Re: virus: Sham(an) again

Brett Lane Robertson (
Tue, 16 Sep 1997 14:49:34 -0500

I think I'd make the four:
Science, Magic, Religion, and Art. And, yes, any given activity may well
share in two or more of them, and they are fuzzy sets, not classical ones.


There are enough similarities and differences to use the designations
science, magic, religion, and mysticism as categories for mixing and
matching ideas. Including art as an overal designation for these categories
is acceptable. I would suggest that dividing totality into matter, mind,
body, and spirit (a classic designation), places science in the realm of
matter, magic in the realm of mind, mysticism in the realm of body, and
religion in the realm of spirit--and that this is why "approaches to
understanding" on a level similar to science (the predominant designation)
categorized according to body, mind, and spirit, were [most likely] chosen.
I personally like this designation; though, have begun referring to this
meme as <craft> rather than <art>--favoring the ability to improve upon the
original (the original--art, the improvement--craft) over the ability to be

I suggest that the reason you cannot see mysticism as a separate designation
is because you view things from the position of body...assuming the
perspective is so predominent it does not need a separate designation.
(This would be similar to someone assuming that science is so predominent
that everything is science with the further qualification that science could
not name itself--a problem with "body").


At 09:36 AM 9/16/97 -0700, you wrote:
>On Mon, 15 Sep 1997, Robin Faichney (mislabeled as David McFadzean) wrote:
>> David McF 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.
>> Arrgh!! What's not supernatural comes under science?
>> What about the arts, humanities, etc? Or to get back to
>> first principles: how does science deal with subjectivity?
>I had a friend in college who separated human approaches to understanding
>the world into four: Science, Magic, Religion, and Mysticism. I am not
>sure I understand why he made mysticism its own category (from my
>understanding, it is a kind of practice, applicable to either religion or
>magic), and I never asked him that (though I asked him a lot of other
>things about his idiosyncratic worldview). I think I'd make the four:
>Science, Magic, Religion, and Art. And, yes, any given activity may well
>share in two or more of them, and they are fuzzy sets, not classical ones.
> > > Or on another tack: an extremely large and
>part > of human acivity is just the reverse of science: instead of
>> operating out of theory, it works on the suck-it-and-see
>> principle of evolution. (There's a proper name for that,
>> which you can find on the Principia Cybernetica site if
>> you're so inclined.) But there's not much of the
>> supernatural in suck-it-and-see, is there?
>What a great phrase! Good description of bottom-up
>investigation--sampling data and seeing where they lead. The Objectivism
>debate has been touching on this too; starting from observations vs.
>starting with a theory. Part of the problem with understanding that's
>been happening there, I think, is that while scientific experimentation
>has to start with a hypothesis and use data to confirm or disconfirm it,
>scientists have to come up with hypotheses from someplace, and that is
>usually, roughly speaking, suck-it-and-see. Although a scientist
>may make a completely wild guess as a hypothesis, to see where it
>leads, usually the hypothesis derives from observation (under less
>rigorous conditions than experimental testing) of an apparent pattern that
>the scientist wants to check for validity. Scientific practice uses both
>top-down and bottom-up processing, checking them against each other.

Rabble Sonnet Retort
He talked with more claret than clarity.

Susan Ertz