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  • On Science and Magick

    Is the Purple Paradigm True?

    From the beginning of Mage, there has been the notion that the truth of the setting is that reality is fundamentally subjective, that Magick is Enlightened Will altering reality, and that Science is Magick. It's so prevalent that it's unofficially been given the name “the Purple Paradigm” (after the color of the core book). I don't buy it; not as an absolute, incontrovertible truth.

    It can and should be what the Traditions believe, and there is enough supporting evidence for it that they're not being foolish when they accept it as true. But by the same token, the Technocracy needs to have an alternative to the Purple Paradigm with its own supporting evidence so that their worldview also isn't obviously foolish for ignoring a blatant Truth about reality. This wasn't so much of a concern in the early days of the game when the Traditions were the game's protagonists and the Technocracy existed solely as a monolithic oppressor for them to fight against; but the more the game has evolved, the more it has tried to make the Technocrats viable alternatives for the game's protagonists. And as of M20, with the decoupling of Focus from faction and the possibility of playing Enlightened Scientists who are in no way associated with either the Union or the Traditions, it's even more important that what the Union calls Enlightened Science not be obviously flawed. And in that role, Scientists can't be, as I tend to phrase it, all liars or dupes: “liars” for those who understand that the Traditions are right but pretend that they aren't, and “dupes” for those who have bought into the lies.

    So how do you set up a world in which two seemingly opposed views about the fundamental nature of reality can both potentially be true? Very carefully; you have to thread the needle. And the first thing that you have to do is to remove the notion that either of their views is absolutely true. In order for there to be the possibility that the Technocrats might be right, there must also be the possibility that the Traditions might be wrong. And vice versa. So the ultimate Truth of the nature of reality can't be known; it must still be up for debate, as much as both the Traditions and the Technocracy might think otherwise.

    Then you need to construct a worldview for Enlightened Science that, while being opposed to the worldview of Awakened Magick, isn't brittle and overly simplistic and thus easily disproven. In particular, it shouldn't deny that what the Traditions do is possible; just that it's not what the Technocrats do, and that there are good reasons why not. To deny the evidence in front of your eyes would be insane.

    Which is where the innovation of dividing Quiet up into multiple types factors in: like it or not, there are Technocrats who hold a belief system that's incompatible with reality — the aforementioned liars and dupes from earlier editions. My take on them is first, that they're wearing metaphysical blinders — what MRev called Clarity and what M20 calls Denial — and second, that they're in the minority. A loud minority that gives the entire Union a bad reputation; but still a minority.

    This not only explains the earliest takes on the Technocracy's perspective, it also lets you use the Union in that way even in the modern, more enlightened interpretation: if you want a cabal of Traditionists to throw down against a construct of Unionists who unironically refer to them as Superstitionists and don't believe that Magick is real, just say that they've succumbed to Denial. Maybe even throw in a Negation Man or two into the mix just to make them a bit more dangerous.

    But again, that should be a minority view in the modern take on the Technocracy. The modern Technocrat should allow that magick is real, but it's not what Technocrats do. And if magick has benefits that Enlightened Science lacks, then the opposite should also be true. Fortunately, even by the rules as written, it is. Where Traditionalists can surpass their instruments, Technocrats can mass-produce Wonders. I like to supplement that with them also having an easier time instructing Extraordinary Citizens to use Adjustments (see my Acolyte Magic hack), both because Extraordinary Citizens with a Technocratic mindset are more common than adepts with a Traditionist mindset and because the Union has superior teaching techniques; and there's even official support for something like that, in Sorcerer 20: there's a box that says that mages can use the rules for creating Talismans to create Paths; so the comparative ease with which Technocrats can create Devices translates to an easier process of creating new Paths of techno-sorcery. This gives a practical reason, not just an ideological one, for the Union to prefer Enlightened Science. It also serves as a challenge to the Traditions' ecumenical notions such as the “We Are All Gods In Disguise” Paradigm, reinforcing the idea that they might be wrong. On the other hand, the fact that a Technocrat can become a Traditionist and vice versa challenges this notion that Enlightened Science and Awakened Magick are two different things. Both sides have ways of resolving the dilemmas posed to them; so the debate continues.

    So, what is this worldview that Enlightened Scientists hold? At it's heart, it's that the key to what they do isn't Willpower; it's Enlightenment. There are objective laws that reality obeys; but they're complex, and have many edge cases. Enlightened Science involves identifying those edge cases and using their instruments to exploit them. In that way, Tech Holds All Answers. To the extent that Willpower matters, it's only in the sense that Science requires self-discipline.

    The average Technocrat doesn't believe that what he himself does involves altering reality by belief and will; rather, the keys that the Technocrat possesses are enlightenment and discipline: knowledge of what is instead of belief in what one wants to be, and precise application of that knowledge rather than bending reality to your will. He'll even acknowledge that what a mage does involves imposing one's beliefs on reality by force of will — and that that's inherently dangerous and not the sort of thing that he would ever dabble in, thank you very much.

    (In that regard, I would be inclined to implement a house rule that removes the Willpower cap on Enlightenment, but mandates an Ability cap on Procedures and Adjustments: if you want to perform a four-dot Procedure, you must have four dots in a relevant Ability, probably chosen from the Abilities associated with your Practice. The limiting factor for Enlightened Science isn't willpower; it's talent, skill, and knowledge.)

    Also: on both sides of the debate, not every Focus needs to be able to explain what everyone else does in terms of their own beliefs or understanding; though that's a laudable goal if you can achieve it. They need only acknowledge that other ways also work, even if you personally find them unacceptable. A Verbena doesn't need to be able to explain what a Virtual Adept is doing in terms of her views about witchcraft; she need only accept that what the VA does works. Your Focus need only explain what you do; there's no obligation for it to explain what others do.

    And frankly, thinking that you have to explain everything in terms of your own Focus is a trap that both the Traditions and the Technocracy have fallen into, albeit in radically different and opposed ways. This is arguably where the Disparates have a valid point, as they don't even attempt some Grand Unified Theory of Magick (or Science, for that matter).

    EDIT: There's also the matter of Avatar vs. Genius, as well as Supernatural Merits and Flaws, and Backgrounds. It is entirely possible to conceptualize a mage's Avatar as something that's entirely distinct from the character, using Merits, Flaws, and Backgrounds: for instance, a mage with the Phylactery Flaw could have as his Avatar a wand: not merely a Unique Personal Instrument that lets him focus his Magick, but also quite literally the source of his Magick; or with the Manifest Avatar and the Familiar Background, you could make a Magickal Girl who was granted her powers by a cute talking animal.

    These are not things that are compatible with Enlightened Science. Genius is never independently manifested; it is, in fact, so subtle of a thing that it only ever manifests in ways that can't easily be distinguished from aspects of the Scientist's own psychology. The effects of the Circumspect Avatar Merit should be quite common among Enlightened Scientists, possibly so much so that anyone with Enlightenment should get them for free.

    More generally, this overall lack of most Supernatural Merits and Flaws in Enlightened Scientists can be pointed to as another bit of evidence for the Technocratic assertion that Science and Magick are separate things. Traditions would tend to counter that by saying that Genius is merely a restricted Avatar, with the Conditioning procedure suppressing supernatural manifestations where it's possible to do so. So again, the debate continues.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-13-2022, 11:40 PM.



  • #2
    This seems overly convoluted (yeah, I know, we're talking about Mage.

    Of course, I'm biased against any attempt to seriously discuss things that starts with asserting that the concept of the Purple Paradigm is valuable. It's not actually what the Traditions believe. It's a fan-theory that mistakes rules-as-reality instead of rules-as-abstraction.

    That all said, I'm honestly surprised you completely skipped the simple answer: Earthly Foundations (or whatever term you want to use for them). The presence of these Foundations in the setting is everything you need for Enlightened Science to exist seriously, as there are constants in the Mage universe that no amount of will or subjective thinking can change. If there are immutable aspects of reality regardless of the impact of belief upon reality, then you have a solid basis for a scientific approach to a reality that seems to be at odds with science.

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    • #3
      I think it is first useful to define what exactly the Purple Paradigm is: it is the Hermetic paradigm. Not just in-game, but the actual real life base philosophy of modern Hermeticism. It has informed design because of this lens and is in-game the actual Paradigm for the Order of Hermes. It is at the same time useful as a means to explain the basics of the game, but not something any group within the game believes, except​ the OoH. Beyond that, as Heavy Arms said, it is a result of the all-too-common misunderstanding of game abstractions.

      Other than that, its most basic premise is perfectly valid in the game and for everyone, including the Union: Will can alter Reality. Accepting that, and that your own Paradigm runs with it, does not in any way means accepting that this is all there is to known about the universe and magic. Only the Order do put this idea as their main point and believes there's no limit. Everyone else can live with the idea that willpower is a real force, but this is only one aspect of reality.

      And I see no need to divorce what the Union does from what the Traditions do. The Union definitely isn't just applying discipline and precision in lieu of willpower over nature. Otherwise they would be just scientists, not Scientists! Instead, their particular proposition of why will shapes reality just needs to tell them that shaping it through pseudo-almost-science three-fold benefits: it's easier, safer and desirable.

      Desirable for what? To shape the Consensus. It doesn't really matters if the Consensus is all powerful or just another little piece of nature, they have a project to shape it and an invested interest in keeping it in their intended direction. You don't need any other reason to never do magic without tech than knowing that this is your part in the ongoing effort to keep reality stable.


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      • #4
        While I didn't mention the Earthly Foundations by name, that's what I was referring to when I said that “there are objective laws that reality obeys”. Building on the Earthly Foundations is at the heart of Enlightened Science.

        I also don't agree with you about the Purple Paradigm never having been what the Traditions believe. In previous editions, at least, out was the glue that held the Traditions together. Even in M20 (specifically, Book of Secrets, in the entry for “We're All God(s) in Disguise”), we get this:
        As a reflection of one of Mage's primary themes, this paradigm is among the most “true” in meta terms. A character with this insight looks past the artificial divisions of Mage's setting and views the fundamental unity expressed by the sentiment “We're all mages.” As expressions of the shared gaming group and its players, mages with this perspective are seeing some of the truth of their situation. How true it is within the gaming world itself is for the Storyteller to decide, but this creed certainly rings true for mystics and philosophers throughout history who've chosen to ignore our mortal separations in favor of the living miracle of Creation itself.
        For a game that goes out of its way to tell you that it's your game to do with as you will, that comes awfully close to flat out saying “this is true”.

        Earlier editions were more explicit about it. Guide to the Traditions made a point to emphasize that the Traditions have learned over the centuries to work together, and that they say least pay lip service to the notion that it's ultimately all the same thing; and every edition prior to M20 described the discarding of foci as the mage gradually internalizing this truth and transcending her paradigm. Masters of the Art went so far as to suggest that not letting go of your paradigm was a good way to prevent you from achieving Ascension. Ironically, you can even do that in M20, where the concept has been flipped on its head and increased Arete now represents a deeper gut-level understanding and embrace of your Focus: for the Traditions, it means that something to the effect of “We're All God(s) in Disguise” is part of their Paradigms, and so embracing their Focus more fully means embracing this creed more fully.

        Plus, there's mention in many of the Mage books that, for example, the Spheres are actual terms used by the Traditions as part of a sort of lingua franca; a way that makes from vastly different Traditions and who hold very different beliefs can communicate with each other well enough to collaborate on magickal workings. Again, before M20 there was mention that the Council of Nine featured nine Seats, each named after a different Sphere. This has gradually been downplayed over the years, to the point that it's not even mentioned in M20; but it's technically still there if you want to use it.

        I take the Purple Paradigm seriously because Mage takes it seriously. But at the end of the day, I reject it. It causes too many problems if accepted as ironclad fact. I can, however, buy that the Traditions accept it on some level — in part because it helps distinguish them from the Disparates. The Traditions favor a “melting pot” style of cooperation; the Disparates, when they cooperate at all, prefer more of a “salad bowl” model, with each Craft jealously guarding its own identity.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
          I think it is first useful to define what exactly the Purple Paradigm is: it is the Hermetic paradigm. Not just in-game, but the actual real life base philosophy of modern Hermeticism. It has informed design because of this lens and is in-game the actual Paradigm for the Order of Hermes. It is at the same time useful as a means to explain the basics of the game, but not something any group within the game believes, except​ the OoH. Beyond that, as Heavy Arms said, it is a result of the all-too-common misunderstanding of game abstractions.

          Other than that, its most basic premise is perfectly valid in the game and for everyone, including the Union: Will can alter Reality. Accepting that, and that your own Paradigm runs with it, does not in any way means accepting that this is all there is to known about the universe and magic. Only the Order do put this idea as their main point and believes there's no limit. Everyone else can live with the idea that willpower is a real force, but this is only one aspect of reality.

          And I see no need to divorce what the Union does from what the Traditions do. The Union definitely isn't just applying discipline and precision in lieu of willpower over nature. Otherwise they would be just scientists, not Scientists! Instead, their particular proposition of why will shapes reality just needs to tell them that shaping it through pseudo-almost-science three-fold benefits: it's easier, safer and desirable.

          Desirable for what? To shape the Consensus. It doesn't really matters if the Consensus is all powerful or just another little piece of nature, they have a project to shape it and an invested interest in keeping it in their intended direction. You don't need any other reason to never do magic without tech than knowing that this is your part in the ongoing effort to keep reality stable.
          Essentially, you're stating the position of the Traditions and asserting that they're right.

          But while Technocracy Reloaded has said that Technocrats know that they're shaping reality, it also says that they will deny to their dying breath that they're doing the same thing that mages do: the Disputed Data box on page 29 goes into great depth about how the Technocracy will never admit that what they do is the same as what the Superstitionists do. There, it's phrased in terms of denial of the truth; and the whole point of my original post here is to retain that conclusion (that Awakened Magick and Enlightened Science are two different things) as a valid possibility, ditching the implication that it's wrong. I'm also giving more detail about how they think what they do differs from what mages do: changing Arete to Enlightenment isn't just for flavor.

          Making Enlightened Science something that works off of talent, skill, and knowledge instead of willpower does that: Enlightened Scientists are capable of shaping reality; and the NWO in particular likes to shape hearts and minds. But they don't do it as Willworking; they don't bend reality to their will. Their means of altering reality are, at the core, less about motivation and more about technique. It's why they can never just push through on willpower alone (as mystics can when they Work Without Focus); but it's also why they can create Devices and Principia (and, by extension, techno-sorcery Paths) without having to expend personal Quintessence or a dot of Willpower in the process. All I'm doing with my very trivial house rule is taking that another step.
          Last edited by Dataweaver; 09-11-2022, 07:45 PM.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Essentially, you're stating the position of the Traditions and asserting that they're right.
            Not quite.

            The difference is between saying "We can impose our will upon reality because that's the Ultimate Truth of how reality works" and saying "We can impose our will upon what we think to be reality to a certain extent, because that's an incidental consequence of some of reality's laws". It is like the difference between saying that a balloon flies because hot air is less dense and saying it flies because it becomes saturated with negatively-weighted phlogiston. The similarity of the end result does not make them the same paradigm.

            As a matter of fact, that will shapes reality is right. Because that's how the game works regardless.of why. All the Mages live in a world where some people can demonstrably impose their will upon reality. They demonstrably can cause things to happen that wouldn't anyone else were to follow the exact same procedures. And this is equally true for all of them. However easier it is for Technocrats to create Paths and whatnot, it remains true that they are personally a crucial piece to the process, something that flies in the face of any more technical definition of what they do, since that would mean normal people are simply incapable of following scientific procedures. Then Enlightenment would just mean that in the setting basic competence is a superpower.

            Reality works because it works. However scientists are needed to understand physics and come to the idea on how to build a laser, anyone can follow the instructions and build a laser with the appropriate tools. Because the phenomenon of the laser depends solely on the materials, built and powering of the device. What the Union does, just as what the Traditions do, demonstrably depends on some aspect of the person. It is easier to describe as will, it may even be something else. But it is unavoidably intrinsic to the person. That is the common thread the Order of Hermes calls will and codified into Arete and Spheres as a means of communication. And that's the aspect that no one needs to accept as the core principle of reality, as really working as the OoH says it does, or any of their other ideas about it to accept the simpler truth that it exists.

            You also put a lot of weight into the Traditions as a whole for metaphysical theory, ignoring that at the end of the day the Traditions are, and have always been, a political body. It needs a unifying manifesto because it needs common ground to state their collective purpose. They need the tools to enable coordination. They need a common language so they can both work together and share knowledge. They don't need to really believe in those ideas. As you said yourself, they only need to pay lip service to them.

            So the Purple Paradigm is three things within the game: it is a game design, something the authors maybe intended to be true to some degree but most importantly ensures all the players know and follow the same rules. It is a demonstrable fact of reality, but only in a very limited sense in that all characters know something intrinsic to their persons is key to any and all of those "paradigm" things to work. And it is an idea specific to a small group that was expanded as the political flag of a greater organization, regardless if its members really believe in it as magic theory or not.

            It's also worth noting that pointing to what happens at higher Arete levels means little to paradigm. As the books themselves explain, those are rules about how the character transcends the basic assumptions of their paradigm, however you interpret that to be as going deeper in it or beyond it. By definition this is not a representation of what the Traditions believe, it is a representation of what Mages do when they personally grow beyond such initial beliefs.


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            • #7
              …and I lost a rather lengthy and in-depth response I was typing up. I don't feel like typing that all in again right now; so let's just go with a pair of points:

              1. “they have an intrinsic quality that lets them shape reality” doesn't mean that that intrinsic quality has anything to do with will. My contention is that Technocrats believe that it isn't will where Enlightened Science is concerned; it's something else. And they're not necessarily wrong. I've nominated “talent, skill, or knowledge” instead of willpower as the thing that they rely on to shape reality.

              2. The fact that there's a necessary intrinsic quality is not demonstrable. The capacity to create Paths, and the “Management and Human Resources” optional rule (M20 p.595) or the “Personnel” Instrument from the Syndicate Convention Book can be used to leverage the existing game mechanics to model the idea that Procedures can be taught to anyone who puts in the necessary work to learn them, and that anyone can can successfully perform a Procedure under the guidance of a competent teacher:

              “The Procedure can be taught to anyone who puts in the necessary work to learn it” involves the teacher first putting in the necessary effort to prepare proper lesson plans (in game terms, he creates a techno-sorcery Path based on the Procedure), and then the pupil following those lesson plans until he gets the hang of it (buying that Path with XP).

              “The Procedure can be successfully performed by anyone under the guidance of a competent teacher” is done by having the teacher technically be the one who's performing the Procedure as far as the game mechanics are concerned (i.e., you use the teacher's Enlightenment to roll for the success of the Procedure); but doing so indirectly, using the pupil as one of his Instruments by serving as a proxy for him.

              If you can't copy what the Scientist is doing and get the same results, it's probably not that he has some sort of superhuman power; it's probably that the Procedure you're attempting is very hard to get right, and you haven't gotten it right: you may think you did exactly what he did; but did you?


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                …and I lost a rather lengthy and in-depth response I was typing up.
                I feel your loss, deeply.

                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                1. “they have an intrinsic quality that lets them shape reality” doesn't mean that that intrinsic quality has anything to do with will. My contention is that Technocrats believe that it isn't will where Enlightened Science is concerned; it's something else. And they're not necessarily wrong. I've nominated “talent, skill, or knowledge” instead of willpower as the thing that they rely on to shape reality.
                I precisely meant that "will" may very well be accepted just as a placeholder. But let's make a quick analysis here.

                When you say "talent, skill and knowledge" you're describing the requirements for the actor to be effective at the action. But there's no direct link between those requirements and the end result in a naturalistic reality (science assumes a naturalistic reality). A shooter may have talent, skill and/or knowledge that makes them effective, but it isn't the talent, skill or knowledge that kills the target, it is a bullet propelled by an explosion at an angle and with a given momentum.

                Give me an intrinsic property of the person that can be theorized as causal to the phenomenon and couldn't be understood, if only at a shallow observation, as will?

                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                2. The fact that there's a necessary intrinsic quality is not demonstrable.
                Unless you apply optional rules, it is. Either that, or the other problem I pointed: basic competence is a superpower.

                Technocrats make phaser guns out of garbage and high-tech leftovers that have no coherent design, and they frequently can't agree on how it works. They develop "science" that is unlike anything any other scientist can agree with, usually based on techno-babble they put together on the spot. And while they're able to use similarly fantastic methods to condition someone into replicating some of those stuff or to mass-produce their shenanigans, most people in the world simply can't replicate it even with the best tools, technical knowledge and dedication. Unless they go through the specific process to teach them that Procedure, which is an Enlightened Act in itself, the person is incapable of replicating a procedure and get the same effects.

                All the while it is known that the Enlightened have the same capacity as the Traditionalists for Magic if they put their minds to it, so much so that Conditioning enemies and people changing sides is a thing.

                I'm arguing that "will unto reality" doesn't have to mean the Union is fundamentally wrong, because the Earthly Foundation do exist, nature does have laws, normal science exists and works, there is enough evidence that the universe is naturalistic and the possibility of few select individuals affecting reality through "will" is just another piece. The piece that sets them apart from other people, but not necessarily a really important piece of how the universe works.

                But saying that they're fundamentally right in that it is just precise application of the laws of the universe and no such "will on matter" exists in their own practices does mean that what they're doing is true science and the masses are just too stupid to execute a Procedure without such an effort that the game literally demands new rules for teaching them technical skills.

                So I do agree with you that the take in the books that the Union is silly in dismissing Magic isn't the best one, a leftover still from the earlier take on them. But I also think your proposal is fully unnecessary to address it and it either fails to explain what Enlightenment is if it isn't the same thing as Arete, misrepresent the Traditions to think they all agree in a definition of will and magic they don't outside their political manifesto to make the Union seems like the only ones to reach another conclusion, or it defines Enlightenment as simply being competent enough to make real science, which I think makes the setting all the poorer, not richer.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  Is the Purple Paradigm True?

                  From the beginning of Mage, there has been the notion that the truth of the setting is that reality is fundamentally subjective, that Magick is enlightened will altering reality, and that Science is Magick. It's so prevalent that it's unofficially been given the name “the Purple Paradigm” (after the color of the core book). I don't buy it; not as an absolute, incontrovertible truth.
                  That's not what the Purple Paradigm usually means. Purple Paradigm is generally a term for the oddness of game rules and abstractions being used as actual in universe paradigm. It was most often used to describe the hazy, wishcasting paradigm some players thought High Arete Mages defaulted to. "Everything is subjective so anything is possible if you know the right Spheres" and that kind of thing. It's been fading as an argument since M20 was more clear that Mages were internalizing foci rather than shedding them.

                  It's not wrong to use the term here, per se - you are discussing the connection between the Traditions party line and the actual metaphysics of the game- but I wouldn't. The term Purple Paradigm has some baggage.

                  As for your question, my answer depends on what you mean.

                  If you mean, is the Traditions in-universe explanation of subjective reality true? Well, no, almost certainly not. The broad definition of it the books provide might be (that depends on the table), but only in the way "Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction" is an adequate description of our world. The more intricate explanations the Traditions have in-universe are certainly inaccurate. The more honest Traditions Mages would even tell you that. They think they know the basic idea, but they simply don't know enough about how it works yet.

                  The same is true for the Technocrats. They may be building on the more stable elements of reality but in-universe they have no way of knowing if those elements are more true. It's kind of like when we say the scientific method helps us see how the world works. It doesn't. It helps us predict how the world will act. We assume there is no difference but we can't be sure.

                  I'm less certain the Traditions are right about Will, but that's almost explicitly stated to be an in universe kludge for helping them work together. Half the members of the Traditions wouldn't use the word Will to describe what they do. We can say, though, Mages and Technocrats are the same kind of thing and they have the same abilities. We know they can convert between each other without something as monumental as the Cauls or going Marauder. What differences they have are not of ability, but of approach. They may or may not 'cast spells' the same way, but if not then both ways are innate to the awakened condition.





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                  • #10
                    This is why I love the "Enlightened Anthropic Principle" (see Void Engineers Revised, p.53-54); it explains beautifully why the (Masses) Consensus affect Conventional Space, and why Technocrats in fact DO <Willworking> (a.k.a. "Magick"). I think it should be the main "de-facto Paradigm" of Highest-level Technocrats, because these guys <know> that what they do is metaphysically the same thing the Traditions do, only through different means; they know they are not simply "discovering" and "harnessing" reality, they know they are actually creating new "nature laws" when they work.

                    PS: I understand that some people may want to make Enlightenment and Arete objectively different, but this will require House Rules and "House Lore". I'm just talking about vanilla canon here; not about what could or should be, but about what it is now.
                    Last edited by Timecrafter; 09-12-2022, 05:08 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I'm just reminded of this when talking about Enlightened Science in comparison to Magick.

                      I think ultimiately it comes down to how Science is use in MtA and what it means to be a Mage. I think Sir Arthur Clarke's Three laws from Profiles of the Future are the best place to explain.

                      Originally posted by Sir Arthur Clarke
                      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 very probably wrong.
                      Science has to end point. To quote Wikipedia "Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe." In that aspect Enlightened Science would/should be "a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes Hyper knowledge the form of testable explanations and predictions about the Meta-universe." So in relation to that definition Magick would be "a chaotic enterprise that builds occultism in the form of untestable statements and declarations about the Meta-universe." Of course, as ultimate observers of the mechanics of WoD, we know that Magick is just the same Enlightened Science.

                      This of course isn't how Science is used in MtA. Science is used as a tool to make Magick against "Consensus." No magical event could be truly explained by Science but it's good enough for the general population. So as the above picture, the only reason why 'Bone Magic' isn't vulgar is because of the Science. Of course under MtA, we know that it's both and that is what 'Purple Paradigm' means.

                      Originally posted by Sir Arthur Clarke
                      The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
                      So what does it mean to be an Enlightened Scientist? What does it mean to be a Master of the TU? If you are going to take the stance of 'One Truth' then what does it mean to do experiments to expand the knowledge? If a Technocrat takes the stance that anything outside of the preview of testable is impossible then what does it mean to progress understanding of universal laws? I don't think that MtA is equipped to answer these questions because I don't think it has a good foundation to build these questions off of.

                      Originally posted by Sir Arthur Clarke
                      Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
                      It's bone magic. It's a privative version of steel. It's both. This is the most quoted of the laws and for good reason it's quick but, ultimately I believe that it's flawed without the other two laws. Understanding the impossible meta-physical laws of how the fundamental world of MtA works is what it means to follow 'purple paradigm', at least how I see it. It's understanding that both magic and science are tools used by people to preform a task and the only difference between the two is how your paradigm works and the arbitrary lines humans draw in the workings of the universe.

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                      • #12
                        Oh hey MrNatas! it has been a while.

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                        • #13
                          It's late and I wont have time to read it all, hopefully I'll do it tomorrow, and I'll also expand on my response, but just so I dont miss out in this discussion, I'll add very quickly my 2 cents

                          Yes, I agree with DataWeaver, and I too would want to see Technocrats as Scientists pursuing the truth rather than a bunch of charlatans trying to hide it.

                          My idea is: Quantum Superdeterminism.

                          And yes, this is a real world theory, a theory for Quantum Mechanics that throw away all the nonsense about cats being both alive and dead at the same time, and puts the Quantum world back in the deterministic field. And there's also the Pilot Wave Theory that goes in that direction, which explain how quantum things can behave both as particles and waves simultaneously, in a determimistic way.

                          What does that have to do with anything? Well, the universe not only is deterministic, but also absolutely interconnected.

                          So, every single one of our thoughts produce electromagnetic energy, a field. We produce gravity.

                          So, our mere existences influence the entire Universe.

                          Now, we need only introduce a bit of the math on the Chaos Teory and the "Butterfly Effect", and now we can explain every single "psionic" effects as a sort of manipulation of probabilities that build upon themselves in a butterfly effect.

                          For example, lets say you think about fire. So, your thoughts about it generate an electromagnetic pulse, that pulse will slightly modify the air around, which, if caused in an exact way, can "create" a fireball.

                          So, basically the Techie boys say that the Traditions just simply use "psionic powers", albeit infected with "superstitious nonsense"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kakost View Post
                            So, basically the Techie boys say that the Traditions just simply use "psionic powers", albeit infected with "superstitious nonsense"
                            How is that fundamentally distinct from "will alters reality" instead of just an explanation of the same?


                            #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
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                            She/her pronouns

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                              How is that fundamentally distinct from &quot;will alters reality&quot; instead of just an explanation of the same?
                              It's not. I was not trying to advocate for that - because it would not be possible to.

                              Science is based on observation of the natural world, thus denying that the brain activity of a hermetic caused the air to combust would be to deny observation.

                              Instead, my take is to say that "magic(k) is just what hasnt been explained... yet".

                              Therefore, instead of "magic" being the result of "harmonic crystals" lined up in geometric patterns to "ressonate their vis", instead what you're doing is creating a quantum pattern that will induce a butterfly effect.

                              It's not so much the "will altering reality", and more of a "reality hack".

                              For example, let us say that you are sieging a medieval castle.

                              You can throw several stones from trebuchets at it, and it will only cause minor damages.

                              However, lets say that this castle have one tiny single point of weakness that, if hit in the perfect angle with the perfect force, it would crush the entire castle down, in a sort of domino effect.

                              That's basically (in my alternative), the Techies would view "magic", a series of domino effects upon reality, upon which small changes can be directed to generate large impacts.

                              This would also coincidentally give more substance to the idea of being "Enlightned". Those Scientists or... Urgh, "mages" (blergh, disgusting) would be people that became capable on acting instinctively on those subtle connections, subconciously managing to perceive those "weak spots on reality" and thus being able to use them in their favor.

                              So, you are not exactly "changing reality with your will" - even if you are "changing reality" just with a meditation session, what you are actually doing isnt wishing reality to be, but rather attuning your brain electrons and molecules to the environment around you in order to ignite a chain reaction. It could also be achieved with crystals too, it doesnt even need to be your brain, it could be totally external, your brain is just a conduit, but the change is still fully materialistic, since it's NOT your "will", but rather the configuration of your brain's particles that enact the change, but it can be done with crystals, herbs or machinery for example, in a process completely external. So, for example, let's say that lining up 5 quartz crystals in a pentagram makes a three of oak grow 2x faster. Why? Because you are lining up all the quantum probabilities in perfect harmony for that effect to take place.

                              If that's true however, why cant just anyone do it? Or, why does it requires an Enlightned with the specific Sphere of Life?

                              Because it aint just a matter of placing quartz crystals around a seed, they need to be placed in an exact position, which only an Enlightned person with the proper knowledge of Enlightned Life process will be able to subconciously do.

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