Friday, 20 August 2010 17:31

Magic for the 21st Century

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Let us always remember to innovate in magic, to embrace the technologies we have around us to even more directly affect the consciousness and the will, in ways never possible before. There are so many possibilities with the new technologies we have which can enhance our minds, and these have barely been touched by anyone in the magical field.  We are often quite happy to be content with the old ways of magic and rare is it that one seeks to search out the possibilities in the new.  I would like this to change, and hopefully encourage the readers to explore and approach magic with more of an eye to the future.

Video games, such as Mario Kart, where you have to move a Wii remote at the speed of thought (and very fast thought) to maneuver a car about obstacles, sharp curves, and other cars doing their best to screw you up.  The innovation of the Wiimote though allows this to happen in a manner as close to a real car as you can get, including having a distinct feel for the physics of the car through the sophistication of the physics code.  You don't get the G-forces, unfortunately, which give you gut-to-mind feedback, but other than that, it's spot on.

This technology is training our minds to act and react in ways never even possible before.  For one to excel at this game, one must be incredibly good at calculating spatial relations, timing, and physics at incredibly fast speeds - milliseconds can make or break you in this game.  Before the most modern generation of video game consoles, say 2005 or so, this kind of training was not possible unless you had access to very fast race cars and the willingness to chance the loss of your life in trying. 

In other words, due to our technology, we can train ourselves to think faster than ever possible before.  And training is entirely possible - we get better at these games the more often we play them.

The benefit of all of this is that you can take this trained mind, and bring it with you to the real world.  When you're in a situation where you need to react fast, your brain has already done that a few times in this training, and therefore can more readily access your think-fast reaction state.  Think-fast reaction states are not the only ways in which video games can train our minds in ways never possible before.

Starcraft

Starcraft is an amazing game; it brought real-time-strategy to the next level.  You have to manage armies, resources, abilities, and work with building complex structures - societies - over a large amount of space.  We get to play the roles of generals, overlords, and priest-kings, building and commanding armies and the socieities which support them.  Chess and Go, up until now, were the best way of doing that, yet games such as Starcraft bring us to a level of complex planning and strategy, resource management and long-term thinking, all working in conjunction with on-the-spot decision making and the ability to mentally direct dozens of things at once, sometimes under extreme duress. 

It teaches the use of the mind in faster and more complicated ways than we have had access to before.  We can train ourselves in mental processes which can be extremely useful to us in our daily lives - planning a business, driving a car, designing a huge and complicated project, or simply being able to spot a good opportunity and plan out the possibilities quickly.  The quick thinking brought about by games like this likewise have the power to help develop the hyper-fast thinking that is often associated with intuitive abilities.  These sorts of uses ultimately the benefit in this manner - being able to train our minds to work more efficiently in any number of tasks.

I've scratched but the surface on all of my thoughts regarding the use of technology in magic.  Video games are but one way in which I forsee magical practicioners employing technology to enhance their practices.