Re: virus: Sham(an) again

David McFadzean (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 15:22:21 -0600

At 04:09 PM 9/13/97 -0700, Eva-Lise Carlstrom wrote:

>My understanding of what magic consists of has undergone changes. I
>don't expect you to agree with my use of the term, but I don't separate
>magic from memetics. In my view, magic is the use of symbolic and
>indirect means to achieve physical, practical ends. I realize this
>includes a lot. It's intended to. It's still less inclusive that

I'm willing to accept your definition, but then you have to admit
that magic is not supernatural and therefore comes under the domain
of science.

I wonder if a lot of the apparent differences on this list results
from misunderstandings surrounding personal definitions for mystical
terms (like Brodie's God).

>> Is this supposed to be a true story? Is there a good reason to believe
>> the man would not have survived without the fire?
>It is not necessary to postulate the story as true in order to look at the
>implications of various beliefs about what happens in the story. What I'm
>trying to get at is different ways of viewing the same events. For this
>purpose let's assume that other people had been tested in this way and
>none of them had survived. Even so, as you point out, it is possible the
>man would have survived anyway, despite his doubts on that point, and that
>the distant fire is completely irrelevant. I take it that's your
>interpretation of the most likely explanation for the story's events,
>were they to actually occur?

Not necessarily, I was just trying to clarify before answering. I have
no problem believing the distant fire was necessary for survival, if
only (as your friend suggested) to keep the man awake all night.

> At the time, I thought the children's interpretation and mine were
>diametrically opposed. But I now hold a view that synthesizes them. I
>consider the old man to be a magician, who used the principles of metaphor
>and belief to affect another person's attitude, and thus shape events in
>the physical world.

Just out of curiosity, what would you call a (fictional) magician
that has real magical powers?

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus