On Magic and its Types

"I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."
-J.K. Rowling
People use the word magic in a variety of ways. It can be used in a number of situations, but it always seems to have the same feel. Something mysterious and unexplainable. Something that could be described as supernatural. Most often, magic is used in the sense of supernatural powers or abilities. I believe that this magic can be divided into three different types. I'll be referring to these types as light magic, neutral magic, and dark magic, and going into each type individually. But keep in mind that only one of these is true magic.

The first type will be neutral magic, since this is the simplest type. It could also be referred to as science. This is not true magic, because it isn't supernatural. A common example would be if you were to take any kind of modern technology back to the middle ages. They wouldn't understand it, and it would be labeled as magic. This type of magic applies to more than just technology, though. It applies to anything that can be explained naturally. Another example would be Merlin from the BBC show, Merlin. In episode 1 of season 1, it's revealed that Merlin was born with the ability to move objects with his mind. This, being a fantasy show, is labeled as magic. However, this same ability can be found in science fiction. For example, in Babylon 5, we find people with telekinetic abilities. While this is a fictional ability, it is still explained naturally. As Merlin was born with this ability (as opposed to learning it as a spell), we can determine that this is neutral magic, or science.

The next type of magic is light magic. Again, this is not true magic. It could be referred to as miracles. This magic is supernatural, but is power that comes from God, whether He chooses to act through a person or not. This is not human power, but is still sometimes called magic. An example would be Moses. In ancient Egypt, God performed miracles through Moses. The Egyptian magicians, however, saw this as magic, and were able to bring about some of the same results through their own arts.

This brings us to the third type of magic. Dark magic, or sorcery. This is the only true type of magic. If the power is supernatural, but doesn't come from God, then it must come from somewhere else. This power comes from demons or spirits. The difference between dark magic and light magic is the source. Both are supernatural, but light magic is an act of God, possibly through a person, while dark magic is a supernatural power that a human claims as their own by calling upon demons or spirits. Merlin actually uses two different types of magic. His ability to move objects with his mind would be neutral magic, or science, but when he learns spells and enchantments from his books, what he's actually doing is calling upon a supernatural power.

It is important to note that, depending on what a person believes, some will simply split magic into two types: true magic and false magic. False magic being science, and true magic being any supernatural power. This is seen in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan. The story revolves around Egyptian magicians, who compare the "magic" of Moses to their own, believing that he was simply a more powerful sorcerer than they were. It is still common to refer to dark magic, even among those who believe in only two types of magic. However, these ideas are logically incompatible, since the "good" magicians are drawing their power from the same source as the "bad" magicians.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke

Post Delayed

Due to a ridiculously full schedule, this weeks post has been delayed. I apologize for any inconvenience.

On the Topic of Subjectivity

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
-Unknown, possibly Daniel J. Boorstin
One thing that I see regularly in our culture is a confusion between the subjective and the objective. While people know the difference between them once confronted, it is common for people to treat them as the same in their day to day lives, even to the point of refusing to acknowledge the difference when confronted. Today, I'll be going over what it looks like to treat something subjective as objective, and why we need to be aware.

Let's look at a popular area where people's subjective opinions are substituted for objective reasoning. "Bow ties are cool." This is a common statement for people to make ever since The Eleventh Doctor popularized it in the TV show Doctor Who. The same has also been said of fezzes. The problem here is that "bow ties are cool" is being spoken as if it were fact rather than opinion. To be technically correct, one would say, "my opinion is that bow ties are cool." ("Cool" in this case is being used in the sense of pleasing or favorable.) Of course, when one says "bow ties are cool," the fact that it's simply their opinion is implied, and they don't need to specify that in most cases. The issue arises when this opinion is confronted. Doctor Who is popular, and thus, it is also popular to hate it. Some people will therefore say, "bow ties are not cool." Wallace the Whovian has an emotion reaction to this, and insists that bow ties are cool. Hugh the Hater responds that this is just Wallace's opinion. Wallace ignores this, however, continuing to insist that nope, bow ties are cool.

As I stated previously, I enjoy Doctor Who, and would even consider myself to be a Whovian (or, Doctor Who nerd). But opinions are still just opinions. My opinion is that fezzes are cool, because they're a type of hat, and I enjoy hats. This is my opinion. If you don't like hats, I will not hate you. I will disagree with you, but my opinion of you will not be lessened in any way. While people may claim that statements like this are "just a game," or "just joking around," when we look at how common this is and how it affects people in real life, it can't be written off as nothing.

We are constantly exposed to this in our culture, so that we forget that our opinions are not facts. This causes a detriment in reasoning as our thought processes change to fit the culture. Rather than defending our opinions as fact based on an emotional response, we must acknowledge our opinions as opinions. When we don't, we start talking about how chocolate is necessary for existence and Doctor Who is the meaning of life, and while we speak of them as jokes, we don't treat them as such.
"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."

On the Stereotypes of ADD

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."
-Stephen R. Covey
 ADD has a common stereotype in today's culture. While most people know of ADD and/or ADHD, few people know what it actually is.
Since I have ADD myself, I actually don't know any of the stereotypes that people have about it.
Oh, look... It's a butterfly...
I mean, it's a complete mystery to me what people think about it. I guess they think we're easily distracted, or something like that.
Regardless, I hope to shed some light on the subject. I'll be covering the culture and treatment of people with ADD, and how the subject ought to be treated instead.

I, being someone who has ADD, am not offended when people joke about ADD. I can't speak for everyone, of course, but I don't typically see others with ADD being offended by jokes about it, either. Doug and Dory are hilarious. I like them. What does offend me is when people who don't have ADD think that they know more about ADD than I do.
After hearing that I have ADD, it's rather common for people to approach me with their opinions on ADD. A common one is "I think we all have a little bit of ADD inside us." To anyone who actually has ADD, that's annoying at best and offensive at worst. We may all have personality traits that to some extent mirror ADD, but ADD is a physical condition. You can scan a person's brain (if you have enough money) and say, "this is how I know that you have ADD." I don't mind people giving me their opinions, as long as they're willing to listen as well. I don't have dyslexia, so I wouldn't dream of going to my friends who do have it and speaking my opinions as fact. If I have an opinion, I ask them if it's accurate.

 The main issue with our culture's response to ADD is people (mainly who don't have ADD) thinking that they know more about it than they do. But another major issue is the stereotype. While I have no problem with the stereotype as a joke, many people take the stereotype seriously, as well. This causes some people to think that they have ADD when they really don't, and others to think that they don't have ADD when they really do. The stereotype isn't a good judge of this. While most people don't have enough money to get their brains scanned, you could pick up a few books on the subject if you suspect that you have ADD.

The culture surrounding ADD is based mainly on stereotypes. I understand what it's like to be part of that, because I once understood only the stereotype of dyslexia. Then, at the library, I picked up a book on dyslexia and read the table of contents. My knowledge about dyslexia instantly quadrupled. And no, that isn't an exaggeration. It wasn't because it was a particularly informative table of contents. It was just like any other, from any book you would find. It wasn't because I knew a very little bit about dyslexia; I knew as much as most people do: the stereotype. I knew that I didn't know a lot about the subject, but I didn't realize how little I knew about it. With ADD, as with many things, people don't understand even the most basic pieces, and while they don't claim to be experts, they do claim to know more than they do. We need instead to become educated about what we claim to understand, and when we know only stereotypes, we must not claim to know more than that.
"Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in."
-Shannon L. Alder