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Steve Brooks
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I used to worry about spectators. I really did. I always felt they would "catch me" as it were.



Then I discovered something very interesting.

And it all started with a puzzle.



An old friend of mine (non-magician) was a member of Mensa. She was very smart to say the least. She was the type that could solve a rubik’s cube in under two minutes!



Anyway, my magic drove her crazy. She would actually become very upset, because she could not solve the puzzles I presented to her. You have to understand, everything in life was a puzzle to be solved, as far as she was concerned. And isn’t magic just a puzzle presented in a entertaining way?



To help cheer her up, I explained to her she couldn’t solve the puzzle, because she didn’t have all the facts! And that maybe, just maybe, the facts she did have may not really be sound.



That day it occured to me. Assumptions. People make them everyday. They look at something (a movie, an object, a puzzle) and make an assumption. They assume all the time. And you know what? People never challenge their own assumptions.



What does this mean? It means our jobs are really all that much easier. We often run away when nobody is chasing us! So Just remember the magic word "Assumptions" Smile

Just a thought.



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Andrew
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I think assumptions are a large part of what makes the magic work in the first place. Some magic will never work for children because they don’t make any assumptions regarding what they see. Some of the simplest magic is spectacular to them for reasons that we adults completely miss.

Of Course, as they mature and learn to assume, the old tricks work for them.



I’ve performed for those who can’t stand to be puzzled and they really can’t enjoy magic.

They HAVE to know how it works and some have actually been offended when I would not relay the workings of the effect to them. They miss the point of the performance, which in my case is not to fool, but to amaze and entertain.

(Whoops! Got a little off-topic there, didn’t I?)



Andrew Smile



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Scott F. Guinn
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Mike Close has an excellent essay on assumptions in Workers 5. Required reading for real-world performers.
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn (Finally a daddy!) @ScottFGuinn
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Assumptions are only a piece of the puzzle I call "Social Conditioning." Let that phrase hang on the clothes-line of your mind for a while.



-BDC





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AndiGladwin
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As Scott mentioned, in book five of his fantastic ’Workers’ collection, Mike Close discussed how we can use some pre-assumptions that audience members may have to our advantage. If I handed out a deck of cards for examination, the audience will automatically assume that it is a normal deck, otherwise I would not let them handle it. It is assumptions like this that could be used to create great magical impact.



Since reading Close’s essay I have considered some of my own assumptions - none are particularly new, but I don’t believe many of them have been labeled under the term ’assumption,’ which allows us to look at it from a different angle.



He’s Lying

This was discussed in passing by Mike Close in Workers 5 but not highlighted as a specific assumption.

If I say, "I will shuffle the normal pack of cards so they are fully mixed," this is causing too much attention to the fact that the cards are normal it will only have the audience believe that they are, in fact gimmicked.



So if we do not lie to the audience they cannot make as many negative assumptions. The cards are a ’deck of cards,’ not a ’regular pack of playing cards’ - this small difference could help as a massive advantage. There are many other negative assumptions that we, as magicians, must battle against but I will try to leave these to a minimum.



It’s Time To Relax

Most magic effects have relaxation areas in them, by this I mean stages where the audience need not focus.

An audience member will normally assume that they can relax while you are not paying attention to them or on any magic happenings, for example: while you retrieve something from an audience member or from your pocket. This would be the ideal time to execute a move, as the audience is not expecting anything to happen.



Another relaxation area is just after or during a comedic moment. In my old manipulation act I used this assumption a lot; in fact most of my steals and switches are accomplished by the "It’s Time To Relax" principle.



The Magic Has Finished

This is very similar to the previous assumption and is used mainly in ’kicker endings.’ Effects with multiple climaxes fall under this category, just as one climax finishes the audience relaxes and they are taken ’off guard’ by the next climax. Personally I am a little dubious about kicker endings as the audience is not always aware that something is happening so they do not always see the effect and may give a response such as, "What happened there?" This is something that I will discuss in much more detail another time.



However, if you feel you can put this assumption to good use, feel free to do so. As I mentioned in "It’s Time To Relax" you can use this relaxation period to perform a move, which at this time would either be to set up for a forthcoming effect or to clean up from the previous effect.



Its All Rehearsed

Another of Mike Close’s assumptions is "Polished Prestidigitation," which basically says that the performer rehearses so that no mistakes are made. However, Close’s thoughts were that mistakes could be faked in order to distract the audience so that a secret action can be executed.



On the other hand, if a genuine mistake was made the audience automatically assumes that you will have no way back. They do not imagine that you would have thought about where mistakes could be made and that you have already thought about fixing a mistake, should one happen.



I use this assumption a lot in my close-up work, especially during a card force. What if I attempt a Classic Force and I miss? While I was constructing the act I made what I call an escape route, basically if I miss the force I have another method for the effect I am about to perform or I have another effect in which to move onto. Canasta was a master at this - as well as improvising his escape routes during a performance.



I have more, but we’ll leave them for another time. Anyone else have any others?



--Andi



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BroDavid
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I really do need to get the Mike Close material on this. There is SO MUCH good thinking out there!



But here is my take on it before reading Mike Close:



(and I have shared and applied this in big business and sales training for years) And I won't make this too long - although as you will all learn - I could...



Surprise (and Disappointment) is the difference between initial Expectation and final Reality.



Now I go away from the general and right to performing.



If people start out expecting a clown and you are not very funny, even if you are wonderfully skilled, the Assumption that framed their Expectation won't fit with the Outcome. And that will be disappointing to them. So Assumptions are really important.



There are at least two sets of Assumptions which must be considered. Your Assumptions and those of your "audience".



And Assumptions are part of both the Expectation and the Reality.



So I nearly always use, both in Evangelism, and in general presentation, the three T strategy:



T1. Tell them what you are going to tell them.
This gives them the big picture of what's coming. This way, they can get up and leave now if this isn't what they came to see. And if it is what interests them, them can get themselves ready for it.




T2. Tell them.


Do your thing and make sure that you deliver on the promise above.




T3. Tell them what you told them.


Summarize, clarify, and explain where necessary, and help them frame their conclusions (The Reality) about what they just saw.






On an especially amazing effect. (I think I may have done one once that qualifies here..) Some folks will be so busy wondering WHAT just happened, that they may lose the impact of the effect.



But by sharing your Assumption about what will happen, Making it happen, and Reminding them of what has happened, you deal with both sets of Assumptions, your's and theirs. And nobody is disappointed and the surprises are all good ones. Smile



BroDavid







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Yellowjacket
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I remember something about the word assume in the movie "The Bad News Bears".

BDC, I couldn't agree with your more. It is social conditioning and that is why it is more difficult to fool a child. They have not been properly conditioned.

Creating an alternate reality for the spectator that they assume something about is what magic is all about.

YellowJacket
tommy
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People assume they know it all and everything can be explained. When a magician comes along and shows them something unexplainable, it kinda reminds them that they are only human after all. The notion that there are unknown things is pretty hard to accept even for a magician. I personally find it hard to accept that I don’t know all the card sleights there are, not do them, but just know them, when I think I know them the next day there are more, I never heard of, not new ones but old ones. I hate the thought of “never” knowing a mystery although I love a mystery like, who was Erdnase? It's hard to accept we don't know all the facts.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Jerrine
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I find it very easy to accept I don't know all the facts, being taught that it is the first step to learning.
Exploring assumptions common to the masses are the DNA of Magic IHMO.
tommy
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The point is with magic your showing them something that is unknowable not just something they do not know.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2001-09-15 02:52, Steve Brooks wrote:... And isn’t magic just a puzzle presented in a entertaining way?...


I disagree with that assumption.

A good meal is not a puzzle.

A sunset is not a puzzle.

Feeling small while looking up at the stars at night is not a puzzle.

Being entertained by a play or piece of performance art (yes that is where magic lives) is not a puzzle.

A desire to dissect a living piece of art (would that be vivisect?) is puzzling to me.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
evolve629
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I think most specs. do not have the need to "deconstruct" the theory and "visual text" of magic when they see a magician performs. However, it's sometimes an innate characteristic of being human that something that can't be understood with common logic / assumptions will be prsented as a puzzle to be assemble from the group up. Effects that use no gaff and/or gimmick really befuddle the specs that use a certain assumptions /expectations that how tricks are done. That bewilderment, as I have witnessed, can turn into frustration vs something to be enjoyed and bedazzled. Some people as I have encountered have a hard time accepting a "visual text" that is incongruent to his/her assumptions or what's previously accepted as how things work.

Just my 2 cents. Have a great Monday, folks!
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
karbonkid
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Another 2 cents...

John Carney has an excellent essay in Carneycopiea, which I find just as valuable as Michael Closes.

One quote, that not only applies to magic, but, everyday life, is, "People do not question their own assumptions."
Alex Linian
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Quote:
On 2001-09-15 02:52, Steve Brooks wrote:

And isn’t magic just a puzzle presented in a entertaining way?




Not at all, for me at least. Magic, can be anything you want it to be... and much more than just an entertaining puzzle.

As for the assumptions theory (I refer to them as stereotypes), yes, they are the reason why most trickery used for magic is effective. I always believed that why something works should be the first thing everyone learns, but that is not the case with magic at all and it's sad.

The reason why most trickery is effective is because of perception. From the moment you are born stereotypes (assumptions) are created in a person's perception of the world. We know that if a person goes into a room, he is in there until we walks out. We know that, if I unplug the TV set while it's on it will turn off. And we know that if a person tells me something it is not a lie. We don't have to think about any of these assumptions because we don't feel we need to, since we are not given any reason to question them (we only questions a persons statement if we have a reason, even if subcountious, to believe he/she is not telling the truth). We as humans beings need these type of shortcuts or else we would have to analyze every little detail of every little thing that goes on around us.

Stereotypes make life easier. However, they can be used against us. Politicians, salemen, hustlers amongst others use this human characteristic of automatic assumption and response to manipulate others in ways to benefit themselves and even hurt others. Luckily, we just do it for expression and entertainment, hopefully.

So in magic, if I place a coin into my right hand, in a person's mind the coin will still be there (not in left hand edge grip). If I cassually suffle cards they should be out of order (not in Tamariz stack), and If I grab the only ball that is under a cup on the table there should now be empty space under the cup (instead of a lemon).

Like I said, there is no reason why these assumptions should or would be questioned, unless we gave them a reason to (body language, stating the obvious etc), even if subconcious.

All that may seem very obvious, and hopefully it does, it means you know why trickery in magic works. It's something every magician should know.

Just a few quick thoughts on the subject,

Alex Linian
tommy
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The assumption that “Seeing is Believing” is a most useful notion for our art. Without it I don’t know where we would be!
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Assumption, presumption, filter

What does not fit may be distorted, deleted or sometimes generalized to make a new presumption, assumption or filter.

Those we weave, knit or link together become our comfort zone, invisible from the inside.

They allow our boards to look like splinters in the mirror.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Do not worry yourself about worrying the spectators, worry instead about, not worrying them.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-10-09 08:31, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2001-09-15 02:52, Steve Brooks wrote:... And isn’t magic just a puzzle presented in a entertaining way?...


I disagree with that assumption.

A good meal is not a puzzle.

A sunset is not a puzzle.

Feeling small while looking up at the stars at night is not a puzzle.

Being entertained by a play or piece of performance art (yes that is where magic lives) is not a puzzle.

A desire to dissect a living piece of art (would that be vivisect?) is puzzling to me.


Wow. Brilliant Johnathon! Bravo!
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Jaz
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Quote:
On 2006-10-09 08:31, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
On 2001-09-15 02:52, Steve Brooks wrote:... And isn’t magic just a puzzle presented in a entertaining way?...


I disagree with that assumption.

A good meal is not a puzzle.

A sunset is not a puzzle.

Feeling small while looking up at the stars at night is not a puzzle.

Being entertained by a play or piece of performance art (yes that is where magic lives) is not a puzzle.

A desire to dissect a living piece of art (would that be vivisect?) is puzzling to me.


Once upon a time the Earth, sun, moon and stars were great and mysterious places where it was assumed gods dwelled. Some felt that the mystery of the universe needed to be unraveled and proceeded.

People have ruined toys, engines, computers and other objects because they wanted to know how they works. They weren't meant to be puzzles or mysteries.

There are those people who are somewhat obsessed with knowing the whys and hows of things rather than just enjoying them.

Magic is something that involves mystery more that other performance arts and it's human nature to question it's workings.
Bill Hallahan
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Enjoying and wanting to understand are not mutually exclusive.

To be astonished, one has to perform analysis, either subconsciously or consciously. We do pattern recognition, and usually that is a subconscious function. For example, we recognize people's faces and their voices without effort. This is due to analysis.

I have a coin in my palm. I close that hand. I open it. The coin is gone! Even monkeys will be astonished in that case, i.e. by an object that doesn't persist. If, after closing my hand, I put my hand with the coin in my pocket and then take it out and open it, and the coin is gone, there will be no astonishment. The lack of astonishment in that case is due to analysis.

A person must try to understand, or they cannot be amazed. It's only in failing to understand that they will be amazed. That analysis, which is often a search, is not sufficient to create magical feelings, but it is a requirement.

But, it is not the effect alone we present. That might be totally uninteresting, even if impossible.

We present a story, and that story is only rarely about the effect itself. Much better is a story that leads a person to a place of comfort, or even familiar discomfort, before they are made to be astonished by the effect.

Derren Brown writes about a moving presentation he performed where he floated a woman's ring. The presentation was about her relationship with her husband, not about the ring floating. He gave the effect a meaning beyond a senseless impossible act. That is magical.

Whit Haydn's story is about himself and his role as a teacher. It allows him to present the effect more directly. It's a brilliant concept. There are many stories and many roles. We should not present puzzles. However, there is a puzzle in our presentations. Hopefully, it's not thought of as a puzzle during our shows.

Beyond moving people emotionally, there are other techniques. Another form of misdirection is to be so interesting that people don't have time to think of what they have just seen. They are lead on past it by the next idea that engages their attention.

After the show is over, many, perhaps most, people will speculate to themselves. At least, I assume they will! Smile
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tommy
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Bill

I don't think so?

A puzzle is a problem that challenges them to find a solution but a good trick shows them there is no explanation but magic. In effect we, by eliminating all possible solutions, are proving it is not a puzzle.
We are showing them something that has no answer. That is not a puzzle as puzzle a has a knowable answer.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Bill Hallahan
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And, a puzzle that has no solution is still a puzzle. And, of course, the magic we do always really does have a solution (at least the magic I do does!), although as Steve Brooks wrote in the first post, we don't give enough information for laymen to have much of a chance of figuring it out.

And, how does a spectator know it has no answer if they don't try to answer it?

Now, since some people have probably not read my last post, I wrote, "We should not present puzzles. However, there is a puzzle in our presentations." Please read my entire last post to put that sentence in context. There are several ways to misinterpret that.

Why wouldn't a spectator be amazed at the coin vanish I described in my last post, where I put my hand in my pocket? What is the process their mind goes through that prevents them from being amazed? Now, even with nothing to find, people will search. Then, when they fail, some will exclaim, "No Way!" How have they determined there is no way?

And, why does a magician have to disprove methods, such as moving a hoop over a levitating person? If people aren't analyzing, that wouldn't be necessary. They'd be amazed without such disproving.

As Whit Haydn wrote, magic is a proof with a false premise. People follow the proof to the inescapable impossible conclusion. That is analysis.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
tommy
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Quote:
Why wouldn't a spectator be amazed at the coin vanish I described in my last post, where I put my hand in my pocket?

Because you have not eliminated the possibility of the coin being left in pocket obviously.

If you had put your hand in two pockets, it would be just a puzzle, trying to figure which pocket it was in.
Quote:
And, how does a spectator know it has no answer if they don't try to answer it?

A spectator does not try answer it, because we have covered all the answers.
Quote:
What is the process their mind goes through that prevents them from being amazed?

They see your hand go in the pocket and they think “Hi Hi, he has left that coin in his pocket that is the solution, he is not a magician! he must think I am daft!
Quote:
How have they determined there is no way?

Because you showed them there was no way when you were doing the trick!

Quote:
And, why does a magician have to disprove methods, such as moving a hoop over a levitating person? If people aren't ****yzing, that wouldn't be necessary. They'd be amazed without such disproving.

To prove it’s not a puzzle. Puzzles do not amaze people.


Next question! Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-10-09 22:58, tommy wrote:...

we, by eliminating all possible solutions, are proving it is not a puzzle.

We are showing them something that has no answer.

That is not a puzzle as puzzle a has a knowable answer.


A quick counterargument before breakfast here...


By setting up straw man explanations, your audience may feel you are showing off how clever you are.

If you know the answer, they can too, hence you are claiming some sort of superiority.

If you really wanted to "prove" the coin is gone you could take out a metal detector, prove it works and then make the coin disappear and let them go looking. Smile And even then... be prepared for a request to "prove it" with a full body strip search... and still they will find ways you could have done it.

I.E. it don't work like that. I believe the goal is not to rationally prove anything and instead to appeal to their "other" way of thinking.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Hallahan
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The word ****yze is intentionally misspelled in this post to avoid the issue you see in this sentence.

Tommy wrote:
Quote:
Bill Hallahan wrote:
Quote:
And, why does a magician have to disprove methods, such as moving a hoop over a levitating person? If people aren't ****yzing, that wouldn't be necessary. They'd be amazed without such disproving.

To prove it’s not a puzzle. Puzzles do not amaze people.

You ignored part of my last post. A "puzzle" does not require a solution. Look it up in the dictionary. Of course, it's not a good puzzle if there is no solution.

Let's come to agree on the meanings of the terms we use, or we won't be able to understand each other.

However, I agree, magic is not presented as a puzzle. It's presented as something supernatural. The term supernatural need not refer to a deity.

I disagree that some people don't anolyze how magic is done. It's obvious they do. The proof is that I have heard laypeople trying to explain possible methods during the intermissions of magic shows, and these were great magicians performing

Since people know that magicians use deception, it's natural for some people to speculate. Magicians only deceive themselves if they think this never occurs. It occurs even for the greatest magicians performing the best presentations.

It is necessary for people to anolyze or they could not be amazed!

To realize something is impossible, you have to know what is possible! It's only by the filtering action of our minds that we realize an effect is astonishing.

Tommy wrote:
Quote:
Because you have not eliminated the possibility of the coin being left in pocket obviously.

I wanted you to answer the questions I asked from the spectator's view in terms of their cognitive process. I was asking "how" they knew there was no solution in the cases you describe.

If spectators blindly accept some things as magic without anolyzing, but they anolyze other thing and realize how they occur, how then do they decide what to anolyze? Why don't they just assume anything is magic and not anolyze anything. Where do the explanations in our heads come from? The answer is that we anolyze all the time, and it's only when the anolysis fails that we recognized something as a constraint violation, and if other conditions are present, we experience magic.

The strongest example I gave is the necessity to use a hoop when a person is being levitated. The fact that the magician has to eliminate possibilities shows that people anolyze. Otherwise, they wouldn't even be aware of those other possibilities that the magician has to eliminate.

And, in the case of a typical levitation, many people will not be amazed until after the hoop is passed over the floating person. And yet, the hoop passing over them is not the effect. If people were not anolyzing then the hoop would not be necessary. They would just accept the floating person as magic.

And, in the case of magic where the possibilities are all eliminated before the effect, people think, "He could not have done that, he could not have done another thing, he could not have done the third thing... No way!"

They do not just blindly think, "No way." There is one exception with regard to visual magic, but that too involves a search of visual memory for corresponding patterns.

That’s why if I show a ball in my hand, and it suddenly vanished, people will be amazed. But, if the spherical object in my hand is a bubble, and it suddenly vanishes, there will be no amazement. The underlying mechanisms that separate those incidents are integral to the experience of magic.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:
I.E. it don't work like that. I believe the goal is not to rationally prove anything and instead to appeal to their "other" way of thinking.

I agree Jonathan. That's the goal. Depending on the presentation and effect, it is more or less possible to completely prevent the audience from anolyzing. We cannot just completely bury most people's intellects all of the time, and the hoop example above is just one example of that. If we could just mesmerize them, we wouldn't need the hoop at all, because they'd never question that is was real magic. However, most people do, thus the hoop is necessary.

Great magicians have momentarily prevented me from bothering to think about how the effects they performed were done. Great magicians have kept me from returning to think of that by the flow of their show, or an emotionally moving presentation. I felt the magic, so I didn't care how it was done.

Finally, and this is a completely separate point than anything above, if a magician imagines that no significant percentage of their audience will not be trying to figure out what the do after the show, then they are deceiving themselves.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
Jonathan Townsend
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Every time we try to prove, they laugh a little harder and longer. Really.
All you can prove is that you are clever and they may not enjoy it.

If you can get them to want to believe, they will follow along nicely.

Then as long as you don't offend them by chiding them for believing they will stay in that frame of mind.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Hallahan
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Jonathan, I agree.

One of my points was that people do question their assumptions, but not all of them. They blindly accept some, which is why magic works. If they didn't question anything, they wouldn't be thinking, and thus wouldn't be able to recognize a constraint violation. That is necessary, but not sufficient for magic.

It was not my point to suggest we should present magic as a proof. However, the "proof" is a necessary part of any magic presentation.

Your point about them "wanting to believe" is key. First they have to like the magician or else they won't want him or her to succeed. After that, the bar is lowered considerably for what is necessary. If they don't like the magician, then he might do something astonishing, but they probably won't care. And, they could be motivated to dissasemble everything to destroy what the magician is attempting to create.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
tommy
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If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
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Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2006-10-10 13:21, Bill Hallahan wrote:... However, the "proof" is a necessary part of any magic presentation...


I happen to disagree with the most base interpretation of those words.

If you are playing the part of a magician, and you have your character "do magic", that usually suffices as 'cause' for the audience, which is only interested in the results of the process. From there its more a matter of not breaking that theatrical momentum with inapropriate actions, distractions and out-of-context props.

For example, before pulling a rabbit from a hat, you can "prove" the hat empty by holding it, then flipping it in your hands so by your actions and the motion of the hat they can "see" with their minds eye that the hat is empty. Even if using a spring rabbit it's how you handle the thing that "proves" its living reality. Right, more acting. If you give the thing to an assistant, do so as if it were a living thing and have them treat it as carefully as you do. Yeah it helps if it looks real. Smile

In a nutshell folks, if you (your performing character) don't believe in your own magic, nothing you can do to "prove" it will be convincing. If however you get involved in the audiences pre-existing magical beliefs and follow the patterns in their magical thinking, you have some additional options (and responsibilities) available.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bill Hallahan
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Inner circle
New Hampshire
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Tommy wrote:

The word "puzzle" has several different definitions in the Merriam Webster dictionary. Only a single definition of that word as a noun even implies that there is a correct answer and that definition isn't the one I was using in my posts. And, even that defintion doesn't require that a puzzle has a solution.

However, unless the audience actually believes we do real magic, they implicitly know there is a solution, so whether we present magic as a puzzle or not, many will wonder how we do what we do. This is obvious to anyone who has performed for any length of time! Paul Harris even had a man pull a gun on him because he wanted to know how he did a routine! So, obviously this man knew there was a solution.

And, of course we do not present our magic as if it has any solution. It's magic! However, that doesn't mean people forget what they know. At best, we can make them forget it during our performance, after that, all bets are off.

Jonathan,

I think I know what you mean, and I agree. There is no "formal" proof.

The example you refer to where handling a hat is only part of what I am referring to. When the magician finished, he would like people to believe, or at least willingly suspend their disbelief, that the rabbit (or whatever) came out of the hat. Whatever actions or context that is necessary to make people believe, or at least willingly suspend their disbelief, with regard to the magical effect, are the proof that I refer to.

Finally, the word "wonder" implies a mental state where people are searching for an answer. During the mental state we call "astonishment," our brains attempting to categorize the magical experience, which involves comparing the experience with all previously acquired knowledge and experiences.

When I experience magic, my mind doesn't go blank, it races. It's a wonderful experience while I try to cope with the impossible.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
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