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Comment on this post with a story of real life magic in your own life. Tell us a complete story, not just a one-line comment. There are two comment fields you can use. The first is facebook comments, in case you feel like writing on your FB profile as well, the second can only be seen on this blog. Use either one! read more

Where Are All of the Monsters?

The Nightmare – John Henry Fuseli

“No one would come right out and say it, but the worldwide magical ecology was suffering from a serious imbalance: too many magicians, not enough monsters.”
–The Magicians – Lev Grossman

Let’s suppose there is a magical planet named Fillory that your siblings have found a way to visit from Earth via a magical doorway. However, you never get to stay and it is the only place in the universe that you want to be. One day you find a spring that holds all the magic and you drink from it giving you the power the stay, but it also gives you unimaginable magical power. What do you do?

Those of us who love The Magicians know what happens next. The power of magic absorbs the boy who becomes The Beast and he almost dries up all of magic for Fillory and Earth in his unending thirst for the power of magic.

Let’s put a pin in that thought and turn now to Earth which is comprised of magicians, hedge witches, and non-magical folk. Those who have magic, love and enjoy it, but largely have nothing to do because magic fulfills all their needs. In fact, in my rereading of The Magicians there is one sentence that haunts me and I can’t quite shake it:

No one would come right out and say it, but the worldwide magical ecology was suffering from a serious imbalance: too many magicians, not enough monsters.
–The Magicians – Lev Grossman read more

Horomancy part 1

Blue-green sparks jumped from finger to finger as Maeve wove the complex spell around her Turing smartphone. The phone was securely cryptographically encoded, it could only be used to place calls to another Turing unit that had the matching key, and her spell would ensure that it was magically unhackable as well. A component of the spell was a cypher cube, a magical object holding both the cryptographic and magical keys to the phone.
read more

Magic and the Teleological Argument

Teleological. it’s a daunting word but don’t worry. Before we tackle it, and what it means, we’re going to take a trip. We’re all going to get on the same page so to speak, and go through this together.

We’re going to Magicians, book 1.

A Christian magician refers to magic as “The tools of the maker.” Magic is just a bit of the power used to create us, that we’ve managed to somehow get a hold of – Like a father leaving power tools out, and a child stumbling across them. Magic, in this mans eyes, is an accident. A secret we have let ourselves in on, without the knowledge of anyone ‘Upstairs’ knowing.

Now, we go to what this has to do with a religious argmuement for the existence of God. I think the very existence of god, or at least one supported by the Teleological argument negates all Richard has said.

So let’s see. The word Teleological comes from two seperate Greek words. Telos, which means purpose or aim, and Logos which means reasoning.

It stands then that the Teleological Argument would involve logic, reason and something to do with Purpose.  The simple explanation is that it is about the Design of life and humans. There are many different forms of this argument put forth, dating back as early as Socrates, but the one we are focusing on is slightly more recent.

So we go to 1802, to meet Christian philosopher William Paley. Although others had preposed it lightly before him, Paley was the first to really delve into the Watchmaker Analogy  in such detail. A common theory already it needed fleshing out and Paley did just that, as well as bringing a lot of attention to this particular way of thinking.

Imagine a watch. Open that watch up and look at the parts. They all have a purpose, they all work together in such perfect harmony, to give you what we know as a watch; the ticking hands in such a precise rhythm, the cogs and gears fitting so perfectly together – this was no mere accident. This was not something that came about by chance, and happenstance. Someone designed this watch. In the eyes of Paley, and even people like Sir Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes, this was proof of God. The human body, the universe and everything is so meticulously planned it had to be the work of a higher power and not just luck. The laws of physics are so perfect for human life and to sustain us it could not be mere chance that the planet we ended up on is also the one with the perfect amount of oxygen discosiation at sea level and a gravity that is enough to hold up but won’t stunt our growth or crush us.

Here is why this throws a spanner in the likes of Richard’s maker theory. If this is the case it means that magic was also designed by God. Magicians don’t just have an aptitude for learning, they are designed to weild that power. God didn’t leave his power tools out for us to stumble upon like an irresponsible father. It’s more like he wrapped them up and left them in the bedroom of some of his kids as a gift, whilst the others got nothing.

If a Teleological backed God does exist in the world of Magicians, it also leads to the idea of destiny and predetermination – all the mistakes made by Q and the others were meant to happen. The Beast becoming the beast was no more Martins fault as Plover doing what he did to the boy being his.

Thank you.

If anyone wants to join the Free Trader Discord group we have, the link is https://discord.gg/X8Nj43

I myself am on Twitter @brightstarfox, and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

The power of defintion and logic

“You said the words, and they altered the universe.” – Dean Fogg.

I know Fogg is talking about Magic here, but his words fit with what I’m looking to talk about. Specifically, whether logic and sense are enough reason to believe something. If it fits, is that enough?

I promise this isn’t a religious debate, I’m not pushing an agenda, but the first example I want to use is that of St Anselm. Those of you familiar with various arguements for the existence of God might know of Anselm. He was the Archbishop of Canterbury, England, for a while. His arguement is as follows;

  • God is, by definition, that in which nothing greater can be conceived.
  • Something existing in both the mind and reality is better than something existing in just the mind.
  • Since nothing can be greater than God, he must exist as that would be the greater option.

Simply put, imagine I gave you two choices – I will give you £5 or $5, whatever currency you use, or I will tell you that I will give you £10/$10. Obviously the actually having the money is the better option. This means the actual existing is better. Apply this to God.

It’s an interesting take on an argument, full of holes (See Gaunilo’s Island for those interested) but that isn’t what I want to focus on. The arguement was widely accepted because it made sense. Logically, the conclusion can be reached from the first points given.

Is that enough to make something true? If something logically follows, does that make it true? What do you think about this? If thats the case than rather than trying to prove magic, we should be explaining it, with proof or not.

Fun fact for anyone who remembers one of the key names of the Brakebills books; a philosopher who would have argued against this, with a school of thought called Falsifcation, is Karl Popper!

BrightstarFOX and Everyday Magics

Hello Free Trader Beowulf.

My name is Ryan, and today, I want to open the floor up to Everyday Magics. As a hopeful sceptic, I’ve always been wary of giving away just how desperately I want magic to be real. A love of science makes me think it can’t be possible, but then something always happens to give me a boost of hope, a little amount of faith.

One such thing is the Everyday magics, or mundane magics as I’ve seen them referred to. It was something I once saw on the internet in a Tumblr post. Whilst I usually try and avoid Tumblr, sometimes they can produce gold, and this was one such occasion.  The poster was drawing attention to something their cousin used to do as a child; they would watch cartoons together, and would channel surf whilst the adverts were on. However, the cousin would always switch the channel back to Disney the second the adverts were over, without fail. They could be in a conversation, playing with toys, but the second that channel changed, the show would start again.

Of course, this is something that can be learned. You could sit and time adverts, and with enough practice you could have this down pat. I like to think it wasn’t anything more than an example of the little magics.

Further comments on the post revealed other people had their own examples of Everyday Magics. One mentioned that they would go running all the time, yet even when they accidentally put their foot into holes or caught on plants, they never twisted their ankle; another has a coworker who makes coffee that is much better tasting than anyone else in the office, even though it’s all just a case of adding measured amounts and pushing a button. Origami and knots were mentioned, with people claiming they knew someone who could replicate any design after seeing it once.

For me, I  have noticed that whenever I discuss a song I haven’t heard for a while with someone, or even think about it, the next time I turn on the radio or flick through the Music channels on TV, that song will play.

What about yourselves? Anyone have any such experiences themselves?

I look forward to reading any answers!

Fox

Fibonacci Experience

Magic is the science we don’t have words for yet. Sometimes magic is the science we have words for AND it continues to give us room to dream.

One of my favorite bits of mathematical science magic is the Fibonacci sequence. The sequence is the mathematical language that describes the rabbits making bunnies or trees growing leaves or bees building communities. It is something so simple and yet so thrilling. We have the ability to describe and explain the relationships of naturally occurring phenomenon and it is enchanting.

I love looking for Fibonacci spirals in: photographs, on walks, in nature, and in buildings. I never get tired of that nautical shape. It inspires me that things can grow from such a simple point in space and time. Picture the quiet of the eye of the hurricane that builds into a torrent of wind and water. A simple seed that grows out and spirals into an inspiring sunflower or maybe even into a golden painting of sunflowers by an inspired artistic genius.

I like to imagine people this way too, that we all have this extraordinary thing inside of us to grow and affect huge changes. Each of us takes in all of these ideas and experiences, until somewhere down the line we pick a point to create something new, something captivating. This new thing (whatever it is) we share and it grows out in a spiral to inspire others and create a lasting change in the world. This change that will not only alter our lives in some way, but will also stimulate others who will create something new and captivating and the spiral continues. This is where dreams live, in the space between philosophy, magic, science, and math.

Thought Control

It has been observed in nature that the human consciousness affects the reality around us. Molecules react differently based off human emotions and even subatomic particles have been observed to behave in tandem with human thought.

Science has proven, beyond doubt, that our thoughts are tangible; in my editorial thoughts also indicates that we are indeed connected on an energetic level with the entire universe around us.

With this concept in mind it is important to control what is in our mind.

In the previous post I discussed a form of meditation – in this post I will follow along those same lines, but bump things up a notch or two.

After you have become comfortable monitoring your thoughts you must now consciously focus on one thought or feeling. Isolate that thought or feeling (preferably a positive one) and keep it in your mind as long as possible.

Try to start off at five minutes a day and bump it up to about thirty minutes.

If you think positive thoughts you will begin to experience positive results in your physical body.

So many people are hurting today and their negative thoughts are causing extreme sickness in their bodies. They are neglecting their most important aspects: their thoughts and emotions.

Even if you are sick, anxious, or suffering from a deadly disease – sit every day and isolate a positive thought or feeling. Hold onto it and nothing else. Should another thought or feeling arise, consciously push it aside and refocus on your original thought and intent.

I’ll be interested to know in the comments below what results you begin to see.

Initiation Day

Initiation

One of the most important things in life is learning about yourself, body, emotions, and mind.

It is in this respect that I will begin an initiation, if you will, into the guided perfection of such things.

The first thing we will work on is the most important: the mind.

Over the course of the next week it I would like you to take ten minutes out of your day, broken up into two sections of five minute periods; one session in the morning and one session in the evening.

During these five minute sessions you will either sit or lay comfortably, close your eyes, and observe your thoughts. Be in the moment, conscious of what you are thinking. Observe your thoughts as they come and go.

If at any time you feel yourself drifting off to sleep immediately stop the session and start again later.

After your five minutes is up end your session.

With each progressing day add one more minute to the session and by the end of the week you should be able to sit consciously for at least ten minutes observing your thoughts.

Some of you may be able to do this longer than others and that is fine. Progress at your own speed, but maintain the minimum I specified.

This isn’t a race and patience is key to perfection.

Next week I will move on to step two.

Speaking Your Truth

What is truth? This is an age old question that philosophers have been asking for thousands of years.

I’m sure you are all familiar with the story of the old man on the mountain, who sits atop its highest point waiting to give wisdom to those who would hear it.

This metaphor is wonderful because it relates to anything worth knowing.

Knowledge loves to keep itself hidden so only those who are willing to do the work and climb the mountain may discover it. Once this great work is completed the knowledge is all the more valuable. Like a relationship, to fully appreciate knowledge you must first invest time into it.

Have you ever told someone something that you have researched and know to be true, only to have them dismiss it or not consider it valuable?

It’s frustrating.

The reason you get frustrated when you give truth to someone and they reject it is simple: you have an invested amount of energy, both emotionally and chronologically, into a subject and it is important to you. When you give away this information freely people do not respect it in the same way you do.

There was once a very wise man who said, “Cast not your pearls before swine. For they will trample on it, and then rend you.”

What does this mean?

Usually when you tell someone a truth and they are not ready to hear it they will give you many subjective reasons why your truth is wrong and insult you in subtle ways (sometimes not so subtle) about why you shouldn’t believe in a certain thing. Rarely do they give you valid objective reasons to discredit your discoveries.

Objectivity v.s. Subjectivity

A truth is legitimate no matter what situation you find yourself in; this is called objectivity. Objective information is something that cannot be argued.

Subjectivity is information that is relative and not universal. For example you cannot say that if a tree fell in the forest that it wouldn’t make a sound because nobody is around to hear it. This is a subjective way of thinking, because of course the tree would make  a sound.

When having conversations with people about what you think and believe you must always be on the lookout for subjective reasoning.

This is a funny story. I once had a man say to me, “I have no belief. It gets in the way of learning.”

I asked him, “Do you believe that?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“So then you do believe in something and that something is getting in the way of your learning.”

You see, he gave me a subjective statement, not an objective one; this is precisely what the majority of the population will do when you speak to them on your ideas or seek intelligent conversation.

Disagreements

When you discover someone disagrees with your truth, discover why. Do not dismiss their world view – to do so disrespects the person and they will shut down.

When someone says, “You know that doesn’t sound right to me.”

Reply, “I understand your point of view and it has a considerable amount of merit behind it. But I think if you look at it from this perspective things might come more into focus for you.”

Never argue. People will only believe what they want to believe. They have to want to climb the mountain of wisdom and knowledge. You cannot force them up.

Seek and You Shall Find

When you are truly wanting to discover something you will climb that mountain and find the old wise man. Because the wise man has seen you have invested your time in climbing the mountain to discover his truth, he realizes that you won’t as easily dismiss what he has to say.

Do not just give away your ideas and information to those who would trample upon them. Allow them to seek out your views and opinions. Freely giving away your information is only asking for anguish.

Speaking Your Truth

When you do speak your truth, do not speak just to be heard. But when you speak know with comprehension what you are speaking on and you will be respected for it. Human beings are usually excellent B.S. detectors and love defaming a deceiver.

Ensure when you speak your truth that it is objective – if you cannot prove it to those who seek your guidance then do not offer it. Speaking truth is like a brilliant mirror: you can see clearly what is being shown to you; when you speak lies the mirror will crack and the image distorts. People do not like looking in a broken mirror. Although you can glue a mirror back together, you will always see the cracks; when you speak out of a desire to just be heard people will see only the cracks.

Always speak truth. Always speak with respect. Speak your truth.