We Remember The Magic Café We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2007 entrée: Michael Close » » Assumptions » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jeff Dial
View Profile
Special user
Kent, WA
532 Posts

Profile of Jeff Dial
Your essay on Assumptions from Worker 5 and augmented by your lecture a few years later is one of the best analyses of why magic works. I just wanted to take the opportunity to let you know at least one person out here got it and appreciated it. Thanks.
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
mclose
View Profile
V.I.P.
255 Posts

Profile of mclose
Thanks.

I'm still waiting for other people to chime in with other Unconscious Assumptions that they have discovered.

One that I mention in lectures (which is not in Workers 5) is an unconscious assumption that applies to memdeck work:

People believe that there is a limit to the amount of trouble someone would go to just to fool them.

The thought of someone memorizing the order of a deck of cards just to do some card tricks is one that simply does not occur to laymen.

Close
Jeff Dial
View Profile
Special user
Kent, WA
532 Posts

Profile of Jeff Dial
That is actually one that stuck with me. I was going to make a note and saw that my copy of Workers 5 had the memdeck assumption listed under Too Much Trouble in the Assumptions article.

What You See Is What You Get -- Jerry Andrus has a great presentation about assumptions he does in his act. A couple things involve the Omni Deck and another with rimless eyeglasses with no lenses. The point being that we see something and our minds fill in what we think things should be based on past experience. This would also apply to the one ahead principle or cups and balls. The assumption is that everything the audience sees is all there is.

It's Not Important -- If something is not important to the magician it is not important to the audience. This is basic misdirection (or direction), but not often consciously built into our routines. I was at a Max Maven lecture where Max had switched decks during the explanation phase of one of the effects. One of the audience members (whose name is known and should have known better) was blown away by the switch. The reason it went right by is that Max did not think it was important and it ended up fooling someone badly.

BTW -- Your deck switch coupled with a joke is still the best I have seen.
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
Pete Biro
View Profile
V.I.P.
18234 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
Andrus wearing the rimmed glasses without any glass in them is a great example. The other is Armando Lucero who starts his act with a heavy Mexican accent... then when it goes away he tells us that was one of his illusions.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
mr.toast
View Profile
New user
22 Posts

Profile of mr.toast
How about a person's assumptions about the laws of physics or more precisely the assumptions they make about the limits of real physical phenomenon. For example most people have no idea that magnets can be as powerful as those big *** PK magnets, couple that with their assumptions about what substances should and should not be effected by magnetic fields makes some (of the good) PK effects devestating, esspecially to someone with a scientific mindset. Hmmmm Why would anyone use anything but a "gold" plated PK ring?

Similar assumptions are made about the limits of physical perception. i.e. "There could not be a thread attached to that floating dollar bill because I was looking right at it from two feet away and I could not see it."
Cain
View Profile
Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
1287 Posts

Profile of Cain
Mr. Toast: While what you say often holds true with respect to magnets and strings, those are also two of the most invoked explanations, especially when the method has nothing to do with magnets or strings.

As for the Assumptions essay in Workers 5... I thought it was brilliant brainfood. After reading it I had aspired to not only create stronger magic, but perhaps win a minor claim to fame by discovering the assumption Mr. Close forgot after washing the dishes. Has anybody come up with that one yet?
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
Curtis Kam
View Profile
V.I.P.
same as you, plus 3 and enough to make
3466 Posts

Profile of Curtis Kam
I'm not sure I recall all of the assumptions listed in Workers, but I don't think this one was mentioned. It seems true in my experience:

People assume that everyone sees the same thing that they do.

This is the principle that drives "dual reality" methods. The related fact that different people can find different meanings in the same conversation is behind many contract disputes. And related to this is:

People assume that others do things in the same way that they do.

Not only does this allow us to do sneaky things unseen by simulating "natural" behavior, it also causes people to rearrange sequences of events so that their recollection of them makes sense.

Despite the fact that I've written these as rules, I'm not convinced they are completely valid. Are these worthy of inclusion, or perhaps already included?
Is THAT a PALMS OF STEEL 5 Banner I see? YARRRRGH! Please visit The Magic Bakery
mclose
View Profile
V.I.P.
255 Posts

Profile of mclose
Those are interesting additions Curtis, and ones that I had not thought about. You've given me some new angles to ponder. Thanks.

Close
JasonEngland
View Profile
Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
1250 Posts

Profile of JasonEngland
Michael,

You may or may not have been the victim of this one, but you'll know what I mean.

On several occasions Steve Forte has killed me with something that didn't register as a 'trick' to me simply because it was Steve that was showing it. His knowledge and off-the-charts skill level are such that if he says "memorize the top 20 cards in 30 seconds, ignoring suit" you could fall into the trap of believing that he's really explaining the method, when in fact he's just feeding you a line of BS and you're falling for it!

There's a famous SF story in Genii about him showing a well-posted cardman an 'impossible' move (and not letting the guy off the hook). A few weeks goes by and this cardman was actually practicing (or attempting to practice) this 'super-move' for real, not realizing that the whole thing was a put-on. He was eventually tipped off by SF who felt bad for not telling him sooner.

A related thing used to happen whenever I would show my laymen friends the clip of Mullica 'eating' the cigarettes from the Stevens Greater Magic video. At the end of the clip, most would simply say, "Doesn't that guy get sick from doing that?" It was only when I pointed out that he hadn't eaten a thing did they suddenly say, "What? That's the coolest trick I ever saw!" You actually had to convince them that he wasn't doing what he said he was doing before he got any credit as a magician. In that moment, Mullica went from "doing the undesirable" to "doing the impossible." I maintain the latter is more effective/interesting, though you may not always agree. Mullica, it appears, never went out of his way to clue in his laymen audiences that they'd just seen a phenomenal trick and not just a hilarious 'stunt.'

Moral: audiences, including magicians, can assume that you're doing what you say you're doing. This may not be what you intended when it's all said and done. If you're trying to do fantastic gambling demos, this can work to your advantage. If you're trying to show them a magic trick, you may find your audiences believing more than you wish they would.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
Alex Linian
View Profile
Inner circle
Peru
1252 Posts

Profile of Alex Linian
Hey Michael, I am very much interested in the subject of assumptions (beliefs) since it is one of the main themes of my magic. I'll have to take a look at your essay since I don't know exactly what kind of assumptions you are looking for. I assume ( Smile ) you just mean any assumption that makes deception possible. But there are way too many to name. Assumptions about the magician as a person, assumption about the props, assumptions about what is humanly possible, etc. And most assumptions are based on other assumptions.

If we are talking about assumptions about the magician as a person, I guess the most basic assumption to go back to would be the fact that people believe people are ussually being honest, and do not question that assumption unless they are given a reason to. Even if they know you are a magician, they should not question any of what you do or what you use until the magic is revealed to have happened, when they notice something is not right. If they question you before that point, it is because you have given them a reason to believe you are being dishonest.

This assumption would explain why people don't question a magician memorizing a deck of cards. Why would you pretend you are doing something amazing if it's not? Of course the assumption that a deck of cards is ussually in a random order also comes into play, or can be created, by false shuffling.

I very much look forward to reading your essay, as I find this to be one of the most interesting topics in magic.

Alex
Steven Conner
View Profile
Inner circle
1406 Posts

Profile of Steven Conner
There are good and bad with assumptions. The good as Jason indicated because it makes you look unbelievable. The bad is if you do a trick terrible and how it was perceived. If you ever see Anton Zellmann perform at a Trade Show, and see his closing, it will kill you.

Steve
"The New York Papers," Mark Twain once said,"have long known that no large question is ever really settled until I have been consulted; it is the way they feel about it, and they show it by always sending to me when they get uneasy. "
mclose
View Profile
V.I.P.
255 Posts

Profile of mclose
Concerning what Jason England wrote:

This idea of eliminating possible methods because of the skill of the person who is showing you the trick has happened to me several times. I wouldn't categorize it as an unconscious assumption, because you (as the spectator) are consciously discounting certain methodological possibilities.

The guy who hurt me the worst with this was Riser. He is the master of throwing in a gaff when you least expect it. And because I was well aware of his huge chops, I never thought he would stoop so low.

To be honest, I have used this ploy on magicians, and it gives me a great deal of delight to do so. If you fell prey to my "Unfathomable Stewart James Trick" at one of the WMS conventions, I apologize and I know how you felt.

Close
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The January 2007 entrée: Michael Close » » Assumptions » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
<<< Previous Topic Next Topic >>>
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001- 2014 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.134601 seconds, requiring 48 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

[1] [0] [3] [1] [9] [9] [0] [8] [5] [3]