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Having Magical Power is Cheating
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Chris Rose Magic Powers

Having Magical Power is Cheating

Imagine for a moment that you have the genuinely magical power to vanish at will. You can simply disappear from sight without a trace or an explanation. Imagine further the possible uses of this ability; leaving a room, a conversation, a confrontation, or just spending time alone. Sounds interesting, does it not?

Allow me to now set up a situation for you. Pretend that there is someone chasing you at a slow pace and you are attempting to avoid him (assuming the person is male). After a brief bout of taking unusual turns to avoid capture, you realize that you paths, though previously asunder, are compounding into a single strip of walkway. In other words, he is walking directly behind you. Now is the time to use your special ability, you walk behind a nearby building column (so as to not arouse suspicion) and vanish. You are gone, and your potential capture has been skewed. How would that make you feel? Would you imagine that you had accomplished anything? Would you feel that you had a reason to be satisfied with yourself? Or would you simple forget about it later in the week, as such a situation was merely the norm for you?

In terms of human interaction, I will take the perspective of game theory in that the people interacting are doing all that is possible to make the situation favorable for themselves and only themselves. In this particular interaction, that assumption is easily made considering only two people are involved in the first place. Bear that in mind while I detail a separate example to help explain my position. Which of the following would make you feel more accomplished: Studying a Chess Grandmaster’s strategy and learning for weeks how to legitimately beat her, and succeeding? or studying a Chess Grandmaster’s strategy for weeks and devising a way to cheat the game as to beat her? I imagine that the majority of you will say the first option to be the most desirable. What is the principal difference?


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I would say that the difference in the Chess example is not the idea of winning, or losing, or even fairness as each of those things is philosophically debatable. I, instead, think that the difference is the fact that in the first situation, the person in question has genuinely gained something and beaten the other person at her own game.Whereas in the second situation, the person in question has meagerly used the skills he already possessed to find a way around a serious obstacle rather than working through it. In gaming vernacular, the person cheated.

To return to the game of captor and avoider, consider this: if someone had magical powers, specifically the power to disappear, using it in this situation is cheating. Rather than gaining new knowledge and experience by studying the person chasing you, you simply used cognitive tools that you possessed already. Would is not be more fascinating to beat the person at his game? Or do you prefer to change the rules in your favor? Just a thought.

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2 Comments to “Having Magical Power is Cheating”

  1. Andrew R. says:

    Very well thought point. You’re absolutely right. I wouldn’t feel very accomplished if that was just something I could do. It’s more gratifying to do new things and challenge yourself in ways you never would have before.

    • Christopher says:

      I’m glad that you appreciate the point. There is a lot to think about when it comes to magic and the creation of illusion. The biggest issue is the boundaries between what is truly real and what is truly false.

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