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Author Topic: Magic Commandments: Discussion Questions 8, 8A and 9  (Read 2409 times)
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Coren FrozenZephyr
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« on: 25 June 2011, 21:27:34 »

Following on from Ximaxian Elemental Magic: the 10 (give or take) Commandments of Spell-casting:

Discussion Question 8: Is the carall (i) a template which exists beneath/beyond the world we see or (ii) is it very much “of this world”?

Quote from: Artimidor
 You say that Cár'áll is "the template behind an entity", which it is actually not. I wrote back then that "Cár'áll is the material for the actual structure or form of an entity".

The Cár'áll is the sand (substance), a bucket would be something to put the sand in, a form. The bucket would be a template, a blueprint to form e.g. a tower of a sandcastle. (Or think of a "Word" template, where header, title font, standard font etc. are all already arranged.) The arrangement of Cár'áll is what you could call its "elemental alignment".

Ok, it seems I misinterpreted how you conceived of the carall. Because you often cited Plato’s Ideas as the inspiration, I assumed carall was a substance/essence which existed beneath the world and that this substance acted as a template for everything around us. I guess I saw carall as a form-holding template upon which things materialise. This substance steps down to become (for example) matter and create the physical world we see around us.

Like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, material things (as well as thoughts, emotions etc) were reflections of this energetic template (carall). This template and the world that manifests upon it is inextricably connected so that changing one changes the other. I guess I could take it even further and say that the physical world is a reflection of the universal carall, which is the ‘real’ reality. I thought you envisioned that a mage first becomes an elementalist, then a xeuan/ecuan, until finally it ‘clicks’: The things around us are the shadows on the wall and do not make up reality at all; the real world is that of the carall.

I derived this interpretation somewhat from the literal meaning of ‘carall.’ The first paragraph fo the carall entry says that carall ‘literally translated means “that which is above life”’. Now having read your comments, I’ve gone through that entry again and realised that the next sentence reads: “Carall is life’s substance.” I guess this is closer to what you had in mind? At some point we might have to revise that entry to clarify these distinctions.

For example, in Part 1 of ‘Understanding Ximaxian Magic through the Carall’ I wrote:

Quote from: Coren
The cár'áll is the essence, the magical energy out of which everything is created: the essence of which everything in physical reality is a reflection. So while everything has a cár'áll, the cár'áll exists “beneath” the physical dimension we see around us and is in fact its essence. In this sense the cár'áll can be seen as the substance of Existence.

The Cár'áll is not only the magical energy out of which every single thing in existence is created, but this energy also holds everything together and in relation to each other under a pattern.

Arti, could you elaborate a bit on how your interpretation differs from this? Also, I need to edit the ‘UXMtC’ entry to bring it in line with your original – how would you reword the section I quoted?

Discussion Question 8A: Arti, at several points in the past you mentioned that you would like to move away from the conception of Ximax as a place where they have all the answers to one where, just like in the real world, there are diverging opinions, different theories and interpretations. So a purely practical question: Would you prefer Q8 to be an area where there is a divergence of academic opinion between Ximaxian mages? Then perhaps we could write something together and present the two as two leading theories on the subject. Or would you consider this to be such a fundamental concept/issue that you would prefer to set it as fact? Then I can go through and edit my previous entries to bring them in line with your vision. Either way is fine with me. :)

What I would also like to mention here is that people often approach magical discussions with the conviction that there is a system (or should be a system) which has all the answers, which we should describe properly. By thinking that way we forget completely that magic is still being discussed by the scholars in Ximax, just like philosophy is still being discussed: the basics should be clear - but there is room for views and interpretations. Actually that's the funny and interesting thing - that it isn't all explainable by applying scheme X. There can be different models to explain the same things, the can be schools of thought, even within the Ximaxian theoretical constructions.

This divergence between our interpretations of carall brings me to another question:

Discussion Question 9: What distinguishes magic from other activities?

I envisioned Ximaxian mages (that is: humans as opposed to elves) using a three-layered concept to explain this: i) There is the everyday world. Anyone can cause a change here. A commoner can heat water by placing it on the stove. ii) Beyond/beneath this but inextricably connected to it is the carall. Common fold cannot directly touch and alter this layer but mages can, through will. iii) Then, there is the world of Ideas and Form (see my explanation of Form and Raw Magic in that entry), which can only be altered by Raw Magic. This, Ximaxian mages cannot touch.

Think of the three layers this way: You put on one set of glasses and see the physical world around you. Then you put on another set of glasses… the physical world vanishes and in its place you see a world of light and energy (carall).

Compare heating water on a stove with increasing the influence of fire ounia. Both raise the temperature of the water – and both alter the carall. (When something is heated through mundane means, the influence of fire in its carall still rises.) So, magic can be distinguished/defined as the direct alteration of this second layer (and possibly the third as well).

If carall is not the template behind an object but the very substance of that object, how do we define/distinguish magic? What makes magic, 'magic'?
« Last Edit: 26 June 2011, 16:50:39 by Coren FrozenZephyr » Logged

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Drasil Razorfang

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« Reply #1 on: 26 June 2011, 04:14:45 »

I think you answered your own second question.  To continue your heat analogy, when you go to heat an object you can place it on a stove which indirectly causes a change in the car'all of your target.  This would be defined as "non-magic".  You are using an outside force to prompt changes within your target.

The other alternative would be to go in and alter the make up of the object to cause it to express "heat."  This method would be magic.  Here, you'd be directly toying with the object's car'all to produce your end result.  You require no additional aid from any source.

So basically, the difference between magic and non-magic can be summed up as direct changes vs indirect changes. 

Hopefully that made sense. 
Artimidor Federkiel

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« Reply #2 on: 28 June 2011, 04:52:39 »

Question 8.

Well  it gets a bit difficult if I have to repeat myself regularly, Coren. Also, I intentionally didn't participate in any magical discussions, because I have to be careful where I spend my spare time - and I didn't always get the impression that people valued my take on magic. So I basically do what I enjoy. And magic isn't really one of them anymore.

But, well, you asked for it, so let's try one more time. I checked the sand analogy is all there in the thread on which you say that you've based this new thread, Coren. I quote from there, page 3:

The structure is how something looks (e.g. like a sand castle), while it is built out of something (sand). Cár'áll is the sand, though the sand always has a certain appearance (a form). [...]

We might introduce another term to make that destinction between car'áll (sand) and its current shape (appearance, alignment and orientation) clear - a term that means the current "actual realization of the cár'áll", which temporarily changes when affected by a spell. Expanding on that we can also integrate the tendency of the altered cár'áll to return to its inital state - this happens at Sphere I spells, as an entity is just bent, not changed permanently.

Cár'áll as such (theoretically) is shapeless, without form, because everything is cár'áll. Elves would say it is "the Dream", and everything is in the Dream (substance of life).

"Platonic ideas" would be what aligns a cár'áll to form something concrete. Like a chair. Where that idea actually comes from we haven't really established. But let's say: Cár'áll can have the alignment of a chair.

I'd adjust the last sentence you quote to something like this:

The Cár'áll is not only the magical energy within everything in existence. The various distinct alignments of this one universal energy rather form these things and beings and determine their relation to each other.

Question 8A.

Divergences in opinions among Ximaxian scholars can exist, yes, and that's something interesting in the long run, but if these divergences start with the very first axiom, I'd say that's way too early!

Question 9.

I guess the main difference to regular day stove heating is that magic is a mind thing. Even magic through faith could be interpreted as a mind thing if we take into account that a specific God doesn't actually exist, but still something happens. So magic is at any rate manipulation through mind/willpower. What is newly aligned? The shape of cár'áll of something that is recognized as something that can be manipulated into another physical or spiritual form.

Ximaxian Elemental magic just moves around components of an entity (car'áll which is abstracted as an entity) via the mind, thus influencing the whole, indirectly. Raw Magic/Xeuá magic really goes after the thing. The mind says: I want this thing to happen, and the alignment towards this thing happens. So the mind needs to be ready for the proper approach. And thus a Xeuatán's magic is entirely different from the magic of an Elemental Mage.

You could more or less express it with your glasses example in that sense, I guess.

"Between the mind that plans and the hands that build there must be a mediator, and this must be the heart." -- Maria (Metropolis)
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« Reply #3 on: 29 June 2011, 22:58:30 »

While I'm no mage (I dabble here and there like any good geek) I did find the wording in other sections quite useful, even if it happens to be one of those comparisons which, while patently untrue aids the understanding.

So to put Art's words about nine into a more concise (though perhaps not necessarily completely correct) wording:

'Ximaxian Magic is the imposition or a will on the car'all in order to produce a change.'

I hope my efforts to sum up the rather excellent words of others hasn't corrupted them beyond their meaning.


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« Reply #4 on: 30 June 2011, 00:36:24 »

It sounds like everyone is in agreement about 9.

So is this the part where it gets summed up and put into an axiom?  I'm still not used to this idea of turning magic discussions into tangible entries.   :P
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