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In this fantasy world, everyone got magic, magic is like a muscle, someone who uses it a lot gets more magic. Someone who doesn't use it loses it.

Some are born with a lot of magic and some have illnesses that make them magically impaired.

Magic is divided in to 3 categories, named by their aura colors, red, blue and green.

Red magic can only be used for destructive purposes (remember destruction can sometimes be good), such as doing damage to others and properties, this also includes starting a bonfire and other similar purposes.

Blue magic is kind of multipurpose magic, open locks, translate documents, hygiene, shielding, protection and so on.

Green magic is creation magic. Summon animals, create food, heal wounds.

Red magic restores it self in a matter of minutes, Blue magic restores it self in a matter of hours, green magic recovered in a matter of days.

Would "normal" people with access to this power be able to control this immense destructive force - Without any moral guidance and religion/tutoring?

Or would the aggressive human nature make the power so tempting that people would attack each other?

PS. The magics are in direct relation to each other, a person training healing would automatically get more blue and red magic.

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  • $\begingroup$ How much do you have to train to gain significant destructive magic? One can imagine having to train for years, like becoming a kungfu master. That wouldn't be problematic. Or you could imagine any teenager mastering city-busting WMD style death magic after a few weekends watching youtube videos. That would be world ending. $\endgroup$ – Fhnuzoag Apr 30 '15 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ What age do they get it? an older teen or young adult who's already invested in society with the ability to slag city blocks is much less dangerous than a toddler with the same abilities having a temper tantrum. Red magic sounds a lot like many people being born with the equivalent of a gun/rocket launcher/nuke built into their body. $\endgroup$ – Murphy Apr 30 '15 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Fhnuzoag A few weeks of training would be slightly more powerful than using a bow. Along with the fact that you could create destruction out of thin air. $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse Apr 30 '15 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Murphy you don't get magic, you use it, it is a source of energy like sunshine or air. To answer your question, it is dormant until the teenage years. Though tantrums could cause searing of wood floors but never to rarely enough to actually make it burn. $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse Apr 30 '15 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @Magic-Mouse Well, you don't see people running around killing each other with bows. The real question is how long it takes to reach the upper end of the power curve, the end where you can kill a lot of people very quickly and be also hard to stop. If you never normally get more powerful than a small handgun, the world might be quite dangerous, but civilisation can survive. $\endgroup$ – Fhnuzoag Apr 30 '15 at 14:05
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It all depends on the magic and the society. The magic that you described is not descriptive enough to be able to tell its damage on the society. The society was not described at all, might not have been included because that was itself part of the question.

So, I will discuss the question and the idea behind the question separately.

Would "normal" people with access to this power be able to control this immense destructive force - Without any moral guidance and religion/tutoring? Or would the aggressive human nature make the power so tempting that people would attack each other?

I will assume that by "normal" people you refer to people similar to our own society. I do not believe that people without morals are normal but most people should not need moral or religious guidance. It is my belief that most normal people to not wish to harm/hurt others, it is only sometimes our greed that causes us to go that far. Human nature is not that aggressive, it is more the greediness to want to keep whats yours. If the magic itself is out of control then, then the people have no relevance and the world/humans will likely be destroyed.

The scenario behind the question is much more interesting. The magic system is not that described but from what I've read I have a basis to infer the rest from. Sorry if I go too far in describing my silly imagination of how I would make this magic system.

Magic is an energy that can be controlled by the mind to affect the surroundings.

  • Red magic is the decomposition of matter into particles and energy.
  • Blue magic is the transformation of matter and energy.
  • Green magic is the creation of matter from particles and energy.

Magic is limited by how much you understand about the matter that you are trying to affect, the elements its made off, its structure and bonds. An ability like ESP (extrasensory perception) that would allow the magician to view the matter they are trying to affect and possibly others doing magic would be very useful in this system.

Society and technology would be greatly influenced by the magic system. Technologies that can detect magic and who used it could possibly be created to monitor its illegal use. Technology could be invented to help with its use and to monitor,make sure it isn't used to harm. Materials that are a barrier to ESP, so magic cannot be done as easily. These pieces would dissuade large groups from harming people. The oddball criminals can be dealt with by the police.

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People (humans) tend towards a rational, balanced view on things. New things get more attention because they're new. After it's been around for a while, there's not as much emphasis or consideration about it.

If the ability to use magic develops a puberty (a common trope), then youths are going to have a field day when they acquire it. They're going to want to show off, which is going to lead to a lot of "Hey ya'll, watch this!" activities. Not for everyone, of course. Many people are raised to be level-headed and responsible in general. These individuals would likely be more cautious about discovering the bounds of talents, working incrementally through stages they know they can control.

Your real concern, however, isn't the average (human) user. Since red magic replenishes itself so quickly, extremists capable of using it are going to have a lot of power. Because the protective and restorative powers take longer to recover, destructive magic is going to be able to inflict harm faster than defenses can be placed against it. If protective magic allowed the formation of enduring effects, such as a magical dome that deflected/absorbed energy, then the threat would be somewhat reduced, though not by much. The Red mage can keep flinging fireballs at the fortification until it collapses.

For a real-world example of the considerations having rapidly-rejuvenating destructive magic available to anyone and everyone, imagine this ability in the hands of ISIS.

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  • $\begingroup$ Even though red magic replenishes faster, people can avoid flying balls of fire, use shields to block it so not every hit would need to be countered and or healed. $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse Apr 30 '15 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Magic-Mouse Jerusalem has the same consideration with the Iron Dome: not every rocket has to be countered. However, there is still the concern of collateral damage. In Jerusalem's case, misfired rockets can fall in undefended towns, killing innocents. Just because it failed to hit the intended target doesn't mean it didn't succeed. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 30 '15 at 14:42
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In a number of respects, this is a false question.

Would "normal" people with access to this power be able to control this immense destructive force - Without any moral guidance and religion/tutoring?

At base, the situation you describe is impossible. In order for human beings to exist in a situation utterly without moral guidance, religion, tutoring, and so forth, they would have to be completely remote from society, pure individuals without social contact of any kind. As has been demonstrated by a number of horrible events as well as lots of thought experiments, humans in this situation are not completely "people": they're dreadfully damaged, usually nonfunctional in most ways.

What you're really asking, I think, is whether human beings are capable of a consistent maturity regarding a potentially devastating power possessed by fully 1/3 of the population. The short answer is "yes," for two reasons.

First of all, human societies are exceedingly effective, on the whole, at inculcating ethical structures and responsibilities in their members. If a third of the population has this red destructo-magic, then there is already in place an extraordinarily complex system to ensure that it is not abused. Some of this is punitive: use it badly and you will suffer the consequences. Much of it, however, is positive: this is a responsibility, and you have a special privilege. You must use this appropriately in order to be a decent person and a contributing member of your society. On the whole, people do not want not to be decent people, so they tend to respect such norms and guidelines.

Second, the situation you describe already presumes that there is a stable situation in which a third of the population has red magic. If in fact it cannot be controlled effectively, that won't be the case. Either the reds will long since have destroyed the place, or, far more likely, the greens and blues will long ago have marked red as an intrinsic evil and those born with it will be destroyed, crippled, or whatever.

In sum, the problem here is the presupposition that there is anything "weird" about the situation. Remember that the people in this world think it is all eminently normal. To them, it's clear that everyone is supposed to behave like decent people, and when there are problems those problems are particular, not general.

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  • $\begingroup$ Its a good answer and I totally agree but I believe the question implies that red magic is capable by all people. The double negative in the 4th paragraph is also really annoying me. $\endgroup$ – Necessity May 2 '15 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, magic is a force that surround people that they can use in all it's aspects. And people who can use and train one kind of magic can also use the other kinds of magic at the same magnitude. $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse May 5 '15 at 13:12
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I'm not really sure this would end up being that much different from our world with guns and bombs.

It's way easier to destroy something than it is to build it. Way cheaper too.
Someone could blow a building up for a fairly small amount of money, while rebuilding that same building would be hugely expensive.

I think you'd end up with bad people using red magic to destroy things, but you'd have a lot more good people using red magic to stop them, kind of like the armies we have. And It could even turn out better, since every single person has access to the magic.

There's a quote about how invading America would be difficult because there would be citizens with guns behind every rock and bush. This would be even more so.

Think about any of the school shootings. You have one or two people with guns against several hundred unarmed people. Lots of people get hurt. Now picture it as one or two people with guns against several hundred armed people. A few people might get hurt because of surprise, but it'll be a lot less.

The biggest difference will be the training of kids.
I've heard it said that the best way to keep your kids from abusing guns is familiarity. Teach them to shoot. Teach them to respect them. Teach them how harmful they can be. Teach them that the gun is always loaded and will kill you if you aren't careful. You'd still get some of those idiots saying "hey, watch this!" but they would be few and far between.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why the down vote? I'm really curious. If you are down voting me because of the part about being responsible and training your children to be careful with and respect their potentially deadly abilities, you are insane. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Apr 30 '15 at 18:32
  • $\begingroup$ It was probably because of the uncomfortable comparison with gun control, a very polarizing issue. Still, no matter your beliefs, that shouldn't have warranted a downvote. $\endgroup$ – Seth Apr 30 '15 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Seth It may be uncomfortable, but that's essentially whats happening in this scenario. Every person has the equivalent of a loaded gun, and can't be disarmed. Society would develop ways to deal with it to the point where using it for violence would be unthinkable for all but a few twisted people, and there would be many more that would stand against them. I don't own a gun, don't have a need to. I can think of a few situations from the last few years where giving normal people the means to defend themselves would have saved a lot of innocent lives. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Apr 30 '15 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ @AndyD273 I know about the training of people, the morale codex - That part is partialy sorted out, my scenario included the "Unguided" or "untrained" $\endgroup$ – Magic-Mouse May 1 '15 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Magic-Mouse How do you have society set up? They would have a long (probably bloody) history to help give them a sense of what should and shouldn't happen. Someone who is powerful/a good leader would naturally rise to the top (like a king), and then would figure out ways to defend what he had. From there you get a civilization. It take a special kind of crazy to "just want to watch the world burn" and I think that once it happened a couple times people would figure out ways to make sure it doesn't happen again. Espionage for one. Standing green magic shields for another... evolved defenses. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 May 1 '15 at 16:59
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Your magic is a tool to manipulate the world, just like a great deal of other things. When we compare it in that light, society will easily prevail unless magic has particularly bad behaviors in your world.

Now for a moment I'd like to dismiss the detail that red magic can only be used for destruction. When it comes to looking at the destruction that can be done by our aggressive side, the balance between the capability to create and the capability to destroy isn't the important part. The part that matters is its ability to cause destruction. The fact that nuclear power can be used to create energy matters little when we are discussing the violent capability of nuclear power used in war.

So with that in mind, I'd like to point out that you spend several minutes, or even hours, with a lit stick of stick of dynamite in your hands. By that, of course, I mean to point out that the kinetic energy of the truck driving in front of you on the highway is on par with the chemical energy contained in a stick of dynamite (roughly 1 MJ). And geez, look! He's texting!

That's not to consider the unburned gas in your tank. You mentioned red magic could set a bonfire? So can your tank of gasoline. By just theoretic numbers, the energy in your tank of gasoline could melt 1 ton of steel!

So this should show that society is good at handling destructive things, and making sure our more aggressive side does not show through. In fact, it tends to adapt. The more destructive power can can unleash by accident, the further away it puts us.

And do remember, destruction is its own master. It's pretty rare to define magic systems where the destructive magic cannot hurt the caster (mostly because that gets into the realm of people gaming the system), so someone using destructive magic beyond their control will likely eventually burn themselves. This will naturally restrain them until they acquire more control.

Control over the self is probably the ultimate tool for fighting destruction, so I'd say the system will most likely balance itself out with little to no difficulty (especially since I didn't even factor in the ability of the other magics to counteract the effects of red magic... I just relied on society itself)

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Let's open this can of worms and compare this to gun ownership in America.

Red-magic is, essentially, that same as giving every person a loaded gun. While some people claim that would be a good thing, for mutually assured destruction or 'merica and whatever, the correlating statistics for gun violence in America demonstrate that humans don't have the impulse control to safely wield such instruments of destruction.

A naked American isn't more homicidal than a naked European or Asian, but America has five of the world's 50 deadliest cities, while Europe and Asia combined have none.

So what's going on?

We can really think of guns, or red-magic, as a catalyst. These instruments lower the activation energy required for one human to murder another. From the perspective of self preservation, it requires less courage for an enraged person to point and fire their gun, or cast their red-magic, than it does for them to walk up and physically fight someone. It lets cowards feel strong.

Sure, things like school shootings wouldn't be so one sided in favor of the shooters, but there would be a lot more of those small scale incidents. We'd better have systems in place to take care of veterans, mentally unstable, or the general homeless because when they have nothing else to lose, what's stopping them from lashing out? We currently don't let certain people buy guns legally, but we'd lose that ability because everyone would always have one. What do we do with violent criminals?

The basic problem is that giving everyone an easy way to express rage is a really bad idea. Just look at all the violence in the world and think about how a lot is filtered out simply because not every angry person has the means to hurt other people.

Now don't do an ironic anonymous drive-by downvote if you love your guns and disagree ;)

How to make it work.

Make protection from violence better. If we had bullets that could only harm animals being hunted then guns would not be such an issue. If blue-magic could be used to make people immune to direct attacks and some indirect attacks the world would be a lot better place. Red-magic wouldn't be associated with violence because it wouldn't be useful for that. Red-magic would certainly have its place in the world and could be used for a lot of good. It would be used side-by-side with healers to destroy bacteria or to sterilize food. Proficient red-magic users would make excellent miners, sculptures, wood-carvers, and garbage men.

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  • $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$ – Monica Cellio May 3 '15 at 3:08

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