the wake of the Week of Nightmares (or some other factor, if those events never occurred), certain mages went utterly mad with Denial: a form of insanity that refuses to admit the existence of otherwise obvious facts. Since then, the Negation Men (no one yet has met a Negation Woman, although they probably exist) lead apparently normal lives, suppressing magick whenever it occurs in their presence.

                            All Negation Men appear totally mundane. They have neither auras nor apparent souls, dress neatly, and share the fastidious habits of some folks with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. That disorder, in fact, seems to be part of their madness. On many levels, they appear to be perfect Technocratic drones – efficient, orderly, and controlled. The presence, however, of a Negation Man blunts Technocratic Science as well as mystic Arts; this, in turn, dampens Enlightened Devices and Procedures, many of which provide essential systems for Technocratic operations.

                            Mages who’ve begun to recognize the Negation Man Syndrome theorize that such Marauders began as Technocrats whose obsession with order became too strong. That might even be true. It’s possible, however, that some Negation Men were mystic mages who broke under the strain of their Arts. In pushing those powers far from their conscious minds, these mages might have adopted that ultimate paradox: the wizard so Awakened that he denies his own Awakening.

                            In game terms, a Negation Man’s Quiet is an extreme form of the Denial. Instead of using his Spheres to create magickal Effects, he uses them as a constant and unconscious form of Countermagick.

                            As an optional rule, a Negation Man’s Arete Trait gets rolled against any magickal Effect within roughly 15 feet (four-and-a half meters/five yards) per point in his Arete. Each success removes one success from another mage’s or Device’s Effects. Despite his Awakening, a Negation Man also counts as a Sleeper witness whenever a mage of any kind performs magick in his presence. This requires no effort on the Negation Man’s part; in place of the usual Marauder chaos, his madness manifests as crushing and unshakable normalcy. No matter what happens, such Mad Ones refuse to accept the possibility of magick. There can be female Negation Marauders; the syndrome simply asserts itself more frequently in men.

                            George Blank

                            He doesn’t actually use the name “Blank.” To everyone he meets, he’s simply “George.” Yet George has no aura, no apparent soul. His eyes seem a little too clear, his speech a bit too clipped for comfort. People who’ve heard of Asperger’s Syndrome wonder if George is a high-functioning Aspie. He’s not, though – his apparent hyperfocus is instead a wide-eyed state of denial. George literally does not see extraordinary things. He’s locked them out of his perceptions. To him, the world is orderly and correct, free from shadows and ambiguities. Like most Negation Men, he’s polite and efficient – the good citizen of a technological world. To George, however, there’s no sense of wonder or mystery in life, only the well-ordered function of a perfect universe… which, considering that he’s a citizen in the World of Darkness, makes him seem crazy as a shithouse rat.

                            (The above is from M20; personally I'm not a fan of the way aspergers is referred to here, I don't think anyone likes being called an "aspie", but the overall concept is on-point)

                            One thing M20 doesn't go into is whether Negation Men are strictly ALWAYS Witnesses, and ALWAYS cause Vulgarity. Does this apply to subtle Sensory Effects? Or Effects that suit the Marauder's Denial, like the ones that all citizens are happy with because of the Union's control? Can they still work for the Technocracy, or does their effect on Enlightened Procedures make this possible? Does the Union know about these people? What's their view of them?

                            Personally, my view is that Negation Men should essentially take the form of The Consensus in Industrialized Reality, just exaggerated and made stronger. Anything that's Coincidental to Average Joe is Coincidental to Negation Man... well not quite. Negation Man is hyper-vigilant and extremely unforgiving. Regardless, he'll accept that sometimes the guy in the funny hat can pull rabbits out of his pockets; after all, that could just be a clever "magic trick". He just won't buy "coincidences", and conditional Coincidence won't work with him. If he's present at your Faith Healing session (not that he'd voluntarily attend), he's going to literally sour the mood and the magick.

                            Negation Men can usually still work for the Union in a limited capacity, since most of the Union's procedures are Coincidental to him. They don't work well as Agents however, since to them an angry Werewolf is not an enemy to be defeated, but a delusion created by their own mind, or something they can't see at all. They're working desk jobs at the Union, they're guarding Union installations, they're present at critical junctures which would be targeted by Reality Deviants.
                            Last edited by 11twiggins; 04-07-2019, 08:18 AM.

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                            • #29
                              For what it's worth, I use a slightly different version where the negation only applies to Effects that contradict the Negation Man's own Focus: if the Negation Man would consider the Effect to be Vulgar, then he brings the full weight of Denial down on it. And it's not that he can't do any Effects other than Countermagic so much as he can't do anything that's Vulgar.

                              The version that shows up in Book of Secrets is what happens when the Negation Man's Focus is the same as the average Sleeper.


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                              • #30
                                Yeah, it does seem like a concept with a bit more potential than it's allowed.


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