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Comment author: Dagon 09 March 2017 04:24:03PM 0 points [-]

It can absolutely be both (or all three - I take "being special" as distinct from "your own power"), in different mixes for different people.

I'm not sure about the "useful for personal purposes" part. A lot (but not all) fantasy wizards pay a fairly high social cost for their erudition, and it's not clear that all that studying and experimenting helps them nearly as much as just getting rich and hiring an army would.

All that said, there's a limit to what we should learn from fiction.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 11 March 2017 07:16:42PM 0 points [-]

people use magic for purposes you can't use an army for XD

Comment author: dogiv 09 March 2017 09:13:48PM 1 point [-]

I would argue that the closest real-world analogue is computer hacking. It is a rare ability, but it can bestow a large amount of power on an individual who puts in enough effort and skill. Like magic, it requires almost no help from anyone else. The infrastructure has to be there, but since the infrastructure isn't designed to allow hacking, having the infrastructure doesn't make the ability available to everyone who can pay (like, say, airplanes). If you look at the more fantasy-style sci-fi, science is often treated like magic--one smart scientist can do all sorts of cool stuff on their own. But it's never plausible. With hacking, that romanticization isn't nearly as far from reality.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 10 March 2017 08:36:34PM 0 points [-]

or programming in general.

Comment author: Dagon 08 March 2017 07:27:54PM *  4 points [-]

Any references or studies behind this? My intuition (for which I know of no studies, so is just another option from yours) is different: most people are unwilling and/or unable to do the work of science/engineering - they are drawn to "do what I want" solutions rather than "do what I very precisely describe" solutions.

It's not about internal capabilities vs external tools. It's about what level of understanding and attention-to-detail is required to use it.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 08 March 2017 09:52:52PM 0 points [-]

It is an annoying thing about my mind that I can remember something without knowing where it as from. If I can located my original sources I'll will add them. However I do observe that people are drawn to the idea of doing something themselves out of their own abilities over using outside means such as tools, money or political power. And I predict that if people could see science not just in terms of inventions but as a way to become stronger as a human being, then more people would be drawn to it.

I might just being falling into the typical mind fallacy but that is still my prediction. I would like to expand my knowledge on this matter and find a way to test this prediction, but I don't know how to do it right now as things are

why people romantice magic over most science.

3 higurashimerlin 08 March 2017 06:29PM

Back in 2008 Eliezer wrote the following post http://lesswrong.com/lw/ou/if_you_demand_magic_magic_wont_help/ In it he said the following

"Born into a world of science, they did not become scientists.  What makes them think that, in a world of magic, they would act any differently?" However, he seems to misunderstand. I do not believe that people seek magic or other fantasies for being different and on the other side of the fence. But rather, because it fills a need that most sciences don't give people.

In fantasy when people imagine the kind of things they want, I tend to see the following things

flying under you own power vs airplanes

powerful melee weapons vs guns,

supernatural strength and speed vs tools and vehicles,

magic vs tools.

What these share in common is they are your own power vs a outside power. People feel a stronger connection to their actions when they are doing it with their hands or with a tool that uses their own strength. Hitting a light switch to turn on a light doesn't feel like something you did. Inventing the light bulb makes you feel what you did something, but the result still doesn't feel like a part of yourself. Likewise, a sword feels like a part of you in a way a gun doesn't. Cars do better than other vehicles because you become attached to them mentally.

Magic fulfills this need to have your ability be your own on a emotional level. A light spell is your own light and I think people would feel the same way if they had a biological ability to emit light, if you could fly on your own, with your own wings then people might stop thinking about broomsticks. Being a cyborg gives similar benefits. The machinery is a part of you so you feel like your actually strong. Like you actually can create fireballs, leaps 10 stories or walk through a fire unharmed while giving one liners.


I am not sure how to make people feel the same way when it comes to current science and technology. We can make people feel better in life in general if we started to promote blue collar work again, but that is leaves the matter that people aren't pursuing science as much as I wish. I would like to bring this into discussion before trying to propose a solution as any solution I can comeup up with now is "in the future" what can we do right now to handle this without cyborgs.

Please discuss.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 08 March 2017 04:49:26PM 2 points [-]

I realize the oldest comment on this thread is from 3 years ago, but I still have something to say. The reason people like the idea of magic I think is that it makes us feel like it a part of us in a way that a lightbulb doesn't. Even if you invented the light bulb, it doesn't feel like it is a part of you in the same way as if you could make light with magic or had a natural ability to emit light. Being able to generate explosions as a part of you feels better than making a bomb and pressing a switch.

It is the same reason why people prefer swords and other melee weapons over guns in fantasy and why cyborg are so well liked. These are all very physical and direct and we feel closer to those acts then the act of pressing a button. Actually making discoveries is more engaging then using the final product but it still doesn't feel like that power is a part of you so it doesn't fulfill the fantasy we want.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 16 June 2016 12:43:45AM 0 points [-]

The problem with these kinds of debates is that human have political type thinking, even when we are trying not to. So we tend to interpreted things through the lens of our politics.

This debate is one example alone others. Like have inter-sex people are considered to be something to fix, rather than just sexual features not being set in stone.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 01 April 2015 06:31:45PM 1 point [-]

Does anyone know how long will it take for uploading to be possible? We don't have the computing power to simulate the uploaded brain but if you have the patterns you can be restore sooner or later. What about other ways to restore the upload such as altering an existing brain?

Comment author: higurashimerlin 16 March 2015 02:31:20AM *  12 points [-]

Harry forgot to give Hermione the most important quest item.

"This Hermione, Is your father's rock."

Comment author: edkeyes 14 March 2015 03:50:30AM 2 points [-]

Someone else may have already come up with this interpretation, but I just wanted to get a prediction posted before the last chapter comes out.

Voldemort most likely had turned the diary of Roger Bacon into one of his horcruxes. The book was described as unusually durable, and it was given to Harry at a point in the story before Voldemort acquired the Resurrection Stone, so horcruxes would have worked only by touch. Needless to say, it was to his advantage to have one in Harry's possession, to be able to potentially take over the body of Tom Riddle v2.0 if the whole Quirrell thing didn't work out.

And now the diary is (supposedly) Hermione's horcrux too. Oh, dear. Since Voldemort wrote her into Harry's Vow as a required source of advice and restraint, he would have wanted to retain the option to influence that advice and force Harry away from dangerous decisions. So mixing horcruxes together in the same object might have been intended to give him the option to take over Hermione's body with access to her memories, if his plans failed to the extent of Harry surviving the night of the final exam.

With his personality now Obliviated, the mixing of souls might work in the other direction. My prediction for the final chapter is that Hermione has retained her personality but now has access, at some level, to Voldemort's accumulated magical lore, and possibly to things like passwords to his hidden caches of artifacts (since they'll eventually need to get the Resurrection Stone back to finally get the Hallows together).

This would be a neat last twist, opening a lot of possibilities for Harry and Hermione to kick off a collaboration on solving the problems of the universe in subsequent years. And the parallelism is elegant: the Girl-Who-Revived acquires a fragment of the vanquished Voldemort just as the Boy-Who-Lived originally did. We'll see if she gets a dark side too. ;-)

Comment author: higurashimerlin 14 March 2015 12:45:27PM 2 points [-]

Word of god already said the diary wasn't supposed to be important at time Voldemort gave it to Harry. So it was probably just enchanted to be unusually durable.

Comment author: higurashimerlin 12 March 2015 01:22:28AM 3 points [-]

Wait a moment. I just realize that Voldemort has been made into a gem meant to contain his soul. He has been made into soul gem. Goddamn it Eliezer.

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