Examples of magic in the Star Trek universe?..

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by junkdata, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. at Quark's

    at Quark's Captain Captain

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    Although I haven't read through the entire thread, it got me wondering.

    We know that there's usually no 'magic' in the trek universe. With that I mean, seemingly magical feats are usually explained by high technology. And even if this isn't the case (the power of Q, the prophets, the Douwd, Vulcan telepathy, etc), it's usually implicitly assumed that there is a scientificl explanation (the trek universe conveys the feeling vulcan telepathy can ultimately be explained by physics and biology, even though we are not given that explanation, the Q simply have a knowledge of nature we don't yet have, etc ).

    There's even the famous saying: "any sufficiently technology ...<etc>" that's much used. But is there even one instance of something being portrayed as magic in the Trek universe ? I can't think of one so quickly ..
     
  2. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, there's that thing established in Where None Have Gone Before and Haven that in the Trek universe, space, time and thought are all part of the same fabric, which is presumably the explanation for telepathy and Wesley's crazy mind powers. The writers kind of ditched that between Haven and Journey's End, but it's also the likely scientific explanation for why 'Evolving' constitutes becoming telekinetic and then transforming into a glowy ball.

    All those matter/thought relations are Trek's scientific explanation for most of the 'Magic' we see.
     
  3. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's been a while since I saw it, but the whole 'slowing time' thing in Insurrection didn't really feel very scientific to me at the time.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps with Trelane you could use that, some others too.

    But with someone like Apollo, my impression is that whatever technology was in the temple was a booster for his natural magically abilities, that extra organ in his chest that McCoy couldn't identify might have been the source.

    Grey Mitchell already had some magically ESP abilities, they were noted in his service records, the encounter with the barrier boosted those abilities tremendously, but the barrier didn't give Mitchell ESP from scratch.

    Spock's ability to mind meld is a natural magical ability.

    :)
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    But those make the abilities biological/physical rather than magical.
     
  6. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly. If Q can't figure something out--and if a far future tricorder that can detect psionics can't spot a phase dorr spell--then it's magic.

    The closest example is a DC comic where Scotty actually faced gremlins--Hector o' the clyde...
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If someone in the Trek universe has paranormal or supernatural abilities, that would be what I'd call "magic." If they can read minds, move things by the power of their minds, start a fire the same way, this is magic.

    In Spock's Brain, Chekov heated a rock to a red glow using a phaser, this is technology.

    If Chekov had done the same thing solely through the power of his mind, that would be magic.

    :)
     
  8. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Reading minds is physiological for Vulcans. Not magic. It's like saying animals who use echolocation are magic because humans don't use it.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Bats accomplish echolocation through making a sound with their mouth and listening to the speed of the return with their ears. Humans can do this to a very limited extent to locate the closest wall in the dark.

    If a bat could "map" a chamber solely though mental powers or abilities this would be magic. Because it would be paranormal/supernatural.

    Vulcans being able to read someones mind through touch (or being close) is a case of a paranormal ability, magic.

    :)
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Nope. It's portrayed as a innate physiological ability in Vulcans, so not magic. Its the context that makes "not magic". Vulcans are aliens with different abilities than humans. In the world of Star Trek mental powers are real and can be tested and measured through science.
     
  11. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They added the Katra idea too, which mean Vulcans have spirits. And that the spirits can be directed by chanting.

    I think another good term might be pseudo-science - when something has the look and wording of science, but is based on speculation or guesses.

    The term "neural energy" looks like a code word for spirit or ghost.

    Yet some trek characters seem to think that in the 24th century, the concept is superstition.
     
  12. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the Trek universe, space, time, and thought are all made up of the same 'stuff'. That was established by the Traveler in his first appearance and can be used as a fake science explanation for any weird mind abilities.

    This reminds me of a Futurama episode where they're talking about souls and the Professor is insisting "It's not souls, it's scientific!" That's basically Star Trek's explanation.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    That's true. The Traveler did say that. I was looking for something a little more specific than that, say like "telepathy waves," but if that's all there is, then that's all there is.

    I agree with Nerys Myk that the idea, or the conceit if you will, in Star Trek is that telepathy, Vulcan katras, Q's abilities etc. all have scientific explanations in-universe. It's just that Federation scientists hadn't grasped it all yet. So, yeah, in that sense, an application of Clarke's third law.
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry for the double post, but this popped into my head. From TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing" (written by TOS alumnus Marc Daniels) [transcript]:

    So, science.
     
  15. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sometimes it looks like the mind/space/time being all related idea is Trek's way of side stepping science, so they can do 'magic' stories.

    Normally, Trek appears to have an atheist/materialistic view of the universe. Anything must eventually have a scientidic explanation for it. TNG said that a lot.



    But still, here's something interesting to show that ESP may be possible.

    An experiment with dream telepathy was done at a Grateful Dead concert. The Grateful Dead and the audience participated.

    These were the instructions given to the audience:


    This is one of the pictures the audience was shown and asked to send:



    This is the dream that the receiver reported having: (edited for space)


    Maybe all of this possible after all, we just don't know how in the world it works.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2014
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I believe Dr.Venkman's experiments were the final word on the subject.

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ohlA__xABw[/yt]
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I though that was just the Traveler's creepy way of trying to seduce underage Wesley.

    :)
     
  18. Drone

    Drone Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think Kes essentially articulated the same sentiment when trying to make sense of her transformation when speaking to Neelix shortly before she pushed off into the Great Unknown. IIRC, it's also an echo of what Tanis spouted off to her about the enhanced Ocampan skill set and the experience of Exosia during his brief period of tutelage in Cold Fire.