• Member Since 13th Mar, 2017
  • offline last seen Feb 15th, 2018

Sofa King Zill-E


More Blog Posts20

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  • 211 weeks
    So What Is Going On With Sofa King Zill-E?

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    9 comments · 719 views
Jul
21st
2017

Magic And Science, Or Why Equestria Seems To Have Had No Real Development In 1000 Years. · 12:08am Jul 21st, 2017

Alright, so this is going to be another on of those posts I've been doing, so strap yourselves in.

Okay, let me first start with my thesis statement.

Thesis: Equestria has had no real development in the last 1000 years because of the existence of magic.

Now, why would magic shut down the development of Equestria in general? Well, let me put it to you simply: If you had the ability to, oh, just for an example, use magic to turn lead into gold, then then would you waste time trying to find out a way to do it with science? During Medieval times, scholars spent untold hours trying to figure out how to do something that was literally impossible using chemistry, that is transforming one element into a completely different element. They didn't know about molecules and atoms, and whatnot, but the fact that they spent so long trying to do the impossible caused scholars to discover a great many things that were possible. Scientific knowledge grew from the experiments of the scholars of that era, even if it ended up being in pursuit of a goal that was ultimately impossible using the tools available at the time. Decades, centuries of trying to do something created the foundation of our modern chemistry.

But magic doesn't work like that. Consider Starswirl's Unfinished Spell: A few lines, spoken aloud, and you got an effect that literally changed the magical forces of destiny themselves. And the spell Twilight made that caused her to become an alicorn was just as simple. Consider the implications of that: If a spell that can cause such tremendous things to happen requires so little actual effort, then doing something as tremendous as turning lead into gold would be much simpler. Simple, but perhaps not necessarily easy: Twilight Sparkle seemed to struggle to perform the 'Apples to Oranges' spell, and putting the Ursa Minor to sleep, but that may simply have been concentration and effort, not the complexity of the spells themselves. Regardless, magic seems really simple... and science is really complicated.

And there lies the crux of the dilemma. In Ep. 100,Time Turner/Doctor Hooves pointed out that he'd wanted to figure out a method of doing something with science, but then it turned out that there was an app a spell for that. And that, I think, is the issue: Why spend years, decades, even centuries, using science to develop a method of doing something, when there's already a spell for that. Magic makes science redundant. But because Equestria never had the same kind of scientific foundation earth did, they hit a wall once they had a spell for pretty much everything that they could think of. On Earth, we have smart phones, satellites, 3D printers, stuff like that. In Equestria, they don't even have radio. They don't even have electricity in their households. Using magic has made it impossible for them to develop further. I honestly think that it's made them incapable of even imagining going further. In the Equestria Girls movies, Twilight learned about computers, the internet, cars, etc. Why is it that, when she returned home, she never shared that knowledge to anyone, never did anything to apply that knowledge to her homeland? I mean, you'd think that she'd love the idea that the entirety of Equine knowledge could be made available to everyone, everywhere, thanks to the internet. But instead? Status Quo Is God.

Maybe I'm overanalyzing things, but the existence of magic probably holds back Equestria from moving forward. Heck, it probably holds back EVERY fantasy world from moving forward. Otherwise, why would just about every fantasy world out there be stuck in Medieval times?

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Comments ( 5 )

One of the things I like about the universe in the show is that it doesn't conform to any of the standard fantasy worlds. It doesn't resemble Tolkien's world and its imitators, nor does it resemble the middle ages of our own culture. It has an odd mix of anachronistic technologies, united only in that each of them must be charming and quaint. Hence golden armour coexists with rudimentary arcade game machines, steam trains with zip wires, printing presses with suspension bridges, quills with sofas.

Most terrifying sight: Pinkie Pie with a crossbow.

We see relatively little of the world 1000 years ago, making it hard to judge the rate of progress, but I think it's premature to say they aren't evolving. We do see evidence that they've evolved culturally, though much more slowly than we have, in Princess Luna's need to adjust to the modern world.

To determine if science will continue to evolve in the presence of magic, there are three question that needs answering:

1. To what degree does magic allow you to bypass physical law? Is it substantially easier for magic to work within physical law than against it, or do you get a get-out-of-physics-free card?

2. How much does the unicorn casting a spell need to understand what it's doing? Can you cast a "transmute lead into gold" spell just by learning the steps, or do you need to understand what a spell in doing to successfully cast it?

3. What portion of the population have access to magic, either directly or through access to products and services? We've seen the existence of isolated earth pony settlements, and though those were small and backward, there's no reason to assume there aren't larger communities with relatively few unicorns. Scientific progress can still occur in any part of Equestria, or any other country, without the luxury of magic.

and science is really complicated.

Calculus is another form of shorthand, not scientific notation, that is used to give people the illusion of control over natural phenomena by offering tham a 60% chance of guessing the correct possibility on their own... since most people can do this with 50% accuracy anyway, it could potentially be a waste of time even if there are five possible outcomes for taking action or doing nothing. Scientific notation is working with decimals and powers to guess distances that are only best guesses at any given time, and are probably 1/3 of the actual distance. It's entirely possible most people have literally mastered the rocket science used to get to the moon by the sixth grade, and yet they (presumably educators) then spend the next six years fostering mental illness, and the schools do a silly job of patching you up if they think you're leadership material.

Then, I'm supposed to believe justifying the morality of your actions by using calculus or predicting the future with trigonometry (as with astrology) means rationality isn't influenced by confidence or a sense of fair play. I can't possibly be the only one who thinks an understanding of algebra is necessary to trick people into falling for logical fallacy, double binds, and simmilar mental traps. Not to mention, the fact that something can be explained with math doesn't mean that math is the foundation of it. The ability to use something more universally known to explain something lesser known doesn't make the more universally known thing the lesser's master.

4607710
3. I assume one third or less considering 2/3 of the pony population appears to be earth ponies. But, as you've pointed out that isn't reason to believe that the settlements presented in the show are the only ones.

1. I know Magic with a K is like a mongoose in a box intended for a recovering alcoholic or Schrodinger's Cat. Maybe magic is really like in the Chunibuyo anime or the Monster of the month club. Since we're seeing everything from the perspective of a main character, who happens to be a magical unicorn, it could be that that particular portion of the population never matures and their "belief" or trust that they can manipulate everything through animatism makes it appear magical to them. When in reality the unicorns are just unconsciously manipulating everything as earth ponies would (through automatic or mechanical action blinded by their superiority or heritage). Similarly, the Pegasus ponies could be sovereign gods, scapegoats, or like Thurber's rabbits who cause all the trouble. They exist as the puppet masters behind the curtain and are used to explain forces beyond a unicorn's conscious control. Maybe in reality all the ponies have wings and horns, but there is a perceptual filter in place that prevents them from accessing this knowledge in the same way cutie marks appear when they discover their special purpose.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=uqtv71jc88hx2ml23bjvko7g

To provide an alternate theory, ponies are the problem rather than their magic. Ponies in canon are strict herbivores and would be classified as herd-based prey species. Due to this, early ponies would have developed a general mindset of "beware new things, they might kill you" to help them survive against non-sapient predators. If actual sapient enemies threatened ponies without being removed by the Equestrian Diarchy, then a need to adapt would have overridden that fear and allowed for progress. Their technological development would have been further stunted by their strong preference for peaceful negotiations. The largest leaps in technology for humans tended to follow in the wake of wars, so a thousand years of absolute peace would severely limit a nation's growth.

By comparison, humans are pack-based omnivores adapted for persistence predation (chasing something until it collapses from exhaustion) who's greatest threat was other humans. Since a sapient foe has no set in stone method of dealing with the threat it poses, humans kept improving their weapons and armor to defend themselves and those innovations led to advancements in other areas. If early humans had access to magic, we would have either wiped ourselves out or never stopped making new magic.

4611277
It's a good theory, but I don't buy it. I mean, if Equestria were solely Earth Ponies, it might make sense, but ponykind is made up of three separate races, each with their own overall social characteristics, some of which widely deviate from the behavior of horses. Pegasai were much more warlike and aggressive pre-unification that their equine roots would suggest. Unicorns put way too much focus of material wealth (as evidenced by Princess Platinum), even when there was a brutal winter that was freezing and starving literally everyone. So, no, I don't think an overcautious herd mentality is the reason for it.

4611971
No, it didn't cause the issue, only exacerbated it. As "Sombra" pointed out, this complacent mindset was passed down from generation to generation. The adults taught their kids who then taught their kids and so on. The same can be said for the other quirks. Thousands of years after (by the way, an even four hundred days might make more sense than one hundred in other stories although Sombra's would have to keep it due to plot significance) Unification, large percentages of unicorns live as either scholars or nobles, pegasi have more anger issues than average, and earth ponies work with the same determination that made them the primary food providers. The herd mentality is the larger issue than the overcautiousness, since it also divides the tribes. If more unicorns had been raised for framework, for example, (*cough*flimflam*cough*) more automated farming techniques would have developed to help them compete with earth ponies.

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