Does the first law of Thermodynamics apply to magical energies too?
The law being that, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed (simplified version).
The answer is no. Conservation of energy is due a temporal translation invariance as described in Noether’s theorem and the Lagrangian. Energy conservation is a consequence of invariance under time translations. Something more abstract than time would not be beholden to that invariance and thus would not be conserved. Basically, if it is not physical, it would not be temporal, and if it is not temporal, it is not beholden to temporal symmetries ergo it need not be conserved. Furthermore, conservation of energy is the exception and not the rule; this idea breaks down in say cosmological redshift, for there is a failure for energy to be conserved because you can have volumes of energy that fail to be contained in a single reference frame. In order to justify conservation of magical energies, you would have to formulate differentiable symmetries and how they correspond to a conserved quality. It’s intuitive to think of it as conserved, but when you try and pin formulas to it, you see the problem.
Noether’s Theorem sort of explains why energy conservation concepts break down in realtivity. Conservation of energy follows from a physical process behaving the same irrespective of time ergo you have something that behaves the same regardless I.e. a temporal invariance. Things like force and power, where energy describes abstractly the orientation, are time deratives, so the conserved quantity emerges due temporal translations making no difference in behavior.
Additionally, how much does classic Newtonian/particle physics apply to magick? Do magical energies operate on completely separate laws than the energies of ordinary matter, eg, a baseball in motion? Would a ‘psi-ball’ be subject to friction and inertia?
Newtonian Physics have nothing at all to do with magical or psychic objects. Psychic constructs are not subject to entropy in the same way physical processes are. Why is apparent when you consider how things like shifting probabilities and precognition break statistical mechanics. The second law is intrinsically violated. It violates the quantum idea of conservation of information, too, so you can’t throw quantum physics in there. Notice I said psychic constructs are not subject to entropy in the same way. Due to constructs being ordered by intention, there are possible states which are disordered ergo you have the possibility for information loss and entropy; however, it is not tied to a time derative, like how much energy you have per amount of time, due to the integral being more abstract than time. Or, a construct can be corrupted as a consequence of wear and tear from coming in contact with things, like the perceptions, thoughts, and intentions of others, but not as a consequence of time. The integral is different and higher-dimensional, so rules governing dissipation are largely different.
The domain of psychic and magical objects is a superset of physical objects, so this is to say that magical things and properties are more abstract than physical things and properties. Think of it like triangles and squares are both shapes ergo shapes encompass squares, triangles, and circles. A square is just a square but a shape is a square, a triangle, a circle, or any other thing. Squares have defined relationships in regards to edges and vertices where a shape encompass all possible edges and vertices. Magic is to physical “laws” as shape is to a square.
The physical energy that causes physical changes as a consequence of magic or psychic actions comes from a type of cosmological vacuum that is fundamental to the evolution of reality – think if it as that thing that makes it so space and time can exists. Cosmological expansion is sort of problematic for conservation of energy, anyhow. Think of the “energy” magic uses as being derived from what facilitates the evolution of reality. Reality is just an abstraction for a collection of “facts” and facts are nothing more than attributes with particular values I.e. information. Facts such as I exists are emergent from a history in I was born, so you can think of reality as being part of how a vast collection of waves spread out with information encoded in them. This means that a magical spell is literally shifting reality by shifting probabilities, and consequently histories,which makes it way more abstract than traditional ideas of psychokinesis you see in Parapsychological literature and psionics. Honestly, psionics is sort of myopic.
Also, “magical energies” is rather ambiguous. The idea of energy can tacitly and abstractly be applied to anything that you can differentiate – get a derivative for. There is nothing that says, on its own, a derivative need be conserved or be disordered, for that is taking into consideration an intuitive cosmological assumption when there is no reason to. Basically, you can apply the idea of energy to anything that changes where you don’t have to make assumptions about those changes being conserved or the order of those things necessarily. I’m taking the time to respond to you because one thing that has always driven me batty about psionics and other paradigms of energy work is, ironically, their utter lack of understanding of what energy is. Versus actually taking the time to understand the concept, they just ran with their biases and intuitions. Once you understand the concepts and equations, you can derive a neat set of waves and harmonics from a magical ontology. I have written a few articles on how to do this:
Make Your Own Magical Rules
I suggest you watch these videos to get a clearer picture of how conservation laws actually work: