twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
A lot of pony magic comes from our ability to navigate our non-euclidean environment and our two dimensions of time. It allows us to stick to objects with our hooves, lever very large objects through the air, to fly, to walk on clouds, all by negotiating increments of distance. With the same force, a pony or an object has an infinite number of choices of distances. Thus a small force that shouldn't move an object, can, if you choose the right path. And similarly, a pony can control the resistance of the air and water, allowing for flight and walking on clouds. Van der Waals adherence is a function of twisting microscopic distances between surfaces so that enough of the hoof touches the handle/wall/ceiling to stick. Some ponies do these things better than others, and it usually takes practice.

Making a force field or a hard air bubble is an extension of this magic. Air is a lot of gas molecules bouncing around in random directions with a lot of space between each molecule. To get the air to stop moving, a unicorn must alter random paths of gas molecules to expand into a cloud of probable locations, thus occupying more space, becoming larger, and locking in with each other to form a amorphous solid of super-sized gas molecules. This is different from the pegasus approach of increasing air resistance by reducing the path air molecules travel with each applied force (wing beat).

Theoretically, an earth pony or a pegasus could stamp or wing a shock wave of solid air. That wall would dissipate the instant they moved.

Like with glass (which is a non-magical amorphous solid), light goes through but solids and gases are blocked. Gas exchange through the barrier could occur slowly through swapping. This could be useful for underwater exploration, maybe as a cylinder that's open at the top. It would require using weights to reduce buoyancy.

Rapid growth magic is a combination of squeezing and pulling cells and taking advantage of the second dimension of time. Earth ponies are particularly good at this, although I can grow a mustache on a pony by getting skin cells to die in columns. That takes some rather tricky mental folding.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Ponies choose appropriate routes in the Equestrian environments to optimize their own displacements, but they also use this predictive ability to move objects, from thrown apples to rain showers.

Ponies have a feel for taking a route that gets them to their destination despite living in a landscape where the shortest distance between two points is rarely a straight line. As I explained before, the slightest shake changes how long a train trip lasts and just hoofing it can get you there faster.

Ponies start to develop these skills from the day that they're born, developing a cognitive map of their immediate surroundings and recognizing landmarks. They inventory objects, remember outcomes and sense the passage of time. The critical part of the brain responsible for navigation is the hippocampus, a pair of 'c' shaped structures in the temporal lobes. As young ponies grow, they choose preferred paths to navigate a wiggly environment where distance is a function of approach. Of course, each pony makes slightly different choices when building a cognitive map of their Equestria, but the outcome is generally the same.

The hippocampus is where memory, time sense and the cognitive map of a pony's private Equestria resides, but it's in the prefrontal cortex part of the brain where a pony makes sense of it all and acts accordingly. The prefrontal cortex also connects to a unicorn's horn. By capitalizing on the wiggle of Equestrian topography and the fact that nothing is ever perfectly still, a unicorn moves objects. What moves and how subtly is a function of the mental origami performed in the unicorn mind. Timing, movement and form. Grab, throw, grab, throw, pull through and there you go. Tying that winter scarf, just like your mother taught you. That's magic.

A unicorn may be adept at guiding an object through space, but all ponies get a sense of where objects that they've let go will land. Earth ponies and pegasi use position and timing to ensure objects to which they've imparted kinetic energy and momentum land where they want them to. Rain clouds generally stay where weather ponies put them, but it takes extra skill to get the rain to fall where you want it to. Just like it takes skill to get apples to fall from the trees and into your baskets, and not land three fields over.

Pinkie takes navigation in a non-euclidean landscape to the next level. She not only predicts the best path for her movements and for things she's moved, she feels out the possible paths of objects around her that could intersect with her projected positions.

Like traveling from point A to B, it's largely subconscious. Pinkie has connected her enhanced map to her motor cortex and translated her feelings of dread into coded body spasms to better know what it is she's expecting and act accordingly. She calls this her Pinkie Sense.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I'm working on the hypothesis that the action of the Elements of Harmony was an extension of the 'spark' that activated them. In the case of The Six, the spark is Friendship and the action was to reverse the madness of Nightmare Moon and make her friendly. The same applies to Sunset Shimmer. Discord is a harder nut to crack and it took two more blows from the Elements to soften him up enough for Fluttershy to tame him, perhaps because he is only part pony. With Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, the spark probably has to do with devotion and duty. Thus the action was harsher.

Now that the Elements have been returned to the Tree, how they act would be a reflection of the nature of the Tree. The actions of Tree and the Elements have, as far as I know, always been a function of merit as well as bond and need. They didn't work with Spike standing in for Rainbow Dash and the sixth Element only appeared when I had both earned it and needed it.

After I had returned the Elements to the Tree, the Tree anticipated our need for magic of the highest order but still made us work for it. We had to reassert our core identities and our common bond, working together to literally unlock the power lent to us by the Tree.

So the Tree honors valor and unity and granted us the ability to re-establish order in Equestria our way. But had the Tree imposed order, it might have been different.

The Tree built the TreeCastle. It's about as close to a Pony designed residence as a pony-built birdhouse is to a wood-pecker hole in a tree. It has to say something about the builder and I think it says that if the Tree re-established Harmony in Equestria, Pony society would wind up about as regimented and structured as the rows of corn in Applejack's fields.

If the Everfree is what I think it is, and if Equestria is the Tree's garden, I think the Tree likes to give its garden a lot of free reign.

The Tree is Fluttershy.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
A cutie mark is a pair of images that appear on the hindquarters of a pony, situated between the point of the hip and the dock, on the skin and hair above the gluteus superficialis muscle. There is one on each side and a cutie mark on one side is the mirror image of the cutie mark on the other side.

These marks are a manifestation of a pony's special talent or affinity. Just like a unicorn has a horn, a pegasus has wings and an earth pony has neither, a cutie mark dictates to some extent what you are going to do in your life. How much a cutie mark shapes your life depends a lot on how powerful you are at what you do.

A unicorn need not excel at magic, a pegasus need not fly and an earth pony need not be outstanding at agriculture and strength. There are many tasks a pony can adapt to, neigh, has to adapt to and master, despite not being born with specialist affinities for that task. Naturally, the same holds true for cutie marks. A pony who's special talent is being grumpy or popping balloons is going to have to develop other talents to get by.

There is a caveat -- the more powerful the magic in a pony, the stronger the bond between their special talents, as described by their cutie mark, and their identity. I learned this the hard way when I cast Starswirl the Bearded's unfinished spell in the presence of the Elements of Harmony.

The Magic of Friendship has transformed me and my friends. With every lesson we've learned about friendship, with every battle we have won, with every adventure, sorrow, laugh, hope, fear... we have shared, we've grown more powerful. Each and every one of us. Dash flies faster, I teleport further, Applejack is a rock of dependability, Fluttershy tamed Discord (!), Pinkie and Rarity keep making each of their projects better and more refined every time. And that magic feeds back into their special talents to the point that if somehow you remove that special talent and replace it, it's like you've yanked out and transplanted their raison d'être, their reason for existence. And with them it's not a small raison d'être that can be ignored as they get on with their lives, but a huge, central to their existence raison d'être, a primal urge that resonates with them, body and mind.

When I accidentally switched their cutie marks, I replaced one motivator with an equally powerful motivator. My friends got saddled with powerful talents that their minds and bodies couldn't mesh with. I suppose it would be like feeling like a flying ace pegasus without wings. Good thing everything snapped back into place with a judicious combination of the Elements and going through the motions of what my friends are talented at. And then I got vaporized. And winged.

My wings were not something I'd been born with. They were not part of me as I grew in power through Friendship. So my wings were not well meshed with my mind and body, but unlike my friends'... experience with swapped cutie marks, since my wings were somewhat underpowered relative to their appearance, they were catching up to me instead of the other way around. Good thing too. Those things are huge. And they keep getting in the way. Well, less now. Hmph.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Like in the mirror-verse created by Starswirl, the one Sunset Shimmer is studying, it looks like there isn't much use of magic in Earth. At least not in a casual, pony way. Maybe the physics aren't right in Earth? If there was magic in Earth, it wouldn't just lay dormant, some body would practice it, just like we do. Casting a spell is like learning to put on a winter scarf. Grab, throw, grab, throw, pull through and there you go! Nice and snug, just like your mother taught you. Like putting on the scarf, spell casting when we were little was tough and you had to take it slow the first few times, but once you got the hang of it, the combo becomes automatic. With a spell, since the combo is in your head, you can cast that spell faster and faster as you get better and better at it. Like Cadence's sneeze guard spell. She's faster than a sneeze!

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Twilight Sparkle

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