Joined: 27 Jul 2007
The difference between magic and technology is experimentation.
But the definition of magic is that which bends the laws of nature. In many fantasy books I've read, magic is nothing more than the means by which the impossible become possible. Consider this: a magician can call forth a bolt of lightning from a perfectly clear, blue sky--or even better, in the middle of space, where it's hard to find individual atoms, let alone enough to form an electrical charge. The way he does this is not explicable by any science because nothing science can come up with explains how he generates something like that in a space where it is physically impossible. This is not technology--he is not exploiting chemistry, physics, or anything like that. He is truly making the impossible happen in front of our eyes. How does he do this? Well, the answer can be as simple as "saying the magic words" or "drawing runes in the air," but what actually happens?
Many of the authors I've read explain these actions as a medium for drawing upon the realm of possibilities ("the ether," "quintessence," "magical force") and turning a possibility that does not exist in this universe into our universe. It's the same with linking books. There are infinite possibilities, and by "saying the magic words" (or, in this case, writing them with the magic ink), they can choose what possibilities to make real. Yet magic, by definition, cannot be proven by science. Nor can we prove empirically, or even rationally, that God (Yahvo?) exists. But we CAN come up with theories and working models of them that, while unscientific, really do work. In some fantasy works, magicians dont' fully understand magic, and they can't figure it out because it's far too complex for any human to really understand, but they can research and refine it. It's largely intuitive and only makes sense to those who practice and use magic, but it still works. Theologians come up with explanations for God and Providence that are similarly vague, but people can understand them easily because we all have the capacity for understanding spiritual matters.
Maybe magic isn't the best term for describing linking, but I don't think that it's scientifically explainable, and can only be attributed to Yahvo's form of Providence and his direct intervention.
I'd put this a different way. The expression 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' doesn't mean magic exists nor does it preclude the possibility. It simply says that when we don't know how to explain something we all too readily leap to the conclusion that it is magic or evidence of divine intervention. Historically, quite a lot of things we now take for granted in our daily lives, would be attributed to one or the other of these by our forebears, but we know better, don't we? Similarly, at some unspecified time in the future, things currently inexplicable to us may be fully understood.
However, on the other hand, the more you ask questions about how things work, like electricity for example, the closer the answer comes to 'because' (and I paraphrase Terry Pratchett here). Electricity is a flow of electrons, but what are electrons? They are tiny charged particles whizzing around in atoms (and in your CRT tv set or monitor) that are made up of three charged quarks (up up down? I forget!). What are quarks? well, they are even tinier particles that seem to be tightly bound within other particles and that possess mass, spin and charge and possibly other things I've forgotten . What are mass, spin and charge? well, they are properties particles can have and that have a number of rules and behaviours we can observe. Maybe a particle scientist could shed a little more light on these, but ultimately we reach a point where we can describe something, and maybe have a full and precise knowledge of it's behaviour, but be unable to explain why it has that behaviour any further, it 'just does'. You can think of this as the magic of the universe if you like
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