Jacob's Return

The ongoing story of Chelsea Chattan, a witch, who after a three year absence, returns to her hometown only to find out that things are not always what they seem.

Moderator: Jamie

Jacob's Return

Postby Murray M. Lee on Sat May 12, 2007 9:00 am

And the fire mage is back.

Question is, what's the catch?
Murray
A Writer's Block
- Science Fiction stories, jokes, and art
USS Freedom
The Misadventures of the wackiest ship in Starfleet (in hiatus)
User avatar
Murray M. Lee
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 12:00 am
Location: Va. Beach

Postby ShardZ on Sat May 12, 2007 11:35 am

Indeed. It's too bad we never got to see Gustov's "Life 2.0" program in action, but it apparently worked. As for the catch... it seems like someone will have to die. Or maybe stay dead...?

Oh, and I'd also been pretty fuzzy on the idea that words themselves (in some universes) can hold the key to performing magic. This comic (note the tail of the word balloon) gave me a better idea, but I think I'm still just as confused. :D The CotC universe seems to have all sorts of ways of performing magic, though... "sweeping the yard" seems to be purely physical, and of course some spells can be performed merely with a thought, like when Lillith called down hail or fire. Other comic universes (Sorcery 101 is one, I think) tend to have more stringent rules.
In order to clearly see what is in the shadows, you must first enter them.

Image
User avatar
ShardZ
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 782
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: The haunts of grues, lucksuckers and eldritch vapors.

Postby Silver Adept on Mon May 14, 2007 12:27 pm

ShardZ wrote:Indeed. It's too bad we never got to see Gustov's "Life 2.0" program in action, but it apparently worked. As for the catch... it seems like someone will have to die. Or maybe stay dead...


For one to live, another has to die. That's the requirement of the magic. Whomever it is given in sacrfice, they're going to have to die. Although, that does lead to a possibly interesting discussion about whether or not someone could keep a loop going with two people - when one is alive, the other is dead.

Shardz wrote:Oh, and I'd also been pretty fuzzy on the idea that words themselves (in some universes) can hold the key to performing magic. This comic (note the tail of the word balloon) gave me a better idea, but I think I'm still just as confused. :D The CotC universe seems to have all sorts of ways of performing magic, though... "sweeping the yard" seems to be purely physical, and of course some spells can be performed merely with a thought, like when Lillith called down hail or fire. Other comic universes (Sorcery 101 is one, I think) tend to have more stringent rules.


A nice short story about the power of words is Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God" and could explain why the words are helpful and that computers can get involved. But the gist is, if particular words and actions produce consistent results (like turning the key in the ignition and saying "Startup!"), then those words and actions can be mechanized, such that a computer could be a major help in performing surgery... or resurrection. We can stir emotions with words - it would follow that those with magical ability would be able to stir other things with their words.

Okay, stopping now, before becoming totally incoherent.
Sir Alexander, KCI Eqvites Ivbalis, Snufficus Magus Argentus. Initial suggestor of name Order of Jubal. Probi Immotiqve Este!
Now accepting positions in M-Division. Come see what Science and Magic together can make! Apply by PM or post!
And now the creator of my own comic! Go see Faces
Gots a LiveJournal now. It's here!
User avatar
Silver Adept
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 3658
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: The Lake of Grass in Michigan

Postby ShardZ on Tue May 15, 2007 4:51 am

Silver Adept wrote:A nice short story about the power of words is Arthur C. Clarke's "The Nine Billion Names of God" and could explain why the words are helpful and that computers can get involved. But the gist is, if particular words and actions produce consistent results (like turning the key in the ignition and saying "Startup!"), then those words and actions can be mechanized, such that a computer could be a major help in performing surgery... or resurrection. We can stir emotions with words - it would follow that those with magical ability would be able to stir other things with their words.


I'll have to look for that story... I do have a short story in my possession (possibly from Clarke's era, at least) about a poetry contest between a human and a robot with AI programmed for human aesthetics. I think it was ruled that, while the robot was better with the technical and compositional aspects of its poetry, it just didn't have that "human" element, and therefore the human judges couldn't fully relate to or appreciate it.

But now I'm rambling... basically, my confusion was regarding, "Why words at all?" Why would the spiritual or supernatural (with entities often described as being far beyond human compehrension, simply because they had never been human) even care about human inventions like words, much less what language they were in?

I can comprehend the use of more basic spell components like material elements, physical movements, and maybe even pure emotion or force of will, because their purpose can feasibly be understood without translation or explanation to someone familiar with magic (or a supernatural being which essentially resides within magic). All of these can be construed as being the most basic parts of the living, mortal world (from which most magic is practiced, from our point of view anyway). But why words and language, most of which are a fairly recent part of human history, along with many of the drawn symbols which accompany them?

Not that I don't understand the use of words, on a more obvious level of the need to be fully understood on both sides (of the veil, human society, whatever). I guess I was just wondering how or why words supposedly became not only functional and important, but necessary. *Shrug*

Thank you for the input, though! :) I guess I'm just on a different wavelength. And yeah, I know I'm basically reviving this conversation. I guess seeing a comic (Zebra Girl, linked in my earlier post) use/show a physically functional magical incantation as symbols got me thinking more about the subject. (It wasn't the first time, for ZG, either. That update just made it a little more apparent.)
In order to clearly see what is in the shadows, you must first enter them.

Image
User avatar
ShardZ
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 782
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: The haunts of grues, lucksuckers and eldritch vapors.

Postby Jamie on Tue May 15, 2007 6:55 am

Words are power. That's why. Don't believe me? Ask Don Imus. Words have power because we let them have power, but it's more complicated than that.

There's an ancient belief that if you know some thing's name you have power over it. Example. How many people here would be perfectly at ease fixing the motherboard on their computer or replacing the transmission on their car? I know I wouldn't. I'd be scared to death, because I didn't have the knowledge to perform those tasks. Knowledge is power. We gain knowledge primarily through words.

Magick is mystery, and so words help clear up the mystery. Thats an over simplification, but that's what I understand it to be about.

Jamie
Jamie, KCI in the Order of the Knights of Jubal
Probi Immotiqve Este: Be virtuous and cool. PIQE.
Image
Clan of the Cats
Melpomene: The Chaos Orb: An online graphic novel by Jamie Robertson and Clint Hollingsworth
Sebo: A weekly webcomic about a girl and her cat.
NCWCCC

"I don't believe in atheism." - Hawkeye Pierce M*A*S*H*
"Some times the Magic works. Some times it doesn't." - Cheif Dan George Little Big Man
User avatar
Jamie
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 3554
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 12:00 am
Location: NC

Postby Silver Adept on Tue May 15, 2007 10:13 am

Yep. That's part of "Why words" - words have the power we give them. And second, if the incantation is about achieving a particular state of mind or being that can manipulate the flow of the power, then words and sigils are vitally important as a way of transmitting and replicating that knowledge and those situations. Since not everyone has the ability to change their state at will, we devise devices that allow us to achieve the appropriate state of mind more easily.

I couldn't necessarily change a transmission or fix a motherboard (beyond the replacement of faulty components that can be swapped out - that I can do), but with practice and knowledge, I could do both. How do I gain that knowledge and practice? Words.
Sir Alexander, KCI Eqvites Ivbalis, Snufficus Magus Argentus. Initial suggestor of name Order of Jubal. Probi Immotiqve Este!
Now accepting positions in M-Division. Come see what Science and Magic together can make! Apply by PM or post!
And now the creator of my own comic! Go see Faces
Gots a LiveJournal now. It's here!
User avatar
Silver Adept
Keenspot Juggernaut
 
Posts: 3658
Joined: Tue Oct 10, 2000 11:00 pm
Location: The Lake of Grass in Michigan

Postby ShardZ on Tue May 15, 2007 10:50 am

Yeah. The very title "The Nine Billion Names of God" reminded me of the Egyptian myth about Ra's many names.

I guess some would say it can all be boiled down to anthropology--humans interpret the world (or magic) according to what they understand, and the way they've come to understand existence is through their own verbal and written descriptions to one another. By harnessing the strange in a medium they can understand, they believe they can gain power over it.

Or something... in other words, how the supernatural might feel about the whole affair is neatly disregarded. ;)

There's a reason, after all, why the Japanese (and I don't know how many other cultures) use the same word for "paper" and "divine"--paper, being rare and precious, was used foremost for the writing of prayers and sacred documents. The degree of importance was extended from material to divine... or vice versa... or both at once. I'm sure I'm leaving out a lot, but similar themes can be found with writing systems, such as Islamic.
In order to clearly see what is in the shadows, you must first enter them.

Image
User avatar
ShardZ
Grand Poobah Keenspotter
 
Posts: 782
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 12:24 pm
Location: The haunts of grues, lucksuckers and eldritch vapors.

 

Return to Clan of the Cats

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest