Re: virus: Sham(an) again

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 08:52:51 -0700 (PDT)

On Mon, 15 Sep 1997, David McFadzean wrote:

> 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.

There's no such thing as the supernatural (and see Robin's reply too).

Actually, I'd be inclined to say science is a form of magic. But if you
prefer it the other way around, that's fine too. They're both valid ways
of looking at it, depending on which aspects you want to concentrate on.

> > 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?

By "real magical powers" I presume you mean classical fairy-tale magic
where someone waves her wand and turns a mouse into a carriage horse, and
the like. I would call such a person a "fairy godmother". :) Seriously,
I'd call em a storybook magician.
I have more trouble with the word
"witch", since it has been used in so very many different ways through
time and space that it can be very hard to tell what a person actually
means by it. Context is usually the key. If someone's referring to
himself as a witch, he probably doesn't mean that he's an evil green hag
(Halloween witch), or that he's a half-demon who curses cattle and has
hidden insensitive birthmarks (Inquisition witch); he probably means he's a
modern pagan who practices ways of influencing the world that are not
commonly paid much mind to by current science. Depending on the
subvariety of the latter, I might think he's scientific or silly in his
magical beliefs and practices. But I wouldn't tell him so in either case,
not without knowing him pretty well first, anyway.

who thanks David for nudging her to rethink her definitions and attitudes