Nomenclature for the Cartesian product of everything by their supernatural and artificial attributes

Ultra

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Sorry, that was the most coherent subject I could think of.
I need a number of terms to describe things, for which there is little or no real-world counterparts and I was hoping that some other fantasy author has already solved that problem. Things in the fantasy multiverse are essentially artificial or natural and they are supernatural or natural. See what I did there? I used "natural" in 2 different contexts. This then creates a 2x2 grid where it needs 2 labels for columns, 2 labels for rows and 4 cells. All of which I need names for, but haven't been able to work out how. See the grid bellow.

grid-supernatural_and_artificial-25.png

I think "artificial" and "supernatural", or "magical", are pretty good terms, so that's 1 column and 1 row taken care of. But I don't have enough time in my day to say "supernatural/non-artificial"! Not only that, but the "non-supernatural" row, the "non-artificial" column and the "pure natural" cell could all be called "natural". Has anyone already come up w/a solution?

If you're interested in why, I'm an author at a wiki. A good example of my problem is an article I wrote where I found I was using "natural" in a confusing way, since sleep can be induced in any of those 4 ways outlined in that grid! For example:
  • Pure natural: you just wait until you are tired and lie down
  • Non-supernatural/artificial: take a sleeping pill. It's natural in that it isn't supernatural but it's not natural in that it's artificial
  • Supernatural/artificial: cast a sleep spell. It isn't natural in either context
 
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sknox

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artificial
natural
supernatural

I don't see four, I see three. Makes for a lousy grid, sure, but who needs grids? I note that you provided only three, not four, examples.

To me, it's a spectrum. At one end, there are things (or effect) made by artifice, by humans or by other intelligent creatures at a craft. Natural are those things made by Nature, occurring naturally, but of course there might be something natural but somewhat modified by artifice. There's not a clear, simple dividing line.

Then there are things supernatural. Things done by gods or by magical forces to one degree or another. You will note it would be possible to have something involving all three, such as a gemstone worked by a person and blessed by a god. Or some such.
 

Wayne Mack

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Go ahead and create your own terminology. Even if someone, somewhere has created a similar matrix, it is obscure enough that your reader s will require a very clear definition of the categories. The closest thing I could think of was Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn" and following books, where he had a complex matrix of magic abilities. I admit that the description given in the initial post did not really resonate with me, but I am curious as to the fantasy realm where these categories might exist.
 

Venusian Broon

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I think you have a problem purely from the definitions of the words.

If artificial is:
made or produced by human beings rather than occurring naturally, especially as a copy of something natural.

And Supernatural is:
(of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature

Then can anything really be Supernatural and artificial? If, in your world, a human magician can cast a sleep spell as effective as a sleeping pill (sleeping pills may not be 100% reliable, of course....) then they have a system or science to ensure this reliability. They are then not dealing with the supernatural. (Before you say, "But what if the magician doesn't understand why it works", I can point to Quantum mechanics - I can describe in great detail how many processes seem to work and make predictions etc, but I can't tell you why it works the way it does!)

One could see science as just the process of converting the Supernatural into the Natural, and given that we are finite beings in a vast, possibly infinite universe in space and time, there will always be a 'Supernatural' out there in some strict sense.

I suppose, you could have the magician invoke a supernatural being, say Hypnos, to induce sleeping in a target. But then do supernatural beings do anything naturally or, strictly speaking. anything artificially? They are not human after all nor bound by the laws of nature.

But wait! If a magician can reliably invoke Hypnos to induce sleep, and Hypnos can be proven to exist, then Hypnos falls from being a supernatural being to a powerful natural being. But if Hypnos is there, is natural 'normal' sleep not just Hypnos invoking sleep on humans all the time? Then the invocation is 'artificial' in the sense that a human has asked Hypnos to act when he normally would not have, but it remains a natural process.
 

Ultra

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Whether or not it's about spectra or discrete states doesn't change the fact that I need words for them.

If I were a fictional author, I'd have no problem coming up w/my own words, but for a wiki editor, that's a no-no. It has been done before to describe the executable architecture of a game (which could have been gleaned from the binaries, for all I know), but when describing a game concept, it needs to be commonly accepted terms.

Even if you could blur the lines between the supernatural and the natural, it wouldn't be any trouble to define "supernatural" as meaning well beyond our scientific ken. In any case, in the Ultima universe the distinction is quite clear.
 
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Swank

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I don't really understand what you are doing, but it seems analogous to space/hyperspace natural/artificial. So just as you can have something naturally occur in hyperspace, you can have something naturally produced by the supernatural - like a unexplained cold room with a spirit in it. Or a spirit creating a supernatural effect artificially.

However, that situation has to describe something that actually happens. Because it would normally be expected that the supernatural is also artificial.
 

Ultra

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The problem w/the space/hyperspace comparison is that "natural" doesn't apply to it. That's a word that is the alternative to supernatural as well as the alternative to artificial.

Naturally occurring supernatural phenomena aren't a great many, but there are some cases:
  • Moongates are (sometimes) naturally occurring but clearly magical
  • Teleport storms are never artificial
 
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