Author Topic: The Magicians  (Read 1545 times)

Q. G. Pennyworth

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The Magicians
« on: April 01, 2016, 03:17:57 pm »
I'm not 100% on this, think it still needs some work and there's no real conclusion, but it's a start



There are real magicians all around us. Not stage magicians, not “illusionists,” but real life honest to goddess mortals who have conquered the fear of death and affect reality through sheer force of will.

You can be one, too.

Now, some folks will tell you that in order to do this you need to buy a lot of books, or do a lot of drugs, or some combination of the two. They'll talk at you about sigils and crystals and pyramids and focusing energy. They'll tell you about Terrence McKenna and his psychonaut adventures like they're genuine insight into the workings of the mind.

And for some of them, that's how they get to be magicians.

But for most, they end up being the same person but now with an expensive hobby and maybe some brain damage depending on their choice of chemical enlightenment.

And the worst part is this isn't the only path to get there – or even the most efficient!

The best magicians don't think of themselves as magicians at all. They describe themselves as actors, as con artists, as hackers or politicians. They learn how things work, and they tell the world a story that the world believes, and suddenly reality itself has warped just a tiny bit. They tell stories to themselves, to other people, to machines, and the stories affect the world.

Now, you can't just start telling stories about anything and expect to change everything. There is a process to it, even if it's not staring at a candle in the darkness. I'm not going to tell you this is the One And Only True Path, but here's some common themes I've seen in the magicians I've watched at work.

1) Getting Ego Out of the Picture
Your Self, the innermost essence of who you are, is a fragile thing that needs to be protected. That's why people get their undies in a bind when you call them out on not being the kind of person they think they already are. To affect the world, you've gotta lie and lie hard, and that means not getting flustered at the wrong times. You'll need to be able to compartmentalize your shit.
Magicians can accomplish this by shielding or annihilating the ego. I recommend the former. Pen names are one way of getting the job done, or full blown”personas.” Think of Stephen Colbert, or Mark Twain. Anonymous has an “out of the box” solution, just slap on their branding and go!
If you really want to annihilate your ego, stare at yourself in a mirror in a poorly lit room until your face begins to vanish.

2) Tear Everything to Pieces
You're never going to learn how shit works if you don't learn how to tear it to pieces. This goes for physical objects as well as ideas. If you got a western education, you already have some training in this, just start using those skills on media reports instead of 19th century English lit. What are the themes? What are people trying to tell you? What is the end goal and how are they getting you there? Pay attention to the music and sound effects in movies, learn how foley artists do their thing. Learn about costuming and color palates and set design. Go to a concert and just watch the lighting guy do his thing. Look for the strings.
Of course, you should tear apart some real things, too. So much of what we interact with on a daily basis is complete magic to us, but it was all designed by people! You can start to see the pieces, learn the practical magic of creating objects that are sufficiently advanced for most users. Binge some factory porn. Dismantle a Furby.

3) Get Out There and Do It
Decide what you want to change in the world, figure out what the angles are to create a story that will get your foot in the door, and go tell it. You may need friends to help, but don't let that get in your way. There are more people in this world who want to wreck shit than you can possibly realize.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2016, 10:38:34 pm »
Does being a magician make you invulnerable? No.

There are lots of magicians in the world, more than you could possibly imagine, and regular people out there doing their own little rituals holding the world as we know it together. You're going to bump into a lot of that, and there are good chances that you will fuck up miserably and fail. In fact, you might just get your dumb ass killed.

There is a reason that conquering the fear of death is on the list of requirements for being a magician. You need to remove as many handles from your forehead as possible, to keep other people from steering you around like a goddamned golfcart on their own path to whatever. Fear of death is one of the oldest and easiest to manipulate handles out there, and everyone's got it. Well, almost everyone. When you can stare down your imminent demise with calmness, without fear or anger or regret, then you'll know you're free.
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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2016, 09:55:30 am »
I think you're right - needs a bit of work but you seem to have the bases well covered
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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2016, 05:48:07 pm »
Very fucking nice. I love it.

Raw, or cleaned up a little, I'd spread the shit out of this.
Listen carefully. I don't have much time, and I only have 462 characters left. I'm a scientist from Area 52 (Area 51 was used to draw attention from Area 52, where the aliens were ACTUALLY stored) who was working on neural interfacing with networked devices. In an experiment gone wrong, I accidentally uploaded my mind to the internet. In the 2 seconds I had before my mind scrambled itself with the world's network traffic, I was able to store this snippet in this random internet signature. If you're reading this, let the world know tha

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2016, 11:48:21 pm »
There's magic everywhere, you know, but it blends into the New Normal and you don't notice it most of the time. Wake up, put on clothes, eat food, get the kids on the bus, get to work... the routine lulls you into mental drowsiness, like highway hypnosis. But every day you get up and you put on clothing you did not make, made of plants you did not grow and synthetic fibers constructed in labs by people who get just as bored at work as you. You live in a house you didn't build and brush your teeth with water that traveled miles and endured all manner of filters and chemical treatments to render it inoffensive to your delicate tastes. The kids get on a bus assembled by strangers and designed by a team of anonymous engineers in Minnesota, and tiny explosions of fermented dinosaurs carry them away.

Almost everything in our lives is magic: conveniences created through the work of others by the sweat of their brows and the power of their imaginations and our collective willingness to say "yes, I will accept this potential reality."

It's funny because the people who are most into MAJHIQUEK are always off wandering through the woods, rambling something borderline racist about Native Americans and pretending that the rocks talk to them, when the most magical thing in their lives is the device in their pocket that can put them in contact with almost any other human being in the world. Instantly. But that can't be magic, because if that was magic everyone would be magicians and they wouldn't be special snowflakes.

Everyone is magicians. You are not a special snowflake.

At a power plant there is a magician who oversees the grid, and the leylines he guards are high tension wires and if he fails in his task we are all plunged into darkness. At the town clerk's office there is a magician who files the paperwork, and her carelessness or diligence is the difference between your marriage being real or imaginary. And the bankers are all magicians, too.

Civilization is a spell we are all casting, and like any situation with too many cooks in the kitchen, things are a little messy. And some folks on the sidelines, who are stuck chopping broccoli when they'd rather be grilling steak and they hate the smell of broccoli anyway, some of them think about what it would be like to have their own kitchen, or to abolish kitchens altogether, burn the place to the ground. And there are magicians who keep an eye on that shit so we can all keep the illusion alive.
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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2016, 12:04:36 am »
GODDAMN. YOU ARE ON FIRE.
Listen carefully. I don't have much time, and I only have 462 characters left. I'm a scientist from Area 52 (Area 51 was used to draw attention from Area 52, where the aliens were ACTUALLY stored) who was working on neural interfacing with networked devices. In an experiment gone wrong, I accidentally uploaded my mind to the internet. In the 2 seconds I had before my mind scrambled itself with the world's network traffic, I was able to store this snippet in this random internet signature. If you're reading this, let the world know tha

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2016, 12:34:53 am »
But what if I like shiny rocks?

Babycakes, if you like shiny rocks you can have your shiny rocks all day. Hell, you can pay too much for them and give them all names and party hats for all I care. See, even though I just spent a while shitting on that, tricking yourself into believing in rocks is a type of magic, too.

It's not what I'd call the most useful magic, and it definitely makes you look like a silly wanker, but it's magic all the same.

Those rocks aren't talking back to you, that's the 100% Really Real Reality, the kind that stays put when you stop believing in it. Your brain knows this (unless you've got some serious damage going on) and your ability to tell your brain FUCK OFF THIS IS WHAT WE'RE DOING NOW is a vital skill for any Magician. The actor's brain knows he isn't Lincoln, but he can tell it to FUCK OFF and be Lincoln for a while. The politician knows that global warming is real, but she can tell her brain to FUCK OFF so she can make some motherfucking money, and in the end we're all fucked anyway so what's the harm in getting rich along the way? And the lobbyist is telling herself the same lies, too.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2016, 06:09:25 pm »
It's hard to make distinctions between Magicians and normal people, in part because every dichotomy is a false dichotomy and in part because the way we live our lives is so fundamentally grounded in the magic of modern civilization. And yes, there is always the SHEEPLE trap, where people start thinking that their inner life is somehow more powerful or more real or more woke than the normies. But I'm gonna try to do it anyway so bear with me.

A normal person, one who lives in a magical world but does not see it for magic, watches a magician levitate an object on stage. Our strawman may wonder how the task is accomplished, but he may also be too wrapped up in the moment to allow his critical thinking to get in the way of wonderment, or he may be staring at the lovely assistant that he swears just winked at him. A Magician looks for the strings. Because a Magician knows that this trick is generally accomplished by using ultra fine transparent threads to support the levitated object, and the magician on stage counts on the audience to trust what they see.

My mother was a magician's assistant, and she taught me to look for the strings.

There's a stereotype of magician's assistants being pretty, ditzy, and silent. That's cultivated intentionally, because for most of the tricks where an assistant is employed, they're doing most of the work. The girl getting sawed in half is supposed to look like she's just lying there, while she has to contort her body into half the box without giving anything away with her facial expressions.

We were watching some idiot or other planning to escape a deathtrap headed over Niagara Falls and she told me "look at how he's holding his hands when they put on the chains, he's already got them most of the way out and he's not even on the raft yet!" She showed me how to get out of handcuffs (the trick is making your wrists as big as possible when they're going on, if you were curious) and told me how she ruined the ring trick for an entire afternoon crowd because she was pissed at her partner that day.

Once you start to Look For The Strings, you can't just enjoy entertainment. After all, everything is fiction created by people and held together by the little things the audience isn't supposed to see. My uncle is a lighting guy, and he taught me all the silly little things you're not supposed to look at. I gobbled up everything I could find about foley artists as soon as I learned that was a thing, and started listening for their work everywhere. While the audience is listening, visuals sneak in sideways. When they're looking, the sounds are the strings holding the illusion together.

There are Strings in real life, too. Governments only work because we all agree they do, even our currency is a form of collective make believe. And sure, you could burn the whole stage down. You could kill all the Magicians and send everyone home, but it's better to be at the show. Just, once in a while, something on stage isn't going the way it should, and the people who Look For The Strings are the people who will see it first, and the people who are best suited to fixing the problem. The goal isn't, shouldn't be, to end it all. The goal should be to make the illusion work for everyone, not to victimize the assistants or traumatize the audience. And yes, the metaphor is getting stretched beyond recognition at this point, but the show must go on.
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Cramulus

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2016, 07:40:50 pm »
:mittens:

We were watching some idiot or other planning to escape a deathtrap headed over Niagara Falls and she told me "look at how he's holding his hands when they put on the chains, he's already got them most of the way out and he's not even on the raft yet!" She showed me how to get out of handcuffs (the trick is making your wrists as big as possible when they're going on, if you were curious) and told me how she ruined the ring trick for an entire afternoon crowd because she was pissed at her partner that day.

Once you start to Look For The Strings, you can't just enjoy entertainment. After all, everything is fiction created by people and held together by the little things the audience isn't supposed to see. My uncle is a lighting guy, and he taught me all the silly little things you're not supposed to look at. I gobbled up everything I could find about foley artists as soon as I learned that was a thing, and started listening for their work everywhere. While the audience is listening, visuals sneak in sideways. When they're looking, the sounds are the strings holding the illusion together.

There are Strings in real life, too. Governments only work because we all agree they do, even our currency is a form of collective make believe. And sure, you could burn the whole stage down. You could kill all the Magicians and send everyone home, but it's better to be at the show. Just, once in a while, something on stage isn't going the way it should, and the people who Look For The Strings are the people who will see it first, and the people who are best suited to fixing the problem. The goal isn't, shouldn't be, to end it all. The goal should be to make the illusion work for everyone, not to victimize the assistants or traumatize the audience. And yes, the metaphor is getting stretched beyond recognition at this point, but the show must go on.

I like the way you put things.

I think this is part of what "learning to see the fnords" is about.

In Illuminatus, the fnords are the linguistic tricks that shut down the rational part of the brain, (language that generates fear, group identity, etc) like a form of hypnosis. But it's more than that - the fnord is just one of the kinds of "invisible strings" you're talking about. These strings are the way our world builds the world for others.

We're talking about the building blocks of the 'consensus trance'. And the hammer which smashes it.


In the way you describe magic,
I think this thread is enchanted.

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2016, 11:12:09 pm »
This thread is the best thing I've seen in a LONG time. To say you have a gift is an understatement.
Listen carefully. I don't have much time, and I only have 462 characters left. I'm a scientist from Area 52 (Area 51 was used to draw attention from Area 52, where the aliens were ACTUALLY stored) who was working on neural interfacing with networked devices. In an experiment gone wrong, I accidentally uploaded my mind to the internet. In the 2 seconds I had before my mind scrambled itself with the world's network traffic, I was able to store this snippet in this random internet signature. If you're reading this, let the world know tha

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2016, 01:32:10 pm »
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2016, 07:06:40 am »
For "The Magicians" by Q.G.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=wise&allowed_in_frame=0

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=-ard&allowed_in_frame=0

I recall the question coming up here somewhere or another (I recall "Magical" spam) what the actual difference between a "Wizard" and other "magical" designations was after I used the term sorcerer as distinct from wizard. In light of your really excellent perspective points here Q.G. I believe I will be able to construct a fair definition of what makes a person a Wizard and why that is a superior state over the prerequisite of "magician" as you so lucidity and elegantly illustrate such folks.

First a bit of wordplay and etymological tinkering about the actual word wizard. See wizard is a compound word and I have provided links above to the components' meanings and origins. Starting with examination of the word "ard" we come to see that although often translated "man" with full gender implications the originating languages used it to simply denote a person, being used much like the usage of "one" in contemporary English to do the same. I shall therefore happily dispense with any further concern for proper gender usage and use wizard without any more concern for such than with a designation like "engineer". Wizard shall here simply mean "one who is "wiz".

Now that first word is the real matter at hand. Apply all of the given adjective definitions above and you get a clear sense of the contemporary meanings of being a "wiseone" or "seer". Where it gets "magical" is in also applying the noun and verb definitions to the Wizard. Wiz meaning by plentiful variants path, way, method, and also style or the sense of a "proper" fashion of living morally. Also as a verb "to wiz" might imply the act of adopting such or to correct the errant as the link's info implies, "to wise up" the self or another. And so the Wizard as a mystical concept begins to come TRULY full circle from a "western" cultural tradition and reunites in essential meaning with the symbolism of the "eastern" traditional concept of Do or The Way. The Wizard is one who sees the path, the traveler, the destination, and the method of travel as one and so The Wizard more often sees means to do what others may never consider in their certainty about how things "are".



It's one thing
To hear of The Way

Or tell tales
Of the travelers

Another still
To journey upon
  -----


I wrote the above some time shortly after I first saw this thread and kept it to myself, unfinished. I dug in up and on second read think it is good enough as is.

On a technical level there's one particular thing that I think differentiates a Wizard from your opening definition. The overlay of an illusion to annihilate the ego as such is a very effort intensive method that folks get taught by "bad" magicians, either in a moral sense because they know better and seek slaves, or because that's all the method that they ever learned, and so are amateur.

Here's a comparative example from the oranges:

I remember Cram hitting the wall in terms of dealing with the horrible bitter flavor and projecting enjoyability upon them, "and lo they were tasty" I think he said. This is an impressive feat, to be sure, but effort intensive in the extreme.

For myself, the experience of the bitterness was unpleasant in the extreme, but tolerance is built on experience. It's horribly nasty to endure, but all that enduring requires is embracing the sensation for all you can glean from it.

There's a distinction there of notable significance to the will worker. Will work is just like any other work. Being able to do it for long requires an understanding of the most efficient way to expend effort for a given effect. The power needed to "tell your brain to FUCK OFF", as Q.G. so eloquently put it, and produce a false stimulus more pleasant that the real one is far greater than the effort to tell your brain to FUCK OFF and continue moving hands and mandible effectively in your distasteful efforts.

Admittedly ORANGES are quite possibly the least rewarding thing one could put your magicals to use with, but that's a separate matter for the philosophers to chew on.

I love the bit "Everyone is magicians. You are not a special snowflake."

That's the first thing a Wizard might see,
in a world made mad by false dichotomy.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 01:05:40 am »
I don't know how I missed this the first time around, but it's excellent!
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 03:43:02 pm »
TWJ

I want to respond coherently to what you said, not only because you put a lot into it but because you sat on your initial response and then took time to make sure it was close to where you wanted to be and clarified it further. So the fact that it's hitting my brain and sliding off like teflon is deeply frustrating. It sounds like you may be making the case for realism over illusion, which is pretty much a 180 from where I was going with this. It also sounds like you're advocating against putting in effort because it's effort, which is kinda like telling someone who's advocating for lifting heavier weights to build muscle that they're a dummy for putting in all that effort when they could just not build muscles. But I don't know if that's where you were going or if I've got some shrieking baboons in my head.
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The Wizard Joseph

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Re: The Magicians
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 07:14:38 pm »
There's a lot I guess might seem as you say. I'm not saying that the magiggahadicals be "real" so much as that the effects of telling your brain to "fuck off" are a very, very powerful tool capable of making things otherwise impossible or inconceivable actually happen. I'm also saying that it's not just a matter of telling your brain to do something outside of standard procedure, but also in what way you go about it that influences effect "per capita".

There's the way, and there's hard work. Literally Do (way) and "gung-fu" (hard work). Western perspective pointedly ignores the first and blandly treats the second as "martial arts". The truth is that it describes a learning process applicable to just about everything and it can lead to prowess in almost any endeavor, with focused effort.
You need to tell your brain to fuck off less and less often and loudly as your hard work starts to pay off, but you're still doing it. But a HUGE part of getting to that point is in learning not to expend effort unnecessarily.

This is how "impossible" things can happen, like an old man throwing several attacking men three times his size and armed without breaking a sweat, or pegging a bean sized target tossed in the air with an arrow blindfolded, or dodging one blindfolded.

Thing is all of the mystical BS can be scrapped entirely and it still works.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz: