(Close Window)
Topic: Definition of "Magic"
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 4, 2006 05:35AM)
What's your best definition about the art of "magic"? Just for curiosity :) Because people tend to talk a lot about magic but when someone asks you "what is magic?", what do you answer?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 4, 2006 08:25AM)
I kind of have two answers.

1. Magic is the use of ones will to cause things to happen. (this is a quote of Aliester Crowley, yes it refers to a different magic, but I feel it applys to both equaly well. Actualy I feel they are pretty much one in the same.)

2. Conjouring, Entertainment useing feets that are believed impossible.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 4, 2006 09:22AM)
I lean toward Jack's number one above, though also use the following:

The impression given/sentiment held when an otherwise surprising or inexplicable event manifests at the will of the performer. IE a feeling generated by a seeming act of will that affects reality.

Magic is something that happens in stories. It's a literary device that allows the teller to develop metaphors.

I suppose we could also add in some "inside the craft" definitions like...

An invalidated social construct whose participants oft confuse seeming clever with entertaining.
A great way to spend much time and money on things nobody else wants to hear about.

A time proven way to delude the naive that secrets somehow equate to prestige.
Message: Posted by: Clark (Jan 4, 2006 09:56AM)
Speaking of "inside the craft" definitions. Asconio had the best definition of magic that I have heard.

"Magic is the difference between an initial situation and a final situation, and the missing causal link between."

He pointed out that many magicians focus all attention on the climax of the routine, but few give proper focus to the initial situation. For example any color changing pack is only as good as the audience being absolutely satisfied that the pack was a different color in the first place. When reading Asconio's definition one can't help but give thought as to how the performer would help the audience convince themselves (as apposed to trying to convince them himself) that the deck was a certain color in the first place.

Point being his definition helped me think through my routines in greater detail.

Best,
Clark
Message: Posted by: madmanmike1 (Jan 4, 2006 10:14AM)
Magic (as it relates to magicians) is the ability to create an effect that is incongruous to the action that was created to the initial situation.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 4, 2006 11:19AM)
Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 4, 2006 11:21AM)
[quote]An invalidated social construct whose participants oft confuse seeming clever with entertaining.[/quote]

Assuming you have already universally defined what is entertaining...(Yes, I do understand toungue-in-cheek comments).

To the "inside the craft" definitions of, Magic is:, I add the following reality takes:

A highly precise method of socially pigeon-holing one's self.

A pathway to the arts that enters through the kitchen.

Validation for an ill-fitting suit.

An example of extreme polarization with much of the world.

A construct that develops an acquired ability to endure hours and hours of the best and the worst of its fruits with equal enthusiasm.

In general, I think I'll enjoy watching this thread. It will be like watching someone try to nail Jell-O to the wall.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jan 4, 2006 11:25AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 12:21, Michael Baker wrote:

In general, I think I'll enjoy watching this thread. It will be like watching someone try to nail Jell-O to the wall.

~michael
[/quote]

Or sewing buttons on to a custard pie.

Funny stuff there Michael.

Vandy
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 4, 2006 11:40AM)
Isn't some "magic" missing in MAGIC? I mean, people always refer to magic as tricks. And not as a beautifull art, as a sentiment, as MAGIC...!
I Think this is magicians fault, bad performers fault. Many of us concentrate too much on the mechanicals of the effect and less on the magic itself.
All your defenitions are great, we just have to teach them to our audiences :) That's the hard work, so the real magic can speak ;)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 4, 2006 11:51AM)
What it will be is a semantic discussion. The most painful variety.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 4, 2006 12:05PM)
Liquid, thanks for starting such a great post.

I feel it's important to at least think about this and allow it to run as an undercurrent throughout your performances. The answer could be almost anything.

I remember Whit Haydyn saying something to the effect of "Magic is lying".
At first I disagreed with him, but then when I thought about it I really can't disagree, although that's not the definition that "works for me", It probably helps to keep him in character. Having watched his performances on his site, he makes several refferences to the above(often to great comedy effect)in almost all of his routines.

Webster's Dictionary defines magic as: 1 a: The use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces. b: magic rites or incantations 2 a: an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source b: something that seams to cast a spell : ENCHANTMENT 3: the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand.

AND

Maskeline and Devant: "Magic consists of creating, by misdirection of the senses the mental impression of a supernatural agency at work".

These are my favorite definitons and my answer, while not set in stone lies between the two of them.

Would love to hear of more...
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 4, 2006 01:06PM)
Cinemagician,
Thank you for your kind words.
Beyond all the props, smoke & mirrors, this defenition is what really matters, don't you agree?
Why would someone spend $500 on a special prop if then, they will not be able to apply all the drama, sentiment, mistery, MAGIC? Over the years I've been looking to many performers, and rarely I see magic on their performances. Most of the times what I'm seeing is a challenge between magician and audience. One wins, one looses. How about the enchantement, the connection with the audiences? Once I've heard a TV Producer speaking about a magic star and sayng this: "He really is a bad comunicator, good magician, but bad comunicator".
I Think above all, Magic is a way of comunication with people. The effects are just tools. If someone buys a brand new levitation does that turns him into an instant magician? If someone buys a piano, does that turns him into a musician?
Nowdays I see the most of magicians buyng the effects performed by the stars like if that could make them better magicians... see what I mean?
Just my two cents
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 4, 2006 01:18PM)
Buch of things going on here

Yes Jack, semantics is about how we define words. Till we have a suitable vocabulary of agreed upon words, we are at best inefficient.

Then we get to the offerings of Webster and Devant. Those are simply not sufficient and miss out on what distinguishes magic from humor or mere shock theater. It was nice to see words like "enchantment" tossed into the linguistic pudding as if adding sprinkles to cement would make it into ice cream.

Got magic? ( did that prompt you to conjure an image like the milk commercial? )
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 4, 2006 02:08PM)
Yes, it did. Jonathan, Are you alluding to the fact that magic takes place in the mind of the spectator? Is this what validates your including "stories as magic" as you mention above? I don't see how the Webster and Devant definitions miss out on distinguishing magic from humor or shock theatre. Those forms of entertainment do not concern themselves with producing illusions of the impossible. Magic does (or should).

I think what Liquid is saying is that there aren't enough "sprinkles", out there, just ice cream, or worse just cement?
Message: Posted by: jcards01 (Jan 4, 2006 02:09PM)
"Magic is the illusion which is created when a series of natural movements apparently causes an unnatural, or magical, result."
Jean Hugard

"Magic is the apparent defiance of natural laws. Before magic can become magic, the audience must know that the thing the magician
seems to be doing, is, in actuality, impossible."
John Mulholland

"The illusion of magic is an idealistic fantasy; it exists only in the imagination of the spectator."
Paul LePaul
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 4, 2006 02:30PM)
Cinemagician,
That's exactly what I wanted to say ;) I'm glad you got my point of view!
Magic nowdays it's just fast-food magic...
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 4, 2006 05:44PM)
My feeling is that Devant presumes a deep understanding of theatrical conventions and ideas which are pretty much lost in this generation, and the Webster definition pretty much describes ice cream in terms of concrete... missing the taste, temperature and all the fun of picking flavors.

I'm not alluding to magic happining in the mind, I'm outright claiming that what we call magic is a sentimental experience that happens ONLY in the mind. What we do is induce that experience. This is a once removed or meta-cognitive experience, like finding yourself in love or those moments when you suddenly see things differently. Like finding a blooming rose bush in the parking lot on the way to the DMV. The experience has aspects of surprise and wonder, offering an implication of there being much more to the world than what one was looking at just a moment ago. Or maybe it's just my cold suggesting such things between coughs and sniffles today.
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 4, 2006 06:04PM)
It's indeed a nice defenition...
I totally agree when you say that magic it's a sentimental experience that happens in mind, and if every single magician can achieve that emotional state in people, then we have a good future on magic!
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 4, 2006 08:09PM)
That's a really good perspective Jonathan. I'll have to give it some more thought and perhaps incorporate it into the middle ground between the two quotes which resonated for me. Going to ponder it for a while- Thanks again liquid for starting this facinating post.
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Jan 4, 2006 08:47PM)
Magic is the presentation of mystery and wonder.
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 4, 2006 10:12PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 12:25, Vandy Grift wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 12:21, Michael Baker wrote:
In general, I think I'll enjoy watching this thread. It will be like watching someone try to nail Jell-O to the wall.
~michael
[/quote]

Or sewing buttons on to a custard pie.
[/quote]

Or sew buttons on ice cream. That's the version I've got. :) Not mine. I borrowed it. ;)

I'd say, however, that heart and soul are involved as well. :rainbow:
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 5, 2006 12:04AM)
Drew:

When you talk about discussing semantics, I hope you aren't anti-semantic. Some of my best friends are words. (MarcoM said this)

Seriously, these discussions are amusing, really. Sometimes they show that the performers are confusing the map with the territory. The magic is not the trick. The magic is what the spectator experiences. To make it really magical, it has to touch the emotions.

Now these emotions can be fear, anger, envy, greed, shame, joy, astonishment or any number of other emotions. Your job is to make these things happen.

Borodin spends a lot of time on this topic in [i]Final Curtain.[/i]
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jan 5, 2006 12:34AM)
Magic is trickery.
Magic is to fool the average dumbass.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2006 02:20AM)
As suspected, some people are it-getters, while other contributions are fluffing the pillow... adding bulk without substance. Some, for better or worse, prove the theory of a bell curve.

Sewing buttons onto a custard pie/ice cream or nailing Jell-O to a wall... the point is identical. Attempting to define magic is both as inefficient as defining a color, and as futile as trying to keep a scream in a pickle jar.

[quote]Sometimes they show that the performers are confusing the map with the territory.[/quote]

Common and not unexpected.

The bull's eye in this target is a hole, and while they may hit close, I doubt any arrows are going to stick.

~michael
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 5, 2006 08:19AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 03:20, Michael Baker wrote:
As suspected, some people are it-getters, while other contributions are fluffing the pillow... adding bulk without substance. Some, for better or worse, prove the theory of a bell curve.

...Attempting to define magic is both as inefficient as defining a color, and as futile as trying to keep a scream in a pickle jar.

...The bull's eye in this target is a hole, and while they may hit close, I doubt any arrows are going to stick...[/quote]

Agreed for the most part. Trying to describe magic in terms of primary sensations and actions is about as useful as trying to describe a flavor in terms of touch. Same as the bullseye analogy. The target is not on the same plane as the surface, in fact, the dimensionality of the analogy is exactly correct here. If what we are discussing is how to elicit a specific feeling ABOUT what we are perceiving, it makes no sense to fuss over exactly what we are perceiving or how we are able to offer that perception. The target is not on the surface/perception level of our mental model.

I really like the analogy of containing a scream in a pickle jar. Just that mental imagery suggests the writer "gets it". Taking a less extreme example, imagine yourself as a child wanting a cookie, and going over to the cookie jar and opening it... to hear a voice from inside say, "not yet, wait till after dinner". Got it? How do you feel about that experience? For most of us, there's the experience of magic. Nothing to do with using speakers, wires, anchoring, telepathy etc. That's just mechanics and perception.

Funny how the arrows which reach the target seem to vanish.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 5, 2006 12:09PM)
Marshall Thornside - If you believe that, get out of magic fast, and don't come back till you believe otherwise. You have entirely too much contempt for your audience. As a magician I have the highest respect and love for my audience. I would even go so far as to say that the only audience I don't like are the ones so intent on disbelieve that they attempt to ruin the entertainment of others.

No Bill, I'm a full supporter of the nation of vocabulary.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 5, 2006 12:47PM)
Magic is [b]Fun[/b] :cheering:
Message: Posted by: Marshall Thornside (Jan 5, 2006 02:10PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 13:09, JackScratch wrote:
Marshall Thornside - If you believe that, get out of magic fast, and don't come back till you believe otherwise. You have entirely too much contempt for your audience. As a magician I have the highest respect and love for my audience. I would even go so far as to say that the only audience I don't like are the ones so intent on disbelieve that they attempt to ruin the entertainment of others.

No Bill, I'm a full supporter of the nation of vocabulary.
[/quote]



first, your way out of line.
second, your way too serious.
third, I'm not a magician!

fooled you.
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 5, 2006 02:26PM)
Marshall Thornside,
If you are not a magician then you should not be discussing this post. Let the pros speak. I'm sure you are great in other things on life, like swimming, and reading and all that amusing stuff. But if your not a magician then I'm sorry but you'll not be able to talk about it as you don't experience it as magicians do ;)
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jan 5, 2006 02:37PM)
Liquid,

I'd be willing to bet she knows as much, if not wayyyyyyyyyyyy more, about magic than a large portion of the people that frequent this board. Including yourself. So chill.

Vandy
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 5, 2006 03:58PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:37, Vandy Grift wrote:
Including yourself. So chill.
[/quote]

Vandy,
You don't know me. so... chill :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2006 04:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:37, Vandy Grift wrote:
Liquid,

I'd be willing to bet she knows as much, if not wayyyyyyyyyyyy more, about magic than a large portion of the people that frequent this board. Including yourself. So chill.

Vandy
[/quote]

Can't say I didn't see that one coming...

~michael
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (Jan 5, 2006 04:06PM)
I'm chillin like Bobby Dylan. Sorry Liquid, I didn't recognize the name. Carry on!!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 5, 2006 04:11PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:26, Liquid wrote:
Marshall Thornside,
If you are not a magician then you should not be discussing this post. Let the pros speak. I'm sure you are great in other things on life, like swimming, and reading and all that amusing stuff. But if your not a magician then I'm sorry but you'll not be able to talk about it as you don't experience it as magicians do ;)
[/quote]

Liquid - Your profile says you are a STUDENT. Let the pros speak.

Jump back in Frances... can't wait to hear your next comment!

~michael
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 5, 2006 04:13PM)
Whatever :)
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 5, 2006 05:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 03:20, Michael Baker wrote:
Sewing buttons onto a custard pie/ice cream or nailing Jell-O to a wall... the point is identical.
[/quote]

I knew that. :) ;)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 5, 2006 05:47PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:10, Marshall Thornside wrote:

first, your way out of line.
second, your way too serious.
third, I'm not a magician!

fooled you.
[/quote]

I disagree with all three points. If you get to throw words around like confetti then so do I. My statement made no assumptions, it started out "If you believe that". If you do, then I stand by all I said. If you don't then you may dis reguard my statement. I'm not certain I understand how I'm "way out of line". Every word I typed is true and of benefit to anyone who thinks as you wrote. Now it is my strong suspicion that you are having a little sport at old Drew's expense, and that's cute and all, but there is a real point to be made here, and I'm making it. No magician who has contempt for his/her audience should be performing.
Message: Posted by: BlackShadow (Jan 5, 2006 06:45PM)
I agree with you audience thing, but Frances can't get out of magic if she's not in it, can she? She's got you there ;)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 5, 2006 07:14PM)
Okay, we have an example of misdirection here, how about getting back to the magic?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 5, 2006 08:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 18:47, JackScratch wrote:
No magician who has contempt for his/her audience should be performing.
[/quote]

Absolutely true. Relevant point. Gotta be able to connect with your audience. That allows the magic to "go over the footlights" to quote a true magical expert indeed. :)

I'm not going to try to define magic. There is something very unmagical ;) about attempting to provide a sort of almost scientific definition. You know magic when you FEEL it. :rainbow:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 5, 2006 09:53PM)
Agreed Laurie. The scream in a pickle jar, or actually sewing a button onto icecream are great examples of magical thinking. Such is not very far from being able to reach into your bag to find exactly what you want without fishing around, or finding a lost card my simply asking the person who chose that card to think about their card as you reach into a spread of cards and pull out one.

Also agreed that scientific thinking is exactly the opposite of magical thinking. Clearly another person who "gets it". :)
Message: Posted by: Alex Linian (Jan 5, 2006 10:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 01:34, Marshall Thornside wrote:
Magic is trickery.
Magic is to fool the average dumbass.
[/quote]

The only problem with that definition is that if it's trickery then it's not magic.

Magic is a [b]temporary effect[/b] that "magicians" try to [b]replicate[/b](most by means of trickery) for the minds of their audiences, but only a few of them can. If you're audience thinks their watching trickery then it's not magic. If they are conviced you have powers then it's not magic. I won't post [b]my[/b] entire definition of magic here, because defining magic is something every magician must do for, and by, themselves. And Only once you do, you can create it.

All I will say, Marshall Thornside, is that I work hard everyday to demonstrate to my audiences that there is much more to what a magician does, than what you state.

But maybe what I understood is not what you meant, Care to expand?

[b]Everyone who wants to create magic, must first know what magic is[/b]... Good Luck

Alex Linian
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 5, 2006 10:51PM)
I'm pretty certain I know exactly what she ment. This all must be terribly amusing to her.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Jan 5, 2006 10:58PM)
I think that if you convince people that what you do is real magic and not trickery, then you are not a magician--you are a charlatan. Read what Maskelyne and Devant had to say about it.

I think Marshall is right.
Message: Posted by: Alex Linian (Jan 5, 2006 11:05PM)
[b]Trickery[/b] is to fool the average dumbass. Not magic.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 5, 2006 11:59PM)
It's "Dumas".
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 6, 2006 12:13AM)
No, but seriously, I respect the views of Jonathan and Magical Laurie, however, I don't agree, and I'm partially glad I don't "get it". When the more knowledgeable members on this Forum suggest that magic is undefinable, or dismiss it with a two word definition, they are running the risk of misleading the student into believing that a quest for an answer is not worthwhile. I'd bet that Jonathan and others did not arrive at their oppinions without going through a lot of thought. I don't think that defining magic is a nescessarily a "scientific process", or that it's impractical to utilize a rational framework to help devise a better way to perform demonstrations of "irrational phenomena."
Message: Posted by: Maro Anglero (Jan 6, 2006 12:16AM)
LET MAGIC TELL YOU THE DEFINITION. I enjoy the poem Tony Hassini let me use for my magic cable T.V. show called “I AM MAGIC” it was played for every show I ever did. Now when you listen to the poem it NOT a magician saying “I AM MAGIC”
Its magic defining its self.

http://www.iammaro.com/MAGIC4.wav
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 6, 2006 07:38AM)
That's magicalaurie. ;)
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (Jan 6, 2006 08:19AM)
LOL
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 6, 2006 08:23AM)
:)
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 10, 2006 05:38PM)
Magic is the solution to all problems :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 11, 2006 09:36AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-10 18:38, Liquid wrote:
Magic is the solution to all problems :)
[/quote]

Perhaps in stories, and usually at a price.
Message: Posted by: Al Angello (Jan 11, 2006 09:59AM)
"magic" is cool stuff that defies logic.
Al
Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Jan 11, 2006 10:01AM)
Semantics seems to refer not only to the meanings of words but also to their emotional impact. The poetic devices of simile and metaphor naturally appear and how surrreal they are...like Jeff Sheridan's yo-yo to fish.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 11, 2006 01:28PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-11 11:01, isso liwok wrote:
Semantics seems to refer not only to the meanings of words but also to their emotional impact...[/quote]

Where did you find this?

Also, is that an effect of Jeff's (yoyo to fish) ?
Message: Posted by: Liquid (Jan 11, 2006 03:59PM)
All solutions have a price Jonathan ;)
Message: Posted by: coupcoupdaddy (Jan 11, 2006 06:16PM)
Is what I teach in etymology class...Greek origin. Yes, is Jeff's effect I read about.
Message: Posted by: jennieprice (Jan 11, 2006 07:50PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:26, Liquid wrote:
Marshall Thornside,
If you are not a magician then you should not be discussing this post. Let the pros speak. I'm sure you are great in other things on life, like swimming, and reading and all that amusing stuff. But if your not a magician then I'm sorry but you'll not be able to talk about it as you don't experience it as magicians do ;)
[/quote]

Magicians aren't the only ones to have opinions on this subject, what about the audience point of view? Like Marshall, I'm a non magician, (hate the term laymen) can't we have an opinion? I've my own ideas of what magic is, thanks.

Jennieprice
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 11, 2006 08:01PM)
Actually Jennie when I want know what'a magical, I ask muggles. Whether it's how something looks or how a story makes sense, I ask the potential audience.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 11, 2006 10:29PM)
I seem to be getting a lot of milage out of dictionary.com lately.

Magic-
n.
1. The art that purports to control or forecast natural events, effects, or forces by invoking the supernatural.
2.
1. The practice of using charms, spells, or rituals to attempt to produce supernatural effects or control events in nature.
2. The charms, spells, and rituals so used.
3. The exercise of sleight of hand or conjuring for entertainment.
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: “For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past” (Max Beerbohm).

adj.
1. Of, relating to, or invoking the supernatural: “stubborn unlaid ghost/That breaks his magic chains at curfew time” (John Milton).
2. Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable or baffling effects.
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Jan 12, 2006 06:22AM)
Magic is trickery and deception that creates the illusion of the supernatural or the impossible--often with indescribable feelings such as awe, wonder, amusement, puzzlement, or self-doubt.

I know, I know. I just don't get it.

Alan
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2006 07:00AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 07:22, Alan Wheeler wrote:
Magic is trickery and deception that creates the illusion of the supernatural or the impossible--often with indescribable feelings such as awe, wonder, amusement, puzzlement, or self-doubt.

I know, I know. I just don't get it.

Alan
[/quote]

Alan, folks

Pick a frame of reference and then define magic in terms appropriate for that frame. That's why many dictionaries have more than one definition for a word. Define the word IN CONTEXT.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 12, 2006 08:10AM)
OK, #3
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2006 09:01AM)
Number three is a small part of what we do when we perform for others.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 12, 2006 11:40AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 10:01, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Number three is a small part of what we do when we perform for others.
[/quote]

How do you figure. I can't imagine anything I, or anyone else in magic does, that doesn't fit in this defenition. Unless you mean marketing and finances, but I don't think that part of "magic" counts as "magic".
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2006 12:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 12:40, JackScratch wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 10:01, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Number three is a small part of what we do when we perform for others.
[/quote]

How do you figure. I can't imagine anything I, or anyone else in magic does, that doesn't fit in this definition. Unless you mean marketing and finances, but I don't think that part of "magic" counts as "magic".
[/quote]

Since "conjuring" is an undefined term in item three, I dropped it out of my discussion, so only using this: "The exercise of sleight of hand"

Sleight of hand is a TINY part of the methods used in performing magic. From gaffs to preparation to some properties of the object used, from psychological ploys to scripted surprises... lots more than just sleights.

And most sadly, if they believe you are using sleight of hand... you are not offering them magic, merely some sort of secret juggling. Go for the magic. :)

Now if they believe you are actually conjuring portals to other dimensions, imps and sprites... good going!
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 12, 2006 12:28PM)
Well, it seems kind of silly to have to resort to this, but

Conjuring-
v. tr.
1.
1. To summon (a devil or spirit) by magical or supernatural power.
2. To influence or effect by or as if by magic: tried to conjure away the doubts that beset her.
2.
1. To call or bring to mind; evoke: “Arizona conjures up an image of stark deserts for most Americans” (American Demographics).
2. To imagine; picture: “a sight to store away, then conjure up someday when they were no longer together” (Nelson DeMille).
3. Archaic. To call on or entreat solemnly, especially by an oath.

v. intr.
1. To perform magic tricks, especially by sleight of hand.
2.
1. To summon a devil by magic or supernatural power.
2. To practice black magic.
I would have to say that magic, useing this definition for "conjuring" and #3 for the definition of magic would mean any act which emulates the other defenitions of magic. QED
I believe the last word in #3 was the important one anyway.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2006 01:31PM)
I prefer to cut through all that language and go with using (2) to effect (4)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 12, 2006 02:59PM)
Well that would then be the goal, but hard to achieve to say the least. Though, if you can say the definition I use, is not what you do, I don't want to know about it. Sounds like a million conversations I have had, where the other person starts with "I do magic with a K." Just like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 12, 2006 03:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 15:59, JackScratch wrote:..."I do magic with a K." Just like fingernails on a chalkboard. [/quote]

Agreed about keeping Crowley's philosophy about acting effectively outside our disucssions of magic.

I'm pretty sure most of use can agree that the "magic" we are discussing is something we perform for audiences and is designed to elicit a response which includes an unusual feeling some also call magic. The other definition which seems useful to me involves magic as a device used in stories.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Jan 12, 2006 04:45PM)
Hey, y'all...
Getting back to what non-magicians say what magic is we find out that they tell us that magic is:

Tricks.
Tricky stuff.
David Copperfield.
David Blaine.
Chriss Angel
Mystery.
Illusion.
Sleight of hand.
Rabbit out of a top hat.
Birds from thin air.

That is what magic is.

How much does it really matter what I think it is when I don't know what they think it is. Sure it helps if I have my own definition of magic, but I would much rather invite Jennie Price to define it. I believe she can define it more accurately than I.

Please reply, Jennie!!
Message: Posted by: kregg (Jan 12, 2006 07:42PM)
Magic is... connecting misconceptions.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 13, 2006 08:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 16:58, Liquid wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-01-05 15:37, Vandy Grift wrote:
Including yourself. So chill.
[/quote]

Vandy,
You don't know me. so... chill :)
[/quote]

Nobody knows you. but everyone here knows Marshall Thornside -- except you. She is the daughter of De Yip Lou -- AKA Louie. She was jumping boxes when she was four.

Learn who you are picking on before you try to start a fracas. You will end up with egg on your face.


Posted: Jan 13, 2006 9:23pm
----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-01-12 13:28, JackScratch wrote:
Well, it seems kind of silly to have to resort to this, but

Conjuring-
v. tr.
1.
1. To summon (a devil or spirit) by magical or supernatural power.
2. To influence or effect by or as if by magic: tried to conjure away the doubts that beset her.
2.
1. To call or bring to mind; evoke: “Arizona conjures up an image of stark deserts for most Americans” (American Demographics).
2. To imagine; picture: “a sight to store away, then conjure up someday when they were no longer together” (Nelson DeMille).
3. Archaic. To call on or entreat solemnly, especially by an oath.

v. intr.
1. To perform magic tricks, especially by sleight of hand.
2.
1. To summon a devil by magic or supernatural power.
2. To practice black magic.
I would have to say that magic, useing this definition for "conjuring" and #3 for the definition of magic would mean any act which emulates the other defenitions of magic. QED
I believe the last word in #3 was the important one anyway.
[/quote]
It really seems silly, Drew, because you aren't getting your definitions out of a dictionary without editing them.

Here's the proof. You start with
"Conjuring

v."

Conjuring is [b]not[/b] a verb. Conjure is a verb. Don't start with a false premise and end a string of half-fast definitions with a Q.E.D., because you haven't D'd. anything.

So quit doing cut and paste definitions off dictionary.com.


Posted: Jan 13, 2006 9:24pm
---------------------------------------------
MarcoM has the best definition.
[quote]
I am here to perform magick for you. Magick is defined as an act contrary to the laws of nature. So, I am going to stand here before you and perform an unnatural act.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 13, 2006 09:25PM)
Uh... Bill... No disrespect, but dictionary.com tells me, and I believe it, that "conjuring", "conjured", and "conjures" are transative forms of the verb "to conjure" which makes them verbs as well. Now my gramer isn't the greatest but "I am conjuring." is a sentence in which "conjuring" is the verb. Is it not? If "conjuring" is not a verb, please, enlighten me, what is it?

Besides dictionary.com seems like the perfect place to go for material to use in a thread called "definition of "magic"".
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 13, 2006 09:53PM)
Why go to a muggle dictionary for a word from outside?

That's hardly Vernon when you think about it.

If they had a clue, they'd have to be responsible for what they believe. And so... by contradiction we know not to look to them for much on this matter. ;) Aside from good stories we need to interpret Caféfully of course.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 13, 2006 10:46PM)
Sorry Jonathan, while I of course recogonise there are differences between magicians and those who are not magicians, I am afraid I still consider myself a member of the human race. I haven't decided that magician is the next stage of evolution, or some superior ancient, yet benevolent race of beings. Thinking yourself superior to your audience is the first step down the path to a dark place magicians should never go.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Jan 13, 2006 10:58PM)
We do magic FOR audiences, not to convince them we are clever or somehow superior.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 13, 2006 11:08PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-13 22:25, JackScratch wrote:
Uh... Bill... No disrespect, but dictionary.com tells me, and I believe it, that "conjuring", "conjured", and "conjures" are transative forms of the verb "to conjure" which makes them verbs as well. Now my gramer isn't the greatest but "I am conjuring." is a sentence in which "conjuring" is the verb. Is it not? If "conjuring" is not a verb, please, enlighten me, what is it?

Besides dictionary.com seems like the perfect place to go for material to use in a thread called "definition of "magic"".
[/quote]

No, conjuring is either a gerund or a present participle. By deleting the first part of the entry, which you blindly cut and pasted from dictionary.com, you screwed up.

And the question in our case was what is "magic?" Magic is a noun. When you define "conjuring" as a synonym for "magic" you need to define it as the same part of speech. In this case, "conjuring" would be a gerund, which is one of two verb forms that are used as nouns. The other is the infinitive "to conjure."

By your argument, if "magic" is "conjuring," you could say "I am magic," and it would mean the same thing. It doesn't.

Use a real dictionary, such as the OED, and wean yourself from this watered down substitute you find on the internet.

Since you don't understand how to read what dictionary.com says, you really should quit quoting it. "Conjure" is a transitive verb. What would be the intransitive form of conjuring?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Jan 13, 2006 11:33PM)
I see the problem here. I wasn't offering "conjuring" as a synonym for "magic". Earlier in the thread I gave a defenition for "magic" which contained the word "conjuring". A statement was made refering to that defenition not working because it only mentioned slight of hand, when in fact the phrase was "slight of hand or conjuring." I defined conjuring to further clear up the point.

And yes, I see now that you are correct. Though it is not allways, in this particular use "conjuring" is a gerund.

I'm feeling a lot of hostility towards dictionaries ( .com in particular)in this thread. The question stated in the thread title seems silly to me, more so when we are arguing about the defenition of a word which is very clearly defined. No matter what dictionary you use. Is this the kind of thing that normaly goes on in this forum?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Jan 14, 2006 10:06AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-11 23:29, JackScratch wrote:
I seem to be getting a lot of milage out of dictionary.com lately.

Magic-
4. A mysterious quality of enchantment: “For me the names of those men breathed the magic of the past” (Max Beerbohm).
[/quote]
I like this one best. :) Thanks for looking it up, JackScratch. ;)


Posted: Jan 14, 2006 11:40am
---------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-01-14 00:33, JackScratch wrote:
Is this the kind of thing that normaly goes on in this forum?
[/quote]
yah. ;)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Jan 14, 2006 02:18PM)
It only goes on when people start looking in the wrong places for definitions.

Dictionary.com is really almost a crutch for people who don't want to get up off their computer chairs and research a definition in the literature or in Webster's Second, Webster's Third or the OED. It's basically too easy a solution. There is a misapprehension among people who have been brought up a certain way that ANY dictionary:
a) is correct.
b) is the final answer.

This is why there are hardcopy dictionaries that are industry-specific. For example, if you work in German, you would be familiar with the Duden series of dictionaries. They have one that is nothing but foreign words that have been assimilated into German. There is another that is all scientific terms. The complete set of Duden dictionaries takes up about 2 square feet of shelf space.

Dictionary.com uses a number of sources for definitions. But like anything on the internet, it can have tainted information in it.

And there is the question of what does a term mean in one part of the English-speaking world as opposed to another part. You know from your own work at the Renaissance Festival that there are words that mean radically different things in England than they do over here. Look up "nunnery" on Dictionary.com. They say that it means "a convent of nuns." That's not what it means in some contexts. It also can mean a brothel.

When you get "industry specific," then you need to consult "industry literature" for definitions.

Most people who are directly involved in magic realize that the physical parts of our effects are accomplished by sleight of hand, gimmicks, psychology and other basically mechanical means. This is why for many years the English used the term "conjuring" to refer to what we do. "Magic" meant the things that people like Aleister Crowley and the various members of the OTO and the OGD did. People who are members of these and other similar organizations do not appreciate the idea that we call ourselves "magicians." As far as they are concerned, THEY are magicians, we are conjurers, jugglers or tricksters.

A dictionary doesn't have the space or latitude to devote to the etymological details involved in the evolution of a word or the way it produces meaning. So, it goes into the division of the meanings of words by giving different examples of its use. Sometimes this clarifies matters; other times it does not.

Most of our attempts to define "magic" as we use the term are attempts to define its symptoms, not its roots. And because a large percentage of us will go straight to an on-line dictionary for a "one size fits all" definition, then it creates a false impression of what the word actually means.

To some, magic is something that involves imposing one's will upon external objects or other people without using direct contact. To others it is something that is done with a double lift.

In any case, the magic that we produce does not exist as a physical thing. It exists only in the minds of the spectators. It is the product of our skills and showmanship.

If we are able to create the impression in their minds that we are using supernatural forces to cause a temporary suspension of the laws of nature, then we are probably doing something right.

What we actually take credit for, well, that's a different matter, entirely.

But when a forum topic asks "how do you define magic?" a trip to dictionary.com is not the answer. That's how dictionary.com defines magic. Now, if you agree with their definition, then I suppose it is the answer.

But I don't think you really do.
Message: Posted by: karbonkid (Jan 20, 2006 02:51PM)
You know why it's hard to define?

Cause it doesn't exist. Magic isn't real, and all those definitions that all those folks put up, don't apply to us. Us, being, of course magicians. It's all kind of bad nomenclature, I guess. In a world full of restrictions, and informations, and definitions...you see that it just doesn't apply.

Now, maybe when that cool-bearded dude was doing the cups and balls on the doorstep of the Sphinx a ga-billion years ago, and when he put a ball under a cup and it went away, the audience believed that that **** really happened. Moreover, they didn't question it. You know why? They thought the were decended from a god who lived in the sun and he could do stuff like wind, rain, etc. So, yeah, it was magic then.

Fast forward a ga-billion years to now, and a ball vanishes from under a cup, do you honestly believe that your audience thinks you can do 'magic'? I want someone to come in this thread and tell me that even a 3rd of the people they perform for REALLY believe in magic and believe what you do is real and not contrived or trickery at all. Once you think about that, then define magic for me, cause I'd really like to know.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 26, 2006 10:03AM)
Recently, I noticed that magic isn't inherently anything at all. And it isn't something to be done. It's something to be used. Sort of. :hmm:

And...by defining magic, we actually describe our own models. Then we compare them to each other's. Where are the similarities? Where are the differences? And what does the dictionary's definition have to do with anything?

I'm still sure that muggles' models of magic are as important as my own, and are to be kept in mind at all times.

Just some thoughts.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 26, 2006 10:43AM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-20 15:51, karbonkid wrote:...I want someone to come in this thread and tell me that even a 3rd of the people they perform for REALLY believe in magic and believe what you do is real and not contrived or trickery at all. Once you think about that, then define magic for me, cause I'd really like to know.
[/quote]

More than a third of people believe in magic.

Many of them actively support claims of supernatural activities and artifacts. Be it crop circles or merely seeking "lucky numbers" via the lottery, they believe. They keep rabbits feet on hand, talk about lifting curses and even fear the number 13.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 26, 2006 11:12AM)
Great posting Bill Palmer, Patrick Differ, Jonathan Townsend,

Could magic be part of the unexplained natures forces or perhaps a form of energy of human nature? - as Patrick said "something to be used".

Power? Thought? The power of human thought? The power of human thought through a belief system?

I do not have the answer but it is an interesting question?
Message: Posted by: karbonkid (Apr 26, 2006 11:46AM)
Ok, here's the thing.

I know people believe in magic, but, I don't subscribe to the fact that these people are the same group that thinks a card/ball/coin, just dematerialized and reappeared somewhere else, or just completely vanished into the nothingness. Is there people that have the appearance of doing magic? Sure! It's completely contextual. I'll rattle off some examples for you to think about here:

A clown comes up and vanishes a coin (just for the sake to have an object as this could be any effect that is deemed magical), then I come up and do the exact same thing, only sans make-up and funny shoes. Is one more magical by definition of it's context? It's audience? It's perception? Some people here feel magic is an art and would be appauled at the fact that a clown would do magic and call it magic as their definition of what magic is, is pretty derned high of itself, and a clown doing what they consider 'magic' is undeserved in some peoples opinion.

A hustler on the street sets up a game of three card monte and fools you to pieces and takes you for some cash. David Blaine does the same thing but doesn't take your money and gives you uncomfortable stares. Is one more magical than the other?

I'm watching a David Copperfield special and he is flying all over the place. I switch the channel and start watching Superman. He's flying all over the place. Is one more or less magical than the other? Or are they both magic? Is David Copperfield's flight different from that of Superman's?

Paul Harris wrote one time that from the minute you are born you organize things into boxes. Something to the effect of you see something, you file it away. When someone is shown magic, suddenly people have something that doesn't fit into a box and all those boxes go away for a moment while they wonder. Then the person in this situation will immediately go, "Well, he must have some how did blahty-blah.", and in that moment all the boxes come back. So, the boxes don't go away when I see a clown do a coin trick, or a hustler throw three card monte, or when I see superman fly on television...but they might if I see David Roth do a coin trick, they might if I see Bill Malone do a three card monte routine, and they might if I see David Copperfield fly.

More importantly why is one consider magic and the other not?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 26, 2006 12:05PM)
You aren't concidering the brief moment when, dispite knowing these things, they believe in it anyway. We feel that moment a lot more as children and as magicians, it's our job to bring it back. You also aren't concidering that magic is real. Perception is reality.
Message: Posted by: karbonkid (Apr 26, 2006 01:03PM)
That is the moment I spoke of when 'the boxes go away'...I think in the same essay Mr. Harris speaks to the 'childlike feeling' that the spectator gets and they say, "I bet my kids would love this." when really they are saying, "You just made me feel like a kid again and all my boxes are gone and everything is a wonder, etc."

Don't get me wrong, I believe and live for that moment. I love it and I can create it. Magic is contextual to it's performance, and the sense of wonder and magic is solely dictated by the performer and the spectators reaction to that performance. If a magician is bombing and the crowd dislikes them, then by definition, regardless of whether they are doing a good job or not, they are in fact performing magic, but, at the same time, they are not.

Defining magic is like trying to define art. It just can't be done, in my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 26, 2006 01:52PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-20 15:51, karbonkid wrote:

Now, maybe when that cool-bearded dude was doing the cups and balls on the doorstep of the Sphinx a ga-billion years ago, and when he put a ball under a cup and it went away, the audience believed that that **** really happened. Moreover, they didn't question it. You know why? They thought the were decended from a god who lived in the sun and he could do stuff like wind, rain, etc. So, yeah, it was magic then.
[/quote]
Actually, I have heard this type of statement so many times, and it simply isn't a good description of the way people in ancient times looked at street magicians. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans--especially those from the cities--were every bit as intelligent, sophisticated and jaded as they are today:

In the Deipnosophistæ, Athenæus writes of a cups and balls performer in the aisle of a theater:

"A certain man stepped into the midst, and placed on a three-legged table three small cups, under which he concealed some little white round pebbles such as are found on the banks of rivers; these he placed one by one under the cups, and then, I don’t know how, made them appear under another cup and finally showed them in his mouth."

In the first century, the philosopher Seneca enjoyed these sleight-of-hand performers and expressed pleasure in the mystery of the tricks, “If I get to know how a trick is done, I lose my interest in it.” It is even said that the emperor Nero wrote a treatise on the performance of the Cups and Balls.

Using the definitions of magic to understand magic is tricky and tautological. You should develop a definition of what we as magicians do by describing the activity instead of by reference to the cultural ideas and concepts that are utilized in the process--since these change. Derren Brown is doing magic but changing the cultural concepts that underlie it--changing what sort of "lie" is told. The activity and the methodology are the same, the way it is framed and presented to the audience is changed. It is still what we know as "magic." If I show a "Teleportation Device" and demonstrate its operability by showing that it can vanish a 5 dollar bill and "send" it into a lemon, I am still doing what any of us would call magic, but not using the name "magic" or the concept of "magick" in the framing. It is "science." What makes it entertaining is that the audience knows it is not science and that I am lying, and still can not seem to catch me in my trickery. What we do has very little to do with any of the various pretenses we set up to frame it for the audience. We are professional deceivers and audiences have enjoyed the process of being safely scammed by a professional from before history began. It doesn't matter if we present our effects as ESP, science, magic, psychological control, NLP or whatever.

What a magical entertainer does is not simply a mimicking of a supernatural process.

"Magicians" have often used other explanations for their effects than "magic"--advanced scientific technology, psychology, ESP, time travel, improbable coincidence, improbable chance and many other explanations than "magic" have been offered as explanations for what the audience is witnessing.

What all of these have in common is that they are all improbable to impossible explanations for remarkable happenings that the audience is expected to resist accepting, but are somehow "proved" to the audience experimentally. Magic is a game of deceit and sophistry based on foisting a false or invalid syllogism (argument) on the audience in such a way that they can not find the error in the argument. They "know" the magician is lying, but they can't seem to prove it. In fact, it is important that they know the magician is lying, otherwise they escape the dilemma by accepting "magic" as real and turning entertainment into charlatanry.

Every magic trick involves this type of false argument. Without it, we have only a theatrical depiction of magic, not a magic effect.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 26, 2006 02:53PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-26 12:46, karbonkid wrote:
I'm watching a David Copperfield special and he is flying all over the place. I switch the channel and start watching Superman. He's flying all over the place. Is one more or less magical than the other? Or are they both magic? Is David Copperfield's flight different from that of Superman's?
[/quote]
Sure it is. :)

We learned as kids that Superman came from another planet and so forth; most of us who were kids back in the 60's knew the "science" behind Superman cold and right down to the details. His flying wasn't presented as magic, and he didn't push himself as a magician. He didn't need to prove there were no strings attached.

DC, on the other hand, wasn't born on another planet (as far as most of us know), and he doesn't push himself as a superhero. He's a magician. His flying is presented as magic, and that's why he needs to do something to prove there are no strings attached.
Message: Posted by: karbonkid (Apr 26, 2006 03:35PM)
Whit and Geroge, thanks for putting the spin that I needed to hear on that. It's really got me thinking now, especially with the 'proving' aspects of both of your posts.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 26, 2006 03:35PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-26 14:52, Whit Haydn wrote:
Every magic trick involves this type of false argument. Without it, we have only a threatrical depiction of magic, not a magic effect.
[/quote]
I just love this above post and this last line. Thanks Whit - Well written and a great read. Posts like this are the best part of the Café!
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 26, 2006 03:49PM)
I agree with you to some extent, George. But the difference isn't that Superman's poweres come from being from another planet and David's limitations are more known. David doesn't have more to "prove" than Superman because people accept aliens from other worlds more easily than "magic." Superman hasn't told a lie, and David has. Superman asks you to pretend. David claims that he can prove to you he can fly. That is the difference.

Doesn't really matter what the lie is, if people accept it unquestioningly it is suspension of disbelief, if they are forced to accept the lie against their better knowledge and true beliefs by virtue of an unassailable "proof," then it is magic.

Let's put Superman and David on the same stage.

Steve Reeves says, "I really am Superman, I really can fly because I am from Krypton." The audience will go, "Yeah, right. Prove it." They accept him in the context of the television show because they suspend disbelief for the sake of the story.

In the same manner, Peter Pan flies on stage and you can see all the wires. No one cares because they don't believe it he is really flying, everyone is just pretending he is for the sake of the story.

But let the actor who plays Pan come up to a group of children and claim to have magic powers and claim to be able to fly, they will be all over him demanding a demonstration and proof.

The difference between a demonstration of magic and a theatrical depiction of magic, is that the audience has a comfortable box to put the Superman and Peter Pan flying, but David Copperfield was trying to "prove" that he could fly--thus the need for hoops, glass boxes, and so on. David threatens the audiences world view--"There is no such thing as magic" with the proof "There is no other explanation."

This, as someone above said beautifully, blows over all the boxes. There is an insoluable dilemma posed "There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation." This creates cognitive dissonance in the spectator's mind, and forces the spectator to think inductively in order to solve the dilemma and return to "equilibrium."

This experience of dissonance and the the consequent necessity to indulge in both creative problem solving and creative fantasy in trying to subdue each of the two sides of the dilemma, is the experience of "wonder."

The greater the conviction of both sides of the dilemma, the more difficult a time the spectator has in reconstructing his "boxes."

Performance magic is an event that is happening in real time. "Disbelieve all you want, I will prove to you that I can fly."

A theatrical depiction of magic, whether on stage, screen or close-up simply creates a believable presentation that looks like magic enough to keep from taking people out of the story. No one believes Dracula turns into a wolf on stage, and no one tries to make anyone believe that.

We accept that it is a special effect to aid the story. No one wants to go up and check out the sofa he leaped over in the process, because we know it is just a special effect. In theater, magic always turns into a special effect or transitional device unless there is a movement to get people to question what is happening. A claim that what is happening is somehow real.

Superman and Peter Pan fly in the dream world of fantasy. David Copperfield is picking you up and taking you with him right now. Can you imagine David advertising "See how much I can make it look like I am flying by the use of invisible wires. Of course it is fake, but sure looks good doesn't it?"

Peter Pan and Superman only have to look good. David has to look real, and prove there are no wires.

There is a huge difference.

No one thinks badly of someone who "plays" Santa Claus for Macy's, but if he tries to present himself year round as the one and only Santa Claus he is liable to end up in a mental institution or jail--unless of course, he can "prove it."
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 26, 2006 04:40PM)
I believe that was George Reeves, not Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves was the muscleman with the squeaky voice who played Hercules in some of the films Ray Harryhausen did the special effects for.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 26, 2006 04:49PM)
You are right, Bill. It was George, Steve's brother.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 26, 2006 07:20PM)
[quote]More than a third of people believe in magic.[/quote]

I'd wager more, but I have absolutely no proof whatsoever. It's more of a gut feeling.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 26, 2006 07:21PM)
I'm amazed to see this old thread resurrected; however, I feel that I need to make a comment. I'm sure I have mentioned this elsewhere on the Café, before, but it bears repeating.

Once in a while I attend a magic lecture that changes my life. The Vernon lecture was one. Another was the Dick Oslund lecture.

Dick started his lecture with a question he addressed to the audience. "How much magic do you own?"

The answers varied -- "$3000.00 worth," said one. "A couple of desk drawers full" said another. "Do you count books? If you do, I have about $1500 worth," said yet another. Several people gave answers like this.

Then Dick said, "You are all wrong. You don't own ANY magic. You own props, books, tricks and you can do sleights. But you CAN'T own magic. You see magic exists only in the mind of the spectator when he experiences it. As a magician, you are supposed to create that feeling of the impossible that we call magic."

At that point, my whole perspective changed.

Maybe that's why it is so difficult for us to settle on a single definition of magic. I think we know it when we experience it, but we are like blind men trying to describe an elephant.

Is it like a fan? A tree? A wall? A rope or a snake?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 26, 2006 07:55PM)
Bill, I realy hate it when someone else says what I want to say better than I could say it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 26, 2006 08:18PM)
Some time with a fast MRI scanner would likely isolate the brain activity.
And from there we have a physical definition.

For now, the hypnotic (state elicitation) definition suffices.

How is this for now: The craft of eliciting the experience of wonder and awe as regards how will can affect the world.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 26, 2006 08:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-26 20:55, JackScratch wrote:
Bill, I realy hate it when someone else says what I want to say better than I could say it.
[/quote]
I had help. Dick Oslund really knows his stuff. But thanks, anyway!
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 26, 2006 09:14PM)
Bill Palmer writes:

[quote]At that point, my whole perspective changed.[/quote]

I really must ask if it would it be right to say that he changed your model of magic. Maybe not the entire model, but a large chunk of it?

Jonathan Townsend writes:
[quote]How is this for now: The craft of eliciting the experience of wonder and awe as regards how will can affect the world.[/quote]

Your use of the word "will" has me thinking again about cause and effect. Neat stuff.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 26, 2006 11:08PM)
Good post, Whit. I'll buy it.

I think the part that jumps out at me is the difference between "I can fly in the context of the story" and "I can fly right here and now." One is theater and the other one is... well... magic.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 26, 2006 11:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-26 22:14, Patrick Differ wrote:
Bill Palmer writes:

[quote]At that point, my whole perspective changed.[/quote]

I really must ask if it would it be right to say that he changed your model of magic. Maybe not the entire model, but a large chunk of it?

[/quote]

Actually, it changed the focus of my performances. I began to think more in terms of making that magical experience occur in the mind of the audience than doing a trick for them.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 27, 2006 08:07AM)
Magic:

It’s an imaginary force that does not in fact exist. People are led to believe that the magical force exists by magicians who show the people things that are supposedly the effects of the magical force. No one ever sees the magic only it’s effects or so they are led to think. They or the magician can never see, touch, taste or smell magic. “Magic” well it’s only make believe. Magic is nothing at all really.

Take for example a card colour change: What do you see? The card changed colour! That was the effect. However you did not see what caused it to change. That which you did not see was the magic force.

Of course both the magician who shows it’s effects and the people who witness them both know the magical force is imaginary. It is fun and entertaining and many other things to see the effects of magic but magic itself in reality and in fact is nothing but a creation of the imagination.

Because it is nothing you can’t really describe it. You could show some one your empty hand and say: “Behold this in the palm of my hand is magic! You can't see it but I will show you what it can do.”
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 27, 2006 08:24AM)
On the Subject od David Copperfield Flying compared to Superman flying, there is one difference that I find to be exceptionaly important. That is the unspoken pact we have with our audience. The agreement that, unlike a movie, with special effects. They could see what we do, live and in the flesh. This is why I have some serious problems with the use of editing to create magic effects. It breaks that assumed agreement.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 27, 2006 08:25AM)
This topic has kicked into thoughtful overdrive, wonderful posts.

I love the Doug Henning quote (paraphrasing); "The art of a magician is to create wonder, if we live with a sense of wonder. Our lives will be filled with joy."

Create - Wonder - Joy

That's magic. Like the first time I saw cups and balls, matrix, Asrah or a dove from silk (done right).
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 27, 2006 08:42AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 09:07, tommy wrote:
Magic:

It’s an imaginary force that does not in fact exist. ...[/quote]

Kindly specify the frame of reference for each of the deletions in the above.

It: as observed or measured by whom?)
an: just one?)
imaginary: in the mind of who?

keep going.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 08:57AM)
I define magic this way...
Magic: The ability to do things that other can not.

Not merely pull it off, but to do it so well that it looks as if it were being done with no effort on your part. Apply this to every thing and any thing -- painting, dancing, music, computer programing, juggling, puppeteering, surgery, acting, sports...any and all accepted artforms and then every other job out there that you yourself can not perform or perform with ease. That's magic.

You guys are limiting it to only what society has defined, limited, and accepted as "magic." Look around you, there's "magic" every where.

But if you want a dictionary definition...
Magic:
1.The art that purports to produce supernatural effects, as with charms, spells, etc.
2.Any mysterious or overpowering quality that leads to enchantment

I like my definition better.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 27, 2006 09:09AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 09:57, AnneTGravity wrote:
I define magic this way...
Magic: The ability to do things that other [sic] can not. ...
[/quote]

This looks pretty good in that it covers the aspect of applying will to accomplish a result, though it lacks some aspects which distinguish magic from other means of accomplishing tasks. For example, I can't walk into a car dealer's today and buy a Rolls Royce, but those who can don't use magic to do so. Just because it's impossible for me does not mean it's impossible for all people.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 11:43AM)
We all know that magic does not exsist in the conventional sense of the word. None of us actually use magic to accomplish any of the feats that we do. We don't find a card by summoning it, we use the techniques and skills that we have learned and practiced over years to make it look effortless. So, that when viewed, by one who can not perform such a feat, it appears to have been accomplished by magic.

The example of the buying a car, set forth by Johnathan Townsend...sure those who can just walk into a dealership and, without a moment's hesistation, buy a car, do so without the use of magic (they use a Black American Express Card). I know that and you know that. But, to those who do not have the means to do so, it "appears" to have been done by magic.

The appearance of magic is all about perspective. Magicians know that magic doesn't exist. We know this because of the years of study and practice we put into it. We know that it is skill. We know the gaff. We've seen "the man behind the curtain." But, to those not in the field, when they see "51 to pocket" it looks like magic -- whether or not they believe in magic is another story. But, as long as they can not explain how it was done then, magic has been accomplished. The appearance of it has been achieved.

What Jim Henson did with Kermit. That was magic. Or was it?
What Michael Moschean does with acrylic balls. Now, That's magic. No it's not.
What Jeff Sheridan does with rope. Magic?
What John Cassidy does with Balloons?
What James Cameron does?
What Fred Astair did?
What Charlie Chaplin did?
What Pixar does?
A rainbow?
A sunrise?
The change of seasons?
An eclipse?
Pregnancy/Childbirth?


At one time, the four bottom examples on my list were believed to have been accomplished by magic. But, science has taught us otherwise. Magic is all about perspective, innocence vs. knowledge, skill, means, and the ability to let yourself go. These things preserve the existence of it.

The term "MAGIC" is all too commonly used as a term to describe the improbable and the inexplicable. Whether this is done out of habit or done because by calling something "magic" you are removing the power from the individual. You are saying that it was accomplished by some "invisible force" rather than the skill of the person performing the feat. Don't get me wrong, I get kick out of it when someone exclaims "Whoa! That was magic." Even though I know better, it makes me feel like I am doing my job.

You can't ask a magician to define magic because we don't believe in it. Ask a child to define it, you'll get a honest answer (As long as their parents and society haven't robbed them of their innocence).
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 27, 2006 11:55AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 09:25, kregg wrote:
This topic has kicked into thoughtful overdrive, wonderful posts.

I love the Doug Henning quote (paraphrasing); "The art of a magician is to create wonder, if we live with a sense of wonder. Our lives will be filled with joy."

Create - Wonder - Joy

That's magic. Like the first time I saw cups and balls, matrix, Asrah or a dove from silk (done right).
[/quote]

What is wonder? I hear that so many times, but what is it that people are doing when they wonder? Is wonder pleasant? Why is wonder beneficial? Why is living with a sense of wonder good?

I think many people throw words like wonder around without really stopping to think what it means. There is a tendency by some that use words like "magic" and "wonder"--both of which have many different meanings--as if any of the meanings could be applied without regard to context. Sunshine is "magic," there is "wonder" in a sunset. None of this is helpful in a discussion of magic theory, which is a technical discussion about a particular branch of theater known as "Magic."

Without defining the terms you are using with regard to the subject, everything gets squishy, meaningless, and unhelpful.

I think that wonder is simply the description of the mental reverie that is engendered by the attempt to solve the dilemma "There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation." These are all creative rather than deductive processes--a series of "what ifs."

In trying to solve the first horn of the dilemma, the spectator is forced into fantasy--could magic be real? What would it mean if it is? What are the limits of its power? Is it something I could learn? What could I do if I could do magic?

In trying to solve the second horn, the spectator is forced to think creatively and inventively--he can not solve the problem deductively because the needed information was selectively deleted from the argument, and he has agreed to an argument with false premises. No one can solve the problem deductively. The only way out of the box is to invent the trick: "How would I go about making someone think that I could do this magic effect?"

Since the spectator does not have the technology of magic at his disposal to create the effect, the chances of him coming up with an actual, possible solution to the problem is slim. What they do is invent impractical but highly creative solutions--"The rings have magnets." "There must be powerful electro-magnets suspended above and below the stage to make her float."

This reverie of "wonder" is simply the mind's attempt to relieve the uncomfortable feeling of "cognitive dissonance" that is brought on by the magician's deft insertion into the mind of the dilemma. The dilemma becomes a kind of mental burr under the saddle of the brain. Whenever the subject magic comes up, this little irritating grain in the mind is called up, and the process may begin again--the experience of magic and of wonder is kicked into being again, and the brain, like an oyster, tries to solve the dilemma to keep it from being irritated again.

Most people think deductively rather than creatively. For some, being forced to think creatively is unfamiliar and uncomfortable. For others, the need for control and firm categories--boxes--in the brain is important. They will feel the knockdown of these simple concepts by the dilemma that can not be resolved and categorized to be threatening and invasive.

The magician needs to frame his magic so that the spectator feels less threatened by it, and so that the spectator is put into a receptive mood that enables him to enjoy the experience of "wonder" that the magician is about to give him.

For this, we use theater as the cape that distracts and engages the bull. The sword we are about to use is kept hidden.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 27, 2006 12:11PM)
If you don't believe in it, why do you do it?

If you don't believe in it, why call yourself a magician?

The definition of magic as being the ability to do something that nobody else can do falls apart under close scrutiny. Too many people can do the physical things that are given as examples.

Personally, I have never seen a card color change that looked like magic to me. Very little card "magic" is really "magical" in its nature. I think most educated laypeople feel the same way. In the grand scheme of things, most card magic is trivial.

Historically speaking, the plot of the overwhelming majority of card tricks has been spectator takes a card, puts it back in the deck, something is done to the cards, magician reveals it in a clever way.

What's magical about that? The premise is seriously flawed. The spectator probably doesn't even want a card in the first place. So he has it. Then he puts it back. Now he is rid of it. Now the cards are shuffled, messed with, etc. Then the magician finds it. Big deal! Any six year old can do something roughly like that. Even the best performer, unless he is able somehow to create the feeling of magic in the spectator's mind, will simply be credited with "sleight of hand," and the trick will be dismissed as inconsequential.

Flying is a different thing. If you could fly, you would be free of the bounds of the earth.

Really reading minds is in the same category.

So is the ability to predict.

Think on these things as you practice your double lift.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 27, 2006 01:58PM)
Pick a card write your name on it. The card is placed in the center of the deck. Suddenly it is on top and the deck did not move and no one knows how it got there. The card is placed in the center and the deck is just turned face up (no moves seen) and it is on the bottom.

Then it is placed face down on the table. A wallet is removed. The face down card is placed in the center of the deck again. It vanished from the deck and ends up in the wallet and inside a sealed envelope.

Done right - That is magic.

Done fare - it is moves - or the science of manipulation.

Done wrong - The audience will say I know how it is done.

In my opinion it IS magic when the audience can't explain what happened by no other reason other than it is unexplainable except by calling what they experienced as magic - "how did you do that"?

To me magic is the effect and we can get the effect with the science of manipulation and the enhancement of theater and the ability to sell a great story!
Message: Posted by: lylaster (Apr 27, 2006 02:01PM)
Magic is when an effect is done so beautifully, the audience can't come up with any plausible explanation. At that point, it's easier for them to believe than to try to find logic in the event.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 27, 2006 02:46PM)
I disagree completely about a signed ambitious card. Even done perfectly, it's a "so what" trick. Who cares whether you can make a card come to the top of the deck? Big deal! It's trivial. The only problem it solves is that it puts food on the performer's table. But in the big scheme of things, it's as insignificant as Katie Couric going to CBS.

A playing card has basically no value whatsoever to an audience member. It's a piece of cardboard.

The intelligent audience looks at things like this as nice demonstrations of juggling. "It's sleight of hand" suffices as an explanation. The actual knowledge of the method is of no importance to them whatsoever.

Think about this: the idea that people from nearly every country in the world can communicate almost instantly in a forum like this is much more mysterious than the ambitious card.

You want to see magic? Solve the 1500 year old conflict in the Middle East.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 03:42PM)
Whit Haydn,
Your last post was fantastic.

Bill Palmer,
I never said that I don't believe in magic. What you "know" and what you "believe in" are two different things.

Other people have called me a magician and I'm honored when they do. But, I don't call myself that -- I haven't earned that title. Being able to find a card, make an object vanish or appear, or link some rings does NOT a magician make. These are only actions. A magician, to me, is one who can make you (I'm not limiting this to laypeople) believe that what you know to be impossible and improbable is possible, if only for a moment. I can't do that. Not yet.

There are people who I've seen, who are so amazing that magic should exist only for them (for all I know it does). People like Jim Henson and John Cassidy(to name a magician). These are people who have this winsome quality...a sense of wonder...curiousity...Such a love for what they do, that they breathe life into it. They take the mundane and make it exceptional. Being around them/their work, I feel like a kid again.

Barring some physical/mental disability, we all have the ability to do anything we put our minds to. But, having the ability to do something and DOING IT are two different things. Then, there's doing it and doing it WELL. Then, there's doing it well and being EXTRAORDINARY at it.

Everyone who is extraordinary(to perform whatever given task in that given field) has the ability. But, everyone who has the ability is not extraordinary. That's why there are thousands of painters, hundreds artists, and one Vincent VanGogh. Thousands of people who play instruments, hundreds musicians, and one Mozart. Tons of people who do tricks and a handful true magicians.

Magic relies on both the personality & skill of the individual performing it and the personality of the individual receiving it.

For the performer: they must believe that what they are doing is out of their hands. Because if they don't believe, then it really doesn't matter how well they perform a trick, the audience won't believe. Also, they must give a portion of themselves to the audience. Open themselves up -- let your guard down.

For the spectator: It's about letting go...letting go of what they know. Letting their guard down. Opening their minds to the impossible. But, people don't like doing this because it makes them vulnerable. And in being vulnerable, they open themselves up to being "fooled."

Barnum said that people want to be fooled. But, if you ask, people will say reply to the contrary. And that, I believe, is because of the negative conotation "fooled" carries with it. To be made the fool. To play the fool. To be foolish. All of these expressions carry with them imagery of stupidity. People don't want to be thought of as stupid.

This is why, I believe, the performer and the spectator must work together in order to create magic. The performer must have a personality such that the spectator feels comfortable in opening themselves up to them. There is a huge amount of trust involved. The spectator must believe that you are not going to go back stage, at the end of your piece, and laugh about how you "got one over" on them.

I'm going into a whole new sticky topic now.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 27, 2006 03:54PM)
@AnneTGravity - Your problem is that you are using one of the many profoundly flawed definitions of magic that are so popular these days. Something to the order of "anything that is impossible" or some such sillyness. Magic is very real, it just isn't what you've decided it is. For the record, everything on your list fits one of the several acceptable defenitions of magic.

Perception is realtiy.

Going by that, if you realy don't want to believe in magic, then be assured, for you there shall be none.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 27, 2006 05:04PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 15:46, Bill Palmer wrote:
I disagree completely about a signed ambitious card. Even done perfectly, it's a "so what" trick. Who cares whether you can make a card come to the top of the deck? Big deal! It's trivial. The only problem it solves is that it puts food on the performer's table. But in the big scheme of things, it's as insignificant as Katie Couric going to CBS.

A playing card has basically no value whatsoever to an audience member. It's a piece of cardboard.

The intelligent audience looks at things like this as nice demonstrations of juggling. "It's sleight of hand" suffices as an explanation. The actual knowledge of the method is of no importance to them whatsoever.
[/quote]
Or games, tricks or jokes. The above could be said about magic tricks from the cups and balls to the what’s next spot card. The audience or people are interested in what the magician is doing or they are not.

Some people may not be interested because they saw another magician and they did not like him or what he did. There was somebody I knew that I don't remember said that when a magician walks out on the stage - from the audience point of view in the first 3 seconds - "Your only as good as the last magician they saw".

A point of view that the magician on stage has a few minutes to grab them and hold them. Lots of points of view as to what is magic. We may not part the red sea but we can up-lift people with magic!
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 05:06PM)
Jack Scratch,

It is nice to read that you think of items on my list as "magic." As I do, especially the people. There are those out there that would disagree.

To reiterate: I never said "I don't believe in magic," you mistakenly assumed that.

Magic lies within the performer. That is why we all basically, do the same tricks. How many times have you seen Three Cards Across? Zombie? Linking Rings? Cups and Balls? etc... I believe we all keep doing the same tricks because no matter how good we've seen someone else do them, we secretly believe that it is still "missing something," that we can "do it better" - it can still be improved upon. But, when someone performs any trick/illusion with such skill and flair that it makes the audience (magician and layman alike) stand up and go "Whoa! That was magic." that is the day that the trick will be retired. Not because people are afraid of not being able to do it better, but because the perfect performance of it has been achieved -- magic has been realized.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 27, 2006 05:14PM)
I've seen Zombie performed by people who made it look like real magic. They made it look like true mind over matter.

I've seen (on very rare occasions) performances of the Linking Rings which bore no other explanation than the person was able to make two solid items link and unlink.

I've seen illusions performed to such perfection that they appeared to be magic. Rick Thomas' performance of the levitation is one of these. It moved me.

But there is no reason for anyone to retire a piece of "magic," just because they have achieved a kind of perfection. It makes no sense at all.


Posted: Apr 27, 2006 6:18pm
-------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 16:42, AnneTGravity wrote:
Whit Haydn,
Your last post was fantastic.

Bill Palmer,
I never said that I don't believe in magic. What you "know" and what you "believe in" are two different things.
[/quote]
Only to the schizophrenic.

I love it when anonymous equivocaters post to raise their own count.

Use your own name, and I might respect your opinion.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 05:21PM)
Are you saying that we should all keep doing the same tricks? Boring ourselves and our audiences. Just because something is good, doesn't mean we should all do it. There are so many tricks out there, yet we all seem to be doing the same ones. Is it out of fear of trying something new, lack of creativity, or just plain laziness?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 27, 2006 05:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 18:06, AnneTGravity wrote:...Magic lies within the performer...[/quote]

The notion of lies is cooo. How about this this instead:

Magic is a lie that can occur inside the minds the audience.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 27, 2006 05:40PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 18:21, AnneTGravity wrote:
Are you saying that we should all keep doing the same tricks? Boring ourselves and our audiences. Just because something is good, doesn't mean we should all do it. There are so many tricks out there, yet we all seem to be doing the same ones. Is it out of fear of trying something new, lack of creativity, or just plain laziness?
[/quote]

I think what he is saying, and I know I am, is that we should certainly keep doing the same effect because they are good, but it isn't the effects that are good. If they were the same, they wouldn't be good. They are only good when an artist brings his own particular enterpritation to a piece, evoking many of the previously mentioned emotions from his audience. That's the point. Not the effects. They are simplky a vehicle for what we do.

And magic is no more a lie than "Hamlet".
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 06:00PM)
So, then why can't you apply that creativity to something that HASN'T been done to death? I'm all for putting your own spin on a classic. I welcome it with open arms because it shows that you're thinking, that you care about keeping this art form alive. It's when I don't see an artist put some of himself into the trick or when I see that the only reason that he is performing it in the first place is because it is the popular one to do, that is what I am bored with.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Apr 27, 2006 06:18PM)
Magic is an enigma wrapped in a mystery that defies the laws of nature and science.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 27, 2006 06:18PM)
Whit,
Have you ever been asked;
"Is magic real?"
"How did you do that?"
"Can you teach me how it's done?"

That's wonder - wonder is marvelous curiosity.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 27, 2006 06:28PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 18:26, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
The notion of lies is cooo. How about this this instead:

Magic is a lie that can occur inside the minds the audience.
[/quote]
Interesting quote about how Robert-Houdin talks about the "Imagination" and the audience and the impression on the memory. My own opinion of this quote and what I got from it was that comedy can get in the way of the mystery of magic while performing. Anyway that was my take on what was written by Robert-Houdin. Puns and laughter.

......
Robert-Houdin The Great Wizard - 1944 published by Carl W. Jones - Translated from the French bu Dr. R. Shelton Mackenzie.

Page 138

They are not proper in a performance of sleight of hand. The reason is very simple: not only do puns raise a belief that the artist fancies himself a wit, which may only injurious to him, but, if he succeeds in raising a laugh, it weakens the interest in the experiments.

It is a recognized fact that in those performances where imagination plays a chief part, “astonishment is a hundred fold better than a silly laugh”; for though the mind may remember what has delighted it, laughter leaves no trace on the memory.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 27, 2006 07:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 19:00, AnneTGravity wrote:
So, then why can't you apply that creativity to something that HASN'T been done to death? I'm all for putting your own spin on a classic. I welcome it with open arms because it shows that you're thinking, that you care about keeping this art form alive. It's when I don't see an artist put some of himself into the trick or when I see that the only reason that he is performing it in the first place is because it is the popular one to do, that is what I am bored with.
[/quote]

Mostly because there isn't a whole lot that hasn't been done. Agreed, people are constantly looking for new effects, but I think some of that time would be better spent looking for better ways to present ones that already exist. Dispite a widespread belief, magic isn't about being "clever" it's about entertainment. Whatever it takes to entertain the audience and do it well, is what is called for. "Magic" simply provides the vehicle, the particular medium. If you want to come up with all new effects, good on you, go for it, I wish you luck. I see no reason to make it mandatory, or industry standard.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 08:00PM)
It's good to read that you think that people should look for new ways to present old tricks.

Yes, magic is a form of entertainment. Never say "whatever it takes to entertain the audience..." You say that, and you have sold out. You are at their mercy. You will forever be bending yourself and reinventing yourself to their whims.

You must decide who you are as a performer and then shoot for being at the extreme end of the performance bell curve -- where some people love you and some people hate you. True, you would have a safer time in the middle where you would be upsetting none, but you will be living a life inconsequence, where the most common description of your act will be "eh, he was good." Shoot for greatness and if you upset some people along the way...at least they're talking about you.

Remember, no one talks about the average performer, we talk about the great ones and we talk about the horrible ones. It's human nature. If you don't believe me, just look at this website and see who some people are bashing.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 27, 2006 08:28PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 19:18, kregg wrote:
Whit,
Have you ever been asked;
"Is magic real?"
"How did you do that?"
"Can you teach me how it's done?"

That's wonder - wonder is marvelous curiosity.
[/quote]
I don't think curiosity and wonder are the same thing at all.


Posted: Apr 27, 2006 9:41pm
----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 15:46, Bill Palmer wrote:
I disagree completely about a signed ambitious card. Even done perfectly, it's a "so what" trick. Who cares whether you can make a card come to the top of the deck? Big deal! It's trivial. The only problem it solves is that it puts food on the performer's table. But in the big scheme of things, it's as insignificant as Katie Couric going to CBS.

A playing card has basically no value whatsoever to an audience member. It's a piece of cardboard.

The intelligent audience looks at things like this as nice demonstrations of juggling. "It's sleight of hand" suffices as an explanation. The actual knowledge of the method is of no importance to them whatsoever.

Think about this: the idea that people from nearly every country in the world can communicate almost instantly in a forum like this is much more mysterious than the ambitious card.
[/quote]
I think you are wrong about this, Bill. I do the "Ambitious Card" and "Card to Envelope" in every close-up performance. A video of my performance is available here:

[url=http://www.scoundrelsphotos.com/albums/FTP_uploads/Scoundrels%20Video/Ambitious_Card.wmv]scoundrelsphotos.com[/url]

I have done this routine for more than thirty years. The reaction is always huge, and I have had many, many people upon running across me again even years later, to comment on that effect and how great it was, or to ask me to do it again for them and their friends.

I have known spectators to keep their signed card and envelope in their purse or wallet for years and they show it to me when they see me again.

I think that you are dead wrong about card tricks as magic. Most of my close-up magic is cards. People do become very engaged, and they remember tricks like Chicago Surprise, Card on Ceiling, Phoenix Aces, Rising Card and Torn and Restored Card for years.

I don't think I am the only one on this forum who has had this experience. Card magic, when presented correctly, can make people wet themselves, or fall off of barstools, or knock over wine glasses.

I have had people who had to leave the room for a while because they were "too shaken" to continue. None of this is bragging--I suspect many competent card guys would have had the same experience.

Just look at the reactions that David Blaine got from spectators with simple card tricks like "Be Honest!"

I think that in this case you may have overstated things about card magic.


Posted: Apr 27, 2006 10:01pm
----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:00, AnneTGravity wrote:
It's good to read that you think that people should look for new ways to present old tricks.

Yes, magic is a form of entertainment. Never say "whatever it takes to entertain the audience..." You say that, and you have sold out. You are at their mercy. You will forever be bending yourself and reinventing yourself to their whims.

You must decide who you are as a performer and then shoot for being at the extreme end of the performance bell curve -- where some people love you and some people hate you. True, you would have a safer time in the middle where you would be upsetting none, but you will be living a life inconsequence, where the most common description of your act will be "eh, he was good." Shoot for greatness and if you upset some people along the way...at least they're talking about you.

Remember, no one talks about the average performer, we talk about the great ones and we talk about the horrible ones. It's human nature. If you don't believe me, just look at this website and see who some people are bashing.
[/quote]

That's good for some, Anne. But I, like many other performers, just want to enjoy making a comfortable living doing what we enjoy doing. I may not have striven for the extreme artistic success you recommend, but I do constantly work at my magic and hone my craft.

I don't see the need to bend yourself to every whim of the marketplace, but I do change to suit my various venues--I would be less loose with sexual innuendoes in certain areas of the country or for certain groups. I would change my act if I found that I was offending even one or two people in my audience on a regular basis. It wouldn't be good business for me. I don't think that is much different than great artists in other fields who have done commission work, or lived under patronage.

I tend to think of myself more as a craftsman than an artist anyway--I am a show person. More Vaudeville than Broadway. I am an entertainer, not a visionary artist.

I don't care particularly whether people are talking about me, and I have no problem living an "inconsequential life" as you call it.

"No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plow down sillion Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion..."
--Gerard Manley Hopkins
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 09:15PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:41, Whit Haydn wrote:
Card magic, when presented correctly, can make people wet themselves, or fall off of barstools, or knock over wine glasses.
[/quote]

Your Ambitious Card was beautiful to watch. The notarized was a nice touch, I haven't seen that done before you.

"51 to pocket" and "Chicago Opener" are two of my favourites. I have yet to see an audience that was not amazed by them. I had a woman almost fall over backwards when she discovered that her card was in her hand all along. That was such an amazing feeling for me.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 27, 2006 09:27PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:00, AnneTGravity wrote:
It's good to read that you think that people should look for new ways to present old tricks.

Yes, magic is a form of entertainment. Never say "whatever it takes to entertain the audience..." You say that, and you have sold out. You are at their mercy. You will forever be bending yourself and reinventing yourself to their whims.
[/quote]

OK, that's just crazy. If you convince me that this is as bad as you make it sound, I'm getting out of magic forever. If it isn't for the audience, then it is for the wrong reason. Art serves no purpose other than to be apreciated.

I hope I have sold out. This is my career.
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 27, 2006 10:21PM)
Art is an expression of the creator's soul. It's great when it's appreciated, but think of how many artists go unappreciated during their lifetime.
Before I dive too deeply into this...define appreciated.
Do you mean financially? Emotionally? Artistically?
Are you looking for fame and accolade?
To be lauded by your peers?
Are you happy doing this for your own edification?
If you are happy doing this for yourself, then everything else is just gravy. Whether or not fame and fortune come to you, you'll still be happy and by extension a success.
I still say aim for greatness, but be sure to define for yourself. That way you know when you have it.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 28, 2006 06:30AM)
We've stumbled into a worm hole and have brought "art" into the mix.

Whit,
Wonder is the question that leads to the quest (curiosity).
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 28, 2006 07:57AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:41, Whit Haydn wrote:
I have known spectators to keep their signed card and envelope in their purse or wallet for years and they show it to me when they see me again.

I think that you are dead wrong about card tricks as magic. Most of my close-up magic is cards. People do become very engaged, and they remember tricks like Chicago Surprise, Card on Ceiling, Phoenix Aces, Rising Card and Torn and Restored Card for years.

I don't think I am the only one on this forum who has had this experience.
[/quote]
Whit, I agree with you on this, definitely. I don't do many card tricks yet.

As a spectator, I was always impressed with cards- until I came here and found out I shouldn't be. ;) For many people "magic" and "card tricks" go hand in hand, I believe. I know I used to feel that way. I don't think the audience is as cynical about cards as magicians are. That's the view from here, anyway. ;)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 28, 2006 08:13AM)
Art?

That comes long after getting through what Freud called the oral and anal stages.

Till one has knowing boundries in place between self and others, will and want, society and its aliens... novel expressions of personal perspective and context will likely be accicental. An artifact of a critic looking to claim discovery of a newfound cashcow.

samo samo. Even when reflected in brick walls or painted in skyscrapers.

There's authenticity in making a living with a plow. One is free to dream of life in the penthouse. Do all roads there really lead to Oz?
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (Apr 28, 2006 08:22AM)
Follow the yellow brick road. ;)


Posted: Apr 28, 2006 9:32am
----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 22:01, Whit Haydn wrote:
"No wonder of it: sheer plod makes plow down sillion Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear, Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion..."
--Gerard Manley Hopkins
[/quote]
Hey! John-Boy read that poem to his mother for her birthday. :nod: Lovely, Whit. :)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 28, 2006 08:32AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 22:27, JackScratch wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:00, AnneTGravity wrote:
It's good to read that you think that people should look for new ways to present old tricks.

Yes, magic is a form of entertainment. Never say "whatever it takes to entertain the audience..." You say that, and you have sold out. You are at their mercy. You will forever be bending yourself and reinventing yourself to their whims.
[/quote]

You are coming at this from the wrong direction. I don't mean my, or anyone elses motive. I'm talking about the intended outcome. I don't buy into that art for art sake. Succesfull art is the whole point to all of them. A painting is ment to evoke an emotion from it's audience. Music is supposed to make the listener feel something. So it is with magic. Financial is a nice expression of success in that field, as is emotional response, and fame, well that's the art of marketing, not magic. If there is no audience, big, small, one person even, then there is no magic. If the audience does not get some variety of entertainment from the magic, then it is bad magic.

OK, that's just crazy. If you convince me that this is as bad as you make it sound, I'm getting out of magic forever. If it isn't for the audience, then it is for the wrong reason. Art serves no purpose other than to be apreciated.

I hope I have sold out. This is my career.
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 28, 2006 09:27AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 19:28, bishthemagish wrote:
Robert-Houdin The Great Wizard - 1944 published by Carl W. Jones - Translated from the French bu Dr. R. Shelton Mackenzie.

Page 138

They are not proper in a performance of sleight of hand. The reason is very simple: not only do puns raise a belief that the artist fancies himself a wit, which may only injurious to him, but, if he succeeds in raising a laugh, it weakens the interest in the experiments.

It is a recognized fact that in those performances where imagination plays a chief part, “astonishment is a hundred fold better than a silly laugh”; for though the mind may remember what has delighted it, laughter leaves no trace on the memory.
[/quote]
Monsieur Robert-Houdin was 100% correct... a hundred and fifty years ago.

When reading stuff like this, we need to keep it in perspective -- we need to see it in the framework of when it was written and what entertainment was like at the time. As much as I like "Our Magic" and "Showmanship for Magicians," among others, I force myself to read between the lines and pull out what's dated and keep what's still relevant.

How can I tell what's dated? Easy. I just look around to see what today's successful entertainers are doing. In today's world, a little well-placed humor goes a long way; it's a way to say, hey, lookit, I take my work very seriously, but I'm not hung up on myself.

If Robert-Houdin, or Maskelyne & Devant, or Fitzkee, were writing their books today, a lot of the underlying reasoning would be the same but much of the content would be totally different.
Message: Posted by: Clark (Apr 28, 2006 09:52AM)
Once again Whit has brought a ring of truth, wisdom, and good old fashioned common sense to a thread that started wonderfully and somehow spun into another realm of conversation entirely. I also have to say that Magicalaurie (IMHO) couldn't be more correct in her post about finding out what she should be impressed by here...LOL, that was just too good.

I also want to personally thank Bill for enlightening all of us that card magic is not a valid branch of magic at all, at least when it comes to being "magical" in appearance. I could possibly have spent the rest of my life aimlessly "practicing my double lift" with no thought applied to it whatsoever. Or even worse, I possibly could have actually bought into the thousands of reactions that I (like most of us here) have gotten from my audiences over the past 15 years.

Bill you made so many unbelievable assumptions in your post that I don't really have the energy to address them all.

Personally, I think if you really believe that anyone looks at the "ball on a stick" and is thinking, "Now that is evidence of mind over matter" you are WAY kidding yourself...BUT I don't think anyone should take my opinion and pack up all of their sticks and silks. Do what appeals to you because the fact of the matter is what appears "magical" to you is just that. It's all a matter of opinion.

Best,
Clark
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (Apr 28, 2006 10:15AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 21:41, Whit Haydn wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 15:46, Bill Palmer wrote:
A playing card has basically no value whatsoever to an audience member. It's a piece of cardboard.
[/quote]

I have done this routine for more than thirty years. The reaction is always huge, and I have had many, many people upon running across me again even years later, to comment on that effect and how great it was, or to ask me to do it again for them and their friends.

I have known spectators to keep their signed card and envelope in their purse or wallet for years and they show it to me when they see me again.
[/quote]

Disclaimer: My own speculative theories (and half-baked theories at that) follow.

While it is true that a playing card has no inherent meaning, I think that having it signed accomplishes two things. First it proves that there can be no duplicates and makes the magic stronger. (Whit's "horns of the dilemma")

Second, it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before.

Geoff
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 28, 2006 10:33AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 11:15, saxmangeoff wrote:...it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before. [/quote]

And thus by clever application of the Stockholm Syndrome (by proxy of the card), the audience will presumably feel sympathetic to the performer as the hostage-by- proxy is shuffled, dealt unfairly, multiple lifted and involved in various and sundry unnatural acts till when eventually returned, the audience experiences relief at the end of the ordeal and expresses appreciation.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 28, 2006 11:31AM)
Great post Whit I think your ambitious card video is a lesson in card MAGIC and in fact a lesson in MAGIC. It is magic performed with CLASS and DIGNITY. And I think that when a magician performs this way I think that helps elevate magic performed as an art.

Rather than magic performed as just a puzzle or a trick.

If you have not watched this video please do so -

http://www.scoundrelsphotos.com/albums/FTP_uploads/Scoundrels%20Video/Ambitious_Card.wmv

This is more than a just a video of a magician doing a trick. It is an artist "Whit Haydn" performing artistic magic. And the principles employed can work with other magic effects. At least that is my opinion.

..............

By the way George Ledo thank you for your post above about keeping things in perspective - very thoughtful and great stuff. That is also just my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 28, 2006 01:20PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 07:30, kregg wrote:
Whit,
Wonder is the question that leads to the quest (curiosity).
[/quote]

I think you are being a little too flip, kregg.

Wonder is not a question, though questions may arise from it.

Curiosity is not a quest, though it could lead to one.

Curiosity and wonder are not the same, though they may be related in some way.

I think your meaning would be more plain if you wrote a more full and reasoned explanation of what you are trying to say.

Bish:
Thanks. It is very nice of you to say that.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 28, 2006 01:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-27 19:18, kregg wrote:
...
Have you ever been asked;
"Is magic real?"
"How did you do that?"
"Can you teach me how it's done?"

That's wonder - wonder is marvelous curiosity.

[/quote]

From experience: yes, yes, yes.
To me that seems more like curiosity expressed in social/verbal context.
How are these loose definitions for folks:
Wonder opens a space in our map of the world for the unknown behind the door, and to ponder the shape of that unknown.
Curiosity is what motivates us to approach that door.
Awe stops us from acting upon impulses as it makes all our impulses seem small by comparison.
Bewilderment leaves us unknowing of where to look next.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 28, 2006 01:55PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 11:15, saxmangeoff wrote:
Disclaimer: My own speculative theories (and half-baked theories at that) follow.

While it is true that a playing card has no inherent meaning, I think that having it signed accomplishes two things. First it proves that there can be no duplicates and makes the magic stronger. (Whit's "horns of the dilemma")

Second, it is now THEIR card. It's not just a card. It has their personal touch, and they now have some ownership interest in it. They've invested the card with a piece of themselves, and what happens with the card now matters more than it did before.

Geoff
[/quote]
I really enjoyed this post about making magic personal and how the personal touch they make by the signed - their investment. Thank you for posting this.

.............

You're welcome, Whit. I say it because I feel it is true.

In many of the books like Stars of Magic there are things written about Leipzig and also in the Dai Vernon Book Of Magic. Leipzig performed magic or so the book says with Class and Dignity. Many people said that Dai Vernon Performed magic with class and dignity.

That class and dignity is sometimes missing in some magic being done in the comedy realm of performance magic.

But there are performers today that have it - here are a few that perform magic with class and dignity and make magic art for me. This is only my opinion.

Michael Ammar, Darwin Ortiz, Rich Crowly, Ricky Jay, Lance Burton, Rannie Raymundo, Johnny Thompson, Bruce Cervon and there are others.

To see the shell game done with class and dignity visit the school of scoundrels and download and view Whit doing that routine. Note how he draws them in, note how he fits in the story, another great lesson in magic that I think the principles fit with other effects.

The shells can be an effect that can become an "I win, you lose, I am smarter than you" trick in the wrong hands, just as the chop cup. “Wrong you fool.”

Note how Whit makes great entertainment out of it and has fun with the audience. The result is great entertainment performed by an artist with both class and dignity. People that perform like that help magic and people get to see magic presented at a high level or in my opinion - makes magic an art.

Thanks again, Whit.
Message: Posted by: ELDEMONIO (Apr 28, 2006 03:58PM)
When speaking on the topic of "magic" and its defenition we must distinguish what people call "real magic". What does "real magic" mean as opossed to normal "magic"? Any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that magic does not exist in the sense that magicians make it seem. When a person asks "How did you do that?", and the response by the magicain is "magic", what exactly does this mean to the spectator. Does the magician want the layman to think he has supernatural powers to acomplish such feats? In my personal opinion it's an insult to the spectators logic by claiming you do magic. Magic does not exist. Techniques which create what appears to be supernatural do exist. If you really think magic exist in the supernatural sense of the word I suggest taking the James Randi 1 million challange and try to prove it. Since magic is non-existent we ought to tell the spectators just that. Some people really beleive in magic, and I'm the one to burst their bubble, becuse beleiving in "real magic" is dangerous. So lets define both magic, and real magic as techniques, used to fool the mind. What more could be said?
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 28, 2006 04:02PM)
I've always loved great quotes. If magic has taught me one thing, it is that whenever anything is meant to be seen, it will be seen.
Having an addiction to magic, I notice quotes that refer to mystery, wonder and the kind.
I shared one of my favorites by Doug Henning.
Posted below are a couple I've learnt over the years.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."

"Wisdom begins in wonder."

Though not related to magic is is related to us all from time to time (plus I find it amusing): "Fish will be the last to discover water."
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 28, 2006 06:06PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 16:58, ELDEMONIO wrote: (but jt spell checked)
When speaking on the topic of "magic" and its definition we must distinguish what people call "real magic". What does "real magic" mean as opposed to normal "magic"?...[/quote]

what which people speak of and under what circumstances.

There are people who speak of a small snack as a symbolic and deeply moving experience. There are people who set a place at their table for someone who would be welcomed yet whose presence would be most concerning to the rest of the dinner company. There are people who carry a fetish (totem?) of a creature which was most unfortunate yet they believe it bestows good fortune. There WERE people who would copy messages of good will onto paper and consume the paper as a means of offering spiritual/medical assistance.

To all of these peoples and many more I give my respects and acknowledge their beliefs in magic and their way of practicing magic. Whether the citizen is permitted to use magic or must turn to a specialist is a social issue. So many peoples and so many different perspectives.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 28, 2006 06:53PM)
When I read the topic of this thread for the first time (Definition of "Magic") my thoughts were on a movie "Dances with wolfs". And how the native American's living in the village looked at the single person who had come to live with them just next door.

My thoughts are on the camp fires they had to talk about him and the "Magic" that the man had that was later to be called by the name of the tribe "Dances with wolves."

Later he started to visit and then later joined the community and then there was talk of the "magic" between "Dances with wolves" and the woman that could make the words of the white man.

I close these thoughts with a question. Definition of "Magic" in one word - could that be love?
Message: Posted by: Jim Wilder (Apr 28, 2006 08:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 19:53, bishthemagish wrote:
When I read the topic of this thread for the first time (Definition of "Magic") my thoughts were on a movie "Dances with wolfs". And how the native American's living in the village looked at the single person who had come to live with them just next door.

My thoughts are on the camp fires they had to talk about him and the "Magic" that the man had that was later to be called by the name of the tribe "Dances with wolves."

Later he started to visit and then later joined the community and then there was talk of the "magic" between "Dances with wolves" and the woman that could make the words of the white man.

I close these thoughts with a question. Definition of "Magic" in one word - could that be love?
[/quote]

Wow... you just totally out-codified Jon Townsend.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 28, 2006 09:49PM)
Sunsets are magic. Love is magic. A baby's smile is magic. Yada Yada Yada... :)

I don't think these kind of sentimental allusions help really. What we want to understand is not the set of all the things that might be thought of as magic or magical. We need to discuss the art in which you and I are engaged.

Why do we try to tell our audiences that we are accomplishing something by one means (magic, science, alchemy, hypnosis, ether) when we are really accomplishing it by another? That is what we actually do, and if we are not doing that, in my opinion we are not doing "magic."

We may be presenting a "magical" vision, or depicting what real magic would look like just as we do in movies and stage plays.

But this is theater and film, and those art forms can do this much more effectively and grandly using special effects and cgi than any magician.

What is it that separates us from theater and film? Those art forms are much better than we are at some things, but they do not challenge the mind of the spectator as magic does, simply because we are seeming to "insult their intelligence."

Our job is to insult the intelligence of the audience by making firm assertions of some things that the spectators know for a fact are not true, and then proving them in such a way that the spectator is unable find the error, and can not escape the situation in which we have placed him. He knows that we are lying, and still does not believe us, and yet he can not find a way out of the intellectual box we have put him in. He has had the dilemma "There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation" inserted into his head, and the mind does not like to hold two contradictory thoughts such as that at the same time. This situation causes a "feeling" in the brain of agitation and anxiety known as "cognitive dissonance."

While most people find this situation novel and somewhat uncomfortable, it can be a richly rewarding and creative experience. The performer's job is to frame the experience in such a way that it seems safe and pleasant for the spectators. We want to force them into a reverie of wonder--letting them go through thousands of "what if's" and "how could's" concerning both sides of the dilemma, and we want them to enjoy the experience and revisit it pleasantly again in their heads for the rest of their lives.

Much of modern science and especially physics requires people to be much more flexible in their understanding of things. In quantum physics magic is absolutely real, and conundrums and dilemmas even more perplexing than ours most be swallowed whole practically on a page by page basis.

I think magic is very helpful in getting people to enlarge their minds, and to learn to comfortably live with paradox--something that will be become more and more essential in coming years. It is also healthy, for it is the source of creative juices and a font of surprising and unthought of things. Magic forces people to think creatively, inductively instead of deductively. It is a great gift, but it requires deceit and lies to make it happen.

You can claim science ESP or psychology is the true cause of the effect you are creating, but if that is not really the full cause, you are still lying and still insulting the intelligence of your audience. It is still magic--the science of proving the untrue.


Posted: Apr 28, 2006 11:28pm
----------------------------------------------
BTW, I didn't mean to sound jaded--I like the poetic descriptions of magic and love and all of that, and they are just as fun and pleasant as they can be. They just don't really help with the point under discussion.

You can lower the bar for the lie, people find it easier to believe in ESP than magic, in NLP than in ESP. But if people believe the phenomena you have created for them is exactly what you say it is, then you are not doing magic. You are a charlatan. If you erase one side of the dilemma, there is no paradox. There is no point to the exercise any longer--you prove that you have the skills you claim, the audience believes you and goes home and goes to sleep. They now have had a piece of their worldview firmly changed by fake evidence. You have added a little bit to the world's ignorance. Nice going.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 29, 2006 08:36AM)
Question?

Is it how the lie is presented to the public?

Magic is real? "Or" The suggestion that magic is real?

Or could it be also how the public and the audience accept the suggestion?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (Apr 29, 2006 10:15AM)
I'm not sure I follow the question, Bish. Is what how "the lie is presented to the public?" I'm not clear what you are asking.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 29, 2006 10:36AM)
I am not sure how to put this. Perhaps the way you said the way of the two schools of magic. Could presenting magic as real that is working strong and the audience buys into the performer and what they do?

In the book the magic of believing the book talked about ESP and used Dunninger as an example as to ESP - could be real. That is that he wants to believe that it is real he buys into the lie so to speak.

Could? perhaps doing magic as entertainment people - the public might buy into the lie or accept the suggestion - even though the performer is not suggesting that it is real. They could be suggesting to some that it is - just by doing a show?

I do not have the answer but I am just trying to open my mind to the questions and find more questions. And I have much enjoyed your thoughts and information that you have given on this thread. Thanks Whit.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 29, 2006 11:26AM)
I don't think we lie as much as water refracts light; We just bend the image to excite a reaction.
This goes back to the assertion that magic happens in the mind. How an individual processes the information is based on countless factors including: Ignorance, superstition, misconception, perception, willingness, expectation and so forth.
We exploit our nature and natural understanding of the world we know to achieve an effect which can entertain, amuse, confuse, or send them running out of the room. Like the lady who did such a thing when Bob Fitch displayed an image of a pentagram.
Magicians watch magic even though (much of the time) we know the outcome. Yet, we accept it and if it's really good we are the best audience a magician can have.
I can't recall how often I've seen an audience applaud a bad or mediocre show. Is this the audiences way of sending the "lie" back to the performer or are they bending the truth?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (Apr 29, 2006 12:31PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-29 09:36, bishthemagish wrote:
Question?

Is it how the lie is presented to the public?

Magic is real? "Or" The suggestion that magic is real?

Or could it be also how the public and the audience accept the suggestion?
[/quote]

Their is no lie. Magic is not lieing. Using the word "lie" in reference to magic is incorrect. Magic is no more a lie than "hamlet".
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 29, 2006 11:44PM)
[b]Definition of "Magic"[/b], by Patrick Differ.

[i]I'm in line for the new King Kong roller coaster at Six Flags. I've been told that it is the be-all-to-end-all ride in the nation. I expect to be thrilled. I expect adrenaline. I expect to have my mind changed about all the other cool roller coasters I've ever been on. I expect this one to be the best. I get in line and wait. I get on. Although I'd rather not, I buckle myself into the seat, partly because, while I'm crazy, I'm not stupid. That, and the fact the attendent says that I MUST. We climb up and up and up and up and up. Then we fall, hands in the air, asses off our seats, screaming at high velocity. We flip. We twist. We turn. We loop-the-loop. Pictures are taken with our mouths agape. We screech to a squealing, grinding halt. Is there time to catch our breath before we leave? I hope not...Wow! I'm going to do that again! That one was the best!!![/i]

I'm not so sure I understand or even agree with all this talk about lies vs. the truth. I'm not so sure that it even matters to the art. It's just talk.

One of my favorite subjects when teaching Literature involves discussions regarding the author's purpose. What was the author's purpose? Why did this person write this story? For the money? I doubt it! Why did they do it? What did they [i]want[/i]? Different reasons and ideas always pop up and out of the most unlikely students, and when they do, I always share the smile of discovery with them.

Substitute "author's" purpose with "magician's" purpose (or "artist's" purpose) and definitions become clearer and easier. I believe that when you define magic, you describe your purpose...what you [i]want[/i] magic to be.

It's the tip of the iceberg. It's the start.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Apr 30, 2006 12:24AM)
Agreed that magic lies between the horns of belief and knowlege.

Though were I to say that magic is alone there would be a lie too.

Somewhere in that picture there must also be a willful magician and a willing audience.

Lest we have no frame to hang our picture and wind up trying to stare down a bull we wish were a wall.
Message: Posted by: kregg (Apr 30, 2006 02:01AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-30 01:24, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
....magic lies between the horns of belief and knowlege.
[/quote]

Nice phrase Jonathan.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (Apr 30, 2006 03:10AM)
"Poetry is the finest branch of magic"
Friedrich Schlegel (1790)

Magic is neither a lie nor the truth.
Magic is the everlasting (and unsubstantial) flame that burns at the edge of each individual's sense of limitation. It offers the gift of momentary intellectual humility, so that it may resurrect into greater pursuits. To conceal in order to reveal is not a lie. The magician deliberately exposes blindness by exploiting limiting presumptions. The magician never exploits the person (at that point he becomes a mere cheat or liar). Words like "Magic," "Art," Truth," "Lies," are in the realm of subjective experience, not scientific (or "authoritative") definitions. You may ascribe magic to the help of Spirits...but once spirits become common place they are no longer "magic." Magic then become how humans create these "miracles" without the aide of spirits. The conundrum goes on though the context changes. Here are a few quotes I think express some of what I'm attempting to say. There is a place where the magi and the spectator's sense of magic meet.


"Nothing but what astonishes is true."
— Edward Young, Night Thoughts (night IX)

"A desire to make a choice of some kind...
I am concerned with magic, awe and wonder, with ontological insecurity. "
—Michael Sandle


"We wake, if ever at all, to mystery"
--Annie Dillard

"To be matter of fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy
- and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful."
—Robert Anson Heinlein


"Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that."
—Erich Heller
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (Apr 30, 2006 09:00AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-30 00:44, Patrick Differ wrote:
[b]Definition of "Magic"[/b], by Patrick Differ.

One of my favorite subjects when teaching Literature involves discussions regarding the author's purpose. What was the author's purpose? Why did this person write this story? For the money? I doubt it! Why did they do it? What did they [i]want[/i]? Different reasons and ideas always pop up and out of the most unlikely students, and when they do, I always share the smile of discovery with them.

Substitute "author's" purpose with "magician's" purpose (or "artist's" purpose) and definitions become clearer and easier. I believe that when you define magic, you describe your purpose...what you [i]want[/i] magic to be.

It's the tip of the iceberg. It's the start.
[/quote]
That is interesting because when I said magic was not a lie I was the just about the only one posting that. Maybe, it could be the way we do it. Because when it is done for the entertainment for an audience at an agreed upon time.

Speaking artist - they seem to have a need to get something out. Magic artists seem to also have a need to do it. Set a deck down next to a card magician and they will pick it up and then start to toy with the deck. Painters paint - sculptors take to the hammer and chizzes.

Some may think that magic is a lie because it is a trick and the magician is trying to deceive the audience.

Others are entertained and mystified by the painting on the stage and the effect it has on them in their own imagination. It depends on how they and we look at it.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 30, 2006 10:42AM)
I think Patrick's definition gets at the core of something very important: when we understand [i]why[/i], we are more like likely to care. Or not care.

In my own case, I can say that probably 99% of the card tricks I've ever seen leave me with a "why bother?" feeling. For that matter, probably 85 to 90% of the magic I've ever seen leaves me the same way. It may be flawless, it may be astonishing, it may be technically perfect, and it may be beautifully staged, but I still can't understand the [i]why[/i].

A lot of recent movies are the same way. Donna and I call them "WFV movies," meaning wait for the video to come out. Good casts in some cases, good photography, good special effects, but so what? Where's the story? Why should we care about the characters and what they're doing? There's nothing there.

I don't believe magic is a lie "just because" what we're seeing isn't real. The "Mona Lisa," the "Pieta," "Guernica," the works of Rembrandt, Turner, Botticelli, and so forth aren't "real" either: they're interpretations of how the artist saw something, and they touch us. Those who like the work of Thomas Kinkade feel the same way. Those cottages aren't real either, but they evoke a feeling, a reverie, that touches those who like his work.

The funny thing about art -- in this case, painting -- is that it's so easy for someone to look at, say, a Rembrandt, and say, "it's just a dark painting," or an El Greco and say the characters are stretched out of proportion, or a Picasso and say the nose is on the wrong side of the head. Ever walk through an art museum and notice the other visitors? It's fascinating. Try it sometime.

Even the most recognized works of art can be ignored by those who just see them at a superficial level. So where does that leave magic?????

Actually, I'd love to see Sister Wendy do one of her museum tours and talk about magic tricks and illusions the way she talks about art. What in the world would she say? :)

Oh, and BTW, before someone says, hey, George, magic isn't like painting: magic is a [i]performing[/i] art... I still feel the same way. We can say fiction is a lie, songs are a lie, music is a lie, dance is a lie, and movies (even those based on true incidents) are a lie. All those attractions at Disneyland are a lie.

Well, if magic is a lie, I'd say magic is in good company.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 30, 2006 11:43AM)
Good question Whit. I don't know the answer.
In film we know the secrets of camera tricks, that the difference I think. If I saw a film that showed something magical that could not be eplained by camera tricks then it would be close to magic I think. That is my first thought.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 30, 2006 01:03PM)
Scylla and Charybdis

http://www.2020site.org/ulysses/scylla.html
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 1, 2006 03:52PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-29 11:36, bishthemagish wrote:
Could presenting magic as real that is working strong and the audience buys into the performer and what they do?

In the book the magic of believing the book talked about ESP and used Dunninger as an example as to ESP - could be real. That is that he wants to believe that it is real he buys into the lie so to speak.

Could perhaps doing magic as entertainment people - the public might buy into the lie or accept the suggestion - even though the performer is not suggesting that it is real? They could be suggesting to some that it is - just by doing a show?

[/quote]

I think Bish, that we are not responsible for people choosing to believe in magic, spiritualism, ESP or anything else as long as we do not deliberately attempt to convince them that these things are real and that our demonstrations are proof--the magician always leaves the Question Mark foremost in the minds of the spectator.

If the magician is incompetent, he may fail to erect and support both sides of the dilemma. If the audience assumes that he is telling the truth and that the demonstrations he has produced are actual proof rather than some sort of sophistry and deceit, then he has failed as a magician and become a conman and charlatan to some degree--it would be the same whether through intent or through a lack of artistry.

If he fails on the other side of the dilemma, and the audience sees through the trick or is able to come up with some sort of solution to the problem that seems to make sense, or they get caught up in theatrical elements of the presentation and "suspend disbelief" and neglect to apply any critical faculties to the argument of the trick, then they are able to slide off the horns of the dilemma with no problem and no magical effect is produced.

The artist remains Sphinx-like and enigmatic, not wanting to let the audience off the horns of the dilemma on either side--"There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation."

The magical effect of wonder comes from this dilemma, and without the cognitive dissonance and the mind's demand for equilibrium, the magic would have little artistic effect.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 1, 2006 04:56PM)
[quote]

Their is no lie. Magic is not lieing. Using the word "lie" in reference to magic is incorrect. Magic is no more a lie than "hamlet".
[/quote]

I really wish more performers understood this concept.

To ask if magic is real, is to completely miss the reason we do it. Or more importantly, the reason people pay to see it. A fantastic point JackScratch
You have cut to the heart of the matter.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 1, 2006 05:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-01 17:56, Dannydoyle wrote:
[quote]

Their is no lie. Magic is not lieing. Using the word "lie" in reference to magic is incorrect. Magic is no more a lie than "hamlet".
[/quote]

I really wish more performers understood this concept.

To ask if magic is real, is to completely miss the reason we do it. Or more importantly, the reason people pay to see it. A fantastic point JackScratch
You have cut to the heart of the matter.
[/quote]

I don't think it is true. Hamlet is not a lie. We know that it is not really Hamlet, but an actor playing Hamlet. No one really dies. They pretend to. It is the first thing we teach our children about theater--it isn't real.

The magician says, "I can make this woman float in the air without the use of wires" and then puts a hoop around her to "prove" it. The magician's statement is a lie, and his demonstration and all its trickery and deceit are meant to support that lie and prove that what is actually untrue and impossible is actually true and possible.

How is this not a lie? Only in intent.

I think there are many kinds of lies, and that not all of them are the same morally. To say something nice about another person's outfit, even if insincere, may be a lie, but it is meant and serves as a nod of acceptance and approval. In that sense it is a true communication.

A lie to the authorities in Nazi Germany that might protect a Jewish family from deportation to the concentration camp is not a "bad" lie, but rather a good one.

Magic is a lie, but it is a lie told with a wink and a smile, with the question mark all over it. The magician doesn't want to convince the audience the lie is true--he wants them to believe that it is false. He just doesn't want them to be able to prove that it is false, or even be able to imagine how it could be false. It is a game, which when played correctly creates a story that is something the spectator will remember for the rest of his life.

For magic is not a puzzle to be solved. When a riddle or puzzle is presented, it is a challenge to the intellect, but most often directly to the creative (inductive) reason.

Puzzles are solved by inventing the solution, and the brain generates thousands of "what ifs" and other possibilities to solve it. Deductive reasoning will not lead to the solution--great puzzles demand lateral thinking. But the form of a puzzle is that when the puzzle is offered, that everything in the puzzle is true and factual, and that everything needed to solve the puzzle is presented. The spectator is meant to actually solve the puzzle or admit defeat. When defeat is acknowledged the expectation is that the answer will be given.

Magic is different. It is a puzzle which at its best is meant to be insoluble. There should be no expectation that the spectator will eventually arrive at even a possible solution. If he gives up and wants to be told where his brain went wrong, the magician refuses to give him the solution, and instead continues to make the impossible claim--"It is magic." It is a lie. So how is it that we expect the spectator to react to this, and how do we frame this as a positive and pleasant experience?

If you intend to actually convince someone that you have magic abilities you are a charlatan, and if you try to prove that magic exists on the basis of contrived evidence, you are a liar and deceiver.

But the same lie, told with a straight face and laughing eyes is very different. It is the wink and the twinkle that makes magic a multi-leveled, intriguing, valuable and adult game.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 1, 2006 06:00PM)
Again I am not going to debate the symantics of it.
I grow weary of these endless discussions that further nothing but our own opinion of ourselvs.

I don't believe for a second people will reach any conclusion right or wrong. Only the conclusion that Hopefully, they were entertained.

Basically we do magic to entertain people, not to lie to them. We create "illusion" in the same way a theater production of "Hamlet" does. Hopefully again with the intent of entertaining those patrons who are kind enough to give us their hard earned money.

The symantics of it I will leave to the greater thinkers.

I for one will stick to entertaining those who are kind enough to turn over money to see me.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 1, 2006 06:14PM)
Debate it or not, that's your choice. As this is the "Food for Thought" forum, I will continue to come here and see what some of these "greater thinkers" have to say.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 1, 2006 06:32PM)
Danny Doyle:

I don't think it is just a matter of semantics. It is the attempt to define what it is we are actually trying to accomplish as magicians. It isn't just different ways of saying the same thing. There are many entirely different paths that we can follow, some more productive than others. How do you decide whether to parade or hide your skill in performance unless you have a vision of what it is you want to create?

If you say there is no lie in magic, then you are relegating magic to an undifferentiated branch of theater that includes magic, special effects, fantasy and story. Without a lie, magic must depend upon the audience suspending disbelief and being carried away by a "theatrical presentation" of magic. There is no longer any difference between Peter Pan flying and the Princess Karnac. No hoops needed, folks.

However, it seems to me that film and literature can provide the identical sort of fantasy and much more believably and on a grander scale than any magic show.

This is not a trifling matter--not "just" semantics. The theatrical presentation of magic is a viable one, and I don't mean to say it isn't worth pursuing. It is largely the model of Maskelyne and Devant in "Our Magic."

I have a different way of looking at magic, and am simply putting it out for others to challenge and question. I don't expect people to agree with me--I want them to give me better insight into what I am trying to express.

It helps me to see how clearly I am expressing my thoughts before I write my book. I don't mean to get into any kind of ego fight, I am simply interested in the subject. I expect people to try to pick apart my ideas and argue with me. I don't know if I have the best way of looking at magic theory or not, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about it, and a lifetime devoted to the performance of magic.

You said that all that is important is that the audience is "entertained." I think that if we can figure out what it is that is actually happening in people's heads when they are being "entertained" and how one goes about creating that mental state, the easier our job of "entertaining" will be. I am simply asking "What is it about magic that is entertaining, and why.?"

If there is no need to lie, there is no "secret." You can do a little explanation of your performance afterwood, like a technician explaining the special effects. This in effect was the attitude of Maskelyne and Devant.

"Our Magic" was written for laymen, and as a very popular book, it exposed all of the psychological and mechanical methodology of the their own shows. Magicians were furious! Exposure! But M and D were unruffled because that was not considered wrong when understood in light of their understanding of the Art in Magic.

Magic, in my opinion requires a lie. Tell me why you think it is better to perform magic without a lie...

and what have you got against lying, anyhow?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 1, 2006 08:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-01 18:23, Whit Haydn wrote:
Hamlet is not a lie. We know that it is not really Hamlet, but an actor playing Hamlet. No one really dies. They pretend to. It is the first thing we teach our children about theater--it isn't real.
[/quote]
I have enjoyed the above posting a lot and really agree with this above line. Some magicians play the part so well they play it at home. That is that magicians performances today are more like personal appearances than a play.

And most perform today as themselves rather than use a stage name or playing a part.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 1, 2006 08:36PM)
Mr. Haydn I do not wish to try to sway you or pick apart your opinion. In fact the exact opposite.

The problem I have with the path your going down, is that many many many magicians get so tied up in what they think is going on, that they fail to see what is actually going on.(not you by the way) They can't see the forest because all those darn trees are in the way.

Oh and to make a point, albeit a small one. To keep a secret, when someone knows you are doing it, is not a lie. IF you don't tell someone how a trick is done this is not really a lie now is it? Again I feel this is more of a semantic debate and not a meaningful one. More of a difference without a distinction.

"What is it about magic that is entertaining, and why.?"

You ask this. Now isn't this a wholly and completely different question than "Definition of Magic"?

as I said I get weary of pontifications by magicians who clearly have not the faintest idea how to actually entertain. They hide behind the things they read believe and say. I am not sure how this helps. Sorry I really don't want to argue.

Ya know the problem is probably as I said, I don't have one of those great minds to dissect this stuff, I will have to settle for simply entertaining people.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 1, 2006 10:07PM)
If you don't tell any lie, there are no secrets to keep.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 1, 2006 10:18PM)
Again greater minds than mine.

But define LIE for me. A secret is a hidden TRUTH. Sorry. To keep secrets is not to lie, it is to hold back the truth. NOT THE SAME THING.

As I said semantic. A distinction without a difference.

THIS is what occupies many magi, when they should be figuring out how to entertain people. I am not sure how this helps.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 1, 2006 10:45PM)
I think Whit is right on with what he says, but I also agree with what Dannydoyle has pointed out...that he has slightly sidestep the "Definition of Magic."

Magic can be called a "Wonderful Lie" that a magician tells. As Whit pointed out, it is told within the context of a playful game. This lie, however, is only a lie WITHIN the context of the game (but not outside of it because it is bracketed by the acknowledgment of the lie). We naturally react to the negative connotations of the word "lie" as it applies to magic, but it is as far from a malicious lie as sport is from war.

The magician offers the spectator a unique "experience" of the impossible with the caveat that he will deceive to do so. The spectator, in enters the experience knowing he is to be deceived. However, in this game, if the magician "scores" then BOTH "Win" this unique experience. The spectator tries to keep the magician from "scoring," not to avoid the experience of the "Wonderful Lie," but because he intuitively knows it heightens the emotional "payoff."

I dearly love Whit's precise thinking on this matter. Very practical to the art. I agree wholeheartedly with the way he delineates the aspects of the issue from the magicians perspective. However, I think he is answering a slightly different question than offering a " Definition of Magic" It is not the same to say, "the magician lies" and "Magic is a lie." It is beyond the semantics (as "E-Prime" points out, any form of the verb "be" has a nasty way of illogically equating what is not really equal).

I believe magic is an experience we have no "pigeon hole" for. As with many other words, it is a label to describe a particular kind of experience of ignorance...even blissful. Magic is the unexplained impossibility. If I give the phenomena a serious explanation of any kind (even of spirits) it is not really magical ( it may still be "spiritual," novel or frightening). Dwelling on any serious explanation can quench the "Numinous" experience. And I believe magic is about evoking that kind of experience. The experience is paradoxically unsettling and appealing. We may permissively lie to do so, but I have found the experience without the lie. Nature offers such illusions and wonderment's. I have been wonderfully fooled many times by nature, and have found some of it's marvels offer perpetual pleasurable perplexity.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 02:34AM)
Bilwonder:

[quote]"Nature offers such illusions and wonderment's. I have been wonderfully fooled many times by nature, and have found some of it's marvels offer perpetual pleasurable perplexity."[/quote]

That is comparing apples to oranges. The "magic" of nature is unrelated to the "magic" (performance magic) that we are discussing. While a sunset may be "magical," it has nothing to do with the performance of "the art of magic."



Danny:

Give me an example of a magic effect in which no lie is made. If you claim that the girl is hanging in the air by the aid of wires which are impossible to see in the dim light of the stage and the camouflage backdrop, then you are not lying.

If you claim that she is floating by magic, by the somnambulistic power of ether, or by any other means than wires, then that is a deliberate lie.

So what kind of magic trick can you have that is up front and honest about the means employed to accomplish what people are watching?

If you can perform a trick that does not involve creating a logical argument that is false, tell me what it is. Name a single magic trick in which there is no deliberate deceit.

I don't think you will be able to.

If you are not hiding the true means used (the secret) and implying some other cause, then there is no need for any secret. If there is no lie, there is no secret. The secret is the hidden, actual method--which implies that some other false cause is presented to the audience as the real solution. Otherwise, the magician just gives the correct method--"I am going to pretend to put the coin in my left hand and really keep it in my right so that it will look as though it disappeared."

It is wrong for you to call this discussion one of semantics, or a distinction without a difference simply because you have not thought out the definitions. This is not a question of semantics but of the very purpose and nature of magic itself.

I base all of my work on the theory of magic that I have outlined in the posts above. It drives and informs my work. It is not inconsequential, and is in fact the reason that I do so many things that seem to go against the conventional wisdom of magic theory. Most of what passes for magic theory today is totally wrong-headed in my opinion, and is leading many people astray from what I think great magic should be like.

I have defined magic as "the science of proving something that is [i]known[/i] to be untrue is true." Every magic trick involves a lie--claiming a false cause for the effect demonstrated. Name one that does not.

My description of magic would be "the assertion and proof of something that is known to be impossible." Even if a father simply pretends to "blow out the light" in the kid's bedroom, it is a magic trick with a lie, and with "proof."

Danny, you claimed that I was making "a distinction without a difference." That would be a serious weakness in my argument. I don't believe that it is true. If you can tell me a magic trick in which there is no lie, but there is still a secret to be kept, then give me an example. Even one.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 2, 2006 04:24AM)
Whit, as I said, I believe you are absolutely right about the art of magic in this regard. But I also believe there is place where the spectator's and magi's view of magic meet and that is not comparing apples to oranges.

I remember my parents driving me into Colon Michigan for the Magic Convention in the mid sixties. We thought there had been a horrible accident ahead in the road as traffic was being slowed and diverted around something. We were surprised to find it was only someone being levitated in the middle of the lane of traffic! This is not unlike the "claim" nature makes when it "offers" me water in the desert, only to magically "vanish" it. Whatever claims inferred can be subtle, indirect or a bit subjective in many cases. Many magicians create rapid "spectacle" to music that make finding a direct claim a bit evasive. No doubt, we may construct one, but the initial experience that defines "magic" for the spectator in such cases has to do with the "experience of the unexplainable."

I believe our art is based on imitating this aspect of nature - that which teases our perceptions. The difference is, we play it as a game (or art) with intention (and lie "within those brackets"). But the game doesn't DEFINE "MAGIC" itself. We are only defining how we play it as a game. Defining the game may be a more practical question, but it still slightly misses the "Definition of Magic" itself. More directly, why does this term "magic" spring to mind for what seems impossible and exactly what is MEANT by it when it is said. My point is that once ANY explanation is offered, the magic dissipates because "Magic" is the word we use for the paradoxical experience. There is however, one kind of explanation that can increase the experience rather than dissipate it, and that is one that has little chance of ever being accepted...it is only a "red herring." Yes, I may tell spectators EXACTLY how I do the "magic" and NOT lie at all AND STILL FOOL THEM, because they refuse to accept it. This was one of Vernons techniques commonly used by magicians. There are few things so delightful.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 07:54AM)
"...only a red herring." A lie created to mislead (fool) the reader.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 08:15AM)
Fellow magicians, we could start a new topic on lies alone.
Why is it that most people assume that lies are always a bad thing?
Lies aren't always bad. Sometimes they save people from disaster, they entertain, they get kids to eat their peas and they can be used to protect fragile ego's.
Honestly, lets defend our craft and lie for the greater good of all that is true... or false.

Magically,
Kregg
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 2, 2006 08:53AM)
Could it be?

When a con man does 3 card monte or the shell game on the street the tosser, the mob and the mark all take part in the lie together?

And when a magician does it for entertainment in a show they all take part in the lie together but there is no scam to the scam. They are put on the horn's of the bull in both cases?

But for the magician the result is entertainment.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 2, 2006 10:31AM)
I have wondered about the relation between the pure con of the shells and the non-con aspect of the magician's version of the shells.

Just speculating. (I understand that the psychology is much deeper and the minute we think we have figured it out, the con will still outthink us.)

It would seem in the street shell con, the cons do not want the marks to believe they are being cheated (unless they do it in such a way that the marks believe they can catch the cheating) and the con would definitely not want them to wonder if it were all just real magic (or sleight of hand.) When the pea is not where the mark believes it should be, he still has to believe the pea is under the same shell it started under (I would think it would end the betting if the mark believed the con secretly moved the pea. (?)) The mark simply believes that he didn't watch closely enough. I guess that the only way to get a mark to continue betting is for the shell operator to convince the mark that he is always just one bet away from solving the problem. The mark, it seems, must "know" the solution to why the pea seems to always be in the wrong spot ("I did not watch close enough!")

But in a magical demonstration of the shells, if it is called magic, there has to be a Haydn Dilemma (my term :) ). That means there has to be some moment where there is no solution other than magic, which the spec does not see as a solution. The spectator is surprised that the pea is not in the expected place. Wouldn’t it be necessary in the magic version of the shell game for the pea to have moved from one shell to another in a mysterious way? But for magic to happen there can't be a solution (even a wrong one.) It can't be, "Well the magician just moved too fast," or "I wasn't watching close enough," or " He cheated with sleight of hand,". All of these might cross the spectators mind, during the performance—some inadvertently, some with the definite guidance of the magician—but in the end, if it is magic there has to be a moment when magic is the only solution—but there is no magic.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 10:51AM)
If one can't tell a magician from a huckster, they'd better not buy a house.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 2, 2006 11:41AM)
Kregg, my sentence was perhaps unclear when I wrote of "red herrings." Perhaps I lead you down the wrong road....

My subject was not lies, but how any "explanation" effects "performance magic." I said there are 2 ways to explain: The "red herring" and the actual truth. Either can be used to achieve the paradoxical experience, but to work neither must be believed. I believe what we call "magic" is creating that paradoxical experience where the mind is in two worlds at once. Whit has called this "the lie," while I say this is only a means to an end. The experience is broader than the magicians art, but the experience is central to it.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 2, 2006 11:51AM)
Yes, Kregg true...

But what is the connection. The con wants you to bet. You won't bet unless you believe you can find a solution to the problem. The pea is put under one shell and moved around. It must stay under that shell, you just have problems keeping up with the shell. If the con moves so fast you can't follow, then you won't bet. If the con seems to use sleight of hand to "move" the pea, you won't bet (unless you believe you can catch the cheat.) You must believe there is a solution, and that you are smart enough to find it--which is exactly what the con wants.

In a [b]magic[/b] rendition, for it to be magic, something has to happen that has no exlanation, or at least the stated explanation ultimately must be obviously wrong. The magician can propose all sorts of explanations that "seem" to explain the effect, and might even be the right explantion in one phase of the routine. But by the end, something needs to happen that is mysterious--usually the pea moves from one shell to another--but the obvious explantion that the magician used sleight of hand has to be "proven" wrong.

In the simple routine Whit sells, that is performed by Bob Sheets, the moves are slow and simple compared to a street con (I imagine.) The first phase or two the spectator might guess they just were not watching close enough, but by the end, the pea obviously has moved from one shell to another. But there is literally no explantion. Other than magic--which we no is no explanation.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 02:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 05:24, Bilwonder wrote:
Yes, I may tell spectators EXACTLY how I do the "magic" and NOT lie at all AND STILL FOOL THEM, because they refuse to accept it. This was one of Vernons techniques commonly used by magicians. There are few things so delightful.
[/quote]
That would be the lie I am talking about. Even if you tell them a truth, and they dismiss it as a lie, then they are caught in the same dilemma. They are trying to find a solution to the conflict--trying to relieve the cognitive dissonance in their heads. He says that it is done with mirrors, but it couldn't be. So how can it be done? Well it couldn't be sleight of hand. It couldn't be mechanical. It must be magic! But there is no such thing as magic...

The lie that is told is the one that sets up the dilemma. This bill is being teleported from the antennae of this teleportation machine into the middle of that lemon. The spectators think, "There is no such thing as teleportation." The bill goes into the lemon. It looks like teleportation. It is in fact the same signed bill and has the same serial number as the original. It must be teleportation! But it can't be because there is no teleportation, you know he is lying, and besides look he is laughing at our confusion!

He is lying. It is not teleportation. But if it isn't, then how did the bill get into the lemon? It could be sleight of hand, but I watched his hands and he didn't go near the lemon. It could be trickery, but the lemon is real! "There is no such thing as teleportation/There is no other explanation."

What we do as magicians is the same as we would do if we were presenting fake science, fake ESP, fake seances, fake math, and fake mega-mind demonstrations. We tell a lie, and prove it with faked evidence and inadequate controls. The result is a conundrum that the spectators are expected never to solve.

If we can accomplish the exact same task, and create the exact same dilemma using explanations other than "magic"--it is science, it is spirits, it is alchemy, etc.--without resort to the term "magic", then why do we need to keep bringing all this "magick" and "supernatural" stuff in to explain what we are doing? What we are doing has less to do with the trappings and theater of "magic" than we think.

All that is required is a good lie, told straight or funny, that the audience knows for a fact is a lie. We then prove the lie is true using experimental evidence and convincing enough controls. The audience can not find anyway that the evidence could have been faked. They know the result is impossible, and that there must be some other cause for the effect than that stated.

They just can not imagine what that might be. If the audience were to set up a scientific experiment using real and sufficient controls, the experiment would likely fail. They could prove that the effect wasn't real.

But we don't give them that chance. We create the argument with sophistry and set up controls that look good but still allow for cheating. The result is experimental evidence that proves something beyond a shadow of a doubt that is obviously not true. That is the experience of the dilemma--the Question Mark--which is the same whether the lie is about magic, science, spirits, ESP, mesmerism, animal magnetism, chemistry--whatever.

I think you will understand my point better if you get to more concrete examples.

Name a trick that you think can be presented without a lie. I will show you where the lie is.


Posted: May 2, 2006 3:38pm
----------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 12:41, Bilwonder wrote:
My subject was not lies, but how any "explanation" effects "performance magic." I said there are 2 ways to explain: The "red herring" and the actual truth. Either can be used to achieve the paradoxical experience, but to work neither must be believed. I believe what we call "magic" is creating that paradoxical experience where the mind is in two worlds at once. Whit has called this "the lie," while I say this is only a means to an end. The experience is broader than the magicians art, but the experience is central to it.
[/quote]
That is not quite what I am saying. The "two worlds" to which the magician is gatekeeper--with his shoulder firmly holding the door shut against his own foot which is holding it open. The "magician," ("alchemist" "phoney scientist") lets no one through the door either way. The two worlds represent the dilemma, "There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation"--not the lie. The lie is the unacceptable and impossible "claim" that the magician makes. "She floats through the somnambulistic effects of ether." "She floats because of magic." "She floats because of the effects of these two tiny powerful magnets which I have strategically placed..." Any of these lies will be rejected by the audience, but once the magician "proves" the lie is true, they will be left in a quandery. It isn't true, it can't be true. But it must be true. There is no other explanation.

This leads to cognitive dissonance and mental discomfort. The mind tries to resolve the problem creatively--by inventing the trick. The mind tries to release the other side of the dilemma--"Maybe there is such a thing as magic"--and begins fantasizing about the possibilities. The result of this activity is a creative reverie which magicians have always called "wonder."
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 02:40PM)
I'm with Whit on this one.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 2, 2006 02:42PM)
Whit, you mean the horns are in seperate rooms? Cool. A mental image that is hung in a frame held up by two horns, each in a seperate cognitive frame of reference. Excellent! A room decorated by M. C. Escher. ;)
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 2, 2006 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 15:40, kregg wrote:
I'm with Whit on this one.
[/quote]

So am I. Besides, right now my brain hurts.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 02:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 15:42, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Whit, you mean the horns are in seperate rooms? Cool. A mental image that is hung in a frame held up by two horns, each in a seperate cognitive frame of reference. Excellent! A room decorated by M. C. Escher. ;)
[/quote]

I knew someone would eventually expose my mixed metaphors. I am relieved it was you Jon... ;)
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 2, 2006 03:31PM)
Cardini makes a billiard ball dance around his fingers in a way that looks impossible! Was it magic? What was the lie if it was magic? Despite the fact that I could not explain why that was magic it certainly seemed like one of the most magical things I ever seen.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 2, 2006 03:49PM)
Whit, I agree with all you've said. However I think all this still slightly misses the "Definition of Magic" itself. How do you answer why does the term "magic" spring to mind for what seems impossible and exactly what is MEANT by it when it is said.

Although performance magic by its nature involves deception (and therefore a "lie."), I'm curious how you frame your theory around mere spectacle "magic." If I come upon a street magician doing a massive silk fountain and producing parasols. Is he making a claim? What if I have the same response to a similar production that is circumstantial?

Say, for (a silly) example you're camping and come upon a scene like the shadows from the Austin Powers movie. You have the same experience of magic by misunderstanding the shadows. Despite the intention of the magician to use illusion, how is the spectacle of the magi and the the same spectacle found by accident different if the effect is the same on the viewer?
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 03:56PM)
Ask every magician you meet to define magic (in their words) and every answer will be different.
If you ever hear the same answer twice - look no further, you have a consensus and have found the real definition of magic... Ta da!
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 04:22PM)
Please make a distinction between "magic" as performing magic, and "magical" as "supernatural," "uncanny," "delightful," "enchanting," etc., etc.

The flourish that Cardini did was skillful, even amazing, but not magic. It is juggling.

Cardini could show his hand empty except for one billiard ball and then produce another billiard ball. That was magic. There are several lies here. The method depends on lying about the fact that there is more than a ball in the hand. The hand is shown on both sides, but there is a half ball shell on the ball that is not noticed. When the second ball is produced, there is another lie that is accepted and agreed to by the audience: "There are now two balls in the hand." This also is untrue, there are one and a half balls in the hand. When sleight of hand is used at this point, apparently both sides of both balls are shown, but actually the same side of the shell ball is shown twice--another lie that the audience accepts. These lies all build up the untrue premises of the argument--the valid but false syllogism whose conclusion proves the big lie.

But the big lie, the one that causes the magic, is that a hand is shown empty except for one ball and suddenly a second ball appears "from thin air," i.e., by magic. This is impossible, but apparently true since a) there was only one ball in the hand, and suddenly there are two. It couldn't have come from nowhere, but there is no place else it could have come from: magic.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 2, 2006 04:29PM)
When a spectator takes a card, signs it, puts it back in the deck and then it ends up in your wallet, where is the lie there?

When a guy does card manipulations where is the lie there, the appearing cane, billiard balls with no shells, many self working tricks involve no lie, giant memory tricks involve no lie. Is this enough?> I hope so as my brain also hurts.

I guess someone would define "lie" as I asked earlier. Maybe this would make things a bit more clear.

OBVIOUSLY a con involves a lie. Use your head.

Oh and the multible selection of cards trick. NO lie. I am going to fine 14 cards. Tell me the lie there.

Can't wait to see how I am wrong this time.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 2, 2006 04:46PM)
Thanks Whit, yes it was enchanting, that is what I was, enchanted. Enthralled captivated and delighted but it seemed more than juggling even if it wasn't.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 2, 2006 04:48PM)
Lie
=A false statement deliberately presented as being true; a falsehood.
=Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 04:54PM)
I used to do a ball roll as a warm up, until a friend suggested that I add it to my billiard ball routine, because it looked "cool."
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 05:05PM)
Oh, Danny. It is obvious you have not been reading all my posts.

"Sign this card. Put it back in the deck. It is in the deck right? (lie) Now look over here in my wallet. In this sealed envelope. (lie) There is a card. It is your signed card. How do you suppose it got there?"

The implication of the question is that it got there by some mysterious and unfamiliar force: "magic." It could not have gotten there by any other means, because (1) It was in the deck (2) It was not removed from the deck (3) Suddenly it was in the wallet, but no one ever touched the wallet (4) It was sealed in the envelope, but the envelope must have been already sealed before the trick started, since no one could have gone near it during the trick, or had enough time during the trick to seal it (5 [b]The Big Lie[/b] or conclusion of the argument) Therefore: the card must have vanished from the deck and reappeared in the envelope by mysterious and unfamiliar forces: magic. Is there any doubt that this last conclusion is the whole point of the exercise? Is there any doubt that this false conclusion, this lie, is exactly what the magician wants the audience to think? If it isn't, then what was the magician doing all of this for? What did he want the audience to think?

Why would a magician show his hands empty before producing a billiard ball, unless he wants to get the audience to accept the lie (my hands are empty) so that they will accept the conclusion ("Look a ball appeared from nowhere!") If this were not the case, then the magician would just reach in a pocket and produce a ball--"Here is a billiard ball." There would be no lie and no magic in that. But if the audience believes that the ball was not in the hand, and did not come from the magician's pocket or sleeve, but appeared by magic, then it is because the magician lied.

Are you refusing to take responsibility for the deliberate deception you practice?

If you do not mean to lie and decieve your audience, then tell them "I have a ball hidden in a fold of my sleeve on my elbow. Here it is!" Instead of seeming to show both hands empty and then pretending to pull a ball out of thin air.

The appearing cane: "Look my hands are empty except for this little shred of silk (lie). Poof! The silk has disappeared (lie) Now there is a solid walking cane in my hand. (lie) Therefore: (big lie or magical conclusion) The little scarf must have magically changed into a solid stick.

I think that your problem is that you only think it is a deliberate lie if you say it out loud. All of these lies can be implied rather than spoken, just as agreement does not require "You agree?"; it may simply be a look up at the spectator as if to ask, "Are you with me?" The spectator's nod is the agreement that he understands the premise (say, "My hands are empty").

Cardini's juggling of the ball is interesting to watch, skillful, praiseworthy, amazing, and many other things, it just isn't magic. You are not asked to accept anything that you know isn't true.

There are many kinds of presentations, such as comedy magic, special effects, character pieces and so forth in which the performer does not have to create a lie to entertain. It is all good fun, and good entertainment--it just isn't magic.

A magic show might contain even a preponderance of such entertaining nonsense, and it all can be funny, charming, engaging, artful, magical, and enchanting. But if it does not eventually haul the spectators on the horns of the dilemma--"There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation."--it isn't magic the way we mean it--the performance art in which you try to prove that things can happen which everyone knows can't happen.

Billy McComb's show was mostly entertaining and disarming nonsense, which set the audience up for a major effect like the Vanishing Bird Cage or Half-Dyed Hank. The other jokes and silly bits of business were entertaining, even magical. They just weren't magic. The closing one or two bits were intended to hoist the audience up and leave them hanging suspended between the two horns of the dilemma.

I think now, that your problem in grasping this theory is that you were thinking someone had to express a lie in words in order for it to be a lie. Ask the hall security guard if that door is the men's room. If he nods, "Yes" and then when you go through it you find out that it is a door to the parking lot that locks behind you, tell me you don't think you were lied to.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 2, 2006 06:42PM)
This is bugging me. One definition of “enchant” is to put a magic spell on someone or something. I don’t care if was only juggling, Cardini put a magic pell on me. :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 2, 2006 06:56PM)
Good to be bugged. bugged enough to study magic?

enchantment as in led, anchored, fired when ready

how do you know you've been enchanted?
perhaps when you know you now feel differently and the enchanter can make it happen again apparently at will. if so... we can add anchoring if you want.

does that help?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 2, 2006 07:02PM)
How can that help someone who spells spell pell? :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 2, 2006 07:26PM)
Tommy: I believe you. I had a similar experience watching Bobby May juggle. He was uncanny--totally unbelievable! I was enchanted, spellbound, transfixed. It was magical!

Just doesn't have anything to do with the performance of magic that we are talking about. When I tell someone that I am a magician, they want to see me make something they know is impossible, not to do something that they just didn't know was possible. It is different.

I didn't know anyone could do juggling so difficult and beautiful, and interesting. Now I do. My opinion about juggling has been enlarged, but my worldview hasn't really been challenged. I know now that juggling is greater than I thought it was, but it doesn't really work any differently than I thought it did.

That is the problem of letting words and usages that are related to the concept of magic but not really specifically about the sort of magic that we do for entertainment into the discussion.

Sunsets are magical. A baby's smile is magical. Watching a manipulator roll a billiard ball around his fingers is "magical." But it isn't the kind of magic we are trying to talk about, and bringing these usages into the discussion just confuses things. Enchantment, magic, necromancy, etc. may all be subjects that magicians refer to, or point to, but none of them has really anything to do with the actual work the magician does--the art form we are discussing.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 2, 2006 08:53PM)
I understand and what Cardini did does not fit my definition of magic. That being magic is an imaginary force that does not exist in fact, but the effects of which are created by the magician. Incidentally, I would say, the magician must tell lies in order to show it’s effects to make the imaginary force seem real to the spectators. In other words the lying is part of the means to end and not end itself. Despite that and contrary to all logic Cardini does no more than a juggling act and makes it look like some kind of magic to me, even if it is not kind we are defining. What bugs me is I can’t see what Cardini did as just juggling even though my brain says it was but my heart tells me something more. Might be he made the ball move without making it look like he was making it move, maybe that was the lie. Maybe I was dreaming and maybe it hypnotised me and maybe you perceived it differently because you are professional magician and I am not. In other words maybe I imagined the imaginary force when I saw this work and if I did then Cardini created magic for me. If that is a fact, tell me am I lying?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 2, 2006 09:19PM)
Tommy, I put up a more introspective definition of the processs of enchantment for you to compare to how you percieve the cardini act.

taking an external tact, one could just as well ask if the act has a similar effect when played without the sound, with different soundtrack (turn on the radio) or even if played backwards. you must be telling yourself a whole lot of something for the act to resonate. part of character acting is getting the audience to fill in the blanks about what the character has for context and internal process.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 2, 2006 09:50PM)
Sounds like Tommy had a magical experience with Cardini, who made a lasting impression.
By magical, I don't mean changing universal chaos into order. All Cardini had to do was roll a ball between his fingers and a bounty was vested in front you and those who wanted to believe in magic.
Like so many I'll never seen Cardini perform live, but will always perform in his legendary shadow.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 2, 2006 10:45PM)
Ok so magicians debating this helps magic in what way exactly?

This is where my confussion comes in. I don't think this deep deep introspection really helps anyone in the long run. To debate this stuff is more mental gymnastics than theory.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 2, 2006 11:51PM)
On the contrary, I think it helps a lot. Whit is a one of a kind performer and I think he's a bit lonely all the way up there at the top. The more people he can get to understand his way of thinking, the better it is for all of us.

Yes it's mental gymnastics of a sort, and I think I might have pulled a muscle somewhere along the way. I need to get my brain to "work out" like this more often to keep it in shape.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 3, 2006 12:12AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-28 22:49, Whit Haydn wrote:
Sunsets are magic. Love is magic. A baby's smile is magic. Yada Yada Yada...


[/quote]

You can't get any more eloquent than that!

Anyway from experience, I have found that a lot of times a baby smiles for no apparent reason they are bound to be messing their diapers.

I think that when you try to remove common magic: the type of magic that some stranger on the street can understand or even effect, to our type of magic: a mysterious art that can only come from secrets that can only be obtained and honed through sacrifice (or at least that's what the advertisements should read), you can and will confuse both and make either less valuable in so doing.

Now I will return to reading the posts, as they are many and wordy. 8 pages is a lot of reading.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 3, 2006 03:19AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-02 23:45, Dannydoyle wrote:
Ok so magicians debating this helps magic in what way exactly?

This is where my confussion comes in. I don't think this deep deep introspection really helps anyone in the long run. To debate this stuff is more mental gymnastics than theory.
[/quote]

The reason it is important is because it forms the basis for the decisions we make about what and how we do our magic. If you know more precisely what you are trying to accomplish in the spectator's mind, and understand what is needed to make that happen, then your chances of succeeding are much better.

You can usually hit something by aiming your bow just about anywhere, but this doesn't really accomplish much, does it? You need to know what you want to accomplish or you will never know whether you've accomplished it or not.

I have been very lucky and have had many friends and influences in magic who are top professionals, and great artists: Monk Watson, Duke Stern, Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, Tommy Wonder, Larry Jennings, Johnny Thompson, Billy McComb, Tom Mullica, Lance Burton, Steve Baker, Jay Marshall, and many others.

All of them thought deeply about magic and cared about magic theory, and would argue about such fine points for many hours. If you do not see the value of it, it is not because there is no value to it, it is because you have not delved deeply enough into the art to understand the application and benefit of studying theory. How do you fix a trick when something isn't working if you don't have a way to evaluate and critique it?

If you are just doing magic tricks to show off, and are not concerned with creating commercial and serious art with your magic, then it won't matter much. But if you want to make any kind of statement with your magic, then you need to know what your magic is all about.

Someone earlier suggested that we can avoid "insulting the intelligence of the audience" by making our claims more modest and believable. This concept has been used by successful performers like Derren Brown and is a legitimate sort of take on magic. It certainly has worked for some.

But it is totally opposite what one would choose if trying to follow my theory of magic.

According to my view, the more we insult the intelligence of the audience the better. We want to make claims that the audience does not accept and thinks are outrageous. Then we prove those claims in such a way that the audience can not even imagine any way for the effect to have happened other than the way we have claimed.

This creates the dilemma that is the very goal of our work. Our little dilemma is a burr under the saddle of the brain, a font of creative thought and fantasy, and this reverie of inductive reasoning and fantasy is the wonder that we are trying to create--the purpose for our existence.

I think that if you watch my performances, you will find that all my routines were based on this consistent theory of choices. Chef Anton, Doc Eason, Bob Sheets and others have very different and original takes on what is basically the same approach to the art. It is not the only way to look at magic, but it is a very worthwhile aproach to consider.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 3, 2006 04:27AM)
In anything it is better to know why as well as how. That's why.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 3, 2006 07:51AM)
I think it is worth talking about because we perform "Magic" for people and some of us sell magic to clients.

Knowing who we are and what we are doing and how the public looks at us as to what we are doing is to me important information. Magic is popular with magicians. magic is not so popular with the public.

Sports is more popular than magic. And music is more popular than magic. In other words there are things more important to the public than going to see a magician do a magic show.

One of the reason's I think is the lie or the secret. The act is based on to deceive the audience as performers. And then I also I think that their are many that just don't find what we do that important. I think as a group we can make magic more important - but we do not do this.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 3, 2006 08:32AM)
So does the production lie to the audience when Peter Pan flies?

When Cats talk?
they are asked to get "lost in the world" and suspend disbelief and yada yada.

I just get confused as to if you guys really think anyone over the age of say 10 actually believe you levitate someone. Or is the more common reaction something like "well I can't even see the wires". Sure they can't figure it out, but BELIEVE? Come on.

I think this fundimental thinking is why TV magic has become "stunts" and not really so much magic. Seems as if EVERYONE on TV is going this route now dosn't it?
Well in the US anyhow.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 3, 2006 08:52AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-03 09:32, Dannydoyle wrote:
So does the production lie to the audience when Peter Pan flies?...
[/quote]

Nope, the fairy tale is illustrated onstage while it is being filtered into the internal story that the audience perceives. Look closely at the in that play where the audience is asked if they believe in fairies. Theatrical convention has the proscenium arch as gateway to imaginary worlds.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 3, 2006 09:08AM)
Wow! I’m really enjoying this thread. Some good arguments and lots of ideas to think about!

Having said that, I’m still having a problem with the concept that magic itself is a lie. I can certainly buy some of Whit’s arguments, but now and then I still see a contradiction – which puts me right smack in the middle of a different set of “horns of the dilemma.” :)

Let’s say I’m doing an illusion show. I bring out a full-grown Indian elephant and tell the audience I’m going to make the beastie vanish by magic. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s a lie within the context of a magic show (which makes it okay for the purpose), but it’s still a lie.

Okay, so the animal goes in the box, the smoke pot goes off, and the box is empty. I proceed to tear the box apart and show the audience every place where the elephant [i]isn’t[/i]. I don’t show them where it is; I just show them where it isn’t. I use my skills as a magician to misdirect them into looking where I want them to look and not looking where I don’t want them to look.

What I’m doing is withholding information while making them think I’m telling them everything. Okay, that’s a lie too.

Here’s where my quandary is. If I tell them the elephant has vanished, I’m lying. And that may be okay within the context of a magic show, because the audience supposedly came to be mystified. But if I don’t tell them the elephant is gone – if I just show the box empty, pull back the curtains, and assure the audience that there’s no basement under the stage – then the audience will convince themselves that the elephant has vanished. They’ll fall right onto Whit’s double-edged sword that says there’s no such thing as magic but there’s no other explanation.

To me, that’s magic: the audience convincing themselves.

But it’s not a lie because I haven’t told them or shown them anything that’s not true; even when I showed them where the elephant [i]wasn’t[/i], I was showing them the truth. I’m not falling back on semantics here: I’m trying to understand a concept that’s based on intent.

Want to see a really good example of this? Forget the magic shows and the movies. Go sit in a courtroom during a criminal trial.

The defense attorney: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m going to give you information that will make you convince yourselves, after the trial is over and you’re sitting in the jury room, that my client is innocent.” [i]And I’m not going to show you anything that will make you even remotely think otherwise[/i].

The prosecutor: “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I’m going to give you information that will make you convince yourselves, after the trial is over and you’re sitting in the jury room, that the defendant is guilty.” [i]And I’m not going to show you anything that will make you even remotely think otherwise[/i].

It’s a really funny thing that criminal lawyers tend to use the phrase “My client is innocent” instead of the phrase “My client didn’t do it.” We can sit here and argue that these two phrases mean exactly the same thing, but, in the context of a courtroom, they don’t. The defendant may have done it, but he can still be proven innocent -- and the lawyer didn’t lie to the jury because one phrase constitutes a point of fact and the other one constitutes a point of law. And the context of a courtroom is law, not fact. Go figure.

Can we learn something from this? Oh, yeah!!!!!

We spent a couple of days at Disneyland a few weeks ago. Walt Disney is responsible for more magic, more wonder, more dreams, more fantasy, and more pleasure, than probably all magicians who ever lived put together. But he never lied about this stuff and he never set out to insult our intelligence. He gave us Mickey Mouse, and Donald Duck, and Pirates of the Caribbean, and let us draw our own conclusions. Our imaginations created the reality and the magic and the stories we told and still tell and will continue to tell.

I can say the same thing about George Lucas, another guy who gave us the facts (in the context of the story) and let us take home our own conclusions and our own stories.

Granted, neither one gave us “magic” in the context of magic tricks. No argument there.

We can argue forever that magic is different from other forms of entertainment because its very point is to have the audience go home with that dilemma (“No such thing as magic/There’s no other explanation”) firmly fixed in their heads. And I totally agree that we should be doing it with a smile and a wink. But, in the overall scheme of things, is that all there is to it?

We’ve also discussed several times that magic needs to touch the audience at an emotional level, just like art, literature, and music. I can agree that creating that dilemma in the minds of the audience touches them at an emotional level, and maybe that’s exactly where magic needs to touch them. But, again, in the overall scheme of things, is that all there is to it?

Maybe my real quandary is that I can accept that magic [i]uses[/i] lies, but not that magic [i]is[/i] a lie.

I see magic as more of what Walt Disney and George Lucas do: they say, basically, I’m going to show you something that’s not within your realm of experience -- but that you can relate to on a human level -- and let you draw your own conclusions.

Just like that criminal lawyer: I’m going to show you a bunch of carefully selected and edited facts and make you think you’re drawing your own conclusion.

Sorry if this post sounds a bit disconnected. I wrote it over a couple of days and want to upload it before I add anything more to it and it gets even more disconnected.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 3, 2006 09:25AM)
Magic is as much a lie as it is to believe you were here before you blinked.

Same lie. A lie of continuity and causality. To reflect upon that lie with which we live and cope is a uniquely human characteristic. We invent stories and enjoy how we and others relate to those stories. All lies of course as we can't truly prove we were here even a few moments or a blink or a sneeze ago. Sure we can believe we remember from back when... but that too is a lie, just one we like to live with. Same lies as our belief in our knowledge of what is behind us at this very moment. We don't and can't know yet we have our lie and don't need to check it but every so often. And so we, and our pack of lies live on in relative comfort. And we have an art specifically designed to reflect that truth to our sensibilities. To remind us that we live among lies and that the truth of most matters eludes our direct perceptions and will often surprise us.

Most people can enjoy that reminder when it's offered as a treat.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 3, 2006 09:54AM)
George, you admit you have to tell a lie in the elephant illusion. Whit said in an earlier post that a lie does not require anything to be said. If the audience does believes that the elephant was in the box (which is possibly true) and that there was no way for the magician to sneak it out of the box (implied or stated lie) then when the elephant is shown to be gone, the only explantion is magic--except that Whit doesn't want them to really believe in magic--that is their quandry.

I amazed my three year old when I disapeared one time. She proved the lie when she caught me hiding behind the couch. The magician does not want the lie proven even as we expect then to know there was a lie.

I study many of Whit's effects and perfom them when I can. Any of us who have seen his videos knows he uses many elements to entertain, particularly comedy. I don't see that he sees magic as only a lie or even that magic is the most important endever in life. What I get from his musings is that what ever else I do in magic, if I want it to be magic, I have to remember the truth that I lie and that if I do not convince them that the lie is true, then it isn't magic. I think the audience is very happy with this. I always loved magic when I was a kid, not because I believed, even at the age of 10, that the magician really floated, but because I knew he could not float.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 3, 2006 10:18AM)
If you cannot define magic for yourself, you will be a blur to your audience. The ones with definition are armed with the potential to become the legends they'd most like to be.
Certainly Cardini asked these very questions and admired somebody. What made him original was not the basic moves, but, how he thought "magic" should be presented. Maybe a little prodding from Malini and Vernon telling him to put his act to music and stop talking helped. The dialogue that could have ticked off Cardini (perhaps it did) inspired him to change his act from ordinary to extraordinary.
I'm only using Cardini's example because it was brought earlier. Choose the one you most admire, if they're alive ask them how they define magic - you may not agree, but you will learn.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 3, 2006 12:04PM)
"Selling the Lie"

Those are the three most influential words on the way I look at my magic now.


It affects a simple game like "Fast and Loose" where the effect depends on them knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that one side holds fast and the other comes loose, the Shell Game where they must "know" where the pea is, or a card trick where they must know the card really goes into the center.

Once they're convinced that the "lie" is absolutely true, then the fun begins as you yank away their "security blanket" and leave their brains spinning.

One thing I like about Whit's booklets and videos is that he teaches much more than the one trick you thought you were buying. Each one goes even deeper into the "why" and the psychology that makes that particular trick so effective. In a way he's "tricked" us into learning much more than we first expected.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 3, 2006 01:39PM)
It is difficult for me to find a hole in Whit's definition /assertion that "magic is lying".

Certainly though, lying is not always magical.

Ever since I was 14 and came accross Magic and Showmanship, I have always tried to present my magic within the "Nelms framework."

Which at it's most basic is:

1.) The performer claims some specific, supernormal power and makes this claim as impressively as possible.

2.) He then indicates that the [primary] purpose of his performance is to demonstrate the power.

3.) He provides this demonstration and it appears to prove his claim.

There is some difficulty however, with trying to present your magic within the narrow space of the "supernatural" context. Some of the effects, routines and props we use only serve to undermine this effort.

Whit's definition allows for a much broader concept of what we can accept and consider to be "magic". He sights some great examples, such as the psychological direction/ deductive reasoning angles utilized by Derren Brown and others. Even Kreskin, at times, filpped the letters E.S.P backwards to P.E.S. Phenomena Scientifically Explained- the lies were still there- but only different.

It is interesting to consider why the the term "magician" is often replaced with terms such as, "Illusionist", Mystifier, Sleight of hand artist, Prestidigitator, Mentalist, charming cheat etc.

Is it so the performer can create a character and presentaional style synonomus with the title he gives himself. OR is he really just, "Dodging the Magician".

In my oppinion, it is much more difficult to sell the idea of magic under the "supernatural" context I mention above. Sometimes, it seems, that the performers who use the above titles are really just lazy and would rather settle for being percieved as one who does something akin to magic, but admitedly not really magic at all (at least by the definitions I cling to, mentioned earlier in this thread).

Nerver the less Whit's definition seems bullet proof. Here are some quotations that come close to diproving it. When you win in apoker game, don't you want to know what the other guys was holing even though he folded?---


Thurston said, "I wouldn't deceive you for the World."

Andruzzi Said, "What man knows he calls Science, What he has yet to learn he calls Magick,
Both are real!"

Dr. Harlan Tarbell on the Magi, “…sometimes illusion was used to teach truth and truth was used to teach illusion." A sentiment resurected by Kenton Knepper.

Magic may be lying, but lying is not very magical. More important than the lies we tell the audience are the lies that we induce them to create for themselves.

Enjoying this thread-

Cinemagician
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 3, 2006 02:11PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-03 10:25, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Magic is as much a lie as it is to believe you were here before you blinked.

Same lie. A lie of continuity and causality. To reflect upon that lie with which we live and cope is a uniquely human characteristic. We invent stories and enjoy how we and others relate to those stories. All lies of course as we can't truly prove we were here even a few moments or a blink or a sneeze ago. Sure we can believe we remember from back when... but that too is a lie, just one we like to live with. Same lies as our belief in our knowledge of what is behind us at this very moment. We don't and can't know yet we have our lie and don't need to check it but every so often. And so we, and our pack of lies live on in relative comfort. And we have an art specifically designed to reflect that truth to our sensibilities. To remind us that we live among lies and that the truth of most matters eludes our direct perceptions and will often surprise us.

Most people can enjoy that reminder when it's offered as a treat.
[/quote]

Gee, that is just worth reading again, Jon. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 3, 2006 03:37PM)
Yes, reminds me of this quote- gleaned from Steinmeyer's Hiding the Elephant

"The conjurer demonstrates that things are not always what they seem. Therein lies his philosophy.

Colonel Stodare
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 3, 2006 04:46PM)
"No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question.
It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing.
The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful? "
--Annie Dillard



The original post asked:

"What's your best definition about the art of "magic"? ...when someone asks you "what is magic?", what do you answer?"

Whit responded
"Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise."

I have said that this describes what magicians do, but falls shy of a definition.

One way to illustrate this is to reverse the definition: "A valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise IS MAGIC." The trouble is not that performance magic contains lying, but that he has equated magic with lying. Whit has at great length explain how performance magic contains a lie, be it verbal or visual. However, lying itself does not produce magic, Therefore magic and lying are not the same.

I think Whit has touches on what real magic is when he speaks of creating "cognitive dissonance" and forcing a " reverie of wonder... concerning both sides of the dilemma..."

As I mentioned before, the end of magic is to produce " ontological insecurity." But that is not magic in itself. Magic is a human experience of transformation. The magician agitates a spectator's blindspots to awaken them to this kind of transforming wonder. The magician is not a "liar" in the strictest sense because the spectator accepts he is to be completely skeptical of all the magi presents. The spectator knows he will be lied to in the context of a "game" (In other words, it is a TRUE statement the magician makes by saying up front, "I will demonstrate a lie").

The spectator accepts, I believe, in order to have the experience of transforming wonder. A lie does not bring about transforming wonder. However, the demonstration of a lie can. They also know the more they are critical, the greater the experience will be if the magician succeeds. They want the magic to succeed despite their opposition. Magic is to produce a state of "wonder" that is beyond "wondering how" or "why." It is to be in touch with our perceived limitations and the possibility of transcending them.


"Wonder is not a Pollyanna stance,
not a denial of reality;
wonder is an acknowledgment
of the power of the mind to transform."  
Santiz Christina Baldwin


Whit has once also acknowledged that this same kind of "magic" is wider than our art when he said," In quantum physics magic is absolutely real, and conundrums and dilemmas even more perplexing than ours most be swallowed whole practically on a page by page basis."

Which is why I have said his definition falls short and should not be restricted to merely the conjuror's methods.

This is important as Whit has said, "If you know more precisely what you are trying to accomplish in the spectator's mind, and understand what is needed to make that happen, then your chances of succeeding are much better."
If we work to produce the effects of a lie, rather than the effects of wonder, we will miss the magic.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 3, 2006 06:16PM)
Can I simply add that I feel any and I mean ANY definition of "magic" that does NOT include the audience and them being entertained falls painfully short in my eyes.

I seem alone on this island, but really we claim to be thinking about how this affects them, but we leave them out of our definitions.

Any performance without the audience is "theory" only.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 3, 2006 07:20PM)
And if a tree falls in the woods...

A definition of the term magic as it applies to what we do and thoughts concerning a performance philosophy are two separate things.

But, you are right, the magic can't exist without a perceiver - the audience/ spectator or what have you.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 3, 2006 07:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-03 20:20, cinemagician wrote:...But, you are right, the magic can't exist without a perceiver - the audience/ spectator or what have you.[/quote]

I don't know about that.

It seems to me that we have lots of magicians who believe real audiences think it cute for a guy to take out a purse and play with his coins or expect folks to look at quaint, stilted and highly stylized actions as somehow "naturalistic".

There's been some research on virtual audiences and how they affect behavior. I wish more in magic would keep their virtual audiences awake and astute.
Message: Posted by: onezero1 (May 3, 2006 07:58PM)
The definition of magic?
Check out The Golden Bough by James Frazer.
Once we were kings...
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 3, 2006 08:01PM)
Now through all our great thought, and pontification and "theory" we are almost below mimes.

How the mighty have fallen.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 3, 2006 08:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-03 17:46, Bilwonder wrote:


"No; we have been as usual asking the wrong question.
It does not matter a hoot what the mockingbird on the chimney is singing.
The real and proper question is: Why is it beautiful? "
--Annie Dillard



The original post asked:

"What's your best definition about the art of "magic"? ...when someone asks you "what is magic?", what do you answer?"

Whit responded
"Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise."

I have said that this describes what magicians do, but falls shy of a definition.

One way to illustrate this is to reverse the definition: "A valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise IS MAGIC." The trouble is not that performance magic contains lying, but that he has equated magic with lying. Whit has at great length explain how performance magic contains a lie, be it verbal or visual. However, lying itself does not produce magic, Therefore magic and lying are not the same.
[/quote]

You are commiting a fallacy here. At no point does Whit equate magic with lying. His statement that magic is a valid syllogism containing at least one missing or untrue premise does not imply that all sylogisms that contain missing or untrue premise are magic. Surely you know that? In anycase, a missing or untrue premise in a syllogism does not itself imply a lie at all. It is just that in magic we resort to a lie to prove the false syllogism.

It is much easier to debate the straw man that Whit supposedly equates magic with lying, then it is to argue the point that lying is simply an integral part of magic.

Lying is necessary to magic, but it is not sufficient. I don't believe Whit has ever argued it was.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 3, 2006 08:22PM)
Jonathan, Virtual Audiences?

Are you saying that some lax performers assume that the audiences are experiencing "magic" when really they are just observing a series of actions in which no magic ends up taking place?

Are you saying the performer is fooling himself my making assumptions as to how others are perceiving the given demonstration?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 3, 2006 08:55PM)
The term virtual audience comes from psychology research started in the late 1980s.

And yes... my guess is that some have very strange internal audiences when they internally test their works.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 3, 2006 09:57PM)
Can we get an AMEN for the brother with the psych background?

It relates to your "inner monologue".

It is also a direct cause of what comics call "laughing ears".

This is when a comic comes off stage saying, man I was killin em, when in reality they stunk.

Jonathan you are dead on man.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 3, 2006 09:58PM)
Chris, I understand what you're saying. I wasn't intending to create a "strawman" because I wasn't intending to debate Whit's statements. I have said I believe they are true. Like you I believe, "Lying is necessary to magic, but it is not sufficient." Nor do I believe the sylogism alone creates or defines magic either. I brushed the terms together because the aspect "lying" has dominated the discussion as a defining term. My point has been that without the "something else" there is no "magic." We must understand what that "something else" is as part of the definition of magic.
Message: Posted by: totoybbb (May 3, 2006 11:45PM)
When there's a struggle between reality and what is perceived to be seen, there is magic.

For performers, this is the struggle wherein we would want to hide something from the beginning until the end of a routine. Though as time pass by, literally, we may not consider it a struggle anymore because we tend to do it in a very fluent motion. But the struggle remains that we don't want the specs to catch something.

For the spectators, this is the struggle to believe or not the things they see which are somewhat out of ordinary. The fight within their minds and hearts which will last until they can think of a "logical" proof that indeed the act was fake.

Regardz
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 01:02AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-03 19:16, Dannydoyle wrote:
Can I simply add that I feel any and I mean ANY definition of "magic" that does NOT include the audience and them being entertained falls painfully short in my eyes.

I seem alone on this island, but really we claim to be thinking about how this affects them, but we leave them out of our definitions.

Any performance without the audience is "theory" only.
[/quote]

I have tested my theories on thousands of audiences. I never leave the audience out of my thinking and theory. It has taken me a long monograph in this thread to lay out the basic outline of my theory, which I have described much more fully in my booklet "Chicago Surprise." I intend eventually to write a book on magic theory.

It is not easy to reduce the subject to a simple phrase, as the opening question in this thread seemed to require, but I attempted to make as concise a description, rather than a definition, of what the magician does that is different from all other branches of theater and unique to magic.

There is a lot more to say about the relation of theater to magic, and of what it takes to frame magic as a pleasant and non-threatening attack on the spectator's reality. Theater, as I said, is the cape that covers the sword (the dilemma). I don't think simply in the abstract, but each rountine I have constructed is an attempt to give expression to my theory of magic and to at the same time engage, entertain, and delight an audience.

Whether I have managed to succeed at any of this is really not for me to decide, but you can certainly look at my work see how my theories look in practice:

http://www.whithaydn.com/video_clips.htm

I would especially recommend the routine contained there of the Chinese Linking Rings. That routine gives a very good demonstration of how to deflect the challenge, engage the audience and assign roles to both the spectator and the audience in the course of a magic performance, and at the same time construct a routine whose phases are clear, easily remembered, and as a whole construct able to vitiate any attempt by the spectator to reconstruct the method.

Danny, you keep pooh-poohing both my theory and the need for theory. Do you think the magic I do fails to live up to my theories, or fails to entertain and engage the audience? Why don't you analyze the routines I do, and see if they fail your remembering the "audience" test.

BTW: Being alone in your opinion is always brave, but it is only a good thing if your opinion is correct.

Bilwonder:

I don't think we need that "something else" for there to be magic. I never said that lying was magic. I said that every magic trick required a lie, and a syllogism or argument that proves the lie. The effect of this is to create a dilemma in the mind of the spectator, and this dilemma is the source of his mental discomfort (cognitive dissonance) and it is in the attempt to relieve this feeling that produces the reverie of wonder.

That is all that is needed for magic--it is not all that is needed to make the experience pleasant and valuable rather than stressful and uncomfortable.

"Here's a coin. It is in my left hand. I click my fingers it is gone!" = magic.

Whether that magic is entertaining, fun, and engaging is another matter. To be magic, it only has to create wonder.

Totoy:

I think that is a pretty good description.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 4, 2006 08:16AM)
One thing for sure; one does not need a magician to believe in magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 4, 2006 08:48AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 00:45, totoybbb wrote:
When there's a struggle between reality and what is perceived to be seen, there is magic...[/quote]

Really? I thought that also applies to news, history and opinion in general.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 4, 2006 11:28AM)
Syllogistic Magic
"Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise.
Every magic trick required a lie, and a syllogism or argument that proves the lie.

Let's make magic!

The lie: This car is like new!

The syllogism with an untrue premise to prove the lie:

New cars have low mileage..
This cars shows low mileage.
Therefore this car is like new!

When the car breaks down, "it's Magic" and you experience an "reverie of wonder."

(suppressed "secret" information: The odometer has rolled over twice!)

"I don't think we need that "something else" for there to be magic."

Maybe the premise was too good.
How about, "Hey bebe, This wine is just a soft drink!"
All soft drinks are sweet and bubbly.
This is sweet and bubbly.
This is a soft drink!"
And when you get home, the "magic" happens!
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 11:43AM)
What is the something extra that you think is needed, Bilwonder?

"Here is a coin, it is gone." Magic, no?
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 4, 2006 12:11PM)
Bilwonder, you still seem to be saying that Whit's argument is that all lies (syllogisms with at least one false or missing premise) is the same as magic. That is not true.

So look at a real effect. You are holding the one blue card in a deck of red. This card is the same as an earlier card selected by the spectator. That blue card is clearly dropped to the floor and the spectator puts their foot on it. A second card is freely, and I mean freely, selected. The spectator picks the card up that is under their foot and it has changed to the second selection.

While this trick is going on, issues of entertainment, psychology, theater, etc, all play a necessary role in this effect. The magician must keep those in mind. But he must also present the syllogism with the embeded lie (the blue four of clubs is put under my foot. The magician never touches it after that. When I look at it later it has changed to the same suite and value of a second selcted card. It must be magic--but it can't be magic--there is no solution.)

Your example would not be magic, obviously, because there is a solution to the problem, mainly that maybe the premise should be not that if a car has low milage it is like new, but that if a car is new it has low milage. This is not a quibble. Not all lies are magic, because, in most lies, there is a solution to the dillema (My husband said he was at work, but gee I saw him come out of my girlfriends house. Hmm is it magic? Did he teleport? Gee maybe he just lied.) The husband does not convince the wife he is at work--she trusts. When Copperfield teleports he must convince because otherwise we know it is a lie and it is not magic.
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 4, 2006 01:09PM)
"Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef."
- Tom Robbins -

Just what ran through my mind as I finish reading this topic from the beginning after being away for a few months.

*whew!*
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 01:21PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 12:28, Bilwonder wrote:
Syllogistic Magic
"Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise.
Every magic trick required a lie, and a syllogism or argument that proves the lie.

Let's make magic!

The lie: This car is like new!

The syllogism with an untrue premise to prove the lie:

New cars have low mileage..
This cars shows low mileage.
Therefore this car is like new!

When the car breaks down, "it's Magic" and you experience an "reverie of wonder."

(suppressed "secret" information: The odometer has rolled over twice!)

"I don't think we need that "something else" for there to be magic."

Maybe the premise was too good.
How about, "Hey bebe, This wine is just a soft drink!"
All soft drinks are sweet and bubbly.
This is sweet and bubbly.
This is a soft drink!"
And when you get home, the "magic" happens!
[/quote]

The syllogisms you use are invalid. Magic generally uses valid arguments that have untrue premises. Here is the explanation from my book "Chicago Surprise."

[quote]
All magic is based on creating a logical argument in the spectator’s mind. The argument is valid but false--the premises on which the argument is based are untrue.

If we can get the audience to agree step by step with each premise of the argument, even the false ones, we have created a sort of illogical box or prison from which escape is difficult.

Getting agreement to a premise is sometimes done verbally, through patter, sometimes visually. The magician looks up after a pass with a coin, as if to say, “You with me?” That may be all it takes to get agreement.

There needs to be a point at each important procedure of the routine—the ones which make up the argument the performer wants to present—in which the performer lets the audience assess and agree with what has just happened. We want the audience to remember these premises in the argument, and to forget others.

The argument is constructed on the steps in procedure that the performer allows the audience to remember. The false premises are often important steps that the performer has helped the audience to ignore, dismiss, or forget.

For example:

I placed a coin in my left hand. (False)
I closed my hand. (True)
You never took your eyes off my hand. (True)
I didn’t do anything that could make the coin leave my hand. (True)
I snapped the fingers of my right hand. (True)
When I opened my hand, the coin was gone. (True)
Therefore, when I snapped my fingers, the coin must have de-materialized in my hand. (False Conclusion--the lie that has just been proved.)

By agreeing to each step in this argument, including the first False one, the audience is forced to agree with the conclusion. But they know the conclusion is impossible. The result is a feeling of cognitive dissonance—“I know there is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation.”

The more persuasive the argument, and the deeper the agreement to each premise; the more convincing will be the impression of magic.

The job of the magician is to trap the spectator in this logical conundrum. The result of this is a peculiar mental excitation—a burr under the saddle of the mind.

If the operation is performed correctly, the patient will not be able to ignore the problem, but will keep coming back to it again and again. His creative problem solving abilities will begin to work overtime as he thinks about both sides of the dilemma.

“What if magic were real? What would that mean?” as well as “There is no
such thing as magic, so what could he have done to make that happen?”

In Chicago Surprise, the main premises that we want the audience to accept are:

A blue-backed Ten of Clubs was placed facedown on the table. (False)
A saltshaker was placed on top of the Ten of Clubs. (False)
You had a free choice of any card in the deck. There was no force. (False)
You chose the Jack of Hearts. (True)
You named your card. (True)
I merely snapped my fingers. (True)
When you turned over the blue-backed card it was the Jack of Hearts. (True)
Therefore, because I snapped my fingers and willed it so, the Ten of Clubs
on the table actually changed into the Jack of Hearts. (False Conclusion)

This fallacious argument is known as one of “False Cause.” Most magic results from this type of false argument. In Chicago Surprise, creating a memorable picture in the mind of the spectator strengthens the agreement that no switch is used:

“The card was under the salt-shaker the whole time.”
“I had my foot on the card the whole time.”
“I had my finger on the card the whole time.”
“The card was in my hand the whole time.”
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 4, 2006 01:32PM)
But Mr. Robins used a lot of words, and I assume a lot of practice, skill, training and study--and maybe some philosophical musings of the craft of writing, in order to produce his novels.

I am thinking that maybe our goal might include, after all the study, debates, analysis, creativity, and words, it to produce an effect that the spectator can't adequately describe the magic they witnessed.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 01:36PM)
But you certainly want the audience to be able to describe the magic, in fact the whole point is to enlist them as witnesses to the event.

Great magic should be able to be described in one sentence:
[quote]
"I had a free choice of any card, and the back of the card I chose changed to blue, and then, when I put my foot on the blue card and mentally selected another card, The card under my foot then changed to the card I was thinking of!" [/quote]
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 4, 2006 01:49PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 14:36, Whit Haydn wrote:
But you certainly want the audience to be able to describe the magic, in fact the whole point is to enlist them as witnesses to the event.

Great magic should be able to be described in one sentence:
[quote]
"I had a free choice of any card, and the back of the card I chose changed to blue, and then, when I put my foot on the blue card and mentally selected another card, The card under my foot then changed to the card I was thinking of!" [/quote]
[/quote]

I agree.

I think Ammar called that 'slogan simple.'

I am just in awe of the fact that we, as artists, work in a medium that is so difficult to quantify or describe, and craft a singular, memorable experience for our audience.

It's pretty heady stuff.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 4, 2006 02:59PM)
Whit, I have NEVER once mad a statement about if your magic does or does not live up to standards you haves set forth. So lets make this clear.

I am NOT alone in my opinion, as you have stated you are considering the audience, it is that you don't have a lot of room to explain it here. Fine we agree.


You say if your alone in your opinion it is ok if you are correct. Well with all due respect who are you to decide who is correct or not? Seemed arrogant to me is all.

I have a few opinions. One too many magicians get way too caught up in nonsense like this and loose sight of what we are doing in the end. Entertaining.

Next the audience matters in any definition you wish to create. We agree completly on this point obviously. BTW I do feel without exception your magic lives up to the "audience consideration test" I have set forth, just to clarify.

Lastly and here is where I get in trouble I am afraid. If anyone thinks a person of reason over the age of say 10 really believes things dematerialize and end up in some other location, well then the person the magician is foolnig is himself. People are not stupid. This kind of presupposes they are.

They are thinking reasoning people. ANY definition of magic which includes the audience "belief" in magic really sells them short.

Whit I respect your work, your opinion and wish to stop anyone from thinking the contrary.

I am not saying we run arround going "hey magic is all tricks" I am however saying that we need to consider the audience knows it is a "trick". Sorry for the confussion.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 03:29PM)
I agree with you, Danny, but you must be missing something I have already said:

"There is no such thing as magic."

Clear enough?

That is one side of the dilemma, and it is every bit as important as the other side to keep firmly entrenched in the spectator's mind. Else, no dilemma.

No dilemma/No cognitive dissonance. No cognitive dissonance/No wonder. No wonder/No magic.

It is no good to convince people that what you are doing is really magic, if they don't [b]know[/b] that you are lying.

If they don't believe that "There is no such thing as magic" (or at least that what you are claiming to be magic isn't really magic), there would be no dilemma.

This sort of "proof" would be like "carrying coals to Newcastle" or "selling ice to Eskimos"--you aren't really even a charlatan, merely someone the believers use to legitimize what they already believe is true.

For a presentation to be magic, [b]both[/b] sides of the dilemma have to be set up and convincingly supported.

If the spectators believe you when you claim to do magic and then "prove" it, whether through intellectual error or suspension of disbelief, there may be theater, but not [b]magic[/b].

Magic is the question mark--the dilemma itself.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 4, 2006 03:59PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 14:36, Whit Haydn wrote:
But you certainly want the audience to be able to describe the magic, in fact the whole point is to enlist them as witnesses to the event.

Great magic should be able to be described in one sentence:
[quote]
"I had a free choice of any card, and the back of the card I chose changed to blue, and then, when I put my foot on the blue card and mentally selected another card, The card under my foot then changed to the card I was thinking of!" [/quote]
[/quote]

You are right of course. I said what I meant badly. I was thinking about a spectator trying to accurately describe the actual mental state they have at the moment of magic. But they won't have that mental state unless they can describe the magic.
Message: Posted by: roi_tau (May 4, 2006 04:02PM)
Magic:

Make the impossible looks logical-Sanvart.

When you tear a bill to 2 and the audience ask you to repair it it because you made the impossible to look logical to them.

Have fun
ROi
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 4, 2006 05:53PM)
There is more to magic than mere impossibility.

Ask a grade school student what number when multiplied by itself gives a negative number and they will say it's impossible.

Ask an average person if about two hundred thousand miles per hour is as fast as anything can go ever and they will say that's impossible.

Such is mere knowledge, good for bar bets.

Magic requires something more, something willful and something which has an emotional component.

Please... go inside and find the distinctions between mere puzzlement, surprise, bewilderment, delight and perhaps also discover and doubt. There are places to go and things to see once you have some of the landmarks.

As Whit keeps pointing out, magic is not a direct experience or a sentiment, it is a meta-experience. A feeling about how what you are seeing does not match with what you believe.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 4, 2006 06:09PM)
We are born into a world where invisible forces actually exist and we only know they exist because of their effects on things that we observe. Where one such force exists so another might exist. We might not know it exists simply because we have not observed it’s effects on things.
We, the observers, of the effects of magic demonstrated to us by the magicians, can conclude logically that there is in fact a magic force. We the observers of the effects of magic have no way of knowing real magic from fake. Indeed you magicians might not know a real magician if you saw one.
The magician might tell me it is just a trick. But why should I belief what the magicians tells me? If we the observers can’t believe our own eyes who can we believe?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 4, 2006 06:31PM)
Whit just so we understand I am NOT questioning your ability to entertain an audience. THAT is what I am really saying now more than anything.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 4, 2006 06:33PM)
Interesting Tommy, though I have to admit some concern about your writing of yourself in the plural and also as an observer as opposed to the performer.

Such is the view of muggles. From the performer's side there is the script, props etc and a theatrical production offered for the entertainment of the audience.

Somewhere in the minds of the audience, if we are doing our jobs, comes that mental pingpong between fantasy and reality, where the stories we give them to imagine seem to leak out into shared reality. H. P. Lovecraft was being metaphorical. ;)
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (May 4, 2006 07:33PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 12:43, Whit Haydn wrote:
What is the something extra that you think is needed, Bilwonder?

"Here is a coin, it is gone." Magic, no?
[/quote]

Nope. That's taxes.

:lol:

Sorry, I just couldn't resist...!

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 4, 2006 07:49PM)
No one can deny the possibility that magic actually exists. It is that possibility that is magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 08:39PM)
Danny: I never took any offense at anything you have said, nor did I think you were questioning my performances. I just wanted to point out that I do consider many other ramifications of these issues than the main ones we have been discussing here.

I never take any of these discussions personally, Danny. I appreciate your input.

If I vigorously disagree, it is only because I am so involved in fleshing out and defining my own ideas.

I only care about the issues, and they are very important to me. So I want people to question them and challenge them here. I would rather make sure that I can make myself clear to people, and that my ideas can stand up to heavy criticism here among my friends than after a book is published from the professional critics.

We are here to have fun and talk magic. It is something very silly and very unimportant in the overall scheme of things. It isn't brain surgery. But I still get very passionate about it.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 4, 2006 09:55PM)
Whit,
I can think of no one I admire more for thinking out the theory of "working magic" than you.
The detailed descriptions of how you apply theory to your work is a valuable gift to us all. I always learn something. However, when I state I believe your missing something in your "definition of magic," I am not talking about your application. I believe "magic" DOES exist, IF we define it in a way that recognizes a transformational state of mind. I believe the magician imitates what nature already does. From the magic of mirages to quantum physics, in a Jungian way we mirror the universe in our heads. It is this same magic that finds it's way into the magician's hands.

Plato said, "Everything that deceives may be said to enchant"
so I can understand you focusing on the deception and making the resulting state of mind incidental.
You have rightly focused on magic happening in the mind, and therefore it is a "logic" problem. However, I keep repeating, that the logic problem is only a trigger and not the "magic" itself. Perhaps it is minor distinction in the practice or our "art", but it seems important to me. Wonder is "creative confusion," but it is more than that. It is more than just the result of being in a state of deception. You observations on the state of "Wonder" as it applies to magic have been both remarkable and incidental at the same time. I am a humbled student when you speak of technique and application. Yet, I firmly believe in what I'm saying about defining magic, even no one else here seems to understand what I'm saying. Perhaps our art can be reduced to a syllogism. Is this syllogism unique to magic? Should it be entered into logic books as the "Magic Syllogism?" If not, then we share a table with other arts in this matter and it is not the definition of "magic " in itself. Magic is in the state of mind it produces. Other things can produce this state of mind. Magicians have used drugs in some cases to produce the results of "magic."

"Any sufficiently advanced form of magic is indistinguishable ... from technology."
Clarke's Third Law reversed

You presentations are full of magic Whit, but I think your definition doesn't reflect this.

"A work of art is one of mystery,
the one extreme magic;
everything else is either arithmetic or biology. "
Truman Capote

Your definition seems to have reduced "Magic" to a math problem.
It is more than that, and more than all the dressings of "showmanship"...etc.

It sometimes seems we both keep repeating ourselves in new ways to deaf ears.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 4, 2006 10:00PM)
I was there when the song was first performed
And honestly thought he was singing
"Art's filthy lesson falls upon deaf ears"

Really. :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 4, 2006 10:14PM)
Bilwonder:

I don't like to repeat myself. I'd rather you go back and read what I have said. ;)

I never said any of the things you just claimed I did.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 5, 2006 09:27AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 23:00, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
I was there when the song was first performed
And honestly thought he was singing
"Art's filthy lesson falls upon deaf ears"
[/quote]

Wasn't it; "Whit's filthy lesson falls upon blind eyes."
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 5, 2006 09:48AM)
Bilwonder:

"I believe "magic" DOES exist, IF we define it in a way that recognizes a transformational state of mind. I believe the magician imitates what nature already does. From the magic of mirages to quantum physics, in a Jungian way we mirror the universe in our heads. It is this same magic that finds it's way into the magician's hands."

Perhaps you could explain this statement more precisely. As it stands, I don't think this is true at all.

What the magician really models is intentional fraud and deception, something that only occurs in nature among creatures with a high degree of self-awareness.

What other part of the universe in our heads are magicians modeling for the world?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 5, 2006 10:13AM)
Magicians do not imitate what nature already does but imitates nature turned on it's head I would have thought.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 5, 2006 04:35PM)
Whit, I am glad we understand that. I for one do not really want to debate it as I feel magicians in particular get too heck bent on the "theory" and generally lose why they are THEORISING in the first place.

Your ideas seem to be consistant and concice. Congradulations. You are on a small island among magicians.

Weather I agree with them or the need for them, I certianly respect them as well as the work. In the end that is all we can really ask.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 5, 2006 04:40PM)
What some are calling theory is a useful way to codify observations made in reality and to formulate hypotheses to test in reality. Most people know the ideas as "scientific method". :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 5, 2006 06:16PM)
Bilwonder said:
[quote]
"Yet, I firmly believe in what I'm saying about defining magic, even no one else here seems to understand what I'm saying. Perhaps our art can be reduced to a syllogism. Is this syllogism unique to magic? Should it be entered into logic books as the "Magic Syllogism?" If not, then we share a table with other arts in this matter and it is not the definition of "magic " in itself. Magic is in the state of mind it produces. Other things can produce this state of mind. Magicians have used drugs in some cases to produce the results of "magic."
[/quote]

I think the attempt to "prove" to the other that something that is not true (and that everyone knows is not true) is, in fact, true; happens only in our little branch of theater--magic--and not in any other form of theater.

Every magic trick contains such a valid but untrue syllogism. There are none without it.

This is the defining difference that separates magic from theater.

It is in understanding the nature of this, and what it does to the mind that we understand "why" we might find this activity valuable and useful.

The simple way to shoot down my theory, whose entire construct is based on this little realization, is to show that there can be magic tricks performed by magicians for other's entertainment that do not include any such false argument at its core. Show me a trick that does not in fact attempt to CONVINCE the other that something that is actually or apparently taking place is happening for a reason that is in fact not the reason--a false cause.

Then we can debate whether these presentations--these exceptions--are actually magic, or something else. I believe they are not magic, but something else.'

If I am right, we have for the first time, a possible model for how magic begins to do what it does in the minds of the spectator. I don't believe I have explored all the myriad directions a full-blown theory of magic might take us, but I do feel that I have discovered a sort of starting place--a description of what we do that can give us all a common ground upon which to build our understandings of the nature and purpose of our art.

Magicians may have used drugs in the attempt to re-create what magicians do for the mind, I think such attempts are bound to fail, as I think attempts to use drugs to achieve the blessings of meditation will fail. The special state that the mind is placed into by the magician happens in few other disciplines (cosmology, quantum physics, math) and is not something that drugs can emulate.

Danny:
[quote]
"I for one do not really want to debate it as I feel magicians in particular get too heck bent on the "theory" and generally lose why they are THEORISING in the first place."[/quote]

I find the opposite is true. Most magicians today refuse to discuss theory. They don't take it seriously enough. As you do, they think it is unimportant. I find that the guys in my generation who are still around usually do take theory very seriously.

I listed many of the names in magic who take theory, and discussions of theory seriously. I don't know any great magicians who don't. I am convinced that the helter skelter and confused manipulations and contraptions that abound in magic today are the result of artists attempting to create without having a clear vision of what it is they want to say.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 5, 2006 06:47PM)
Whit your right it IS important, I don't think I debated its even necessity.

BUT I think it gets to convoluted and everyone gets stuck in the "I am entitled to my opinion" thing.

Clearly any art has a theoretical background and HISTORY that is necessary for its continued development. Problem is too many armchair philisophers. Problem is concentrating too much on it. Problem is finding a personal theory that fits your beliefs, instead of letting history prove things for you.

I guess "little bit of knowlege is a dangerous thing" after all.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 5, 2006 07:21PM)
“I think the attempt to "prove" to the other that something that is not true (and that everyone knows is not true) is, in fact, true; happens only in our little branch of theater--magic--and not in any other form of theater.”

Except for maybe the political theatre.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 6, 2006 02:47AM)
Thanks Whit for getting back to some other parts of my questions. I've been away performing and just came back to reply to you. Rather than contend with you, I'm in agreement with how you've mapped out for magicians, "a model for how magic begins to DO what it does in the minds of the spectator." My contentions are more about the focus of definition.



Gleaning from Whit's past posts here, I have edited them into a kind of multiple choice of what magic "is." I've tried not to do violence to the meaning in arranging it so you can see how I perceive the focus in the multiple layers of the definition. I know each is somewhat out of context as they were "stripped" to be concise.

a) Magic = a lie, (told with a wink and a smile)

b) Magic = a lie + a syllogism to prove the lie. Nothing else needed.

c) Magic = a syllogism (valid with at least one missing or untrue premise).

d)Magic= a game of deceit (based on foisting a false or invalid syllogism...in such a way that they can not find the error...).

e) Magic= to insult the intelligence of the audience by making firm assertions of some things that the spectators know for a fact are not true, and then proving them...

f) magic= the science of proving the untrue.

g) Magic = a puzzle which is meant to be insolvable.

h) Magic= reality in quantum physics.

I) Magic= This little irritating grain in the mind... A kind of mental burr under the saddle of the brain...by the magician's deft insertion.

J) Magic= cognitive dissonance producing the reverie of wonder.

---------------------

I think Whit admits that his syllogism of the coin vanish would not be magic in an age where teleportation was common place. He would still succeed in deception, however, it would only be hiding his backward technology. Somewhat similar to Tellers demonstration of using many slights to a null effect of magic (even though deception occurs throughout).

I contend the magic happens only at the point where it meets the spectators sense of limitations. This varies from person to person and age to age. Of course a "trick" involves a lie and a syllogism to prove it, but it only becomes magic when it meets and challenges the spectator's sense of limitations in an "engaging" way. If they don't "engage" the problem, there is no "magic" either.

Whit has disavowed (a) Magic is a lie. And (b, c, f) I've just discussed above. (d) recognized that a syllogism with a false or missing premise IS invalid and does put this in the context of a game. (e) I would say "assault" rather than "insult" (It's more of a "challenge" not a "put down") and would focus on their sense of limitations rather than intelligence. (g) True, but by itself, a puzzle I can't solve is not magical, but just frustrating. We all know none of our puzzles are "unsolvable" That is an illusion.(h) was just a note of what Whit considered real magic. And (I & J) the last two, I considered he was closer the real definition of magic, but in context he did NOT directly connect as magic, but only a result.

How does the magician imitate nature? Of course he pretends not to. He pretend to "defy" nature. However, I believe he actually imitates it. In general because I believe that, in as much as we are a product of the universe, nothing we do is alien to it.

Nature has been tantalizing our blind spots from the beginning of ages. We experience magic long before we experienced the "magician." We have stood in fear and awe the the unexplainable and have been transformed by it. When nature has tip her hand, we have learned a few tricks. Some laughed that they were taken in by such simple tricks of nature. They may claimed there never was "magic." Others saw in this the power of magic was real and continue to be in awe that such simple tricks could bring it about.

The desert offers me some water, then magically makes it vanish. I've learned to bend light to make things vanish or appear. A lizard's tail taught me the value of misdirection (how many tricks can you name where this applies...). Poggendorff, Zöllner, Hering discovered there illusion, he didn't invent it. There is no use in saying these are different because we "know" how they work. In many cases we still don't, and even if we do now, there was still the initial experience of 'magic." The "false assumption" basis for magic is tied closely to natural illusions. All natural illusions exist because we make false assumptions. Camouflage, Mirage, Motion, The speed and nature of light, lightening and fire, Rainbows, Birth "defects," are a few of natures culprits we fall "victim" too producing "magic" to our senses.

You make a couple of distinctions that I don't think necessarily play directly into the definition: Intention and veracity. You may say that the magic of nature and the magic of a magician are distinct because of the nature of deceit and intention. "The magician firmly holds the door shut." But in reality the spectator is complicit with the magician in this matter. The magician only enables the spectator to fool himself.

You said, "'What the magician really models is intentional fraud and deception, something that only occurs in nature among creatures with a high degree of self-awareness."
Indeed, human have a unique capacity for art or "modeling." I would say there is a difference even between "modeling" fraud and "committing" fraud. The magician models fraud without committing it (because of he context of the game).However, I don't think we should focus on intention as defining magic.

Magician or not, any illusion is created by a kind of "logic fallacy." We extend the wrong kind of "memory map" onto a visual stimulus we receive (or without the stimulus in the case of hallucination). Some times we "can't believe our eyes" when it's not an illusion at all, but just unexpected phenomena. There is no deception or illusion in this last case.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 03:30AM)
Magic is: Deceiving those who know they are being deceived.


That is my interpretation of what Whit is saying and that is in the context of entertainment. I am not sure if that is a correct interpretation?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 05:16AM)
“I think the attempt to "prove" to the other that something that is not true (and that everyone knows is not true) is, in fact, true; happens only in our little branch of theater--magic--and not in any other form of theater.”

“(and that everyone knows is not true)” That is not true!

When the spectator is told a lie he does not know that it is not true. If the magician tells the audience he will make a lady levitate it might be a lie but how does the audience know it is a lie? The magician then goes on to prove what he has said. Then they believe his lie but they do not know it is a lie for all they know it is the truth and he has performed magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 6, 2006 06:28AM)
But there is no such thing as magic.

Bilwonder:

It is impossible to discuss this topic intelligently if you refuse to quit using the term "magic" in so many different ways. When I speak of magic, I am only speaking of the artform we have under discussion--not magick, not the magic of a sunset, not the magic that happens at the sub atomic level, just card tricks and doves.

The lie being told in that process does not have to be about Magic at all. "This is a Teleportation Device that can teleport a bill into a lemon" is exactly the same kind of lie, and the the careful proofs the exact same kind of proofs as would be seen when making a chosen card end up in a matchbox using the "power of the shadow."

I thought I had made myself pretty clear, but apparently my descriptions are just causing confusion and not being very useful. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 6, 2006 06:46AM)
Magic and miracle tend to be given (loosely) to anything that a person has trouble explaining or lacks the information to make an accurate deduction
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 06:49AM)
It is a matter belief if there is such a thing as magic. There is a world of difference between knowing someone is telling a lie and not believing they are telling the truth. Someone may not believe in magic but when shown they may question their beief.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 6, 2006 07:07AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-05 19:16, Whit Haydn wrote:

The simple way to shoot down my theory, whose entire construct is based on this little realization, is to show that there can be magic tricks performed by magicians for other's entertainment that do not include any such false argument at its core. Show me a trick that does not in fact attempt to CONVINCE the other that something that is actually or apparently taking place is happening for a reason that is in fact not the reason--a false cause.

Then we can debate whether these presentations--these exceptions--are actually magic, or something else. I believe they are not magic, but something else.'

If I am right, we have for the first time, a possible model for how magic begins to do what it does in the minds of the spectator. I don't believe I have explored all the myriad directions a full-blown theory of magic might take us, but I do feel that I have discovered a sort of starting place--a description of what we do that can give us all a common ground upon which to build our understandings of the nature and purpose of our art.

[/quote]

Bilwonder: Please come back to the subject. Rainbows are everywhere.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 07:10AM)
If I show the company that I put the four queens on table (lie) but they believe that lie then to them it is the truth. The four queens then magically change into Aces! Where is the lie from their point of view?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 07:42AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 07:46, kregg wrote:
Magic and miracle tend to be given (loosely) to anything that a person has trouble explaining or lacks the information to make an accurate deduction
[/quote]

One of the distinctions between magic and nature is the component of the magician's will at cause. This notion connects MagicK to our craft of offering simulated magic(k).
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 6, 2006 08:36AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 07:28, Whit Haydn wrote:
But there is no such thing as magic.

Bilwonder:

It is impossible to discuss this topic intelligently if you refuse to quit using the term "magic" in so many different ways. When I speak of magic, I am only speaking of the artform we have under discussion--not magick, not the magic of a sunset, not the magic that happens at the sub atomic level, just card tricks and doves.

The lie being told in that process does not have to be about Magic at all. "This is a Teleportation Device that can teleport a bill into a lemon" is exactly the same kind of lie, and the the careful proofs the exact same kind of proofs as would be seen when making a chosen card end up in a matchbox using the "power of the shadow."

I thought I had made myself pretty clear, but apparently my descriptions are just causing confusion and not being very useful. Oh, well, back to the drawing board.
[/quote]

Whit, I've followed this thread closely and with no small amount of thought. You have challenged me, and I thank you.

You have summed it up as clearly and succinctly as anyone could.

If people will get it, they'll get it. Those who don't 'get it', will continue to throw sunshine, rainbows, and subatomic particles in your face all day.

I think you may be beating a dead horse here.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 09:34AM)
There are none so blind as them that follow them that will not see sunshine, rainbows, and subatomic particles.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 09:48AM)
Agreed about followers, often more like sheep or chattel than human at times.

More about how one is affected by things one sees like sunshine and rainbows.

It's the idea of and the data supporting the model of the behavior of subatomic particles that distinguishes twentieth century thinking from earlier ways of looking at the world. It's a wave in some ways and a particle in others... or as SNL put it: it's a desert topping... no it's a floor wax. :)
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 6, 2006 11:00AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 10:34, tommy wrote:
There are none so blind as them that follow them that will not see sunshine, rainbows, and subatomic particles.
[/quote]

It's not a matter of 'seeing.' It's a matter of perspective, experience, and reasoning.

I don't have all the answers; but I know a bogus answer and/or proverb when I see one.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 6, 2006 11:23AM)
Kenn

Whit puts his idea up and invites his pals here to attack it, to see if it stands up. He wants us to test it. Then you come along and say we throw sunshine, rainbows, and subatomic particles in his face. Whit loves it, it will not hurt him he is laying there catching a bit of sun.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 6, 2006 11:36AM)
Now that we are armed with a deeper sense of purpose and understanding -how do we most tactfully answer the question asked by the child and/or adult; "Is magic real?"
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 6, 2006 12:56PM)
What if I told you that reality is completely fluid? What if I told you that empirical evidence solidifies reality? What if magic were like smoke, visible but intangable? Anything your mind can imagine is real, but the moment you seek to prove it, it's gone. I know it's a leap of faith, but unless you want to be some hack on stage with a hat and a rabbit, you need to make that leap. As magicians, we live in a world of opposing forces. We exist to show people a world that it is almost impossible for us to know. We present people with the impossible, but at the cost of our ability to enjoy what we give. Try believing in what you do for a change. Try letting go of your deathgrip on what you know to be. Reality only has the boundries you give it.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 6, 2006 01:28PM)
Whit,
I don't believe I'm using "magic" in different ways. I believe there is a unity to all of these in the cognative experience that "defines magic." I thought that was the "topic at hand" not a particular device used in our artform. I am puzzled when what I'm saying seems to be interpreted as "the magic of sunsets" or "magick" or perhaps some feeling of marvel. I am pointing to locating what defines "magic" in every case is when the mind of spectator has it's boundaries assaulted. It is a synergistic and transcending experience that defines "magic." When I speak of "natural magic," I'm not referring to some sentimentality, but more of the experience of personifying nature as "playing a prank" on us. We learn from those pranks.

In the magic of unexpected phenomena for example there my be no deception. To many flash paper is magic because it seems to vanish without a trace. It doesn't matter if you tell them it special paper. Their sense of limitation has been challenge because it is gone with out a trace. Again, when the magician demonstrate "invulverabilty" by pounding a nail into his face...the is really no deception, but this is no less magic to those who have considered such things impossible. I have said your focus on Intention and veracity (or "verifiabity") is of great value to our art (I'm not saying you have not been clear in this), but that it's not central to a unifying "definition of magic."

I feel I'm about to get ganged up on again for being a fruit.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 6, 2006 05:46PM)
Whit Haydn writes:
[quote]Dilemma/Cognitive Dissonance Cognative Dissonance/Wonder Wonder/Magic.[/quote]
This says that magic isn't inherently [i]anything.[/i]. Instead, it defines the experience of magic as a mental process. That means that something starts the process, and magic is felt at the end of the process. Like a snowflake that falls on a snow-covered mountain side, its weight moves a bit more snow. That bit more moves a lot more snow, with the whole thing eventually resulting in an avalanche. It's the snowball effect, and the snowflake isn't the avalanche!

Ok... I can dig it.

My main concern, which I'll get back to, is for the beginning of the process; the Dilemma. The Dilemma is set up as "There is no such thing as magic/There isn't any other way that could've been done." The performer's goal is to get these two sides juxtaposed in the spectator's mind, and get them to ping-pong back and forth between the two, thus creating the dilemma. Without this ping-ponging, there won't be any cognitive dissonance, nor the rest of the 'avalanche.'

It seems to me that most magicians, including myself, have spent collective eons supporting and developing the second part of the dilemma so that we can get it into spectators' minds. We have concentrated so much on perfect techniques, perfect handlings, naturalness, logical moves, etc. to insure that they know that there's no other way that could've been done. Despite all that collective effort, we've neglected to support the first part; there's no such thing as magic.

...which leads me back to my earlier concern... Without blatantly saying that there is no such thing as magic, how do we get that half of the dilemma firmly planted in the spectators' heads? If they don't have the dilemma, there isn't any process. We don't want to just say that there isn't any such thing as magic because that would be just plain dopey, but without it, the process never starts and our work is relegated to being all just tricks and conundrums to be puzzled out later!!! Somehow, we must get the spectators to arrive at this conclusion [i]during the performance[/i], despite their pre-existing tenets. If they already believe that there's no such thing as magic... all the better. All we do is reinforce that belief. If they do already beleive in magic, we're in trouble.

My gut is telling me that it will all done through performing personna. Describing the logistics would make the premise of a [i]very[/i] good book.

Believe me, this topic has been an eye-opener for me. I'm glad I bumped it. Thinking all this out helps me keep my goals in the front of my mind when I perform. My thanks to all who have and will continue to contribute.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 07:54PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 18:46, Patrick Differ wrote:
...defines the experience of magic as a mental process. ... [/quote]

Please, not a process but a meta-experience. Not a mere feeling but a sentiment about what we are feeling about what we are seeing. It is in watching ourselves bounce between what we expect to be true and what we observe as true that we find magic. More simply, we are collapsing an anchor of conviction against an anchor of perception. ;)

The dilema that starts the feedback/transderivational search/cognitive dissonance is how we elicit that meta-experience.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 6, 2006 09:49PM)
I think I get it.
"Meta-experience" to describe what happens later on or in succession to or is more specialized.
"Process" to describe the way to make vulcanized rubber for tires or ethanol from corn husks.
:idea:
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (May 6, 2006 09:57PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 08:10, tommy wrote:
If I show the company that I put the four queens on table (lie) but they believe that lie then to them it is the truth. The four queens then magically change into Aces! Where is the lie from their point of view?
[/quote]

They are wrong. You lied to them when you led them to believe (either verbally or through your actions) that those were the 4 queens. Since the cards are NOT the 4 queens, how can that be anything other than a lie?

Geoff
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 10:12PM)
Actually we could argue that the lie began when the cards were turned face down after being shown. What specifically compels one to turn the cards face down?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 6, 2006 11:03PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 22:57, saxmangeoff wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 08:10, tommy wrote:
If I show the company that I put the four queens on table (lie) but they believe that lie then to them it is the truth. The four queens then magically change into Aces! Where is the lie from their point of view?
[/quote]

They are wrong. You lied to them when you led them to believe (either verbally or through your actions) that those were the 4 queens. Since the cards are NOT the 4 queens, how can that be anything other than a lie?

Geoff
[/quote]

Have you declared yourself a magician? Must Hamlet stand up and say "I'm not realy dead"? If you state you are about to tell a lie, then do so, is it, in fact, a lie? Is it your intention to, by doing what you do, entertain, or mislead? Magic is not a lie. It is not a lie, because we are magicians, and as magicians, it is understood in great detail, what it is we do, and why it is we do it. A lie serves an ulterior motive. As magicians, our motive is both pure, and clear. We are entertainers, not thieves and confidence men. There is no lie in magic, because it is magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 6, 2006 11:19PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 00:03, JackScratch wrote:...
Have you declared yourself a magician? Must Hamlet stand up and say "I'm not realy dead"? If you state you are about to tell a lie, then do so, is it, in fact, a lie? Is it your intention to, by doing what you do, entertain, or mislead? Magic is not a lie. It is not a lie, because we are magicians, and as magicians, it is understood in great detail, what it is we do, and why it is we do it. A lie serves an ulterior motive. As magicians, our motive is both pure, and clear. We are entertainers, not thieves and confidence men. There is no lie in magic, because it is magic.
[/quote]

because means?

are these mutually exclusive?

what specifically is it?

but what then is magic?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 6, 2006 11:31PM)
"because" means everything I said before I said "because it is magic".
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 7, 2006 12:13AM)
Ya still gotta decide how to be and how much responsibility you want for being the cause.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 05:39AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 22:57, saxmangeoff wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-06 08:10, tommy wrote:
If I show the company that I put the four queens on table (lie) but they believe that lie then to them it is the truth. The four queens then magically change into Aces! Where is the lie from their point of view?
[/quote]

They are wrong. You lied to them when you led them to believe (either verbally or through your actions) that those were the 4 queens. Since the cards are NOT the 4 queens, how can that be anything other than a lie?

Geoff
[/quote]

I know they are wrong. The point is they do not "know" it is a lie and so saying everyone “knows” that lies are being told is not true.
To say “But there is no such thing as magic“ as if to say therefore everyone knows the whole thing is a lie, is a point in the Whit argument that I do not agree with. His whole argument revolves around the assertion that “Everyone” knows that there is no such thing as magic. Contrary to that I say that no one knows that there is no such thing as magic. I say it is the possibility that magic might exist that is at the root and at the heart of magic. The art of magic would never have evolved if was not for that possibility.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 7, 2006 07:11AM)
Not everyone knows there is no such thing as magic, some know and other's suspect. Otherwise, this topic wouldn't be stuck in a figure eight.
Believing in magic and having a magical experience are two different things altogether.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 7, 2006 10:22AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 08:11, kregg wrote:
Not everyone knows there is no such thing as magic, some know and other's suspect. Otherwise, this topic wouldn't be stuck in a figure eight.
Believing in magic and having a magical experience are two different things altogether.
[/quote]

From experience, most people act as if they believe in magic. Whether or not they know what they believe is another issue.

Good... though I believe that figure eight has a couple of twists in it. What does that make it?

What distinguishes belief from experience? This brings us back to knowing, no?
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 7, 2006 11:10AM)
There are millions of people who believe in miracles.
There are others who are wary of black cats, broken mirrors and other superstitions.
How about ghosts, deja-vu, spiritualism, etc.
Children are raised with the magic of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, tooth fairy and what have you.
There are things deeply ingrained in human make up. Some are with people their whole lives.

When they see a magic performance it's not so difficult for them to believe.
Even if just for a while.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 7, 2006 11:32AM)
In my early teens I entered a talent show. I had no idea that people actually believed in magic and mysticism. Until a woman, made a bee line for me after I left the stage. I thought she was going to ask me to do a birthday show or how I did a particular effect. Instead, she railed on me telling me that magic was the devil's work. I told her that I didn't believe in the devil, but, the character sold movie tickets. She cursed me for not believing in the devil.
I was upset and confused that an appearing cane, square circle and twentieth century silks could cause such a reaction.
Later, a friend asked me, "Did you watch the Omen? Well you look just like the kid in the movie."
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 12:09PM)
And some people believe in the existence of electricity, magnetism, gravitation and do you know why? Because they observe it indirectly through their effects. - the very same way they observe magic, indirectly through the effects that we show them- When they see a magic performance it's not so difficult for them to believe.
Even if just for a while.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 01:21PM)
I see, so know we enter into the "Saying there is a Santa Clause to a child is just a dirty lie." Phase of the arguement. I think what magic is, is far less in question than what a lie is. There are defenitly untruths that are not lies. Till all of you figure that out, this debate is a waste of time.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 01:32PM)
I think you see what is not there yet will not see what is.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 7, 2006 01:39PM)
The debate is not a waste of time.
It gets people thinking.
If you believe in Santa or that there are untruths that are not lies then that's fine.

Jack, "a dirty lie" you say? I wonder, when kids are told that such and such is not real, do they feel lied to, feel that they've been told an untruth or simply tricked?
My post was about people, who may not believe in our type of magic, do have some beliefs in certain things that border on magic.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 7, 2006 01:40PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:21, JackScratch wrote:
There are defenitly untruths that are not lies.
[/quote]

Try not to lump all lies in a heap of moral turpitude. I've said it before, not all lies are bad.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 01:47PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:39, Jaz wrote:
The debate is not a waste of time.
It gets people thinking.
If you believe in Santa or that there are untruths that are not lies then that's fine.

Jack, "a dirty lie" you say? I wonder, when kids are told that such and such is not real, do they feel lied to, feel that they've been told an untruth or simply tricked?
My post was about people, who may not believe in our type of magic, do have some beliefs in certain things that border on magic.
[/quote]

My point is, and has been that "magic" is very real, and true, it's just not what everyone seems to think it is, or think it is supposed to be.

Reality is very much mutable, and perception is reality. Until you are convinced that magic isn't real, it is. Until you are convinced that there is no Santa, there is a Santa. The "There is no such thing as magic." statement is a nieve' one. Saying that magic is a lie, any kind of lie, is based on the idea that there is no such thing as magic. If a person does not believe in magic, then a magician is simply a performer, trying to entertain, not decieve them. If a person does believe in magic, then who are you, or I, to tell them that what we do isn't real? That would be a lie. At the very least, it would be a mistake.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 01:57PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:21, JackScratch wrote:
There are defenitly untruths that are not lies.
[/quote]


Only the inadvertent or ironic ones. A deliberate untruth, with the intent to deceive, is the very definition of a lie. Telling someone something untrue and intending to deceive them is always a lie. That's what the word means. Check your dictionary, check your encyclopedia of philosophy, check any reference you want. Unless you're inventing your own definition of the word, a "lie" IS, by definition, a deliberate untruth with the intent to deceive.

It may be said that not all lies are bad ("white" lies, e.g.), but they're all still lies.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 7, 2006 02:01PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:32, tommy wrote:
I think you see what is not there yet will not see what is.
[/quote]

Anyone want to diagram this one and point out the presuppositions, normalizations etc?
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 02:03PM)
I'm reminded of Abraham Lincoln, who allegedly once asked someone, "How many legs would a cow have, if you called a tail a leg?" The person he was talking to said, "Five." Abe said, "No, it would have four. Calling a tail a leg wouldn't make it a leg."
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 02:07PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:57, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 14:21, JackScratch wrote:
There are defenitly untruths that are not lies.
[/quote]


Only the inadvertent or ironic ones. A deliberate untruth, with the intent to deceive, is the very definition of a lie. Telling someone something untrue and intending to deceive them is always a lie. That's what the word means. Check your dictionary, check your encyclopedia of philosophy, check any reference you want. Unless you're inventing your own definition of the word, a "lie" IS, by definition, a deliberate untruth with the intent to deceive.

It may be said that not all lies are bad ("white" lies, e.g.), but they're all still lies.

[/quote]

Your problem is that you think you know what is true. That's the reason I put in that caveat. Until you realise you don't get to define reality for everyone else, then you are probably better off just changing your definition of "lie". I know what a lie is, just like you. I don't, however believe I'm going to be able to convinvce you that truth isn't what you think it is, so telling you that there are untruths that are not lies, is just going to be easier. That is unless you change your whole outlook on reality. I remain optimistic for you.

If, as a magician, you do not believe what you present, how can you expect your audience to. More importantly, why are you presenting it?
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 7, 2006 02:13PM)
OK Jack. So the magic of Santa is real until the kids learn the truth. I see.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 02:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:07, JackScratch wrote:


Your problem is that you think you know what is true. That's the reason I put in that caveat. Until you realise you don't get to define reality for everyone else, then you are probably better off just changing your definition of "lie".
[/quote]

I think it's actually you who is trying to define reality for everyone else. There's not a old guy with a red suit and beard to delivers presents on Christmas Day. That's reality. A believe that such a person exists does not create the reality that he does.

For someone who professes not to believe in objective reality, you sure do often seem to think that others whose ideas do not comport with yours are wrong. If reality is as ephemeral as you suggest, then how is it so concrete to you that your philosophy of magic and reality are correct and others' are in error?

Philosophy's Law of the Excluded Middle tells us that if one kid says that Santa Claus exists, and one says he doesn't, then exactly one of them is right; not both, and not neither. If you want to reject the Law of the Excluded Middle, perhaps as having too limited a view of reality, that's fine...but if you do, then how is it that those who disagree with you aren't every bit as right as you are?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 02:17PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:13, Jaz wrote:
OK Jack. So the magic of Santa is real until the kids learn the truth. I see.

[/quote]

I truely hope you didn't mean that sarcasticly. It's exactly what I ment. I wouldn't have used the word "truth" though.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 02:17PM)
I think you see what is not there yet will not see what is.
I have that effect on everyone since I am a real Wiz.



Polish that Jon. :)
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 02:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:07, JackScratch wrote:

If, as a magician, you do not believe what you present, how can you expect your audience to. More importantly, why are you presenting it?
[/quote]


To use as an example someone who says the things I believe in a more eloquent way, I think I can safely say that Whit Haydn doesn't actually believe that in his ambitious card routine, for instance, the molecules of the selected card disassemble, thus making it lighter than the other cards so it traverses up and reconstitutes itself on top of the pack.

But man, his audiences sure do believe it.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 02:20PM)
I bet he does. I hope he responds.

BTW, both children are correct. The fat man in the red suit exists and does not exist. You still aren't getting it. Perception "IS" reality.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 02:25PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:20, JackScratch wrote:

BTW, both children are correct. The fat man in the red suit exists and does not exist. You still aren't getting it. Perception "IS" reality.
[/quote]

Please don't think that because I disagree with your point, I don't understand it.
But by your own logic, someone who believes that perception ISN'T reality (myself, for instance) must be correct. If you aren't being disingenuous, and you actually believe that perception IS reality, then you must admit that MY perception (that perception is NOT reality) is as valid as your belief. It's my perception, so by your logic, it's reality.

In the same way that you would say both children are correct in their beliefs about Santa Claus (though I disagree), your purported worldview dictates that someone who believes that perception is reality, and someone who believes that perception is not reality, are both correct. To deny this is to be completely inconsistent with your stated worldview.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 7, 2006 02:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:17, JackScratch wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:13, Jaz wrote:
OK Jack. So the magic of Santa is real until the kids learn the truth. I see.

[/quote]

I truely hope you didn't mean that sarcasticly. It's exactly what I ment. I wouldn't have used the word "truth" though.
[/quote]

No sarcasm intended.
Just understanding what you're saying.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (May 7, 2006 02:32PM)
Jack let me just say WELCOME TO OUTCAST ISLAND.

We are pretty much alone which is why I have even given up arguing out of frustration.

There is none so blind as those who wish NOT to see! Just keep that in mind.

Guys first do everyone a favor. Define terms. Lie, magic, and who your taking a perspective of. your arguing differnt things.

Second wake up. This is in no way really healthy for magic. Sorry. Pontificate all you want it is a mental exersize for magicians alone. Theater people do NOT debate if Hamlet is real. They are smart enough to know the difference. EVEN IF THE AUDIENCE OR SOME OF ITS MEMBERS WILL NOT!

The same percentage of people who think magic is real, is relativly equivilant to those who feel batman is real I would bet.

Now if your gonna have the Santa debate it gets tough. Santa as the "kids" percieve him is not real. Santa as a figure to spread good cheer and to make people happy at a certian time of year DOES exist and is quite real. As I said please define terms.

Jack I think your right. People as a "rule" don't believe in magic. If you think your getting a better reaction from a floating routine than "I can't even see the wires" your reading your own press clippings too much. Does anyone really beleive even if people [b]can't[/b] come up with an explination, that they think [b]magic?[/b] Come on guys.
That fact is what makes this debate kind of goofy to me.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 02:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:25, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:20, JackScratch wrote:

BTW, both children are correct. The fat man in the red suit exists and does not exist. You still aren't getting it. Perception "IS" reality.
[/quote]

Please don't think that because I disagree with your point, I don't understand it.
But by your own logic, someone who believes that perception ISN'T reality (myself, for instance) must be correct. If you aren't being disingenuous, and you actually believe that perception IS reality, then you must admit that MY perception (that perception is NOT reality) is as valid as your belief. It's my perception, so by your logic, it's reality.

In the same way that you would say both children are correct in their beliefs about Santa Claus (though I disagree), your purported worldview dictates that someone who believes that perception is reality, and someone who believes that perception is not reality, are both correct. To deny this is to be completely inconsistent with your stated worldview.
[/quote]
No, I admit, your truth is also truth. It's just a sad one, that's all. I think it's realy a shame when a magician, of all people, can't let go of his death grip on imperical reality and actualy appreciate what he does. I feel it has to affect their performance when that happens. BTW, I thought about it. It is possible, I know I'm a lot like this, that Whit considers himself a master of the art of card handling. That what he believes isn't magic, per se', but rather an acceptional skill. That will show itself in his performance. He will present it to his audience in the way he believes it. Sort of "No magic here, I'm just realy realy skilled".
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 02:46PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 15:32, JackScratch wrote:

No, I admit, your truth is also truth. It's just a sad one, that's all. I think it's realy a shame when a magician, of all people, can't let go of his death grip on imperical reality and actualy apreciate what he does. I feel it has to affect their performance when that happens. BTW, I thought about it. It is possible, I know I'm a lot like this, that Whit considers himself a master of the art of card handling. That what he believes isn't magic, per se', but rather an acceptional skill. That will show itself in his performance. He will present it to his audience in the way he believes it. Sort of "No magic here, I'm just realy realy skilled".
[/quote]
I think that for the first time, we're actually at the crux of our actual disagreement:

Does a performer have to actually belive in magic to present it well, and, in fact, to present it as magic?

My answer to that question is no, and I imagine yours is yes. I WOULD say, however, that a good magician must empathize with the audience, understand how they're perceiving what's being done, recognize what the audience will sensorily perceive, how they're interpret those perceptions, etc. And any magician who doesn't recognize how the audience will interpret a performance, or who doesn't engage the audience, will, in fact, be doing nothing more than displaying technical skill, and that's a far cry from a bona fide, let alone GOOD, performance of the art of magic. But no, I don't think it's an absolute requirement that the magician himself believe it, and I think we could find magicians whom we would both agree are outstanding at what they do, but who don't themselves "believe" it as magic (in the way the audience perceives "magic").

But please don't think that because I do, admittedly, have a "death grip" on the notion of empirical reality, that means I don't appreciate what I do, or what other magicians do. I love performing magic, watching good magic, thinking about magic, etc. And when I watch magicians, I watch as a layman, not as a technically-minded analyst breaking down the mechanics of the performance. I agree completely with you that it's not about the "trick."
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 03:05PM)
Well, I suppose that is something then.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 03:11PM)
Does a performer have to actually belive in magic to present it well, and, in fact, to present it as magic?

I would say it helps. Here is one reason.

http://www.nightingale.com/pa~product~Psychology_Selling~audio~2344.asp
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 7, 2006 03:27PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-04 02:02, Whit Haydn wrote:

I have tested my theories on thousands of audiences. I never leave the audience out of my thinking and theory. It has taken me a long monograph in this thread to lay out the basic outline of my theory, which I have described much more fully in my booklet "Chicago Surprise." I intend eventually to write a book on magic theory.

[/quote]


Chicago surprise would be one of my favorite set of notes even if it didn't include the effect. A collection of some of your Café postings, organized by thematic point, would be on the short list of best magic theory books, IMO.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 7, 2006 03:33PM)
I think that's what he has in mind. It's no secret that he's discussing all of this to help solidify his thinking toward his next book. It won't be a carbon copy of what's written here, but I'm sure we'll recognise some of his theories.

I'll be first in line, money in hand, when that happens.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 7, 2006 05:50PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-07 16:11, tommy wrote:

Does a performer have to actually believe in magic to present it well, and, in fact, to present it as magic?

I would say it helps. Here is one reason.

http://www.nightingale.com/pa~product~Psychology_Selling~audio~2344.asp
[/quote]

To quote a lyric:

No no no no no no no no no
You never heard it from me! (* anyone want to impress me and PM the source? )

The actor MUST not believe in the drama. They need to do their job and make the drama happen FOR and INSIDE the audience.

The character of the magician likely does believe in the magic they use in performance BUT that is a useful tool in the process of acting, call it method or the system, but still is impertinent to the performance. Why? Well to start with the persona of the character need not be anything like the persona of the actor.

A better equation would be along the lines that the performer should believe in THE VALUE OF their product(the show as entertaining for the audience) so their enthusiasm for the material will help both the audience and their bookings.

:)
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 7, 2006 06:48PM)
Thanks Jon. I think there I was seeing magic as the product that the magician sells.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 7, 2006 09:41PM)
Dave, I'm second in line for the book, unless I can trick you out of first place.

And another thing... it took me an entire hour to read page 11 of this thread. Why are you guys going round and round on lies and truth? What gives? Give your definition of magic and get on with it. Please.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 7, 2006 09:54PM)
Patrick, have you actualy been to a forum before? Besides, the definition we are arguing about now is one that refered to magic as a lie. We are still on definitions.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 7, 2006 10:24PM)
[quote]Patrick, have you actualy been to a forum before?[/quote]

Your air of assumed superiority means nothing to me.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 02:16AM)
Nothing to do with superiority. More to do with the round and round thing being status quo for any forum.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 02:16AM)
It seems to me, that if anyone is interested in discussing the issues that have been raised by my proposed theory of magic, that we should begin at the simplest and most basic part of the theory. The whole thing stands or falls on this.

If we agree that the essential ingredient of any magic trick is the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true, then we can leave that and move on to the next step of my theory, which concerns the creation of the dilemma.

If we are not agreed on this, then we need to reach an understanding of our differences, so that we can see why our understandings and beliefs about magic have led us in different directions.

It is useless to talk about any of the other things in my theory if we can not agree on this, since my whole theory is based on this single realization.

So I will be very interested in discussing and hearing various viewpoints on this one single topic, until we get some kind of resolution, but I don't think I want to discuss things further if no one wants to stick to the specifics.

Does anyone not agree with the central premise?

I will restate it:

[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]

Can you give an example of a trick that does not intentionally contain such a logical fallacy?

Then we would have something to discuss. Put up or shut up. ;)


Posted: May 8, 2006 3:50am
---------------------------------------------
BTW: This discussion so far has already been very valuable, if not to anyone else, at least to me.

I have been forced by the objections and discussions above to reword my basic statement of my theory--the new formulation is the one stated in my last post.

This is a great help, and I think a great improvement.

Thanks to everyone.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 8, 2006 02:55AM)
Awaking from a late nite Café dream coversation with Whit...this is all I can remember...


Bilwonder: Does any one have a description of San Jose..

Whit: Do you know the way to San Jose? I'm working on a map to show the way. It's just one big left turn followed by a series of Right turns.

Bilwonder: That's a great map! But what is San Jose?

Whit: It's the place at the end of the big left turn and series of Rights.

Bilwonder: What can you tell me about the place though.

Whit: It's a twin city where ping pong is popular. But what's important is it the place at the end the big left turn followed by a series of right turns.

Bilwonder: I think I know the place. It sounds familiar. I think I stumble onto through a patch of woods...

Whit: No, that's not the same place. You can't get there through the woods. The only way to get there from here is one big left turn and then a series of rights...

Bilwonder: But I'm sure it's the same place. Describe it a bit more..

Whit: I did. It's the place at the end of the big left turn and several right turns. The place isn't as important as how you get there. The place doesn't even really exist.

Bilwonder: Ah..it doesn't exist? How do I know when I've got there?
Whit: It's the place after the big left turn and a series of rights. The place actually exists, but you can't get there from here. We are only talking about how to get there from here.

Bilwonder: What about that ping pong place you mentioned? That place sure sounds familiar. Isn't that where I used to go as a child...

Whit: Stop chasing rainbows. There is no other road to get there. If you didn't take this road, you must be in some other place. You want to prove my road is no good, then just find another road.

Bilwonder: I think your road is fine. I just thought the place sounded familiar and I was looking for a better description of it.

Whit: You just have to know that if you take another road you won't arrive in the same place. You can take a bus, a car, a bike or any form of transportation you like, just stay on the road...

Bilwonder: To where?

Whit: Don't worry about that. The place doesn't really exist (except perhaps behind the science lab...but you can't get there from here)! Let's not keep repeating ourselves!

-----------------------------------

Whit, you didn't respond to my last posts examples of "the magic of unexpected phenomena" and the examples I gave there. I'm sure we can think of others. Of course magicians enhance such phenomena to extend the effects, but this doesn't exclude it's raw power.

If you begin with the definition that magic does not exist, you will never arrive there.Patrick raised an interesting question by focusing on the "ping pong" effect needing the strength of "two walls" (i.e. "magic" vs "logic").

I keep saying that "magic" happens at the spectators sense of limitations. Jonathon calls this a "meta" experience which makes a lot of sense to me (although I don't fully understand all he may mean by it). If we recognize that 'magic" is real as a transformational state of mind, then we can take people there. If we think "magic" exists only as an appendage to another world view (spiritism, occult, psychic phenomena, Voodoo...etc) we begin to destroy the "ping pong" effect by giving an explanation. Only an explanation that can not be accepted will suffice to bring people into a "magical" state of mind" (for lack of a better word).

For example, many Christians already hold to a supernatural world view. There is no "ping pong" effect if you prove the supernatural to them. This is not where their sense of limitation lies. If you wish to create the "ping pong" effect in someone with an already supernatural world view, you have to understand what they think is not possible. In the case of the Christian, they do not think "mere" humans can do certain things without the aid of a good or evil spirit. In this case you need to first find a way to establish you do not use "outside help" (or as Danny Archer puts it "I work alone"). The 'ping pong" effect here begins and so does the transformational state of mind that begins to question it's sense of limitations. If all of us could have whatever we wanted with the snap of the fingers, we would all gather to see the magician who whose birth defect left him powerless, yet still created miracles. We would expand our minds in wonder trying to grasp such a thing.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 8, 2006 03:42AM)
“If we agree that the essential ingredient of any magic trick is the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true, then we can leave that and move on to the next step of my theory.”

I think I would agree if you could explain "with that" the difference between a trick and “magic” trick for me.

Trick: a cunning or deceitful action or device; "he played a trick
on me"; "he pulled a fast one and got away with it"
[syn: fast one]
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 03:44AM)
[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]

Bilwonder:

What part of this don't you agree with?

There is of course much more to magic than this, and that is what is to be built on this foundation.

But this is the distiguishing element that separates magic from all other art forms.

I do not believe this occurs in any other form of art, and I think it is inevitably a part of any magic presentation.

Otherwise, the magic that we perform would be indistinguishable from a theatrical or literary depiction of magic such as would be found in a Harry Potter movie or book, a stage production of Peter Pan, or a cartoon of Wendy the Witch.

None of your above post is very helpful in this particular discussion.

Only if we stick to discussing one point at a time can we avoid going around and around as you suggested that we were doing.

If you agree with the formulation above, let's move on. If not, why?


Tommy:

Your point is good, but for that reason I reformulated the statement without the loaded word "trick." There is an older meaning of trick that simply meant "a particularly handsome or clever device."
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 8, 2006 08:41AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 04:44, Whit Haydn wrote:
[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]
[/quote]

I agree with this formulation as a starting point; I think it goes hand in hand with the truism "Confusion is not magic" (Vernon?) The "clearer" it is that what the spectator has seen is impossible, the more magical it will seem, other things being equal. Almost all card sleights and subtleties, for example, are built on reinforcing one of three false premises:

1. I don't know what your card is. (marked deck, memorized deck, glimpse, force, etc.)

2. I don't know where your card is. (pass, side steal, crimp, shift, etc.)

3. You think you know what THIS card is, but you don't. (top change, double lift, flustration count, etc.)



I'm reminded of a situation that happened at a magic shop owned be a friend of mine. A woman in her 30s walked in with her daughter, who was maybe 5. My friend, who is also a full-time working pro, did a basic coin vanish...it floored the mom, but didn't do much for the little girl. Her mom said, "Did you see that, Cindy?! The quarter disappeared!" The little girl literally shrugged her shoulders and said, "That's why they call it the magic shop!"

It's the cerebral knowledge that what is being seen is "impossible," and the schism between that and the sensoral perception that what they've seen IS what they've seen, that creates the magic. And it's the syllogism that Whit is describing that creates the knowledge of "impossibility." A flawed syllogism leads to either confusion or non-magical alternative explanations. And if you present a valid syllogism (i.e. the conclusion must flow from the premises), then the only way to get the "wrong" answer is to include a flawed premise. By "wrong" answer, I mean logical, i.e. the card in an ambitious routine cannot be back on top of the deck. If the premise ("I'm placing your card into the middle of the deck") weren't false, their perception about the final state wouldn't be wrong. Of course, you could do a pass, but then they're buying a different false premise: 1) I'm placing your card in the middle of the deck. 2) And I'm not further manipulating the cards. 3) So your card must still be in the middle of the deck. But ploase, let's leave #2 as an unspoken premise.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 8, 2006 08:58AM)
Ours is the craft of realizing stories wherein magic happens. Just as actors offer simulated emotional contexts, we offer simulated magical events. Our craft is a proper subset of theater and we as performers present characters which are somehow involved with supernatural forces.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 8, 2006 10:09AM)
Whit, staying in line with your re-stated/ improved version of your definition of magic (or starting point) I'm for starting a new thread on the same topic. Or when and if you feel comfortable that part one has been fairly reconciled can we start an expansion thread for "part two"?

I am particulary inyterested in re-examining all or most of the definitons offered by others.

I think I can prove that many of us are saying the same thing in regards to what magic is but are so stuck with our our "mental pictures" or "meta models" that we fail to see that many of us are saying the same thing but with different wording, and a different emotional/ retorical attachment to those ways of phrasing our definitions.

- Mark
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 12:02PM)
[quote]

[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]

[/quote]

I dispute the use of the words "not true" at the end and the use of the word "prove". First of all, I have never seen a magician attempt to honestly "prove" anything. Magic is a morality play. A display of living dreams. Secondly "not true" is a very harsh way of saying it. If you show something, display it, how can it not be true? There it is, right before your eyes. Likewise, who are we to say what is "true" and what is not. True and False are like using statistics to make an arguement. Two senators presenting completely correct information that tells us the perfectly oposite things. Things that are by their very nature contradictory, and yet neither one lies. You look up the records for the statistics that they give and both are acurate. Seems imporssible, and yet it happens all the time. How? It's the elephant and the blind men all over again. Perception is reality.

There you go Whit, work with that and tell me what you come up with.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 8, 2006 12:22PM)
Drew, Whit has already addressed these kinds of questions, as well as stated above that those who disagree with the basic premise of this argrument, should try their best to come up with an EXAMPLE of an effect or trick which proves the theory wrong.

He has also stated that this definition is basis of his theories.

I'd like to see what else he has to say. There is no point in trying to twist his words arround and bring up points that are not relevant to the definition.

He challenged anyone to sight an example. You and others are just confusing matters more by dancing arround his words and trying to form some sense out of nothing.

Magic is a morality play?

A display of living dreams?

You are off topic and confusing the issue.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 12:39PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 13:22, cinemagician wrote:
Drew, Whit has already addressed these kinds of questions, as well as stated above that those who disagree with the basic premise of this argrument, should try their best to come up with an EXAMPLE of an effect or trick which proves the theory wrong.

He has also stated that this definition is basis of his theories.

I'd like to see what else he has to say. There is no point in trying to twist his words arround and bring up points that are not relevant to the definition.

He challenged anyone to sight an example. You and others are just confusing matters more by dancing arround his words and trying to form some sense out of nothing.

Magic is a morality play?

A display of living dreams?

You are off topic and confusing the issue.
[/quote]

Wow, you've realy got the soul of a poet don't you? Just because you don't understand what I am saying, does not mean I am off topic. How is magic not a morality play? What criteria of a morality play do you feel that magic does not meet? Do you know what a morality play is?

The "display of living dreams" was ment to be a pretty way of saying fantasy, just stories. Sorry, didn't mean to throw you off with all them flowerdy purty words.

I'm not confusing the issue. The issue was confused already. It came pre-confused. Don't try puting the blame on me.
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 8, 2006 12:59PM)
So according to Drew there is a morality play inherent in magic.

What is message of the Linking Rings? How about Cups and Balls? How about WTF? Hippity-Hop Rabbits?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 01:25PM)
How is magic different from a morality play, Drew? What distinguishes magic from other forms of live performance? Is juggling magic? Is standup comedy magic? Is a Harry Potter movie magic? Is anytime we tell a story about a witch magic? Is magic "identical" to these other forms of expression?

If so, then the magic that we practice is just a form of special effect or transitional device. If you only want to depict a believable representation of the existence of magic--a simulcrum--so that the mind's eye can be expanded with the possibilities of magic, then I think you can do that on a much grander scale and with a lot more effectiveness in literature, stage and film.

Why pick our puny special effects and compare them to CGI or other film and stage effects? Nowadays it is easy to create stage effects much more convincing than can be done by magic--as long as you do not have the need to "prove" to the audience that what is happening is "really happening" right now.

And even if I grant you the broad definition you want, you have not included the other types of magic that I have in your definition--it needs to be broader. What do you call Fraudulent Science, Fake mentalism, and so forth? When these are presented as entertainment, without the intent of charlatanry, I think they are the same form of entertainment as "Fake Magic."

I think you seem to object to the statement that "there is no such thing as magic?" That is not a philosophical statement, but the creation of the thing you call limitations. The important thing is that the spectator can not shake the possibility that what he has just been shown isn't really what it appears. The dilemma can be formulated many different ways, as I have said in my posts above: "There is no such thing as Teleportation" or even "This particular guy is not doing real magic." That is something we can discuss, but this is not the time. That comes next.

If you can think of a performance piece of magic (something that you, or I, or someone that calls himself a magician might do) that does not contain this false syllogism, then lets talk about that.

You said: "First of all, I have never seen a magician attempt to honestly "prove" anything." I find that hard to believe. Why does a magician show his hands empty, put a hoop over a girl, have a sword examined, have a deck shuffled, etc., etc., if he is not trying to prove something? You said that if someone sees something, it is true for them--I find that not so. I often question the evidence of my eyes and other senses, and even my logical brain. Only a naive idiot would go through life accepting as true everything that is demonstrated to him. Fraud and deceit may be uncommon in nature, but among my fellow men, it is way too common.

Would you say that there is no difference between someone seeming to pass a test of ESP abilities by cheating, and one who passes the test without cheating?

I find your statements very amorphous, grandiose, and so far, rather inapplicable.

I do not make rainbows, or mirages, or many of the other examples you spoke about from nature.

Let's talk narrowly about what it is we (magicians) do. Otherwise it is useless to talk at all. You are confusing people by not being precise and considering one thing at a time.

If the statement of the central argument is confusing--and I don't believe it is--then help me restate it so that it is clearer. If it is wrong, tell me where. I am willing to discuss my theory with you one on one, step by step.

But if you only want to talk about your theory of magic, then let us drop off talking about my theory and discuss yours.

For that, you will need to start with the minimal definition, or description of what it is that you think we magicians do, that is distinct and different from other forms of theater. If we are not different, then the study of magic as a separate thing is meaningless. We should all study writing, drama and film, or special effects, etc. What is it that you say defines our work?

Anyone else, that wants to carry on and get deeper into my theory--it eventually explains a lot about the best ways to accomplish certain things--just tell me whether you can accept the first central statement. Once we are agreed on that, we can move on.

Perhaps, Drew, it would be better for you to start a new thread concerning your ideas about magic. I am not trying to push you off this thread, or take over this thread, but I have already committed a lot of time and work to posting the basis of my theory here, and would hate to have to start from scratch (my pardon) somewhere else.

Your theory sounds very encompassing, Drew. I hope to see the magic that comes out of it sometime.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 8, 2006 01:42PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 03:16, Whit Haydn wrote:
[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]
[/quote]

Perfect!

Kregg
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 02:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 13:59, Kenn Capman wrote:
So according to Drew there is a morality play inherent in magic.

What is message of the Linking Rings? How about Cups and Balls? How about WTF? Hippity-Hop Rabbits?
[/quote]
Well removing two things I strongly believe. 1 it's not about the effects and 2. The lesson that the boundries might not be what we think they are, inherent in every effect ever created. Let's be a bit more specific.

Linking Rings - Even the unending has a transitive nature.
Cups and Balls - To have and have not. Everything you have is that others do not have.
WTF - Don't know that one, and you wouldn't be surprised what a search for it yields.
Hippity Hop Rabbits - Not very familiar with that one. Isn't it actualy a story?

@Whit - Why are you debating points seperately that function as a complete thought?

[quote]What distinguishes magic from other forms of live performance?[/quote]
Very little. Pretty much everything in life is magic. Crowley said "Magic is the act of causing thing to occour using ones will". Think about it. That's pretty much anything.What makes our magic different from the other forms? Details. Little points of style. Boundries we put with the definition of what we do for estetic reasons. Most words have multiple defenitions.

[quote]What do you call Fraudulent Science, Fake mentalism, and so forth? When these are presented as entertainment, without the intent of charlatanry, I think they are the same form of entertainment as "Fake Magic." [/quote]

If presented as entertainment, how are they NOT what we do? Why would you try to seperate things that are the same. Why do you want special words for things that are identical? Aren't you a big fan of the short con? Don't you demonstrate them for purely entertainment purposes?

[quote]You said: "First of all, I have never seen a magician attempt to honestly "prove" anything." I find that hard to believe. Why does a magician show his hands empty, put a hoop over a girl, have a sword examined, have a deck shuffled, etc., etc., if he is not trying to prove something? You said that if someone sees something, it is true for them--I find that not so. I often question the evidence of my eyes and other senses, and even my logical brain. Only a naive idiot would go through life accepting as true everything that is demonstrated to him. Fraud and deceit may be uncommon in nature, but among my fellow men, it is way too common.[/quote]

Which is of course, all part of the act. If they actualy wanted to PROVE these things, is that how they would go about it? It is a literary method to help suspend disbelief, nothing else. If he/she were honestly trying to prove it, why would they be on stage? Why would they call themselves magicians, thus disproving every proof they attempt within the confines of their performance?

[quote]Would you say that there is no difference between someone seeming to pass a test of ESP abilities by cheating, and one who passes the test without cheating? [/quote]

I would say the difference, and it is a very important difference, would be motive.

[quote]For that, you will need to start with the minimal definition, or description of what it is that you think we magicians do, that is distinct and different from other forms of theater. If we are not different, then the study of magic as a separate thing is meaningless. We should all study writing, drama and film, or special effects, etc. What is it that you say defines our work? [/quote]

For the most part, there should be very very little difference between what we do, and what any other form of artisit does. Medium should be the only thing at all to distinguish us from other artists. We should hold ourselves to the same ethical and philisophical standards as the greatest of any other art. We should strive to achieve the same varieties of divinity in everything we do. The medium gives us an excuse for another name, there is no flaw in that. Magic is not acting. Acting is not painting. Painting is not singing. The only difference between them, however, is the medium of the art. The goal is certainly the same.

[quote]Your theory sounds very encompassing, Drew. I hope to see the magic that comes out of it sometime.[/quote]

Have not the great thinkers of humanity thought in broad terms. Not to insinuate I am one, but I hope to be. If I'm going to walk that path, should I not use their roadmap? I hope to show you my humble workings some day, but like many others, I work poorly before other magicians.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 8, 2006 02:14PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 13:39, JackScratch wrote:

[/quote]

Wow, you've realy got the soul of a poet don't you? Just because you don't understand what I am saying, does not mean I am off topic. How is magic not a morality play? What criteria of a morality play do you feel that magic does not meet? Do you know what a morality play is?

The "display of living dreams" was ment to be a pretty way of saying fantasy, just stories. Sorry, didn't mean to throw you off with all them flowerdy purty words.

[/quote]

I do understand what you are saying. And indeed the presentation of magic can encompass many of the elements you allude to and more.

The last thing I'd ever want to do is silence one's poetic voice or limit the ways in which one can express himself.

Perhaps You'll Save some of these ideas for later. For the time being they are off topic.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 8, 2006 02:23PM)
[quote]On 2006-05-08 03:16, Whit Haydn wrote:
Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.
[/quote]

Makes sense to me Whit.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 02:32PM)
Drew:

Ok. What distinguishes the "medium" of magic from juggling, acting or standup comedy. Define the MEDIUM of magic.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 02:36PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 15:32, Whit Haydn wrote:
Drew:

Ok. What distinguishes the "medium" of magic from juggling, acting or standup comedy. Define the MEDIUM of magic.
[/quote]

That's an easy one. Our medium is the boundries of reality as percieved by our society, and the expanding of them.

Much cleaner than oils.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 02:54PM)
"Our medium is the boundries of reality as percieved by our society, and the expanding of them."

That may be a goal of magic. It is not a description of the medium.

The medium would be the form itself. What is the form of magic? How is magic different from say a theatrical depiction of magic as in the Harry Potter movie?

What is unique about the medium of magic? How is it different from, say, an artistic medium like "acting?"
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 03:01PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 15:54, Whit Haydn wrote:
That may be a goal. It is not a description of the medium.
[/quote]

Well, no, the real discription of our medium is "Cards, Coins, Assorted props and objects of all shapes and sizes.". But somehow I don't feel that realy gets what I was attempting to say across very well. Actualy, my previous statement would realy be the goal of any art, wouldn't it? I realy don't feel that the differences between magic and, just for the sake of discussion, acting are nearly as important as the similarities. Magic is different from "Harry Potter" because "Harry Potter" is cinima. It uses film as it's medium, and all the tools associated with film. Acting is a little different. Magic has a lot more in common with acting than it does cinema. They share many of the same tools, but I suppose the biggest difference between the two would be Acting attempts to show reality, Magic attempts to change it. I know that's not realy the medium, but it is the difference.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 03:07PM)
Those are props not the medium. Actors have props. It is not their medium. "Acting" is the medium.

The attempt to "change reality" is also a goal, not a medium. You said that the only thing separating magic from theater is the medium. What did you mean?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 03:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 16:07, Whit Haydn wrote:
Those are props not the medium. Actors have props. It is not their medium. "Acting" is the medium.
[/quote]

Well then touche'. If you can say acting is an actors medium, why then may I not say that Magic is the magicians medium, and thus the difference?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 03:17PM)
I can describe the medium of acting. Can you describe the medium of magic?

I am not trying to be difficult. I am trying to understand what you are saying.

I can accept that in your theory, the goal of magic is "to change reality" or to "expand the boundaries of reality."

What does that mean? What does that look like? How do you go about accomplishing that? That would be the medium.

If the only thing that separates magic from film is the goal of changing or expanding the boundaries of reality for the audience, then I don't see any distinct skills or tools for the magician to study from those of the film artist or stage actor.

In fact, I don't see that the goal itself is distiguishable from film's goal.

If this is what you meant to say, then there is no point to the discussion. Magic and Film are the same as artistic media.

You can say somdthing like, "Magic is the attempt to use coins, cards and other small props to expand the boundaries of reality for the audience." But that could also describe what an actor does as he uses his guns, swords, or other props to create a "new reality."
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 03:23PM)
No, said that part wrong., You are absolutely correct about Expanding boundries being the goal of not just movies, acting, and ,magic, but realy all art forms.

There is a flaw in what you are saying though. Screen actors act, just as stage actors do, yet they are different art forms. Not different because of what you are calling their medium, and yet we say they are different mediums. Please explain how acting is the medium of the stage, and if so, how stage and screen are two different mediums dispite using the same medium. I will then be able to clarify my position in terms we can agree upon.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 03:31PM)
Acting is the medium of the actor. That is the medium he studies and for both technique and philosophy there are many deep and competing ways of looking at the medium for him to study.

Film acting is a slightly different medium than stage acting, but the overall philosophies of acting apply to either one. The specifics of larger versus smaller--theater versus film performances--are largely tactical rather than strategic or philosophical differences.

Film and theater are also artistic media. When a cinematic director operates, his medium is film, and he uses an actor simply as a tool. The medium is film, and the actor is just a skilled performer to be used. The same would be true for a dancer, whose medium is dance, but who is being utilized by the director in the director's medium, film.

Some theatrical or film productions might even use a magician as a tool. In that case the rules of magic are subsumed under the rules of theater, at least according to Maskelyne and Devant. The use of magic for establishing the "Devil" in "Dam' Yankees" would be an example.

When an actor, magician, or dancer is used in a stage production or film, they must subsume some of their medium under the larger umbrella--their own personal vision and artistic needs must be limited by the needs of the overall production. The director's vision is the one that goes out to the audience. The dancer might know how to do things differently, and take the audience to a deeper place, but if it doesn't accomplish what the play's director wants, it will not be shown.

What is the medium of the magician? How does he go about accomplishing his goal? What rules of art might he have to compromise in order to subordinate his medium to the overall success of the play?

How is his true medium given greater expression on its own? What is it that he gives fuller attention to, and is able to explore at greater depth when the magician himself is the sole or controlling artistic voice?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 8, 2006 03:44PM)
A picture is worth ten thousand words! By any chance have any of you guys got a picture of it?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 03:45PM)
The to say magic is the medium of the magician would be correct. Magic being, in this particular case, the reshaping of the perception of reality by visual demonstration in a manner that can be, and most often is viewed in a live setting.

Better?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 03:46PM)
Tommy: This is Drew's picture. I am just trying to understand it myself.

"The reshaping of the perception of reality by visual demonstration in a manner that can be, and most often is viewed in a live setting."

Okay, Drew.

By "reshaping of the perception of reality," do you mean "altering" the spectator's reality in some way--convincing him that something he thought was true isn't--or do you mean something else? What?

What is "a visual demonstration?" Demonstration of what?

Take the prop and illusion device of the trick guillotine. Is its use in a play like "Tale of Two Cities" or a movie like "Two on a Guillotine" the same as its use in a magic show? Are there any differences in the way it would be presented? Do different rules apply?
Message: Posted by: saxmangeoff (May 8, 2006 03:56PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 03:16, Whit Haydn wrote:
[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]
[/quote]

I think this is pretty good, but perhaps a bit sterile. There's a little bit more to magic than simply proving a lie. I would say it's more like demonstrating an impossibility. It's a lie to say that my car is blue. (It's red.) It's magic to turn my red car blue with a wave of my hand.

That said, I have found the "magic as syllogism" theory to be VERY helpful to me personally. I think it really distinguishes "conjuring" from "theatrical magic." When Peter Pan and Harry Potter fly, there's nothing to prove. They can fly in the stories, so when they fly, it's simply accepted. That's where the "suspension of disbelief" comes in. I think magic is more of a "confrontation of disbelief." When David Copperfield flies, he goes to extra steps to "prove" that he's flying, and not hanging from wires, or supported by a hidden platform, or whatever. Peter Pan doesn't do these things, because he doesn't need to.

So, I vote that the definition is a good one, though it might be strengthened to explain that were doing a little bit more than just proving something not true.

Geoff
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 04:08PM)
We are doing a LOT more than that, Geoff. If you look at my earlier posts, you will see how much more I think we are doing than that.

But, we have to start somewhere, and build a foundation of which everyone can agree.

The foundation of my theory is simply the realization that this syllogism is the "distinguishing" mark of magic--(a) it does not appear in other art forms, and (b) it is always present in magic. This is what distinguishes magic from other media.

There are many direct assumptions we can make from this, that can be used to establish the goals and methods of magic.

But for the time being, we are trying to understand Drew's competing vision of magic. I would rather try and get a better handle on what he is trying to say than talk about my own theory right now. It is confusing to discuss both at the same time.

Only by taking one statement at a time, and examining and defining all the words will we know whether he is trying to say the same thing in different words or has a completely original and different way of looking at magic. Both would be valuable endeavors. I would rather pursue that as long as Drew is interested than move on with rest of my ideas.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 8, 2006 04:13PM)
"Science and the Laws of the Universe are not decided by a "show of hand"... the final word on everything is handed to the independent arbiter... the Universe itself through "experiment".
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 04:25PM)
There are no completely independent arbiters. There may be truth in the universe, maybe not. Maybe we can know the truth, or at least know there is a truth. Maybe we can only hope and believe there is something other than final chaos.

But that is not really the topic. We are talking about David Copperfield flying, and Blaine putting his hand through a glass window, and that darn card ending up sealed inside the envelope. It's not brain surgery. It is not God and the Devil. It is card tricks.

I think it is of the utmost urgency and importance, but that is what makes me so warped.

Magic is the joke we make about how easily "independent arbiters" and "scientific experiments" and other supposedly "empirical evidence" can be deliberately fraudulent.

It is a game of sophistry, a grown up and sophisticated game, that is meant (among other things) to remind us how easily we can all be had.

There are only two kinds of people in the world, suckers and those that can be had. We can all be had. A sucker is that special idiot who will bet you 50 bucks he can't be had. Magicians are among us to remind us that we can all be had, so we don't become suckers.

That is not all there is to magic. It has many more goals and values--some of which I discussed in earlier posts.

But it is a valuable part of the gift magic brings.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 8, 2006 04:33PM)
We can experiment with your theory in the real world and see if it works, if we can't it is useless.

If it does not work we can come back and tell you that's just what it is. :)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 04:44PM)
I should certainly hope so. And if you find out a better thing, bring that back and share with me...

Magic has many more goals and values--some of which I discussed in earlier posts.

I think magic doesn't expand the boundaries of our reality so much as it helps us to become more comfortable with lateral and creative modes of thinking, and more flexible in being able to be comfortable in the presence of paradox and a little fuzzier reality.

This is simply a way to help our minds become more "evolved" and more mature--able to deal with reality as it is, and not how we would like it to be. The universe is filled with dilemma, uncertainty, and paradox. Magic helps us to realize that that is okay and helps us to live comfortably with it.

You can occasionally see the people for whom paradox is unacceptable. They have so ossified the boxes and categories in their minds, and have such a need for control and security, that they can not tolerate magic. They will tell you. "I hate magic. I can never figure out how it is done." We can easily blow up the boxes. The hardest part is making them like it.

Our psychic surgery must be painless and even pleasant.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 8, 2006 04:50PM)
I trust you Whit I am sure you road tested it all and it is all road worthy. :)



I must be going soft in the head! Did I just buy a used car from Whit?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 05:03PM)
;)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 07:10PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-08 16:46, Whit Haydn wrote:
"The reshaping of the perception of reality by visual demonstration in a manner that can be, and most often is viewed in a live setting."

Okay, Drew.

By "reshaping of the perception of reality," do you mean "altering" the spectator's reality in some way--convincing him that something he thought was true isn't--or do you mean something else? What?[/quote]

Well, I mean that, but a little less specificly. Don't think of it as turning the stone walls of reality into water. Think of it as turning the stone walls of reality into Jello. That maybe things aren't as certain and defined as perhaps they thought they were. The idea that reality is set in stone is a foolish one. Our reality changes all the time. When the map said "here there be monsters" it was true. People didn't come back from those places. Then the wild was tamed. Reality changed. It's a lesson to question everything you know to be true, because it probably isn't.

[quote]What is "a visual demonstration?" Demonstration of what?[/quote]

A demonstration of the flexability of reality. You visualy see something you know to be impossible, yet there it is, right before your eyes. Perception is reality. The only existance is the one we percieve. Unless that perception is changed, then that is your reality, and I think our inability to get along as a human race is proof that no two people percieve things the same way. Yet for each and every one of us, the reality we percieve is the only one.

[quote]Take the prop and illusion device of the trick guillotine. Is its use in a play like "Tale of Two Cities" or a movie like "Two on a Guillotine" the same as its use in a magic show? Are there any differences in the way it would be presented? Do different rules apply?
[/quote]

I think the only rules that apply to this are the ones set up by the various artists of either field. As such, in the play, Madame Guillotine falls and as expected, the character dies. Reality as percieved by the audience is reinforced. Expectations are met. As magicians, the exact opposite is the norm. When the blade comes down, reality as percieved by the audience, is defied. The subject of the execution is either unharmed, or returned to a whole and unharmed state. Here, the difference is the goal. What the artist is attempting to take to the audience. That's why a lot of people had trouble with the Central American magician who ended his "sawing a woman in half" with a supposed dead assistant. What he was showing was realy more of a dramatic performance, than a magic one. I'm not so wrapped up in titles and words that I would demand he not be called a magician, but it realy was something different.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 8, 2006 07:29PM)
Jack Scratch wrote:
[quote]
"You visualy see something you know to be impossible, yet there it is, right before your eyes."
[/quote]

Sounds a lot like the second part of my theory, concerning the dilemma--"There is no such thing as magic/There is no other explanation."

Jack Scratch wrote:
[quote]
That maybe things aren't as certain and defined as perhaps they thought they were.
[/quote]

That is the effect of the false syllogism on the mind. It is forced to accept a dilemma, a paradox about reality.

The spectator knows that "There is no such thing as magic ("they see something they know to be impossible")/There is no other explanation ("Things might not be as certain and defined as perhaps they thought they were")"

These things are incompatable concepts, and the result is a mental conflict where the mind jumps back and forth between the two horns of the dilemma trying to resolve the paradox.

Since the paradox cannot be resolved rationally--by deductive logic--the spectator is forced to try to invent the trick. Since he does not have the knowledge of the specialized science of deception needed to create the effect, he can never "invent" the trick.

But the process requires many "what ifs" and creative, lateral problem solving--his solutions might never satisfy him, nevertheless they may be very creative and even ingenious (The linking rings have magnets).

If he can't come up with any explanation that satisfies him, he is forced to consider the other possibility--maybe it is real magic. This brings him into a reverie of "what ifs" about the possibility that magic is real might evoke in the mind.

The reverie of wonder includes the fountain of creative thought generated by both sides of the dilemma, not just one.

To keep it going, we have to goad the spectator away from the solution "Magic must be real, after all," for that would break the tension that we intend to create in the mind, and resolve the dilemma.

The spectator basically lets you either change or confirm their own world view, and can go about his business with an uncluttered and neatly boxed up mind.

This should not be allowed. ;)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 8, 2006 08:05PM)
Then why did you disagree with me?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 8, 2006 08:36PM)
There is no reality
There is only your reality
Your reality is not consistant
There are lots of people
Each has their own reality
Shared reality is not simple
No model of shared reality can be consistant

Would you believe there is no such thing as a completly consistant language in which you can express arrithmatic and logic?

The more you know about some things, the less you can know about others.

Some of us ignore the large unspeakable animal.
Some of us think it's a wall and try to hang pictures on its horns.
Some of us accept the animal, feed it, and live with it.

Does the elephant really turn from a tree into a snake then into a wall than into a carpet hanging on a fence?

Magic sure makes a nice patch to put over the holes in our stories or a bridge to connect the things we like.

Just a few thoughts on the topic.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 8, 2006 08:58PM)
Whit, I'm sorry you don't see the application or value of what I'm saying. I thought I was directly addressing your statements. You asked for examples, but haven't addressed examples I already gave. I will try to restate more precisely.

"Magic is the special branch of performance art..."
This much, I am in full agreement. Among other performing arts, ours has a special goal not shared by the others. We don't ask for "suspension of disbelief," but tackle them "head on." Magic can too often be swallowed up by theatre, becoming a mere special F/X.

"that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true."

I will give you, that performers of magic attempt to create a logical argument " in the mind of the spectator." We note this as the "ping pong" effect. However, I'm not sure that
1) the syllogism you present is the ONLY way this happens.
2) Nor do I believe this formula alone produces "magic."

Let me explain.
Regarding point #1)
"the syllogism you present as the ONLY way this happens."

I) "The magic of unexpected phenomena"- Magic in which there is no direct deception. Everything is as it appears, however, the spectator is sent into a "ping pong" dileama because his sense of limitation has been struck. Of course this happens in physics all the time, but performers use it also.

Examples:

A) When the magician demonstrates "invulnerability" by pounding a nail into his face. This sets off the same logical problem without the deception.

B) Flash Paper- Vanishes without a trace. With no deceit, many can't fathom that ANY such paper should not vanish leaving nothing behind.

C) Illusions such as the "Blade Box" and "Sword Basket" initially use not direct deception. What is seen is actually happening. However, deception occurs because the spectator's spacial sense is challenged. Now, in most current cases, magicians have ADDED a false argument (with paint and patter) to heighten and/or extend the effect (this is especially true for the Zig Zag). But the "magic" is one that happens naturally in most cases and can be "happened upon" in nature without the "intention of a performer." Indeed there is a "logic Problem," but not necessarily one with a direct "lie."

II) "The magic of spectacle" I mentioned before I think can be seen both ways. You can read into such the presentation of a "lie" or "proving the untrue" or you may see it more as the magic of "unexpected phenomena."
Example:

A) Silk fountain (excluding a steal, the actual fountain presents what is really happening. The magic happens when the spectator refuses to accept it CAN happen this way.

B) Airborne Glass, Chair Suspension, SuperX...
I wouldn't try to too strongly defend these against your syllogism, however, because something IS hid.

Yet, as mere spectacle they can be presented without formal argument. In other words, this same "trick of nature" can occur away from the performers intentions and inserting or deleting the performers intention of constructing the argument does not change the effect. In other word, spectators assist by supplying "meaning" to what they see so as to create their OWN argument. Because of this these type of illusions often find their way into parades, artworks and "Ripleys'" displays as well as magic performances.



Regarding point #2
"This formula alone does not produce "magic."
This doesn't not disprove the formula. I may be talking about the "exceptions that prove the rule." The formula is a ground breaking rule, but other things must me acknowledged for it to be "magic."
Context.

You have placed the syllogism as merely a sub category of the "performing arts." That is one context. However, we need to consider the context of the spectators "frame of reference" or "set of limitations" for there to be magic. You have acknowledge the "Magic" is also a larger context than our own "performing Art." It is the achievement of this "state of mind" or this more uniquely "being in more than one mind" that is "magic." if this goal is not part of our definition, then are "art" is nothing more than the performance of a certain type of "logic problem." BEYOND the problem lies the "Magic."
Examples":
A)Those with an already "supernatural" world view will not see "magic" until you find what there particular set of "limitations" are (such as "I work alone").

B) Those whose culture is so sophisticated they don't perceive the same set of limitations you do. Your magic has a "null" effect even though the deception works. I read today of new designer clothes being made that have integrated micro-technology to change color to suit you from day to day. How does the color changing fare in such an age? The very same presentation with different results.

C) Those who are not logically developed with a set of perceived "limitations" (toddlers, or mentally disable are only a couple examples of perhaps many other kinds). In other words, "under sophisticated."


To further explain, in the logic problem, once the fault in the problem has been discovered, the magic is gone. Yet, in some cases I find this not to be true. Once I discover the secret of the retention pass, for example, the magic is over...or is it? I still find such well performed sleight "magical." NOT in that I marvel at the SKILL of the performer (though I may), BUT in trying to "wrap my mind around" the fact that It REALLY DID look like "the coin went to his hand" EVEN though I keep telling my self it's just a sleight. I have to KEEP talking to that part of my mind that perceives in a kind of argument. It's hard to accept my eye can be fooled so convincingly.

So there Whit, I've tried to give the examples you've asked and relate them to the topic of "our performing art" (which I thought I was all along). I hope you fully appreciate the nuances I'm describing. And they are only that. I'm not challenging the validity of your formula, but seeing it in both a broader ("Magic") and more specific (each spectator's) context.

P.s. As a side note to magic being a "morality play"...
I think it is akin to "learning from nature" in that
"If you take nature as a teacher... " (or magic),
"...she will teach you exactly the lessons you had already decided to learn." --C.S. Lewis

And again, Thank you Whit for all of your input so far.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 06:11AM)
A man cannot observe the impossible. It must be possible or he did not observe what he thought he observed. Knowing that, when a man observes what he thought was impossible he is faced with the fact that he either believes he has been deceived or alters his belief in what he thought was possible.
He attributes the cause of the seemingly impossible to either the skill of the magician or to a force known as magic.

Take the magician out of that equation and the effects he observes are attributed by him to the effects of natural forces that he is aware of. If he can not associate the effects he observes with any force that he is aware of he might as well call it magic as anything else.

The thing to learn from this, is: The less the magician is seen to do to cause of the effects observed the more magical is his magic and the more he is seen to cause the effects the more it will be attributed to his skill. Paradoxically the more skilled the magician is the less he will be seen to be the cause of the effects.


I don’t think that has is contrary to anything Whit has said. It may splitting an hair about “knowing” believing. I am not much good with words but I think it is important to split this hair and see the distinction between knowing and believing.

I wish I did understand words far better than I do as obviously it helps in understanding. It is easier said than done. I mean look at what this guy is saying which I thought interesting and I think helpful to this whole discussion but don't ask me why:

[quote]


“IMHO, it's inane to discuss "time", in the context of the philosophy of time, without bothering to define what is meant by "time".

For example: the word "ego" simply means "I". Yet, don't we tend to think it means something completely different, like an inflated sense of self? This is the analogous problem we have with connotations words like "real", "physical", "mind", "space" and "time". We seem to be oblivious to the fact that we're not using terms that are capable of objectively representing their intended concepts.

Even though there may actually be more objective ways to describe these concepts, as an expedient, we tend to think about and to define an unknown concept through its relationship with something else (that is seemingly well understood). After having only defined a relationship, which is always only some limited aspect of a thing, we somehow think we have adequately defined the thing itself.

For example, we do not understand gravity. Yet we can observe effects that we associate with gravity and measure these effects. We formulate a "force" for measuring gravity. Then through historical convention, we lazily attribute gravity to this force, as if the force was primary rather than the observed phenomenon!

This problem reminds me of one of the tactics for winning any kind of debate, even if you are arguing for something utterly wrong. That is, to not elicit "first principles". Politicians do this daily to divert attention.”

Zenmaster


[/quote]
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 9, 2006 07:53AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 07:11, tommy wrote:
I wish I did understand words far better than I do as obviously it helps in understanding.
[/quote]

With all due respect, you are making the assumption that others have chosen the right words to make their point - here in lies the problem.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 07:54AM)
The dilema Whit may have a simpler expression. Let's see what Whit makes of this:

That just happened, BUT that kind of thing only happens in stories.

[quote]
On 2006-05-09 07:11, tommy wrote:
A man cannot observe the impossible. It must be possible or he did not observe what he thought he observed. Knowing that, when a man observes what he thought was impossible he is faced with the fact that he either believes he has been deceived or alters his belief in what he thought was possible.
He attributes the cause of the seemingly impossible to either the skill of the magician or to a force known as magic.

Take the magician out of that equation and the effects he observes are attributed by him to the effects of natural forces that he is aware of. If he can not associate the effects he observes with any force that he is aware of he might as well call it magic as anything else.

The thing to learn from this, is: The less the magician is seen to do to cause of the effects observed the more magical is his magic and the more he is seen to cause the effects the more it will be attributed to his skill. Paradoxically the more skilled the magician is the less he will be seen to be the cause of the effects.


I don’t think that has is contrary to anything Whit has said. It may splitting an hair about “knowing” believing. I am not much good with words but I think it is important to split this hair and see the distinction between knowing and believing.

I wish I did understand words far better than I do as obviously it helps in understanding. It is easier said than done. I mean look at what this guy is saying which I thought interesting and I think helpful to this whole discussion but don't ask me why:...[/quote]

What sort of statement starts the post quoted above? From a magician it seems outright strange.

Let's start with getting our language skills in order here. Reading and writing here might be more cogent if we all could take Bandler's [i]Structure of Magic volume 1,2[/i] and the ideas discussed therein as common practical and functional knowledge.

Homework time?

"the impossible" <- the impossible what? Is this a play on the Lennon lyric "nothing you can show that can't be shown"?

A person can't alter their belief about what was possible, but they can alter their belief about what IS possible. Then, in hindsight they may revisit their memories and re-evaluate their perceptions and from there, their present knowledge and feelings about the event.

There is no force of magic in the real world, as such would be part of physics and a subject of experiments. Magic is a device used in stories.

Tommy almost nailed something big when he explored removing the magician from the event. The magician's will (inferred intent) is taken as the cause for the otherwise inexplainable events. The notion of causality is important to us. How do we imply causality? From a gesture, a wave of the wand or a musical cue... something is needed. Yeah, more basic theater stuff here.

Then we get a huge frame shift to skill. The methods of magic are supposed to be hidden from the audience, lest all that good work degenerate into a juggling demonstration. If the audience infers skill as opposed to some fantastic explaination... they have dismissed the magic.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 09:44AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 08:54, Tommy wrote:
I don’t think that has is contrary to anything Whit has said. It may splitting an hair about “knowing” believing. I am not much good with words but I think it is important to split this hair and see the distinction between knowing and believing.

I wish I did understand words far better than I do as obviously it helps in understanding. It is easier said than done. I mean look at what this guy is saying which I thought interesting and I think helpful to this whole discussion but don't ask me why:.

Jonathan Townsend wrote:........

There is no force of magic in the real world, as such would be part of physics and a subject of experiments. Magic is a device used in stories.

Tommy almost nailed something big when he explored removing the magician from the event. The magician's will (inferred intent) is taken as the cause for the otherwise inexplainable events. The notion of causality is important to us. How do we imply causality? From a gesture, a wave of the wand or a musical cue... something is needed. Yeah, more basic theater stuff here.

Then we get a huge frame shift to skill. The methods of magic are supposed to be hidden from the audience, lest all that good work degenerate into a juggling demonstration. If the audience infers skill as opposed to some fantastic explaination... they have dismissed the magic.
[/quote]
Magic in my opinion is not a knowing it is a happening. Or magic happens the same way or was the way that people used to describe why or how natures forces happen. Magic is the word to describe natures unknown forces and a way to talk about the unknown.

Magic is the unknown or a word used to describe the unexplainable.

When magic is performed on the stage in a show and it is unexplained it sort of works like the old radio drama shows used to work. The audience uses their imagination and the magic effect or the effect of magic happens in the spectators mind.

But if they see the manipulation or a gaff they see the science of magic and do not experience the EFFECT of magic.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 10:22AM)
Thanks Jon sorry for bad wording and the last pararagh you wrote is what I was trying to say.

It is a good point you bring up about the magician gestures, a wave of the wand or a musical cue... something is needed. I agree.


Somthing has occured to me just now: When we see Peter Pan fly in a film is that a magic performance without the magician?

I mean if a magician was there say on a stage and waved his wand and Peter Pan flew then that would be magic would it not?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 11:18AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 11:22, tommy wrote:
Something has occurred to me just now: When we see Peter Pan fly in a film is that a magic performance without the magician?
[/quote]
No it is not. It is a movie about storybook magic. And Hollywood special effect teams can make Peter Pan fly just as they can make Superman fly.
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 11:22, tommy wrote:
I mean if a magician was there say on a stage and waved his wand and Peter Pan flew then that would be magic would it not?
[/quote]
Tommy - What a magician does on a stage while doing a stage show is to give to the audience nothing more than a suggestion of magic. That is that magic is a suggestion, that is how it is done. By Magic a suggestion.

The experience of magic or the "magic Effect" happens and is a happening in the spectators mind with them using their imagination.

Dai Vernon once said that he lived for those rare moments of when he was fooled. He liked the experience of magic or the effect of magic that they lay audience got - but magicians rarely get because we are around it and somewhat jaded as an audience.

Magic on the stage or in a performance is nothing more than a suggestion of magic. How the audience reacts depends on what they believe magic is within their own belief system and their own experience and their own knowledge of the subject of magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 11:29AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 11:22, tommy wrote:...
Somthing has occured to me just now: When we see Peter Pan fly in a film is that a magic performance without the magician?...[/quote]

Peter pan is a semi-magical creature from inside a story. He's been raised by Tinkerbell, a magical creature and given among other things a bag of fairy dust (how he flies). Inside the story things are consistent if (from our perspective) whimsical.

Homework time.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 11:37AM)
Jumping back to a point as you are going to fast for me guys.


[quote]

There is no force of magic in the real world, as such would be part of physics and a subject of experiments. Magic is a device used in stories.
[/quote]

Of course I am not saying that there is. It is only because magic forces are unknown that they are called magic. Ounce they are known and more or less understood they are no longer magic. Electricity used to be a magic force. How do you know there is no forces that exist that we know nothing about today? You don’t and that is what magic is the possibility that a magic force exists that we do not know anthing about but we believe there might be. The stories that you refer to are the stories of the magic force.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 01:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 12:37, tommy wrote:...Of course I am not saying that there is. It is only because magic forces are unknown that they are called magic. ...[/quote]

Let's try this after you get through Warner's Red book (for grammar) and Bandler's books on the basics of magic.

Of course you are also welcome to wallow where you are for as long as you want. It's all up to you. Nobody is forcing you to want to master some language skills and find magic in how words are used to create meaning.

Those of you who know what's up with that one... shhhh! Half the fun of learning is that sense of discovery. Being told cheapens the learning.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 01:36PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 12:37, tommy wrote:
Jumping back to a point as you are going to fast for me guys.
The stories that you refer to are the stories of the magic force.
[/quote]
What is magic then? Suggestion in a story? A suggestion on a stage in the context of theater in a story?

Does magic happen outside the human mind or inside the human mind? Does magic happen when it is suggested or when the suggestion is accepted or rejected by another person, in the audience. Of course that would say that magic doesn't happen when the suggestion is not accepted. Or perhaps when they - the audience see the manipulation or the gaff.

Is the story - a false storybook story on the stage but the suggestion of magic real?

Danger - a little bit of far out deep thinking here.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 9, 2006 01:49PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 14:36, bishthemagish wrote:
What is magic then? ...[/quote]

Round and Round and Round we go...
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (May 9, 2006 01:55PM)
Howdy!

Just came across this topic at 13 pages and decided to buy the Cliff notes on same. Unfortunately it's only a page long and simply refers me back to this Topic.

I'll just assume a definition was agreed upon on page one and the following dozen pages are gleeful chat about the simplicity and beauty of it all.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 9, 2006 01:56PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 14:49, Dave VanVranken wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 14:36, bishthemagish wrote:
What is magic then? ...[/quote]

Round and Round and Round we go...
[/quote]

Hahaha LOL !
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 02:02PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 12:29, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 11:22, tommy wrote:...
Somthing has occured to me just now: When we see Peter Pan fly in a film is that a magic performance without the magician?...[/quote]

Peter pan is a semi-magical creature from inside a story. He's been raised by Tinkerbell, a magical creature and given among other things a bag of fairy dust (how he flies). Inside the story things are consistent if (from our perspective) whimsical.

Homework time.
[/quote]


I thought he was metaphor in my question.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 02:11PM)
IT IS surprising to find among magicians, and many of them grown gray at the game, the almost universal belief that none but the unsophisticated can be deceived by "The Dragon’s Breath”. Some do not even know it exists. These gentlemen have to "be shown," but that is the last thing likely to happen. :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 02:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 15:11, tommy wrote:
IT IS surprising to find among magicians, and many of them grown gray at the game, the almost universal belief that none but the unsophisticated can be deceived by "The Dragon’s Breath”. Some do not even know it exists. These gentlemen have to "be shown," but that is the last thing likely to happen. :)
[/quote]

What specifically do you mean by the term "Dragon's Breath"? Did you intend this as a reference to the handheld dealer item which makes for an impressive display? I'm confused as it's the item that came to mind, and while impressive, it did not occur to me as deceptive. Startling yes, deceptive no. IMHO.

Or perhaps this is about a healthy diet rich in ginger, onions and garlic?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 9, 2006 02:26PM)
He's refrensing "Excalibur". The act of magic is more or less refered to as "Calling the Dragons Breath".
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 02:33PM)
Those of you who know what's up with that one... shhhh! Half the fun of learning is that sense of discovery. Being told cheapens the learning


And

Does the elephant really turn from a tree into a snake then into a wall than into a carpet hanging on a fence?

If that’s what an education does to the mind I think I will skip school again. :)
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 9, 2006 02:52PM)
I heard from someone that Blaine had the Dragons Breath last night...
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 02:54PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 15:26, JackScratch wrote:
He's refrensing "Excalibur". The act of magic is more or less refered to as "Calling the Dragons Breath".
[/quote]

Ah... a reference way out of current context. A good film though. Now if only folks could get through even the first volume of [i]The Structure of Magic[/i] we might be able to have more efficient discussions and cogent commentary.

This brings us to another problem in magic, that of magicians keeping and fostering virtual audiences of imbeciles. Sad when you accept that they are all inside the imaginer and reflect upon the values of the person doing the imagining. Keep up the good work. Wallow or read. The doors are plainly marked in the Dewey decimal system. ( Yes that was a reframe, but that topic comes after Bandler in somebody else's work ) :)
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 9, 2006 02:55PM)
[quote]

Magic is a device used in stories.

[/quote]

So to you magic is some kind of prop used in telling your stories.

To me the stories are the props of magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 03:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 11:22, tommy wrote:
Somthing has occured to me just now: When we see Peter Pan fly in a film is that a magic performance without the magician?

I mean if a magician was there say on a stage and waved his wand and Peter Pan flew then that would be magic would it not?
[/quote]

No, it would not. A magician might wave a wand in a Harry Potter movie, and something unbelievable might happen. That is not magic, at least not the kind of magic we are talking about. The use of the wand is a sign of the application of the will and of magic. But in this case it is not what we call "magic"--it is not the same as what we do.

That would be a theatrical depiction of magic.

The spectator is watching something he considers a story--not real--and with that full knowledge he suspends disbelief and allows the normal rules and laws he believes to be true to be suspended for the time of the play.

He may not ever question how any of the CGI or special effects are done, and if he does, it is simply a passing technical interest. That is because he is never asked to believe that the magic is real, happening now, being done by a real person. He is in "once upon a time."

The magician crosses the fourth wall, calls attention to the reality of what is going on right now--an impossible event happening in reality, happening now. The spectator is not a passive observor. He is asked to be a participant--a witness. He is given evidence to examine. The reality of the impossible thing is "proved."

Yet the "prover" is grinning at him as if he would be some kind of idiot to accept the proof.

What can he think?

The spectator at a traditional theatrical event receives the play, hopefully in a thoughtful and engaged way, but basically passively. He is not a usually a participant in the action--a part of the story. Modern theater has explored this sort of participatory theater more than traditional theater, but even with the audience participating and role-playing in the story, they are still not challenged with the attempt to make them think that what they are participating in is really and truly happening in the present.

But in a magic show, the whole audience is drawn into the story as witnesses to the event if nothing else. It then becomes their story--I saw this magician once, and he..."

The play tells you the story of the trickster, coyote. Magicians are the trickster.

People tell stories about us.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 9, 2006 03:55PM)
So, perhaps for the purposes of this thread would it be more accurate to say you're coming at this from the position of being a "trickster" rather than a "magician?"

Maybe that's where the confusion lies. Apples and Oranges?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 04:07PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 15:11, tommy wrote:
IT IS surprising to find among magicians, and many of them grown gray at the game, the almost universal belief that none but the unsophisticated can be deceived by "The Dragon’s Breath”.

Some do not even know it exists. These gentlemen have to "be shown," but that is the last thing likely to happen. :)
[/quote]
Well, tommy you can lead a dragon to water but you can't make them ?????

When talking magic and what IS real magic as I said before it depends on what people know about it. They talk about magic from their own point of view and from what they know. This is true of magicians and it is true of people in the audience. What they know and what they THINK they know are two different things.

Real magic does not exist in the world of objects and measurement.

Speaking as a hypnotist you are "Hypnotically" correct.

The closest thing to real magic in a stage performance is suggestion or hypnosis. Kellar once said that people told him that they SAW little devils on the stage at different times while watching the Kellar show.

Those little devils were a suggestion via the Kellar advertising on the posters that Kellar used. In his day that WAS a powerful suggestion. And it is said that people saw those little devils on the stage while Kellar was performing.

I find great comfort to sleep in the arms of the dragon.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 04:09PM)
A AM a trickster. That is the reality.

The character I play is a magician with real magic powers.

I create magic that looks like real magic. I try to convince people that the magic I do is real, and I try to prove it as convincingly as possible, and to create the "conviction" of magic in the mind of the spectator. I then want to grin and tease and kid the audience in such a way that they can not accept it as "real."

They know I am kidding, they just can't find the secret, and in fact can not even imagine a possible solution that satisfies them. They want to give up and let me tell them the secret, or the want to just let go and believe in magic, but they can't. They will never forget the lit cigarette that never comes back.

My character is also an inventor of crackpot scientific devices like Verne's Captain Nemo, and I demonstrate things like a "Teleportation Device" that I have created.

Same character, same comedy and deception form of entertainment, but one is Fake Magic and one is Fake Science.

It is all the same to me. I can present myself as an Alchemist and attempt to prove that I can turn lead into gold. If I do this convincingly enough, using all the techniques of deception created by magicians, the audience will be "convinced" that I have proved what I have claimed. If I have enough hints and nudges to keep people from actually accepting what I have done as anything but a clever fraud, then I will have created a dilemma--a paradox--in the minds of the audience--something they will just have to live with. It is identical to the art of the fake magician.

I feel that the Theater of Deception is a better name for what we do than Magic.

We encompass much more than just magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 04:10PM)
How about using the theatrical model and taking the "proscenium arch" and extending it to the back of the theater, now including the audience?

Such brings the audience into the show and spares them concerns about the rest of the world outside the show.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 04:16PM)
Yes, but the magician does not let them ever leave. They can't just walk out like nothing happened. They witnessed the impossible, didn't they? If it is just fake and didn't really happen, then the magician should help them resolve the conflict he has created and tell them the secret. But he doesn't.

They can never get away. They will carry that event into the real world and keep coming back to it until they can come up with either a solution they can accept, or until they learn to live happily with a few little paradoxes.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 04:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 17:09, Whit Haydn wrote:
A AM a trickster. That is the reality.

The character I play is a magician with real magic powers.

It is all the same to me. I can present myself as an Alchemist and attempt to prove that I can turn lead into gold.
[/quote]
I can present myself as a hypnotist and suggest that napkins become 100 dollar bills and then vanish and become invisible and then become visible again. Of course these things do not really happen and they are just suggestion.

Anything can happen in a Hypnoticmagic show!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 04:52PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 17:16, Whit Haydn wrote:
Yes, but the magician does not let them ever leave. ...[/quote]

Aha! We are running the Hotel California.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 04:59PM)
It's a lovely place...
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 9, 2006 05:21PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 16:45, Whit Haydn wrote:

Yet the "prover" is grinning at him as if he would be some kind of idiot to accept the proof.

[/quote]

Any magician who actualy does this is in the wrong line of work. Certainly performing for the wrong reason. I personaly consider the people who go along with the performance enlightened.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 05:47PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 15:55, tommy wrote:
To me the stories are the props of magic.
[/quote]
Yes Tommy or the TOOLS used to paint the picture that suggests magic in the mind of an audience.

Remember when you talked about the elephant and lots of magicians had hold of part of the elephant and only could describe that one part. You are very right about that.

I see magic as a tree of knowledge with the roots of Religion, science, art, theater (magic and hypnotism) as the roots of the tree and this tree has lots of different branches of learning form one tree of magical knowledge. Some people in magic have only educated themselves using one or two branches. Others more and they speak from only what they know and have learned from and experienced.

When doing a hypnosis show I try to describe the indescribable to the audience before I start the show. That is I say hypnotism is imagination plus concentration.

If I were to do the same with magic before a show I would describe it as the art of illusion plus imagination. And they both have their roots or a history in the science of suggestion.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hallahan (May 9, 2006 05:48PM)
Whit Haydn wrote:
[quote]
[i]Magic is the special branch of performance art that is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something that is not true.[/i]

Can you give an example of a trick that does not intentionally contain such a logical fallacy?
[/quote]
No, I can't. I believe anything that doesn't meet your criteria isn't magic.

I think your definition is necessary, but not sufficient.

Some "propoganda" meets all of your criteria, and it's not magic. Arguably, presenting propoganda is a performance art, or at least advertisers would claim that it is. I believe that they even have awards for ads. Advertisers often pose logical arguments with false premises too.

I wouldn't change a word of what you wrote, but something is missing.

Please forgive me if I missed other criteria in earlier posts that you were perhaps only supplementing. I did real all 14 pages, but not today, and my eyes glazed over when I did that earlier.

Bill


P.S. It seems any definition for magic requires considerable explanation. It's not easy to define because we have ambiguous terms for complex cognitive states.

For example, the idea of "belief" is a very slippery concept with regard to magic. Even the well-known phrase, "the willing suspension of disbelief" while correct, is nonetheless an ambiguous phrase. You've done a good job of explaining that concept in your posts. Here's what I wrote after reading your posts. It still needs more work.

Demonstrating reality, i.e. charlatanism, is not our goal, but presenting non-reality is not magical at all and obviously also not our goal. There's a thin line between these two states where people cannot reconcile their experience of an effect with their knowledge of reality - they have to believe, but they can't believe - they know it must have happened, but they know it can't have happened. That's the line magicians want to get the audience on. Ideally, they stay there for a while before they give up trying to reconcile this inner-conflict.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 06:05PM)
Bill Hallahan:

[quote]
I think your definition is necessary, but not sufficient.

Some "propoganda" meets all of your criteria, and it's not magic. Arguably, presenting propoganda is a performance art, or at least advertisers would claim that it is. I believe that they even have awards for ads. Advertisers often pose logical arguments with false premises too.
[/quote]

Thanks, Bill.

That is really helpful. You are exactly right.

To further distinguish the "Theater of Deception" which includes Fake Magic, or magic as entertainment, from the much broader "Art of Deception" which would also include charlatanry, propaganda, short cons, change-raising or other such deceptions, we need to add the element that I spoke of in earlier posts, but neglected to include in the statement.

How's this:

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.[/i]

I think this is a better formulation.

JackScratch said:
[quote]
Quote:
On 2006-05-09 16:45, Whit Haydn wrote:

Yet the "prover" is grinning at him as if he would be some kind of idiot to accept the proof.
--Whit
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[/quote]
[quote]
Any magician who actualy does this is in the wrong line of work. Certainly performing for the wrong reason. I personaly consider the people who go along with the performance enlightened.

--Drew
[/quote]

I do this at every show, Drew. Come on! We're all grownups...
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 07:30PM)
Does it help to know that there is a "prover" and also a "believer" and also a "worrier" and also ... all present in our minds? Also a part that knows how to tie shoes, another part that knows how to drive a car ...

Okay, now going with what Whit suggested, what if we got the part that "follows logical patterns" to get into a fight with the part that "knows what stuff is/does" ?

For those who need to feel they know stuff before they can accept an idea, look at the conflict between the part that "knows colors" and the part that "reads words" in the experiment where names of colors are written in colored type such that the word and the color don't match... then ask someone to read the words out loud...

Okay...

Now you know and you can hang onto that and try not to let the part of you that knows get involved in figuring out how you walk by watching your feet. :)

* This stuff is not in in Vol 1,2 either and comes a little later in studies.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 07:35PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 20:30, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Does it help to know that there is a "prover" and also a "believer" and also a "worrier" and also ... all present in our minds? Also a part that knows how to tie shoes, another part that knows how to drive a car ...

Okay, now going with what Whit suggested, what if we got the part that "follows logical patterns" to get into a fight with the part that "knows what stuff is/does" ?
[/quote]

I really like that idea. Yes it does help to understand the map of the spectator's mind if you want to build anything in there.

I think magic is all about the fight between the part that "knows" and the part that reasons and deduces. The stalemate between these two parts activates the part that "wonders" and "imagines"--partly by shutting down the part that reasons. It is much like a Zen Koan.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 9, 2006 08:15PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 19:05, Whit Haydn wrote:

Come on! We're all grownups...
[/quote]


Ahhhhh...Whit has accepted the false premise!!
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 9, 2006 08:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 20:30, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Does it help to know that there is a "prover" and also a "believer" and also a "worrier" and also ... all present in our minds?
[/quote]
If you are talking about the audience point of view as an entertainment magic can be a challenge or an argument in which something has to be challenged or proved.

If magicians want to do this with an audience that is fine with me.

But as for me magic is just a suggestion - they accept it or they don't. If they don't accept it I don't think that it is worth my time to argue. I feel the same way about hypnotism. There are people that don't believe in hypnotism. Me trying to convince them is silly. Hypnotism is a happening and doesn't care if people believe in it or not.

To become hypnotized in a show all they have to do is follow the steps. If they follow the steps they go under - it doesn't matter if they believe in hypnotism or not - just follow the steps.

Magic doesn't care if people believe in it. I just do the act the audience accepts it or doesn't as magic but the performance goal is not to PROVE magic or hypnotism. The performance goal is ENTERTAINMENT OF THE AUDIENCE!

It is interesting that people in this thread only talk about one branch on the tree of magic. It is hard to see the whole tree because it is covered partly by the "Mists Of Avalon".
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 9, 2006 08:27PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 18:48, Bill Hallahan wrote:


Demonstrating reality, i.e. charlatanism, is not our goal, but presenting non-reality is not magical at all and obviously also not our goal. There's a thin line between these two states where people cannot reconcile their experience of an effect with their knowledge of reality - they have to believe, but they can't believe - they know it must have happened, but they know it can't have happened. That's the line magicians want to get the audience on. Ideally, they stay there for a while before they give up trying to reconcile this inner-conflict.
[/quote]

Why has no one brought up the following quote as an easier way to understand this "thin line" -the horns, the cognitive dissonace, the foot proping the doors open etc.

For those who believe no explanation is necessary,

For those who do not not shall suffice,

-Dunninger

Monkey in the middle
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 9, 2006 08:52PM)
Monkey or not, Dunninger avoided the horns and left a middle without an anchor on either side. The bull itself walks among us on two feet. Not in my china shop thanks.

It is precisely that excluded middle which makes a sham of credulity and a mockery of somber inquiries into the supernatural. We choose to offer a knowing sham which serves all but our need for truth. To add that component of truth would set us into the realm of the charlatan or worse.

To even consider our craft as cloaked in the same credulity as that offered to religion is to take a short drop down a dark path into places from which reputations might never return.

Or so says the imp on my left shoulder.

;)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 08:54PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 21:15, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 19:05, Whit Haydn wrote:

Come on! We're all grownups...
[/quote]


Ahhhhh...Whit has accepted the false premise!!
[/quote]

Nonsense! You just recognized it as a false premise. I just said it, I didn't necessarily believe it. ;)

I probably shouldn't have included myself or other magicians in the set if I wanted to be believed by anyone. :)

Jonathon said:
[quote]
[i]It is precisely that excluded middle which makes a sham of credulity and a mockery of somber inquiries into the supernatural. We choose to offer a knowing sham which serves all but our need for truth. To add that component of truth would set us into the realm of the charlatan or worse.

To even consider our craft as cloaked in the same credulity as that offered to religion is to take a short drop down a dark path into places from which reputations might never return. [/i]
[/quote]
***

Thank you. That IS the way of charlatanry, and is bad art. Dunninger's clever statement was just a way of letting some people off the horns of the dilemma on one side, and others are given a way off on the other.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 9, 2006 10:00PM)
Whit,

[quote][i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.[/i][/quote]

Man, oh man... I really think you have something here. I figure that your recent inclusion of all the 'fake' stuff in your definition distinguishes the magic performing magicians of today do from all the other forms of magic that man has done and believed in throughout the ages. It quantifies the little subset of theater of magic that we do, the performance stuff, and separates it from everything else. I also couldn't find anything that disproves it.

I also understand more of the dilemma of which is sought. Your reiteration of the cigarette that [i]never[/i] returns solidified it for me. Why let them off the hook? Why make it easy for them?

[quote]Yet the "prover" is grinning at him as if he would be some kind of idiot to accept the proof.[/quote]

I, too, am more and more convinced that it is the character that creates the dilemma, and ideally continues strengthen it. "Deception Theater" with a well-defined character is what creates the dilemma that initiates the meta-experience of magic. Without the STRONG character to solidify the paradox, they're all just played tricks and puzzles.

The idea of this "character's proposed dilemma" is helping me to no end with a silly little "Unified Misdirection (Attention Management) Theory." I abandoned the character I'd been working with, the Tour Guide, because I figured out the character just wasn't nearly strong enough and lacked the hook.

Avidly.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 9, 2006 10:34PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 21:54, Whit Haydn wrote:
That IS the way of charlatanry, and is bad art. Dunninger's clever statement was just a way of letting some people off the horns of the dilemma on one side, and others are given a way off on the other.
[/quote]

[quote]
On 2006-05-09 23:00, Patrick Differ wrote:


I also understand more of the dilemma of which is sought. Your reiteration of the cigarette that [i]never[/i] returns solidified it for me. Why let them off the hook? Why make it easy for them?

[quote]

--------

I always interpreted Dunningers statement to mean that ultimately we should leave the spectator in the middle for as long as possible, rather than coax them into accepting either side.

How does it "differ" from the ciggarette example above? ;)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 9, 2006 10:38PM)
Patrick Differ said:

[quote]"The idea of this "character proposed dilemma" is helping me to no end with a silly little "Unified Misdirection (Attention Management) Theory." I abandoned the character I'd been working with, the Tour Guide, because I figured out the character just wasn't nearly strong enough and lacked the hook."[/quote]
Patrick:

There are all different ways to approach the same goal. You can have a character that is so powerful and convincing, that the claims would have to be outrageous in order to keep people from being "convinced out of the dilemma."

A serious performer with a mild disclaimer--all sorts of approaches--as long as the audience is always and for as long as possible kept on the horns of the dilemma--ideally forever.

How good is the magic?

The longer it is remembered, the better the magic.

If they never get down off the horns, they remember forever.

***

cinemagician:

Dunninger's statement was not one of a paradox.

"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary" is meant to cue the believers that he is with them. They "know" the truth. He is telling them it is alright not to question--for them no explanation is necessary; it is real mind reading.

"For those who don't believe, no explanation is possible" tells the doubter's that their doubts are not necessary, since they can not come up with a solution, it must be real.

He is challenging the doubters to find any other explanation than mind reading, and then tells them that there IS such a thing as reading thoughts by telepathy.

So to me, the performing paradigm comes down to charlatanry on the one hand for the believers, and an actual challenge to, and a true insult to, the intelligence of the doubters.

I think his performances were not strictly to the model of this statement, and were better than that. And the statement seemed to work for him and so was commercially viable.

It isn't a good statement of the magical paradox.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 9, 2006 11:05PM)
Thanks Whit for the clarification re Dunninger. If your statement happens to be the consensus (Jonathan Townsend seems to agree with you). Then I have been fairly warned not to use the statement as a legitmate example of the "paradox" that has been brought up here many times, using different models.

While I am by no means an expert on Dunninger, I understand that he did a lot of work in the area of exposing spiritualism/ and fraudulent mediums.

Your inclusion of the statement, that "his performances were not strictly to the model of this statement, also takes care of this dilema.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 10, 2006 08:06AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-09 19:05, Whit Haydn wrote:
[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.[/i]
[/quote]

Whit,
What it you changed "...know is not true" to ...suspect is not true?

Kregg
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 08:53AM)
The character I play is a magician with real magic powers.

Exactly!

When you turn on a light you do not see the electric power you see the effect, that is you see the light come on. The magic force is like electric, people see it’s effects but not it. Every magic trick has a moment when you see the effect. The card changed colour ! The man floated! The elephant vanished! And so on. At the moment the effect is observed the observer wonders what power caused that to happen. They see you throw the switch (Wave the wand) , they see the light come on (An object appears from nowhere) .
What is the is the magic force caused that magic effect they observers wonder! Well I tell you it is an imaginary force that does not exist in fact but exists in the imagination of observer. That magic force is magic.

Now you guys do not explain what magic is but want to explain how it relates to things as if that explains what it is but you not explain the thing itself.

“This is how it works” yadda yadda yadda! It’s very interesting how it works etc but the question was “What is it?”

So my definition is:

Magic:
Force that does not exist in fact but is imagined by observers who witness magical effects created by magicians.

Next question! :)
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 10, 2006 09:07AM)
Cinemagician writes:
[quote]How does it "differ" from the ciggarette example above?[/quote]
You owe me $5. I own all copyrights on the name, its derivatives, its uses, and misuses. Tell me your address so I can send you the bill.
:hmm:
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 10, 2006 09:10AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 09:53, tommy wrote:...
So my definition is:

Magic:
Force that does not exist in fact but is imagined by observers who witness magical effects created by magicians.[/quote]

And so it is in the STORY as told by the muggles.

We are moving stories from our imaginations into their lives.

We do stuff. They experience a story where magic happens.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 10, 2006 09:31AM)
Okay, help me out here. I think I'm following this so far, but I'm really having a problem applying Whit's definition to large illusions... and granted I'm more focused on theater than on magic.

Consider this:

It's a clear afternoon and we're sitting on bleachers at both ends of a huge hangar at an airport. The doors are open and we can see right through the hangar. A 747 lands on the runway and we watch it roll right up to the hangar. The plane door opens, a ladder truck comes up, and the magician walks out. Then the plane rolls into the hangar.

The doors close.

A moment later they open again and the plane is gone.

Then we're allowed to walk through the hangar and inspect all we want.

Nothing has been said by the magician about making the plane vanish by magic, either before or after the plane goes.

Okay, the argument is that the plane rolled into the hangar. However, the premise (what the magician wants the audience to believe) is not true. So, when the hangar doors open, the audience -- thinking that the premise is true -- thinks that something has occurred which they [i]know[/i] couldn't have occurred if the premise were true. They don't think it's really "magic," but they can't see any other explanation, so they're stuck on Ferdinand's horns.

Whit, is this where you're going with this definition? I have another two questions here, but I want to make sure I'm on your page before I ask them.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 09:51AM)
And so it is in the STORY of magic as told by the magician to the Muggle who is a recipient.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 10:35AM)
Magicians don't tell stories. Muggles tell stories.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 10:44AM)
A painter tells a story in his paintings all artists tell their story through their art.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 10:51AM)
We are not like other artists.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 10, 2006 10:52AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 10:51, tommy wrote:
And so it is in the STORY of magic as told by the magician to the Muggle who is a recipient.
[/quote]

The magician DOES STUFF

The muggle tells others the story of what they experienced.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 10:53AM)
If are not like artists then we not artists.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 10, 2006 11:26AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 10:07, Patrick Differ wrote:
Cinemagician writes:
[quote]How does it "differ" from the ciggarette example above?[/quote]
You owe me $5. I own all copyrights on the name, its derivatives, its uses, and misuses. Tell me your address so I can send you the bill.
:hmm:
[/quote]

Oh, I get it, that's why you live in Mexico, with the exchange rates...you must be making a fortune! ;)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 10, 2006 11:35AM)
If you lump art into a single genre' we are exactly like all other artists. We are also different from any other art, but no more different than any two other arts are from each other. And yes, magic tells a story. I won't go so far as to say that it is impossible for magic to not tell a story, but I find it most unlikely, and seriously doubt magic that doesn't tell a story would be worth viewing. But then the same could be said of any other art.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 10, 2006 11:50AM)
But the story is not the magic. In theater, the story is the focus. Eveything else is done to make the story meaningful.

Hamman did an effect called the Pink Panthers, where the whole card effect is set to a story. But the story is not the magic. The magic only happens when the audience is convinced that four kings, seperated from four twos (placed in "jail") turn into four jokers in an impossible way, and the four twos in jail, without the magician touching them, become the four kings. The story is simply to make the mental frustration this causes more palatable.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 12:01PM)
Magic is different from other arts, in that the spectators are brought into the story being created by the magician and are a part of it. Magicians don't tell stories, they orchestrate them. Unlike other forms of theater, the audience in a magic show are participants in the story.

They are witnesses to a demonstration, if nothing else, and possibly lend a personal item to the procedure, or can be an active and contributing partner in the story.

Take my Linking Ring Routine. The spectator on stage has to pretend that I do not know what is going on behind me. He pretends that he is fooling me by keeping up with me, even though his rings are not coming apart, and he is simply spinning his rings each time I do, without taking them apart and putting them back together. It looks as if he is playing a trick on me. He is like a wise-guy student playing a trick on a substitute teacher. The audience knows perfectly well that the magician knows what is going on, but they pretend the magician is clueless so they can laugh at him.

The magician has constructed a story which not only involves the spectator on stage, but places the audience in the role of "unruly class laughing at the teacher." This story can be understood and appreciated from many different points of view, but the story told will be the "story" of the person telling it, and will be from their point of view in the story.

Magic tricks are events that the spectator is engaged in to a degree that it becomes a memorable experience for him. It is his story.

"I saw a guy once, and he took my half dollar and my empty beer bottle..."

"This guy came into the bar, and I wrote my name on a card..."

"I went up on stage with a bunch of other people, and we all held hands in a circle around this helicopter..."

"The girl floated up, but then they passed out this hoop, and let me tell you it was solid--I checked it good--and he took the hoop..."

We don't tell stories about the Coyote (the trickster), we are the Coyote. People tell stories about us.

Magic is a fantasy story that is constructed to kidnap the spectator, put him in the fantasy and make it real for him. It is more like the play constructed by a team of con men in a Big Con.

The "victim" is brought onto a fake set, talks to actors playing a part, invests his own thoughts, goals and money, and if the scam is really well played, often never knows that all of his experience was a sham, a construct created by actors played on a set whose facades are held up from behind by two by fours.

The spectator in a magic show kind of knows what is being done, but the conventions of magic performance (you get the watch and wallet back) allow him to be comfortable letting the magician take advantage of him. Most want to be involved in the story.

Most everyone understands what the story will be: The magician will take you down a garden path, and suddenly you are going to be sprayed with a hose, or handed a rake and a hoe. They just want to see how you would go about it, and experience it for themselves. When it is done right, they remember the experience the rest of their lives and will tell their grandchildren about the time when they were young and "met this remarkable magician who..."

***

George Ledo:

The situation that you outlined, George, would create the necessary false conclusion, that the plane had disappeared, but the argument would be less focused, since nothing was framed for the spectator with regard to cause. It fits the tightest definition of magic--our main statement--but is inartistically handled by not presenting the audience with a clear argument and conclusion.

A plane disappeared for sure. How or why we don't know.

The audience has a less clearly presented argument, and the lack of framing and presentation will lessen its effectiveness as magic, but I am sure everyone among the spectators would agree that they experienced a great and inexplicable mystery.

This would be magic without a protagonist--more like a mystery of nature like the Bermuda Triangle. The audience is called to witness something impossible. Without more framing, the actual effect of this on the audience would be strong but sort of diffused and complicated. You give them too much to think about, and not a clear dilemma to focus on.

But I am certain in a case of a really strong effect such as that, the audience reaction and memory of the event would still be strong. They would have to fill in an awful lot of the story themselves, and the magician would not have as tight a control over the impression he leaves.

Since every magic trick is its own story, adding stories to magic is often like slopping ketchup all over food. It is unnecessary, and covers up the "taste" of the magic. Instead of inviting the spectator into the story, "telling" a story with a magic trick puts the present into "Once upon a time" and encourages the spectator to suspend disbelief and put himself into an imaginary story, where in the imaginary time space fantastical things happen.

But he is no longer a participant, but a passive receiver. He is not questioning the reality of things any longer, he is going along for the ride. When it is over, he is left with a fun time, a nice little play, etc., but the experience of magic is lessened.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 10, 2006 12:17PM)
Whit, I'm afriad I don't see any difference between that and any other stage performance. The audience is always the witness. That's their job in any threatrical presentation. It seems to me that you are trying to say that the particular nature of the story being told makes it different, but that's like saying "choclate pudding is different than vanilla pudding, so choclate pudding isn't pudding". Mind you, I'm not saying that magic is in no way different from any other art. I'm just saying that it isn't any more different than any two other art forms.

Magic is, what magic is. Magic is not acting, though acting certainly applies. Magic is not storytelling, though storytelling also applies. It's as though you are trying to say that it is exactly the same, or completely different, and that there is no middle ground, where some rules apply and others do not. That simply isn't the case. Magic is a particular genre' of theatre, or performance. Of course it is different, if it weren't, we wouldn't bother having another genre' for it. There wouldn't be a special name for it.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 12:31PM)
Then what distinguishes it, Drew?

You still do not understand what I am saying, and I don't know how to make it clearer.

The difference is that people watch a play and are engaged with someone else's story, a story about Hamlet, for example, the Prince of Denmark. They can be emotionally engaged, intellectually engaged, and have their fantasy engaged by the production.

But the story is Hamlet's. They are not a part of the story.

No one tries to convince them that the actors were really dead on the stage--that would be pointless and silly.

In a magic act, the spectators are asked to engage and challenge the magician himself. He is the protagonist, they are the antagonists. Things happen in real time, not in the "Once upon a time" of story theater.

We are not seeing a depiction of someone on a guillotine in 18th century France, even if the magic show is costumed in 18th century costumes and the set is dressed to look like a Louis XVI palace.

We are seeing an actor, a spectator, or someone real, apparently being placed in harms way in what to all appearances, and even to close examination of a commitee, is a dangerous and real guillotine. The "victim" may miraculously survive, or may be apparently killed in a bloody accident. The audience "knows" that neither thing really happened, but can not escape the conviction of the reality of the event.

To be a witness to an event is totally different from being a witness to a play or recreation about an event.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 10, 2006 12:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 13:01, Whit Haydn wrote:



Take my Linking Ring Routine. The spectator on stage has to pretend that I do not know what is going on behind me. He pretends that he is fooling me by keeping up with me, even though his rings are not coming apart, and he is simply spinning his rings each time I do, without taking them apart and putting them back together. It looks as if he is playing a trick on me. He is like a wise-guy student playing a trick on a substitute teacher. The audience knows perfectly well that the magician knows what is going on, but they pretend the magician is clueless so they can laugh at him.

The magician has constructed a story which not only involves the spectator on stage, but places the audience in the role of "unruly class laughing at the teacher." This story can be understood and appreciated from many different points of view, but the story told will be the "story" of the person telling it, and will be from their point of view in the story.

[/quote]

Shakespeare's "Play within a play."
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 12:32PM)
The spectator participating in a trick is a puppet on a string. It is the puppet master who tells the story not the puppet.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 12:35PM)
The puppet master orchestrates the story, directs it. The spectator, both on stage and in the audience, is an actor in the story. We create a story for him to tell.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 12:41PM)
Mind you I suppose when you’re a magician you may walk through the looking glass and join Alice.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 10, 2006 12:41PM)
Although there are other art forms that break the 4th wall, I think that one thing that distinguishes magic is that it asks the audience to BOTH suspend and NOT SUSPEND its disbelief. A comic, or actors in certain plays, may actively engage the audience; there are plays written around including the audience. Or take interactive murder mystery type dinner theaters.

But the comic requires no suspension of disbelief at all. The actors, conversely, as that the audience suspend its disbelief throughout the performance. But the magicians asks the audience suspend its disbelief upfront, but then, mid-performance, asks that the audience actually believe things that are not true, i.e. your card is going into the deck, these are 4 perfectly solid rings, all the ropes are now the same size, etc.

The magician's art is based on a necessary suspension of disbelief on the macro scale, and absolutely required belief on the micro scale. I believe that this... whatever you want to call it (ambiguity? schizophrenia?) is what makes Whit's dilemma possible. On the one hand, if someone doesn't believe that "magic" is impossible, that frees him or her from one of the horns; on the other hand, if you don't believe the lie ("your card goes into the center of the deck...") then you don't buy the false premise, and you're off the "there is no other explanation" horn -- the explanation IS "He really didn't put my card in the center of the deck."
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 12:42PM)
Exactly.

We ask the audience to suspend disbelief about the character (magician) we are playing, and about many other elements in the presentation--"the wand has special powers."

But we insist that they sit up, take notice, engage their critical faculties and "decide to agree" with each premise in the argument we are trying to present.

We ask them to agree to each step. This guillotine is real. The blade is heavy and sharp. The stocks are solid, and no one can escape once they are tightened around the neck. Here, look! Check it out! See, that is her real head, and it is firmly locked and completely vulnerable to the heavy, sharp blade. Everyone agreed? Okay, now watch!

None of this goes on in a "Tale of Two Cities."

We don't pick up the head in a "Tale of Two Cities" and carry it over the footlights to show people that it is real and not a fake head--a magician might do that very thing.

When telling the story later the spectator will say, "No. The blade wasn't fake. Three people from the audience got up and examined it. I swear! I was there."

I know a lot of this sounds complicated and useless. But as the theory is fleshed out, you will find more and more ways it can be used. It helps you decide, for example, how a story can be added to a magic trick without diminishing the story or the magic. It enables you to analyze why a trick isn't playing well.

It helps us to understand the very complex relationship the magician has with the audience, and how best to exploit that to create magic that is clear, entertaining, engaging and multi-layered.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 01:02PM)
`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 01:05PM)
"Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee both had eyes but couldn't see.
You've got the eyes but not the heart.
You never win if you don't start."
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 01:06PM)
LOL
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 01:25PM)
Magic is inherently theatrical. You don't need to "add" a story to magic or "add" meaning to magic, as if you were pouring ketchup on food. It is easy to drown the taste of magic that way.

The magician says, "Pick a card." He is the protagonist. The spectator takes up the challenge, and picks a card. He is the antagonist. Will the magician be able to find the chosen card? What is going to happen? Can the spectator keep the magician from finding the card? What if he shuffles the deck?

Conflict. Resolution. Denouement.

It is all there. Every magic trick is a little play, and each one is loaded with meaning and story that can be "discovered" within the trick the way Michaelangelo "discovered" his sculptures in the stone.

Many magicians try to add story or meaning onto a trick instead of discovering what dramatic, comic, or philosophical meaning can be found within the argument of the trick itself, or in the process of creating magic for the spectators itself.

Understanding what you are doing, and how a trick is rightly constructed helps you to accomplish this, the more artistic approach to creating magic. This approach to making magic meaningful is much more artistic, I think, than hoping that a moving song in the background, a tacked-on message, a contrived "story" told along with the trick, or some other nonsense will make a magic trick somehow more meaningful.

As Marshall McCluhan might have said, "Magic is the message."
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 10, 2006 01:33PM)
Whit, guess what I did yesterday. I walked into my living room and seen two Oranges in a fruit bowl and thought “All Oranges are Orange” So I dyed one Blue. When my girl came home from school I showed her the Orange one a said look and changed into a blue one. Cool she said, lets make some blue orange juice!
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 01:36PM)
LoL. There are lots of blue oranges being presented as real magic. ;)
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 10, 2006 01:39PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 14:33, tommy wrote:
Whit, guess what I did yesterday. I walked into my living room and seen two Oranges in a fruit bowl and thought “All Oranges are Orange” So I dyed one Blue. When my girl came home from school I showed her the Orange one a said look and changed into a blue one. Cool she said, lets make some blue orange juice!

[/quote]

See, here's what you do...you have an orange in sight the whole time, you borrow a bill, you vanish it, you turn the orange into a blue orange, you cut it open, and you pull out some blue Canadian money. Preferably with some music in the background about oranges, or the color blue, or maybe "Oh Canada."
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 01:48PM)
Don't forget to tell the story of the little boy, whose greatest wish was to one day move to Canada.

He only had a dollar and an orange from the family tree that his mother told him to try and sell, and even if he sold the orange, that wasn't enough to get him to Canada... So he met this old women who said...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 02:05PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 13:17, JackScratch wrote:
Whit, I'm afriad I don't see any difference between that and any other stage performance. The audience is always the witness. That's their job in any threatrical presentation. It seems to me that you are trying to say that the particular nature of the story being told makes it different, but that's like saying "choclate pudding is different than vanilla pudding, so choclate pudding isn't pudding". Mind you, I'm not saying that magic is in no way different from any other art. I'm just saying that it isn't any more different than any two other art forms.
[/quote]

If you go to see Hamlet, you don't rush home to tell everyone that you just saw Hamlet, his mother, stepfather and best friend all kill each other! "And I was right there when it happened!"

Magic is a different kind of story, it incorporates the spectators in real time. "I was there. I saw it. You wouldn't have believed it!"

Tommy:

"Mind you I suppose when you’re a magician you may walk through the looking glass and join Alice."

Better than that, I take the audience with me and introduce them to Alice, The Mad Hatter, the Mock Turtle, and the Walrus and the Carpenter. Alice might even try to tell the audience her history...

Not the imaginary Alice. The real one. Promise. She's alive, inside, and she will talk to you...
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 10, 2006 02:40PM)
But there is no Alice. But, man, I swear I shook her hand and I know I saw her passport.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 10, 2006 02:47PM)
[quote]
JackScratch said:

"Magic is, what magic is. Magic is not acting, though acting certainly applies. Magic is not storytelling, though storytelling also applies. It's as though you are trying to say that it is exactly the same, or completely different, and that there is no middle ground, where some rules apply and others do not. That simply isn't the case. Magic is a particular genre' of theatre, or performance. Of course it is different, if it weren't, we wouldn't bother having another genre' for it. There wouldn't be a special name for it." [/quote]

It is different, it has its own rules, and according to Maskelyne and Devant, when Magic is used in theater, the rules of magic must be subservient to the rules of Theater--the magic must be subsumed into the story and not allowed to take people out of the story.

"Our Magic" says that when Magic uses theatrical techniques (whether acting, stage effects, lighting or sound) these must all be made subservient to the artistic goals of the "Art in Magic."

When Magic uses Theater, it must make the rules of Theater subservient to the needs of the Art in Magic.

This is the way it is described in "Our Magic."

Magic and Theater are related arts, and share many, many goals and techniques in common, but when Magic is used by Theater, it becomes a mere "transitional device" or special effect. When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Much like when an actor creates his art, he must subsume his work into the needs of the whole--he must serve the story of the play. In the same way, acting and other theatrical tools must be made to serve the Magic. They must be subservient to the goals of Magic.

I am not saying that Magic is exactly the same as Theater, or completely different.

It is a branch of the "Theater of Deception" which is in turn a branch of the theater.

It shares many of the goals and methods of the Theater, but it has its own unique purposes and goals, and its own unique way of accomplishing them. That is what makes it a special and distinct part of the Art of Theater.

It is only by truly understanding the rules of both arts that we know how to manage the two together without damaging the end result.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool. Magic is an Art for which Theater can be a useful tool. The goals of each determine the proper place of the other. Not doing things according the appropriate needs of the artistic vision--not knowing the distinctions and rules; will usually produce an artistic disaster.

If you can not make the distinctions between Theater and Magic--if you can not distiguish among their myriad goals and methods, you will not be able to use any of the tools correctly.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 12, 2006 03:26PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 15:47, Whit Haydn wrote:
When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool.
[/quote]
Magic IS THE EFFECT. To get the EFFECT of magic we use TOOLS like technique, Manipulation, Theater, ETC. Magic is the EFFECT.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 12, 2006 04:26PM)
Do you mean the effect that is seen or the effect that it has on mind of those seeing the effect.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 12, 2006 04:42PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 17:26, tommy wrote:
Do you mean the effect that is seen or the effect that it has on mind of those seeing the effect.
[/quote]
Hold that thought.

Hold that question.

You are standing on the traintracks of understanding.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 12, 2006 04:54PM)
Are talking to yourself Jon?


Just kidding. :)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 12, 2006 05:12PM)
Oh well... missed the train.

There will be other opportunities.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 12, 2006 05:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 16:26, bishthemagish wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-10 15:47, Whit Haydn wrote:
When Theater is used in Magic, it becomes a tool for the sake of the magician's art.

It is no longer Magic the Art, but Magic the Device.

Theater is an Art for which Magic can be a useful tool.
[/quote]
Magic IS THE EFFECT. To get the EFFECT of magic we use TOOLS like technique, Manipulation, Theater, ETC. Magic is the EFFECT.
[/quote]

Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 12, 2006 05:19PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:... Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician....[/quote]

Magic may happen as a result of the performer's efforts.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 12, 2006 05:25PM)
I define a good magician as one who gets such results, so "may" isn't realy correctly used there.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 12, 2006 05:52PM)
Can we go with "reliable" instead of "good" in that case?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 12, 2006 06:19PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.
[/quote]
Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 12, 2006 06:28PM)
Add a pinch of salt and BAMM!!!
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 12, 2006 07:03PM)
A) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused by a magic force). That is pure magic.

(b) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused by the magician). That is a pure trick.

(c) The effect that is seen by the spectator (Colour change) is what causes the effect in the spectators mind (Imagines the effect he saw was caused either by the magician or a magic force). That is a dilemma.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 12, 2006 07:21PM)
Tommy, you are working very hard on the syntax yet keeping some unnecessary language in place.

How does this work for you?
The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a color change (of what?) caused by the will of the magician.

Notice the magician term exists as a character in the story experienced by the audience. The performer is the person doing the work to bring the story and the audience together. Later on, when asked for a report, the audience will offer their experience which we call the effect.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 12, 2006 08:20PM)
Oh, Jon. That is so well put! Thank you.

The magician is a character--in fact the protagonist--in a story about magic that involves the spectator. The spectator is the story teller:

"I went up on stage with this really strange man and he..."

"I met this guy in the bar see, and he was like some genius chemist. He had this white powder that could make you young. He put some on a dead fly..."

"I saw David Copperfield once, and they chose me and my friend..."

"My folks took me to this restaurant once, and this magician came up to our table. He borrowed my mother's wedding ring..."

"So the guy shows this totally bogus device, which he says is a Teleportation Device, but then..."

We are the Coyote. People tell stories about us.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 12, 2006 08:20PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 19:19, bishthemagish wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.
[/quote]
Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.
[/quote]

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 12, 2006 08:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 19:19, bishthemagish wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 18:18, JackScratch wrote:
Incorrect. Magic is the sum of the efforts of a good magician. The effect is a part of that sum. It is not the whole of the sum. The effect is, in fact, a smaller part of the sum. An effect alone, no matter how good, is worthless. Without proper presentation, it is not magic. Magic in this instance being defined as the goal of our particular trade.
[/quote]
Incorrect. Incorrect. Incorrect.

Magic IS THE Effect. Without the magic effect or the effect of magic in the mind of the audience the magician might as well call themselves a juggler.

An effect alone is not worthless. Start with the effect - then come up with a method and then the mumbo jumbo is added. To help hide the method and then a presentation is added and hopefully that makes the whole thing entertaining.
[/quote]

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.
[/quote]

You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 12, 2006 08:58PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.
[/quote]
What is a magic effect? Say I wanted to vanish a playing card as a magic effect. Then I would choose a method to vanish a playing card. The method might be the back palm or the Dai Vernon slow motion card vanish. Or perhaps a silly method that would work in a black art program such as painting the back of the card black and then vanishing the card with black art.

All the methods work to vanish the playing card and are a way to make a playing card vanish into thin air - the effect. Once I choose the EFFECT then I choose the method to GET THE "MAGIC EFFECT".

But a magic effect it CAN stand on it's own and that IS what makes magic different from any other performing art. The magic effect is the desired goal. And the magic effect is not usually done as a means to an end to tell a theater story.

The story often exists as a means to an end to get the "MAGIC EFFECT".

[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:37, Whit Haydn wrote:
You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"
[/quote]

What is magic? I wrote a lot about that in this thread and all they need to do is to read it to find out what my theory of what is magic - is.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 12, 2006 09:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:58, bishthemagish wrote:
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:20, JackScratch wrote:

And do you have a clever title for one who is all effect and no performance? What do you call someone, completely uncomfortable in front of people, unable to touch peoples hearts, who does "tricks"? Agreed, without the effect it is not magic, but lets be fair, it is far from magic without a performance. I know. I've seen it.
[/quote]
What is a magic effect? Say I wanted to vanish a playing card as a magic effect. Then I would choose a method to vanish a playing card. The method might be the back palm or the Dai Vernon slow motion card vanish. Or perhaps a silly method that would work in a black art program such as painting the back of the card black and then vanishing the card with black art.

All the methods work to vanish the playing card and are a way to make a playing card vanish into thin air - the effect. Once I choose the EFFECT then I choose the method to GET THE "MAGIC EFFECT".

But a magic effect it CAN stand on it's own and that IS what makes magic different from any other performing art. The magic effect is the desired goal. And the magic effect is not usually done as a means to an end to tell a theater story.

The story often exists as a means to an end to get the "MAGIC EFFECT".

[quote]
On 2006-05-12 21:37, Whit Haydn wrote:
You two need to decide on a common definition of "effect" and "magic." As it stands, you are arguing at cross purposes and not making sense.

What is "Magic?"
[/quote]

What is magic? I wrote a lot about that in this thread and all they need to do is to read it to find out what my theory of what is magic - is.
[/quote]

While I'm with Glenn on the subject of sifting through this thread and finding what I've writen before on the subgect of defenition, I still disgree with his assesment. To begin with, a performance, and a story are two different things, but a performance can easily be a story. A trick executed by a person with no performance abiltiy is not magic. You are wrong. Magic is the sum of the total performance, including, but not limited to the effect or "trick". You can't have magic without the effect, but you can no more have magic without the performance. There must be something for the audience to relate to, get into. Ther must be some variety of style, or there will be no "magic". I can pull my thumb off, that's an effect, but it's not magic. I can be though. I've never done it, but even something as simple as pulling off the thumb can be made magic.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 12, 2006 10:24PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 20:21, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Tommy, you are working very hard on the syntax yet keeping some unnecessary language in place.

How does this work for you?
The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a color change (of what?) caused by the will of the magician.
[/quote]

I agree in part: The performer's job is to get the audience to perceive a magical effect, say a colour change for example.
I do not see that the spectator perceives such effects as caused by the will of the magician. He observes the magician make physical moves. The magician pantomimes applying an invisible force on the card that causes the card to change colour. He dose not see the magician simply look at the card as if he has “willed” the card to change colour.

[quote]
Notice the magician term exists as a character in the story experienced by the audience. The performer is the person doing the work to bring the story and the audience together. Later on, when asked for a report, the audience will offer their experience which we call the effect.
[/quote]


No I do not agree.
I see the magician as playing the part of a great magician who posses a magic force that has power. Magic is doing the work and not the magician. The magician demonstrates the power of the magic that he posses. He does that that by imitating the magic forces effects. Sometimes he might tell a story to make what he is showing interesting and entertaining. Whatever he does the story is, it's about what magic can do. The colour change is about what magic can do. The magician is playing a the part of character of one who possesses a magic force that has power. That's why the less he is seen to do the better, the best colour change is the one where he appears to do no work: “He only passed his hand over the card and it changed!”

The spectator imagines this magic force to exist at the moment he observes the effect that he has perceived. The spectator reacts at that moment. He is stunned for want of better word because he has just seen what he did not think was possible. He has not seen the impossible, he seen what is possible and he is amazed. Magic has, at that moment, become a reality, in his mind. Then a moment later he comes to his senses and tries to figure it out because his common sense tells him there is no such thing as magic. But he can’t figure it out and concludes it was a good trick - or maybe magic.

The magician can use all the tricks of acting but what he is acting is a magician who posses the magic force that has power. Sometimes he might pass a little magic force to a spectator and tell him how to use it. When you posses power you don’t do the work the power does.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 12, 2006 10:57PM)
Tommy, you are talking about one possible type of performance and/or character from potentialy millions. Not all magicians play the part of a magician. Many play the fool. Some play the target of magic from some other source. There are many different types of magicians. Often times the story a magician tells is not about the effect, it can be about something unrelated to the effect and the effect becomes an abstract demonstration of an element of the story.

Much of the arguements being made here take a very simplistic view on our art. Asside from being incorrect, it is quite disheartening. I hope you guys create greater things than your arguements here lead me to believe.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 12, 2006 11:39PM)
Theater is ubiquitous.
It's everywhere. Magic isn't.
Theater is part of the structure of human relations. From Public speaking to courtship. The elements of theater are touted and utilized (poorly or well) to hold and maintain attention (unless you want to narrowly define Theatre as a production group or building...which has little to do with our topic). We walk the streets. We may or may not announce ourselves. We don't need to cloth ourselves the the theatre or even engender it's umbrella.

The structure of drama (the 'story') is also ubiquitous. It present in how we recall EVERY human interaction (even mere observation). Magic, by it's definition is NOT apparent everywhere. Magical "things" may be all around, but humans group observation into "common expectations." Magic is the alien. It does not embrace the others. It stands apart.

Magic is based on surprise or the unexpected, In fact, I considered surprise itself the basest form of Magic. It underlies even sophisticated forms. Surprise itself is the only form of magic intelligible to the underdeveloped. It is no less magic to them even if the element of "magic" is not apparent to the sophisticated. It taps the sense of limitation and boundaries of the spectator.

This "tapping the boundaries" creates a sense of the "alien" or "alienation" in the spectator. What was not, now IS. This happening does not fit into his view of the world. Magic has the unique "alienating" factor in that it forces the spectator to deal with something "beyond their boundaries." There is an element of fear in the unknown and it can produce screams or nervous laughter. Spectators "jump back." It is "alien" and they don't know how to categorize it. This is the element of "between the horn" in that the mind finds no place to rest. However, it is the nature of this monster to possibly have many horns. That is why it can be unsettling.

Magicians use techniques of theatre to "draw" the spectator in. But that is not the element of magic. The magic is the alien and it will alienate. Using theatre to get them to let down their guard, we are able to "smack them harder" (or the borders of their "reality"). We are discussing very useful stuff in understanding how to better integrate theatre with magic. But they still do not define the magic. Only make it more powerful by making it more personal.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 13, 2006 02:16AM)
But magic is everywhere, and in everything. If magic is surprise, and surprise is magic, then how can anything not be magic, for surely a person could be surprised by anything. This world is full of zombies, sleepwalkers. People who look around everyday and see nothing beutiful. If you can pierce the vale that covers their eyes, they can be surprised by anything. I agree with the business of showing people a different world, but it takes a whole lot more than a "trick".
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 13, 2006 04:57AM)
Jack

Not all magicians play the part of a great magician which is why not all magicians are great. What is really sad is you do not understand that.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 13, 2006 06:32AM)
Folks, it helps to start with a simple example.

Tommy was working with an example of presenting a color change.

It also helps civil discourse to keep the "mind reading" to a minimum, ie if you want to know what someone means, ask them.


***** rest of text is a little dense, sorry I'm grouchy from reading the bickering ***


Likewise for being explicit as opposed to using pronouns where possible. Then we get to undefined terms like "magic". That's a tough one for now. Can we go with "the perception of magic" instead? While on that subject, perhaps we can also make explicit the frame of reference for a statement where that is not obvious to a casual reader. Even the term "magician" has issues in this sense as one could well ask "A magician according to whom?" and thus force the basic issues of "they said they are (self) a magician" and "I saw them do magic so they must be a magician". Likewise we get stuck when admitting the notion of will into this discussion. Phenomena without will are natural. What distinguishes the natural from what we call magic in stories is the application of will. Somebody (or something if you must) WILLS these unusual events into being. The somebody would be a magician and the something would be a supernatural creature.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 13, 2006 07:55AM)
To me it seems that the spectator observes a physical effect, such as a colour change, and based on his speculative or abstract reasoning he thinks it was caused by a metaphysical power. It is the magicians task to create in the mind of the spectator speculative or abstract reasoning by creating magical effects. The metaphysical power that the spectator has imagined could be the will power of the magician I suppose.

I find the magic wand interesting and this seems to support, unless I am mistaken, what Jon says about the will:

“Your Own Wand”
“Before you can use a magic wand, you need to purchase or make one. Traditionally the wand is the length of the users arm, from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow. However there is no set rule that says your wand had to be a certain size, If you are more comfortable with a smaller size, then that is right for you. Making your own wand is one of the most powerful things you can do. By making your own tools, you charge them with your personal power and therefore they will work better for you! From it's conception it is charged with your vibrations, your energy and your thoughts. It will reflect a part of you.”

http://sacred-pathways.com/Wands.html
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 13, 2006 09:07AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 07:32, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Likewise we get stuck when admitting the notion of will into this discussion. Phenomena without will are natural. What distinguishes the natural from what we call magic in stories is the application of will. Somebody (or something if you must) WILLS these unusual events into being. The somebody would be a magician and the something would be a supernatural creature.
[/quote]

Well said Jon.

And so I add - What is magic? To me it is the experience of a "Magic Effect"! Done by the "WILL" of a magician.

The audience experience of the magic effect while watching a magic show or a magician perform.

The late Jack Gwynne said that the magician or the magic effect is just two things. That is that a magician can make things appear and vanish.

Blackstone broke the magic effect or the Effects of Magic down into - Production, Vanish, Transposition, Transformation, Restoration, Animation, Penetration, Anti-gravity, Sympathetic-Reaction and Time Control.

I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 13, 2006 09:58AM)
Yes Glen thanks for the break down of the effects but I'm having a problem thinking how mind reading effects fit into the definition of magic. "Sympathetic-Reaction" what does that mean? I have never heard of that one.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 13, 2006 10:02AM)
Thanks Glenn,

I break the effect down to "whatever the audiece says happened".

That way I know what they got from the offering and can refine the work till what they say happened is what I want them to believe happened. :)

I feel we are doing ourselves a diservice when we forget about the story as percieved by the audience and try to collapse their view of things into a version of our side of things. The actor is not living the story. The audience is seeing a presentation from which they internally reconstruct the story. ;)

If we get our scripting right, then our presentation works, they audience will come away with the story we want them to have when they tell others.

:)
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 13, 2006 10:07AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 10:07, bishthemagish wrote:
I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.
[/quote]

If you added, "...variation and/or combination." The phrase would seem more complete.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 13, 2006 11:18AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 11:02, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Thanks Glenn,

I break the effect down to "whatever the audience says happened".

That way I know what they got from the offering and can refine the work till what they say happened is what I want them to believe happened. :)

If we get our scripting right, then our presentation works, they audience will come away with the story we want them to have when they tell others.
[/quote]
Thanks Jon. We also must take into account the fact of what happened on the stage is different than the effect that is generated in the spectator’s mind for the moment the magic effect happened. Often they will use their own imagination and invent there own “BETTER” story of the magic effect that they will tell others. And have their own way of telling the story that can make the effect seem even more amazing.

[quote]
On 2006-05-13 10:58, tommy wrote:
Yes Glen thanks for the break down of the effects but I'm having a problem thinking how mind reading effects fit into the definition of magic. "Sympathetic-Reaction" what does that mean? I have never heard of that one.
[/quote]
According to Blackstone "Sympathetic-Reaction" is magic or suggestion through ritual. The art or science of the ancient wizards, high priests, like sticking pins into people, and other stunts (breaking wood boards in karate) that comes down to the art of suggestion that is often called today hypnotism.

I also left out escapes and Mentalism that is also called telling the future or fortune telling or as religion calls it Divination.

[quote]
On 2006-05-13 10:07, bishthemagish wrote:
I break them down into - Production, Vanish, Anti-Gravity and see the others listed as just a variation on the above three Effects.

On 2006-05-13 11:07, kregg wrote:

If you added, "...variation and/or combination." The phrase would seem more complete.
[/quote]
Thank you Kregg.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 13, 2006 11:21AM)
Oh, man, my brain hurts from all this. :) Especially on a Saturday morning...

I still have to get back to my question about the vanishing 747, but, for the moment, let me see if I can understand this in my own terms.

The first Harry Potter movie. They're outside in broom-flying class. Harry says "up" and the broom flies up into his hand.

In the context of the story, that's magic: a "force" or natural phenomenon that exists in their world and that they accept. They don't have to try to understand how it works: it's magic, and that's what it is. They're at Hogwarts to [i]learn how to use it[/i].

Now, if I were to do this broom thing on stage in the standard "magic show" style, I'd have to show the audience that there are no threads, magnets, or something else to make the broom jump into my hand. My task in this case would be to "prove" that I'm doing it by magic because there are no "physical" explanations.

But that assumes that I want the audience to "believe in magic."

As I see Whit's definition, however, the performer's task is not to make the audience believe in magic, but to get them stuck between knowing that there's no such thing as magic but seeing no other explanation.

So I'm seeing two different things here (both of which have been discussed above): there's magic a la Harry Potter, and there's this "theatrical form of entertainment" that gives the audience an experience that makes them go home wondering what the heck they've just seen.

If I remember my magic history correctly, the old-timers like the Herrmanns, Kellar, Thurston, Dante, and others, wanted their audiences to believe they were doing real magic. I never watched any of these guys, but Blackstone Sr. did come across this way the couple of times I saw him on TV. Then we seemed to go into the era of "watch what this box can do." Hmmmmm...

I need another coffee...
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 13, 2006 11:54AM)
George, folks

Consider if you will the distinctions between our shared (supposedly objective) world and the worlds of story.

There are however many areas where what we know is incomplete and what we believe is vague. These are the "soft" places in our maps of reality. The places where tiny things don't act like normal things, where fast things act strangely. Places where a dark night elicits fear and we wonder if the thing that used to live under our beds has moved into the closet and its spawn might be hiding in our cupboards and bureau drawers.

Then there is the fact that the imagined world of one person need not resemble in shape, color, texture... the imagined world of any other.

Three worlds and more.

Consider then, that a magician is one who moves things between those worlds.

In Whit's terms, a magician opens a door between an imagined world and the shared world of the performance, then keeps his foot in to allow things to pass between those worlds and perhaps offers the audience a peek into an imagined world, all the while making sure nothing else from that world seeps in and that the audience stays in their world too.

Seems ecological to me.

What do you think?
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 13, 2006 12:09PM)
If I said "Up" to command a broom, it wouldn't be necessary for me to prove anything. I did it!
Most of the audience will assume that there are strings from above.
However, they will probably watch everything from that point so intently, their head will probably hurt like George's.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 13, 2006 12:44PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 05:57, tommy wrote:
Jack

Not all magicians play the part of a great magician which is why not all magicians are great. What is really sad is you do not understand that.

[/quote]

No. I understand that, and it is completely irrelevent to what I am saying. One does not have to play the part of a great magician, to be a great magician. There are countless roles which can make one a great magician, that are not the role or character of a great magician.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 13, 2006 01:12PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 12:54, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
In Whit's terms, a magician opens a door between an imagined world and the shared world of the performance, then keeps his foot in to allow things to pass between those worlds and perhaps offers the audience a peek into an imagined world, all the while making sure nothing else from that world seeps in and that the audience stays in their world too.
[/quote

What a wonderful way to put it, well done!

Kregg
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 13, 2006 02:16PM)
Okay, but after seventeen pages of deep thinking, I for one need to put all this into simple terms as they apply to a modern "idealized" performance style.

The old masters -- Kellar, Thurston, etc. -- presented their stuff as real magic. Yes, they did it on stage, but their whole personality and presentation was focused on "I'm a wonder-worker. Look at my posters: I get my advice from little gremlins."

Then we moved into the "Okay, so you don't believe in gremlins. Fine, so now look at what I can do by myself" era.

Recently, it seems we've been in the "Lookit what this box can do" period.

Now we're trying to move forward. I think I'm reading that Whit proposes we put the focus back on the performer: "I'm the one doing this. I'm going to tell you a lie with a wink and a smile, and then send you home wondering what the heck you just saw."

Granted I'm in theater and that colors my thinking patterns, but, if I were a director describing a role to an actor, I would have to explain things in simple, concrete terms. Just like when I discuss a set design concept with a producer or director and we use simple, clear, common terms that we can both agree on. Then I do a sketch that clarifies the visual concept we've agreed on, and that's when they "sign on the dotted line."

Same thing I did during nine years with a high-profile architectural firm working on corporate and government jobs: "So, Mr. CEO, in five words or less, just what the heck are you trying to accomplish here? Why did you call us?" Of course, I always said it in different words, in a very professional, friendly, helpful, collaborative way, but that's what it came down to, and it worked beautifully.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 13, 2006 02:58PM)
I don't think that people in the 19th Century took magic any more seriously than they do today. Magic was a very popular parlor room hobby for both boys and girls in the early 1800's. Magicians were considered entertainers, and people argued long and hard over their methods.

The style with which magicians of the golden age (1890's--1920's) presented themselves, as heros (Houdini), adventurers (Carter), wizards (Germaine and Blackstone) and so on were derived from the popular culture, and were suited to the themed presentations on stage.

It had nothing to do with the audience's "belief" in the reality of their magic.

Those sort of presentations died because of the shift from large traveling shows in theaters and tents to smaller shows in Chatauqua circuits and nightclubs. The shift in venues required different ways of presenting magic. But in all of the books of the 19th century it is evident that magic was presented with a lightness and sense of humor that we should not forget. The game is the same.

Anyone that wanted to convince people he had strange and unusual powers that could bring wealth, fame and followers in the 19th Century was able to do that without any trouble. The magicians didn't, because that is not what they were trying to do.

The charlatans are still around today, and people are every bit as gullible toward spiritualist mediums and faith healers as they ever were.

Magic is different from the other branches of the Art of Deception. It is a theatrical art whose goal is the entertainment and/or enlightenment of the audience. It does not seek to really convince anyone of the "truth" of its claims.

For people to have final conviction about magic either way would destroy it as a phenomenon that can draw audiences and cause interest and controversy.

The goal of Mesmer was to bind followers and patients to him, to take over their lives and assets, to become a cult figure. That is not entertainment, and his goals do not include any desire to enlighten or entertain others, but rather to take advantage of them.

The goal of Houdin, Kellar, and other magicians of the 19th Century was to entertain people with a sophisticated, charming, and thought-provoking art--not to convince anyone that they were real.

I think too many performers fail to see the multi-layered theatrical experience that is magic.

By looking at it so one-dimensionally, (the Performance of Magic is to convince someone else that the magician has magic powers) we fail to see the myriad possibilities for play, mischief, serious philosophical commentary, role-play, and story-telling that magic can offer.

When you tell a child about Santa Claus, at one age, it is all believable and real. The child just accepts the whole thing and it is beautiful to see them living in that world that is so unlike the one we know as adults.

As the child gets older, the story must change. He now knows enough about the world to realize that Santa and the reindeer don't register very well with the world he is learning is "real."

At this point some really lame parents will trie to "prove the lie" to the child, to keep him in "belief" (and infancy) so that they can continue to enjoy the game. They will hire a commercial Santa to come to the house, or leave "evidence" of Santa's visit. When this same thing is done in another way, it can be fun and play. If it is done with the intent of changing the child's thinking and belief, it is aggression and abuse.

For when the kid finally does understand that Santa wasn't real, and that his parents had conspired with others to "lie" to him and keep him "one down" in a state of ignorance, he will resent it and problems will arise from the experience.

On the other hand, if the parents help re-frame things for the child to fit his new understanding of the world, they can help bring him into the adult world:

"I don't know if Santa is really real or not, son. I lot of people believe he is, a lot of people believe he's not. I like to believe he's real. Hey! I have an idea! Let's get something really nice for mommy, and make her think it is from Santa!"

This is the sort of complex mix of truth and falsehood, and the concern for the welfare of those for whom we are responsible that should be involved in the artistic pursuit of magic.

Our job as real artists is to understand and make the many fine distinctions that keep our art from falling into disrepute by becoming either one-dimensional and boring, or becoming a form of charlatanry that is not concerned with the effects we have on the audience.

Great artists should know the difference between the different needs and abilities of the people in our audiences--whether through age, culture, or intellectual development--and keep those in consideration as we try to entertain and enlighten without burdening and harming our audiences.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 13, 2006 03:07PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 15:58, Whit Haydn wrote:
The style with which magicians of the golden age (1890's--1920's) presented themselves, as heros (Houdini), adventurers (Carter), wizards (Germaine and Blackstone) and so on were derived from the popular culture, and were suited to the themed presentations on stage.
[/quote]
Thank you!!!!!

"...derived from the popular culture..." -- what a thing to remember!
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 13, 2006 03:41PM)
Interesting in reading this new page of a very long thread how what IS real magic just slipped through the fingers. it is interesting that magicians and masters of magic don't seem to know the difference between story-book magic and real magic.

What IS magic is written in the pages of this thread.

Looked for it can not be seen.

Listened for it can not be heard.

Felt for, it can not be touched.

When I was performing at fairs and festivals for a week of shows I had people leaving me a Bible on the performing stage in hopes that I would read it and give up my Hypnoticmagic ways.

Suggested reading as to what is real magic the book "The magic of believing" by Claude Bristol.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 13, 2006 06:26PM)
Glen, I've read Bristol, Chopra, Dyer, Hill and others... they present some plausible concepts of "real magic".

But Guys, whether magic is real or not is not really the topic of this conversation...and would best be discussed in another thread such as..."Do you believe in real magic?"
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 13, 2006 06:35PM)
What IS real magic, Bish? Is it different from what we do when we make a coin disappear? How many different meanings can the word magic have? Why do we keep using it in such an amorphous and meaningless way?

Let's do an exercise. We will describe an effect from one of my programs. It is not a magic trick. No magic is used or harmed in its construction and presentation. Magic is never mentioned. Please do not use the word "magic" at all in discussing it:

[i]"First, the performer borrows a dollar bill from an audience member. Then, tears off a corner and hands it to a volunteer, pointing out that bills all have differing serial numbers. Next, the performer tosses a volunteer a couple of lemons, from which they select one and hand it back to him.

"Now, the performer introduces his amazing scientific invention, the Teleportation Device! As he touts his invention's tremendous powers (while the audience snickers), he wraps the volunteer's torn bill in tissue paper and affixes it atop the Device's antenna.

"Next, he begins to adjust the many fine settings on the device. Strange noises­­, beeps, and buzzes begin to emerge. He aims the Device at his volunteer's lemon, announcing that the teleportation is about to take place (by this point, the audience is certain that the performer is completely whacked)!

"As he takes aim and adjusts the knobs, the weird noises get weirder. Suddenly, FWAP! The wrapped bill on the end of the antenna bursts into flame and completely vanishes! The performer confidently announces that the deed is done as you cut open the lemon FREELY selected by your spectator, revealing that inside is a torn bill which the spectator confirms is his: the shape and serial number are a spot-on match!

"But wait! Not satisfied that the audience is convinced, the performer does a second exhibition of the Teleportation Device's amazing powers! If this is really science, and not some cheap trick like Cold Fusion, the experiment should be repeatable under test conditions!

"The performer asks another spectator to take the original torn, burnt bill and sign it. Next, he opens a carton of fresh eggs and invites them to select and hold one.

"Placing the wet, crumpled bill atop the antenna's clip IN FULL VIEW this time, he operates the controls and aims the antenna at the egg your spectator is holding high in the air. FWAP! Another explosion, the bill vanishes, and he announces the teleportation has taken place.

"He cracks the egg open and dig around inside with a surgeon's hemostat. Slowly, he pulls out what appears to be an extremely gooey, torn bill, obviously singed about the edges due to the explosion.

"Little by little, his audience's wonder builds as it becomes clear that the bill is the EXACT SAME bill that has been in front of the audience the entire time! It even­­ has some writing on it--­­the spectator's own verified signature!"[/i]

Now here is an effect that under MY categories in the "Theater of Deception" would be considered "Fake Science"--something equal to, and virtually identical to, "Fake Magic."

It is identical in every respect to a magic effect, except that the theme, trappings, and false conclusion of the argument are wrapped in the terms of science and technology instead of magic.

The cause is attributed to the electro-magnetic forces emanating from the device, which is actually functioning sort of as a magic wand.

So here is a great routine to look at and dissect and try to understand what it is that is being presented to the audience, and what the performer is trying to accomplish, without the loaded and nearly meaningless term "magic."

We should not use the word "magic" unless it is clearly defined in its context. Since this seems to be impossible to achieve on the forum, and everyone resists any attempt to reach an agreement on how we will use the term so that everyone is on the same page, let's just abandon the word altogether.

I have performed the routine described above hundreds and hundreds of times. The audience does not notice any difference between this and the other "magic tricks" in my show. The only difference in my construction of the routine and any other magic routine is that the theme and lie are science related rather than introducing the term magic or allowing people to suppose it.

So let's just talk about what we actually do in front of and for the audience in a trick like this, without bringing in the word magic at all.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 13, 2006 08:21PM)
Mr. Haydn, The more I read about your theories of magic,the more I tend to view them through the eyes of Henning Nelms. I don't have the time to dig through the entire book but a few points- (I promise not to use the "M" word for the rest of this post)

I. Here is part one of what I'll term the, "Henning Nelms Paradigm" -


1.) The performer claims some specific, supernormal power and makes this claim as impressively as possible.

"Now, the performer introduces his amazing scientific invention, the Teleportation Device! As he touts his invention's tremendous powers (while the audience snickers), he wraps the volunteer's torn bill in tissue paper and affixes it atop the Device's antenna."

2.) He then indicates that the [primary] purpose of his performance is to demonstrate the power.

"Next, he begins to adjust the many fine settings on the device. Strange noises­­, beeps, and buzzes begin to emerge. He aims the Device at his volunteer's lemon, announcing that the teleportation is about to take place (by this point, the audience is certain that the performer is completely whacked)!"


3.) He provides this demonstration and it appears to prove his claim.

"Little by little, his audience's wonder builds as it becomes clear that the bill is the EXACT SAME bill that has been in front of the audience the entire time! It even­­ has some writing on it--­­the spectator's own verified signature!"

II. The second observation I wish to site here here is the difference between an "Effect and a Phenomenon"

The EFFECT of the above routine is one of TRANSPORTATION, (although Fitzkee called it "trasposition" (#3), oddly he never used the word transportation (to me a transposition means two objects switching places with each other.) Other's could perhaps debate that the effect also contains a pennetration (I'd say their wrong but...)

The PHENOMENON- which was another constant in all of the routines/ examples in Nelms's Book- is the introduction and description of the teleportaion device. The "phenomenon" was to indicate the supposed means by which the effect is occuring. (or in my own words "plausible B.S.")

I only bring this up because I remember that we argued over Henning Nelms over a year ago and I believe if you review the book, you will see instances where you and Nelms are using different terms and examples to say some of the same things.

Whit-

Check out the first effect in the book, "Strong Man's Secret". It's essentially a cut and restored rope effect that is presented as a more plausible carnival stunt instead. Admittedly it is a trick but one without apparent means.

It seems to serve as an excellent example of a "valid sylogism with with one missing or untrue premise"

I never used the "M" word! ;)

- Cinemag-----
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 13, 2006 08:47PM)
I do agree with Nelms about a lot of things.

It is just that I disagree with him on so many other important things.

It will just confuse things to bring in other writers right now.

It is the confusion of terms that previous writers have had that forces us to look for a new theoretical foundation for magic.

Do you see the relationship between the description of a theatrical event such as the Teleportation Device routine and a magic presentation?

Is the use of the term "magic" really that important? Can't we do practically the same thing without using the term magic?

If that is so, are all these discussions abuot the "reality" of magic and "real magic" sort of beside the point?

It is like studying the real science and technology of teleportation in order to present the Teleportation Device.

Whether a force called "magic" actually exists or not, is irrelevant to the performance of magic.

The performance of magic (just as the performance of fake science, fake alchemy, or fake math) is actually a game of sophistry that is played with the audience.

It is a game in which the performer engages the audience in a game of lying, in which he attempts to prove something that the audience "knows" is not possible.

Once proved, the audience still "knows" that the proof is somehow faked, but they can't find the answer to it--they can't see any way it could have been faked. This creates a dilemma in their heads: "That was not really teleportation/It couldn't have been anything but teleportation."

The creation of this sort of dilemma is the very nature and purpose of the art.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 13, 2006 09:27PM)
Not everyone who wears a cape and perfoms the impossible is a magician.
Dispite his powers of levitation, flying, xray vision, and more, I never heard Superman referred to as a magician.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 13, 2006 09:32PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 19:26, cinemagician wrote:
Glen, I've read Bristol, Chopra, Dyer, Hill and others... they present some plausible concepts of "real magic".

But Guys, whether magic is real or not is not really the topic of this conversation...and would best be discussed in another thread such as..."Do you believe in real magic?"
[/quote]
Bristol gives Dunninger as an example that ESP could be real. That part of the book is the only flaw in the book. But the other parts are wonderful. And Bristol was fooled by Dunninger working strong so it wasn't his fault.

Magic looked at from the point of view of being real has everything to do with what magicians do. And everything to do with the description of magic and what it is. Even if the magician does not believe in magic. Because it is partly what the magician believes but also what the audience watching the magician believes. That has a direct effect on how a person will use his or her imagination while watching a magic effect and how they will interpret that effect in their own mind and in their own belief system of their subconscious mind.

Is gravity real or a theory? Does gravity care if a person believes in it. Or if a person doesn't believe in gravity do they fly off into space. Does magic care if a magician believes in it? Perhaps not but it does have an effect on the imagination of the audience watching it.

Jon was right in saying the "magic effect" is whatever the audience thinks it is.

Whit from my understanding is right from his experience and his point of view. But I do not like to put words into the mouths of others because it is only a theory from one view point talking about one branch of a very large tree of knowledge.

What is magic? I already have said what it is in this thread. And I do not want to argue it for the sake of argument. I do have an open mind about theory of both magic and hypnosis.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 13, 2006 09:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 22:27, Bilwonder wrote:
Not everyone who wears a cape and perfoms the impossible is a magician.
Dispite his powers of levitation, flying, xray vision, and more, I never heard Superman referred to as a magician.
[/quote]
There is Story-book magic like wizards and Harry Potter, Superman, Peter Pan. Then there is Theater magic and magicians magic. And then there is real magic. And natures wonders like rainbows and sun-sets. The problem with the public and some magicians is often they confuse them all together with the "effects of magic or the "the Magic Effect" a magician might do.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 13, 2006 09:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-13 22:27, Bilwonder wrote:
Not everyone who wears a cape and perfoms the impossible is a magician.
Dispite his powers of levitation, flying, xray vision, and more, I never heard Superman referred to as a magician.
[/quote]

Actually, when superman started flying and being able to turn in mid flight, lots of folks went from mere amusement at the concept of long leaps to outright disregard for the "integrity" of the concept. He went from science fiction to fantasy right there, and with x-ray vision and heat vision... he became a magical creature. As everyone from the Renaissance on knows, the eyes don't emit radiation. Anyway Krypton went from a heavier place to a Never Never Land as the character evolved. Even in Miracleman the basic issues of just what allows characters to do what are carefully examined. No criticism of Superman or fantasy in general being made here. Just pointing out the distinction between fantasy and science fiction.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 13, 2006 11:43PM)
Bilwonder, George Ledo already mentioned the Superman thing. Did you read it? This thread is getting too big for it's own good.

Earlier in this thread, Jonathan Townsend brought up the concept of virtual audiences in terms of what we do as performers.

It is scary to think about the virtual audiences we may have as Café members.

How do you think you are perceived?

Personally, I suspect that too often people do not read what I have written at all.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 14, 2006 02:31AM)
Cinemagician, yes, well aware of George's comments. My comments were sort of a turn back to him. His wondering about Potter's magic and all...

My point here was that all the powers in the world don't make you a magician if the specator is given a context that fits a "world veiw." This is not about comparing the "magic" of the movies to what we do. This is about how the audience "frames" the same effect in different situations. Magic is not in "the effect" performed, but in weather of not we have a "pigeon hole" explaination for what we see. There is really no "magic" association with Superman (or even Jesus in most cases) because we have a "complete" world veiw of him (in a story book way). Harry Potter is a somewhat interesting matter. The magic of that world seems almost "technological." If there were no muggles, how magical would it be? Almost like "Star Trek" trying not to interefere with a "primitive society." If everything is a science to be learned with a push of the button (wave of the wand) or turning on the electricity...it's just another accepted ability within a tidy world view. Magic is about rocking a world view. Changing it's perameters for the veiwer. It's not about creating a "false world" for them to believe in, or give them any kinds of "answers," but magic is to "knock the stool" out from under them and not give the another one to land on. Magic exits in that moment of flight.


I think Jonathon described well "magic" and the "magician job" in a way that many of us may agree with.

[quote]
On 2006-05-13 12:54, Jonathan Townsend wrote:

There are however many areas where what we know is incomplete and what we believe is vague. These are the "soft" places in our maps of reality. The places where tiny things don't act like normal things, where fast things act strangely...Then there is the fact that the imagined world of one person need not resemble in shape, color, texture... the imagined world of any other.

Three worlds and more.

Consider then, that a magician is one who moves things between those worlds.

[/quote]
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 14, 2006 07:47AM)
Science demonstrations are sometimes perceived as magic.
Pepper's ghost started life as a extraordinarily elaborate physics demonstration of the rather simple idea but the effect it had on the audience was such that they thought it was magic. On seeing the reaction of the audience it was later presented as magic.
Apart from the window dressing what is the difference. One is a demonstration and one is a performance right. But what’s the difference?
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 14, 2006 09:28AM)
Here is part of my theory as to - what is magic?

Jonathan Townsend nailed part of it but I am going to change it a little bit to fit the theory better. What is magic? Whatever the public or the audience thinks magic is in their own belief system.

And whatever the public thinks magic is has a direct effect on how they will respond to the magic effect. When a magician performs a magic trick on a stage or close up and it is amazing and you get that oooooh. I feel that often the audience experienced the "EFFECT of real magic".

Then their own belief system and their conscious mind kicks in and tells them that there is no such thing as magic and then they try to figure it out. If it was good and they are stunned and thinking about it for a long time - and that is what I want them to do - they will talk about the experience to others - often making the magic effect sound even more amazing.

This is only a theory of one branch on a very large tree of knowledge as to part of my theory as to what magic is.

Thanks in advance for reading it.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 14, 2006 09:47AM)
Most of us accept magic as a general term, but, specificity is what we're needling through. When you define magic; are you defining it properly as a noun or are you trying to make it a verb? The dictionary describes magic without emotional conflict.
If you Google "magic"; Magic The Gathering is usually the first hit among 411 million hits. Are people searching for real magic?
Doug Henning told us, "It's not magic, it's illusion." Other's say, "not tricks, but effects." Penn & Teller boil everything down to BS. Jonathan Townsend's "foot the doorway" was brilliant. Whit has spent many waking hours crafting his wonderful definition.
Surely, we all agree that we are defining magic for our lifetime in our craft. If we reverse time and Google through history magic would have changed more than once, just like it has changed for me throughout my magical life as a prestidigitator.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 14, 2006 09:56AM)
Waaaaaaay Back at the begining of this thread, I posted a cut and paste from dictionary.com that I thought was pretty all inclusive. At the time no one seemed to like that concept.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 14, 2006 11:00AM)
Why not dig it up and see how it compares with Whit's definition? After all the thread is already 17 pages long so it sure wouldn't hurt.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 14, 2006 11:05AM)
Tommy, one demonstration, many responses, that is to be expected. Not everyone has the same sense of the impossible. When I walk into a room, I can point my wand and say "illuminati" but I find flipping the switch easier. The average person doesn't really understand a thing about electricity, but it's no longer magic because we take it for granted. We think we know something because we're familiar with it. Yet, to a the right people, we have harnessed the power of heaven, something that should be beyond the power of mere human. The difference is in what each perceiver sees as impossible.

I would say magic is a noun. It is a "thing" however insubstantial. Like a flame, it exists between the world of transformation..ever burning but never consumed. There is no solution in our world view and so it eats away at us to no end. Call it a "meta" state or a state...it is a "stalemate" of the mind.

Dictionaries reflect how we use words as well as origins. To say magic is "Supernatural" simple says it is "beyond nature" and does not fit any understanding of the world we have. Then there are the "connotations" of magic (which "Harry Potter" is full of) that have little to really do with magic directly, but simply a pile of historical associations and symbols that mean "magic' to most of us.

"We must look for Consistency;
where this is a want of it, we must suspect deception."
- Sherlock Holmes


A consistent universe is not magical. Conan Doyle looked at Houdini and didn't see a magician, but a spiritualist. Turning this quote on end, if we create consistency for our selves, we are no longer feel deceived.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 01:33PM)
So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question? My example was to try to explain and describe the work of the performer and the role of the audience in the Teleportation Device. Describe the transactional dynamics of this entertainment. Try to figure out what is actually being attempted, accomplished, and appreciated in this one little experiment--without the word magic being used at all.

You are all trying to think without discipline. Shooting all over the place.

Please stick to one thing at a time.

Nothing can be accomplished if everyone just throws in their two cents about any topic that jumps in their head. I have tried to get agreement on the very first statement of my theory, and after all these pages, we still have not managed to move on to the second statement of the theory.

The theory hasn't even been laid out past that second statement, and the creation of the dilemma, the second statement in the argument, has not even been explained yet.

This is not my thread, and it is not my place to control the direction and content of the thread, but if anyone is interested in hearing more about what I have discovered and believe about magic, then we need to stick strictly to the topics, one at a time, instead of trying to let everyone tell their whole personal theory of magic.

As I said before, I am perfectly willing to sit and let others expound their theories, and just sit back and discuss them one by one, but I have spent thirty years working on this one, and writing and talking about it with some of the best minds in magic. I would love a chance to explain and defend it here, for the sake of helping to write it out in a form that is clear and does not confuse people.

Already, the discussion here has been a help in re-formulating the first statement of the theory in a more clear and concise form.

It would be great to get a chance to do the same with the second statement of the theory.

But gee, if you guys can not focus on one topic at a time, this will just not happen. Seventeen pages! I could pretty much explain the basics of the whole theory in that much space, and we have only discussed the first statement!

If people want to hear any more of my ideas, I am very patient and will be glad to discuss any or all of them. But if this is just going to be a survey of everyone's opinions, and not an arguement or discussion of the principles of magic, then I am out of here.

Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 14, 2006 01:38PM)
If there is no magic if they know how the trick is done it follow that not knowing the how of the trick, is magic!

I think that there is magic even when they know the how. It is the real secrets of magic that is magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 01:47PM)
Thanks, Tommy. Five uses of the word "magic" in two sentences.

This really brings us forward. :)

What is the meaning of the word "magic," then?

How can "magic" (There is no magic) be the "how" of the trick if there is no magic?

Could it be you are confusing two different definitions?

Magic exists, even when people "know the how." I thought you said magic was the "how?"

The "real secrets of magic" = "magic." Do you mean the method (the how) of magic equals "magic?" Magic is the secret of the trick?

You have used the word magic in two sentences in more than four ways and with more than four different definitions.

Do you see why I want to ban the use of the term? At least for the present, and until we can agree on a single definition for the use of the term within the discussion.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 14, 2006 02:25PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question? My example was to try to explain and describe the work of the performer and the role of the audience in the Teleportation Device. Describe the transactional dynamics of this entertainment. Try to figure out what is actually being attempted, accomplished, and appreciated in this one little experiment--without the word magic being used at all.


Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"
[/quote]

I did. Did you read my post!

I mean this one-

Mr. Haydn, The more I read about your theories of magic,the more I tend to view them through the eyes of Henning Nelms. I don't have the time to dig through the entire book but a few points- (I promise not to use the "M" word for the rest of this post)

I. Here is part one of what I'll term the, "Henning Nelms Paradigm" -


1.) The performer claims some specific, supernormal power and makes this claim as impressively as possible.

"Now, the performer introduces his amazing scientific invention, the Teleportation Device! As he touts his invention's tremendous powers (while the audience snickers), he wraps the volunteer's torn bill in tissue paper and affixes it atop the Device's antenna."

2.) He then indicates that the [primary] purpose of his performance is to demonstrate the power.

"Next, he begins to adjust the many fine settings on the device. Strange noises­­, beeps, and buzzes begin to emerge. He aims the Device at his volunteer's lemon, announcing that the teleportation is about to take place (by this point, the audience is certain that the performer is completely whacked)!"


3.) He provides this demonstration and it appears to prove his claim.

"Little by little, his audience's wonder builds as it becomes clear that the bill is the EXACT SAME bill that has been in front of the audience the entire time! It even­­ has some writing on it--­­the spectator's own verified signature!"

II. The second observation I wish to site here here is the difference between an "Effect and a Phenomenon"

The EFFECT of the above routine is one of TRANSPORTATION, (although Fitzkee called it "trasposition" (#3), oddly he never used the word transportation (to me a transposition means two objects switching places with each other.) Other's could perhaps debate that the effect also contains a pennetration (I'd say their wrong but...)

The PHENOMENON- which was another constant in all of the routines/ examples in Nelms's Book- is the introduction and description of the teleportaion device. The "phenomenon" was to indicate the supposed means by which the effect is occuring. (or in my own words "plausible B.S.")

I only bring this up because I remember that we argued over Henning Nelms over a year ago and I believe if you review the book, you will see instances where you and Nelms are using different terms and examples to say some of the same things.

Whit-

Check out the first effect in the book, "Strong Man's Secret". It's essentially a cut and restored rope effect that is presented as a more plausible carnival stunt instead. Admittedly it is a trick but one without apparent means.

It seems to serve as an excellent example of a "valid sylogism with with one missing or untrue premise"

I never used the "M" word!

- Cinemag-----
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 14, 2006 02:31PM)
I don't know what I can add, but I will try.

The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.

Bilwonder mentions that he could walk into a room and wave the wand and say the proper words and the light would come on. Or he could just flip the switch. The light switch is not amazing because we know it works. The fact we do not understand the science is not relevant. If we used wands like they do in HP, then they would be no more amazing. Superman (or Chris Reaves) is not amazing because we know he can fly (or uses wires.) Captain Kirk can teleport from one end of the galaxy and it does not amaze--it is part of the Star Trek universe. They fail as "Theater of Deception, because they fail (or do not attempt) to prove something is true that the audience firmly believes to be not true. A light switch may have a mysterious element to it, but it itself is not mysterious--it just works. Waving a wand would take on the same boring characteristics if we lived in the world of Harry Potter.

A worker in the Theater of Deception in Harry Potter's world of wizards, would have to do some things different than to wave a magic wand.

In the teleportation device, there is a need for the audience to know that teleportation is not possible, at least not possible in the context of a stage show on a cruise ship. I firmly believe that Whit is right there. Using the "Teleportation Device" to move an object from spot to spot is amazing in a way that "The Fedex Guy" (or Captain Kirk) is not--because of its impossibility and that it is proven to really happen--there was a witness! Me! When someone witnesses an effect like this, there is often a psychological reaction that they might express by saying "No way, there is no way..." This is not only expressed at the end of the trick, but often earlier when the spectator first realizes something impossible will happen, and that the showman has engaged them as an eyewitness.

We are shown technological marvels all the time. Things we thought were impossible turn out to possible. For little money down, we too can own the newest, wildest, most impossible, technological marvel. Ten minutes after we get it home it loses its luster. That is why we are always looking for the next big thing. But Whit is not selling his device for three easy payments of 29.99. If the audience could take Whit's TD home, it would be like the first TVs. Amazing until they got them home. People might still not be able to explain how a TV worked, but that was unimportant. When we can control the device, the mystery (or at least one mystery) vanishes. We have all had kids ask for their own wand at shows. I we could give it to them, and it really worked as advertised, the mystery would leave as well. It would have the same effect as giving away our sleight of hand secrets.

In the TD, it is the fact that something impossible happened (clearly proven) that makes it amazing. It is also important, though, that their belief in its impossibility stays in the forefront of their mind that keeps it amazing.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 14, 2006 02:53PM)
I did not say it was the how but said "if". A lot of spectators guess how a trick is done, even if they guess wrong, they think they know. yet what the see still amazes them. I know how some illusions work but they still fascinate me. I don’t know why.
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 14, 2006 02:55PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question?
[/quote]
The word magic has everything to do with the question asked in this thread?
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
But gee, if you guys can not focus on one topic at a time, this will just not happen. Seventeen pages! I could pretty much explain the basics of the whole theory in that much space, and we have only discussed the first statement!

If people want to hear any more of my ideas, I am very patient and will be glad to discuss any or all of them. But if this is just going to be a survey of everyone's opinions, and not an argument or discussion of the principles of magic, then I am out of here.
[/quote]
Excuse me what was the question? What is the definition of magic?

In theory the magic used as a word as in the suggestion of magic toward the audience? Or how the audience accepts or denies the suggestion of magic?

Suggestion of magic equals magic effect? That is my theory. Or perhaps the question should be is the effect of magic experienced by the audience that happens in their own mind - real? Or is the experience of a magic effect in the mind real?
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"
[/quote]
Sorry but with respect I did not know we were talking about "the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?".

Sorry I am a little slow at keeping up.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 03:20PM)
Read other people's posts, Bish. It is important to try to understand what other people are saying. That will make it easier to keep up. ;)

The problem with continuing to use the word "magic" is that no one has a clue what you are talking about. We have all used the word magic in so many different ways that it is a totally meaningless term in the context of this discussion.

I wanted to try to see if we could find a way to talk about what we as magicians do without using the word "magic."

Chris and Mark have both just said a number of important things about the nature of what we do without ever using the word "magic." If you want to continue on in the discussion with us, then try to write about the topic without the word "magic." If you do not want to talk with us about that topic, then we can discuss your theory if you insist.

Your definitions are unclear. Define magic, and use the word the way you define it.

We will discuss your theory of magic then, instead of mine.

You said Suggestion of Magic = Magic Effect. Okay. What is magic? What is Suggestion? What is Effect?

Suggestion = ?

Effect = ?

Magic = ?

It is best to take these things one at a time. You will need to be patient, to keep trying to explain what you mean.

Take it for granted that no one knows what YOU mean by these terms, so you will have to take time and explain each one. People will argue with you about every aspect of every definition. That is what enables us to eventually understand what YOU are saying.

But it isn't any use to just keep throwing in your own terms and concepts without explaining them.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 14, 2006 03:54PM)
If magic does not exist, then of course it can not be defined.
If it can be defined, then it exists in some form.
We can substitute words such as "supernatural" but one of two things will probably happen. We create synonyms with little distinction or we define down talking only about possible attributes that in no way constitute the whole.

Whit, when Jonathan translates you we seem to be saying the same thing. What I hear you say is the syllogism is central to everything. I gave a detailed response to that along with examples as you asked for, yet you gave no response. So, I don't know what I'm missing here. I may be missing something, but it sometimes seems you gloss over my posts with the impression they are all about generalities of the "magic of rainbows." I assure you they are not that.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 14, 2006 04:10PM)
Whit thinks we are talking about multiple things that use the same word, and share some things in common. What I can't get across to him is that they are all the same thing, but in different perspectives. More importantly that something doesn't seem to exist in his world, that is required to understand the nature of the defenition myself and others use for magic. Personaly, I don't see why a defenition is so all fire importantin the first place. Knowing what something is, but denying it's existance is pointless.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 14, 2006 04:41PM)
Whit can better answer what he is thinking. You are having trouble convincing him that they are all the same things because he believes they are not.

So, then you need to provide something to the debate that will help all of us understand what we do and to help us do better. Whit's theory does this, and it helps best when we get away from the esoteric definitions of magic and focus on what we specifically do in our actual shows. One thing I learned from Whit here is that it does me little good to focus on the supposed "magic" in a rainbow, since this does little to help me structure my show. What does help though is to recognize that it is not the trapping of "magic" that amazes it is my act of proving of something to the spectator that they know is not true, but which I have apparently proven.

It is true that the syllogism is not all there is (Whit has never said it was) and knowing it does not guarantee a good magic show, but arguing that a rainbow, a babies smile, God's love, or a kick-butt double lift all share something intangible called "magic" does not help at all.

(I know, I know, the double lift is not the magic.)
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 14, 2006 05:19PM)
"These are the new leads, the Glengary leads".

"But you don't get them, because giving them to you is like throwing them away".
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 14, 2006 05:31PM)
Unicorns don't exist, but I know what one is.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 14, 2006 06:22PM)
As I see it, it's not quite a syllogism. It's more a train of thought that derails spilling the contents into [i]tera incognito[/i]. Attempts to bring the train back on track leave an empty place over which can place a patch called magic.

I have no idea how that got there, it must be magic.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 14, 2006 07:04PM)
I kinda like this definition from:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&defl=en&q=define:magic&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title

"The art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that baffle and amaze, often by giving the impression that something impossible has been achieved."

A possible modification might be:
"The art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that leave the impression that something impossible has happened."
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 14, 2006 07:20PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
Read other people's posts, Bish. It is important to try to understand what other people are saying. That will make it easier to keep up.
[/quote]
Please forgive me for being a slow reader because I have to decode before I can read. But also try to understand that I have talked magic theory with some of the best show business minds in magic since I was around 8 years old. Each one of them had their own theory and each one had an open mind as I have.
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
Chris and Mark have both just said a number of important things about the nature of what we do without ever using the word "magic."
[/quote]
Very good I add because magic was the word used to describe the wonders of natures forces.
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
But it isn't any use to just keep throwing in your own terms and concepts without explaining them.
[/quote]
Unless they suggest to people to think about it as food for thought. One of the more interesting things I find about your theory is the way that you put it - the audience or the spectator is left on the horns of the bull.

From this point of view it is suggested that magic is a con, a lie, magic doesn't exist, magic is a fairy tail, all magic is storybook magic and theater. A con to con the audience. I understand this theory and understand the point of view. And I partly agree with it as it describes the way that many magician that I have known do magic and present it to an audience.

Is magic real to you Whit? Jon? Tommy?

Yet there are other points of view. To some magicians they also say hypnotism is fake. Hypnotism is not real yet I walk out on the stage and can do a hypnotic show with a row of chairs a mike and the subjects that want to be in the show.

Also it is odd that many magicians insist that magic is not real and it is sort of a lie or a con. To put it into your own theory I will try. If the magician does a magic trick on the stage and it is a lie or a con.

Then the audience watches it and they have the experience of the magic effect. Or the effect of magic. The oooooh. Does that make the ooooh or the experience of the effect of magic any less real?

In my opinion and my theory that the experience of real magic - that ooooh is real. It may only exist for a moment but it is real. Therefore in theory magic is real if the audience watching believes that it is real. And that depends on their own personal belief system.

You might say that in theory I use the science of manipulation to give the audience the suggestion of magic to give them the real experience of a magic effect. Or the unexplained effect of magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 07:37PM)
Look, guys. It is simple.

If we do not find a common set of definitions with which everyone can agree, then it is just silly to continue talking about this.

I have a fully defined set of definitions and categories with which I believe the theory of magic can be discussed, and by which all of the various approaches to our art can be described and compared.

We have discussed the first part of the definition, and have started to talk about the second part, the dilemma.

But other people have other theories--other sets of definitions. I will be glad to discuss anyone's theory, as long as we can get agreement on the definitions.

The important thing is for everyone to be on the same page. To share the SAME definitions, so that we know whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.

It is like the old story of the blind men and the elephant. When each of the blind men approached the elephant on his own, they each came away with a different understanding.

One thought it was like a rope, another like a snake. One thought it was like a tree, another like a wall. One thought it was like a huge leaf or a waving fan.

If all of them had approached the same part of the elephant together and come to agreement, then they could all move together to the next part and decide what that was like. Eventually they would get a much clearer picture of the elephant.

Magic is the elephant.

Let's talk about one part at a time.

Use my definitions, or someone elses but let's decide on one aspect of the theory at a time--one definition at a time.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 07:44PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 16:54, Bilwonder wrote:
If magic does not exist, then of course it can not be defined.
If it can be defined, then it exists in some form.
We can substitute words such as "supernatural" but one of two things will probably happen. We create synonyms with little distinction or we define down talking only about possible attributes that in no way constitute the whole.

Whit, when Jonathan translates you we seem to be saying the same thing. What I hear you say is the syllogism is central to everything. I gave a detailed response to that along with examples as you asked for, yet you gave no response. So, I don't know what I'm missing here. I may be missing something, but it sometimes seems you gloss over my posts with the impression they are all about generalities of the "magic of rainbows." I assure you they are not that.
[/quote]

If you are saying the same thing, then let us agree on the primary formulation of my theory. If you are not saying the same thing, tell me which words you can not accept and why.

If you do not agree with my formulation of the basis of my theory, then you misunderstand both Jon and me.

I'm not sure to what extent Jon agrees with me, but I am certain he understands what I am saying.

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/i]
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 14, 2006 08:08PM)
Seems to me that calling it another catagory when the theory don't fit is like moving the goal posts.

Does explaining how something works tell us what it is?

Is magic real to you Tommy? At certain moments it is, yes.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 14, 2006 08:10PM)
I'm a huge fan of Whit's theory. It sounded right when I read it. I particularly liked the part about the logical argument placed in the spectators' minds. I liked it so much that I decided to put it to the test of real work. As we all know, there's a bit of a difference between theory and practical application.

Besides all that... I just wanted to say that I was working all day Friday. I had about 70 people around me and wound up performing everything I knew. It's a darn good thing I brought my cards with me...

Anyway... the whole time performing, I was able to keep the "Horns of the Dilemma" clearly in my mind, even though the idea is relatively fresh to me. When the scales tipped in one direction, I tipped it the other way. When they tipped the other way, I tipped them back. The results of the day were slightly better than astounding, and that means that we're really on to something here.

As has been mentioned, ways and methods of setting up the dilemma are indeed as diverse as the individual. I hope Whit eventually has the time to write as much as he can about these different ways. And I hope he puts me at the top of his list when he decides to sell his ideas to this community.

Thanks, Whit. I'm finding, through practical [i]real-time[/i] application, that your ideas work, and they work well. And that's no BS.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 08:27PM)
Thanks, Patrick.

There are a lot of other realtime applications of my theory that are very useful in determining how to set up an effect and sell it, and how to create the right kind of engagement with the audience that can make them care about every trick that you do.

The theory can help you to understand why someone like Billy McComb, who would talk for hours about Nelms and Fitzkee and Maskelyne and Devant, could do a show that the first time you watch it you think, "God I'm glad I saw that" and you could watch the same act a thousand times afterward, and know how every trick was done, and still enjoy it as much the thousandth time.

There is no way to get to anything deeper until we can reach some sort of agreement on the primary statement.

I can't take anyone to the places I want to take them if everyone insists on hacking his own way through the jungle.

Let anyone make the attempt to define magic, but let us stick to that one simple statement. If we can not define what we do as an art form, we will never be successful at accomplishing anything.

I really am amazed that no one wants to accept my primary statement on the nature of magic, even just for argument's sake. Doesn't anyone want to see where it might lead?

Agree or disagree, or offer corrections, addendums, etc.:

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/i]

Or make your own formulation and let us examine that. It should be the most complete and concise description possible of exactly what it is that any performing magician, whether artist or entertainer, whether close-up, stage or television, does that is different from any other performing art. How do we distinguish the performance of Magic from any other performing art?

I think this is an important discussion, one that may be read many years from now.

I am writing seriously with that in mind, and I hope that you are, too.

But let us just consider one definition at a time, or I am out of here.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 14, 2006 09:39PM)
Whit -

Though it's far from unanimous, I believe a number of people in this thread are on board with your definition. Personally, I'm more intersted in hearing (and responding to) your views on the subsequent steps than a mish-mash from people whose ideas are either conflicting or less well-defined, whether on this thread or another.

Drive this sucker out of the station...some of us are on board & eager to see stop #2.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2006 09:50PM)
Part of the problem is that some of us do not understand the fundamental rules of definition. You can't form an acceptable definition of a word if you use that word or one of its derivatives in the definition, itself. However, you can use the word in an example that follows the definition.

For example, you can't define "up" by using a definition of "in an upward direction." It is meaningless, because you need to know what up means in order to understand what upward means. However, once you have defined "up," you could say, "For example: He started on the first floor and went up the stairs to the second floor."

So, a valid definition of "magic" must not contain the words "magic," "magical," "magician" or any other terms that refer to magic, itself. Otherwise, you are defining magic in terms of itself.

I like Whit's definition as a starting point for a theory of magic.

BTW, just to clarify something I said WAAYYY back a long time ago -- although I don't feel that many card tricks are magical, it's because of the presentations, not the tricks themselves. OOTW can knock a spectator's socks off. The signed card in the sealed envelope in wallet is strong medicine, presented well. "Rainbow Cascade" is a very strong piece of card magic, if presented well. But done in a mediocre manner, they are worthless.

The tricks are tools, not goals in themselves. It's how we use those tools that produces the magic. Or whatever it is.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 14, 2006 09:55PM)
Thanks, Bill. Well said.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 14, 2006 10:47PM)
As fascinating (and frustrating) as step one was, I'm ready to move on to step two.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 14, 2006 10:49PM)
See, I don't realy think the definition is the problem here. I think the problem here is that each and every one of us wants everyone to agree to use the definition that we have each presented. Mostly, I'm certain, because we are each the one who presented them. In other words, we are magicians and our egos are appropriately out of control.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 14, 2006 11:00PM)
Unless I have missed something, Whit does not intend for his defintion to be the end product. It's just the groundwork of defining what magic is, not its emotional impact upon an audience or the exact methodology of it.

It's basically brick #1.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 14, 2006 11:22PM)
This is where you get the reply: "I don't think the definition of magic should be made out of bricks, Mr. Palmer. See magic is a flowing, moving thing so it should be more along the lines of '1st gallon' rather than 'brick # 1'". Which is why no one can describe an elephant with their eyes closed.

Honestly while even I, the not smartest person here can understand , there will never be a unanimous-isity-ishness.

I say on to the second gallon!
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 14, 2006 11:48PM)
[quote]
" If you are saying the same thing, then let us agree on the primary formulation of my theory. If you are not saying the same thing, tell me which words you can not accept and why."[/quote]
Whit, you seem to be playing "leap frog" with me. I gave a part of Jonathan's statement as a proposed starting point of agreement. You made no comment on that. I've already told you which words and why on the formulation you keep putting forth (although you've change a few words since that post, it does not effect my comments). You did not respond to those.

I will post again in more detail Jonathan's statements that seem to fit mine and he claims fit's yours [somewhat rearrange to highlight a "definition." My additions in brackets]. I know this is a broader starting point, but if we can agree this is "where the magic is" then we can discuss how the formulation you keep presenting fits [either all the time or part of the time]. I do hope you go back and address my earlier post directed this.

Again, I don't see these as "many definitions," but rephrasing the same thing.

Quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Whit's terms, a magician opens a door between an imagined world and the shared world of the performance, then keeps his foot in to allow things to pass between those worlds and perhaps offers the audience a peek into an imagined world, all the while making sure nothing else from that world seeps in and that the audience stays in their world too.

Consider then, that a magician is one who moves things between those worlds [ or "magic"= the perception that we have moved between worlds].


[Magic is] a meta-experience...
It is in watching ourselves bounce between what we expect to be true and what we observe as true that we find MAGIC.

[Magic is] collapsing an anchor of conviction against an anchor of perception. The dilemma that starts the feedback/transderivational search/cognitive dissonance is how we elicit that meta-experience [=Magic].
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 15, 2006 01:17AM)
Whatever magic is I hope I don't do all that stuff to the poor folk who watch. Most are only kids for gosh sake!
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 15, 2006 01:22AM)
Read on McDuff, Read on...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 15, 2006 03:39AM)
Bilwonder:

Those statements all deal with the dilemma and have nothing to do with the primary statement.

[i]If you insist on re-writing the primary statement it should:

"be the most complete and concise description possible of exactly what it is that any performing magician, whether artist or entertainer, whether close-up, stage or television, does that is different from any other performing art. How do we distinguish the performance of Magic from any other performing art?" [/i]

I could not comment on anything you have said so far because you have defined none of your terms. I have no idea what you are talking about, and if anyone else here does, I would like to have them explain it to me.

If you don't accept my formulation, write one that is not self-referential (does not contain the word magic anywhere in the definition), and that describes every kind of performance magic and how it is distinguished from every other kind of theatrical performance.

No one can put tea in a cup that is full.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 15, 2006 04:44AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 23:49, JackScratch wrote:
See, I don't realy think the definition is the problem here. I think the problem here is that each and every one of us wants everyone to agree to use the definition that we have each presented. Mostly, I'm certain, because we are each the one who presented them. In other words, we are magicians and our egos are appropriately out of control.
[/quote]

I have asked people to accept my definitions at least as a starting point for discussion. But there has been no consensus on that. So I have offered to consider anyone else's theory who was willing to set down an orderly, definition at a time theory of magic. Anything to be able to discuss the nature of magic with a set of terms that everyone all agrees on.

I do not have an ego investment in this argument, and I don't think magicians who are serious about their work allow ego to get in the way of their crtitique and understanding of the art. It is too important to the creation of art to have a set of critical tools with which to understand what we do or want to do.

I don't know who you are intimating is just arguing out of ego, but I am certain it isn't me. I am trying to test my theories in front of other thinking performers. So far, few seem to want to hear them.

It may be useless to attempt this sort of in-depth look at magic on a forum such as this. Too many people are not serious about the effort. I have learned some things, and I think improved some of the wording of my formulations.

But the amount of time it takes to respond to people who have not really tried to understand what I am saying or allowed me the chance to lay out the theory as a whole, and to the repetitive circumlocutions of those who do not want to take time to define their terms and simplify their expressions, makes this less and less worthwhile for me.

I have been trying to explain the critical tools with which I have approached my work for the last thirty years. Over that time, I have created numbers of routines such as the Comedy Four Ring Routine, the Mongolian Pop-Knot, Teleportation Device, Killer Epic, Chicago Surprise, Intricate Web of Distraction and others that are well known among magicians and have won numerous awards from the Magic Castle and others.

I have performed many different kinds of magic in many different venues--close-up, manipulation, illusions, mentalism, street-magic, comedy clubs, restaurants, cruise ships, amusement parks, casino showrooms, television, and film. I am not bragging, just stating that I have had consideable experience in both performing and creating magic, and some success. I am not just an armchair philosopher.

I think it is worthwhile to understand how an artist goes about creating his art. I am surprised only three or four people have expressed any interest in hearing what I have to say.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 15, 2006 06:05AM)
The use of the word magic in the definition reminds me of the kid who is asked to define the word amazing; "Amazing, something that amazes you."
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 15, 2006 06:32AM)
Well Whit, I certainly would like to continue, but I understand why you would have better things to do. Even though I have had to drift away from my very part-time magic because of some concerns at school, I still would buy your book when it comes out (some years from now.)

The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.

Bilwonder. Whit provides us a clear starting point. The central ideas (formal logical argument, untrue premises, concious deception, the need of the spectators to accept that something has been proven that they firmly believe to be untrue) are clear. One might debate specifics such as the need for formal as opposed to informal logic, or even to what extent the spectators need to maintain the conviction that the conclusion is false (but which the magician has proven to be true.)

But it is easy to just start here. Why not just start with the statement and investigate where it will go. Look at in light of several routines. Look at it in light of the creative process and use Mr. Haydn's considerable experience for our benefit.

Whit mentions that he does not understand what you are saying. I will specify.

When you say that magic is a meta-experience, are you using this like someone might say something is a meta-cognigtion? Meta-cognition means to think about one's thinking. Are we experiencing our experiences? What does that mean? This is what magic is? Would it make any difference if you had just written experience rather than meta-experience? And even if you just changed it to experience or not, what does it mean to say

[Magic is] a meta-experience...
It is in watching ourselves bounce between what we expect to be true and what we observe as true that we find MAGIC.

[Magic is] collapsing an anchor of conviction against an anchor of perception. The dilemma that starts the feedback/transderivational search/cognitive dissonance is how we elicit that meta-experience [=Magic].


Are these both separate definitions? They both start with "Magic is" but the second references the first. What in the world is transderivational search? How does feedback play a role? I do have some experience with philosophy, particularly the method of writing quasi-philosophical musings that make no sense (I was in college once, too.) But I do not understand this. How does it lead to better magic.

How does this help me be a better magician?

Why is this a better formulation than Whit's?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 15, 2006 06:52AM)
I agreed with Whit's deffinition about six pages back and I am always interested in what Whit has to say.

The only problem with the deffinition for me is knowing what it deffines?
To me it defines how magic is created. For the sake of argument I accept that is a definition of magic itself.
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 15, 2006 08:16AM)
I think it is more of a goal of what we want to create. How we create this is further down the road.

If you look over the years on this forum at the "What is magic" threads, many, if not most, people focus on the supposed reaction of the audience to the "supernatural" aspects of the average magic show, and very little on what we do. We all know, or suspect, what we would do if we ran across a real demonstration of magic or psychic phenomenon--"Martha, find the smelling salts!" Many believe that our focus should be to figure out how to bring about this state of mental disorder in our shows. But many want to reinvent the wheel. They don't believe that magicians take it all seriously enough. It is almost as if once we personally think we understand this suposed deep and important "something" happening in the audiences' mind, that we need to develop a whole new way to perform. Because of this, these discussions often devolve into the need to express an understanding of the profundity in magic, ("If magic were real, would I do a card trick?") or into vague ruminations on the connection with our show and the "magic" in the real world. It also leads some to believe that we diminish our show if the audience does not "believe."

Whit seems to ask us to step back, and just look at what we do. He doesn't speculate on what might be happening in the audiences mind, rather, it seems, he looks at successful magicians and routines, looks at the audience and what they really express, and looks for a connection. What connects the goofball street performer in a fedora, the kids magician with the big bow tie, the serious stage performer in a tux, and David Blaine? What connects any of our effects, the ones that have an explicit supernatural component, and the ones that mention silly, made up, laws of physics? Are the audiences' reactions to our "magic" really the same as they would be if they truly experienced a supernatural event? Do we want that as a goal? Whit's whole idea here, if I understand it, is that use deceit to convince people something is true that they know is not true. Both of these are necessary. They must accept the proof and they must know that the conclussion can't be true.

Sounds like a place to start.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 15, 2006 08:32AM)
Why does everyone think an ego is a bad thing?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 15, 2006 09:29AM)
While I have nothing of real value to add here , as is not unusual, I would still like to hear Whit Haydn continue, as well as Tommy, Johnathan Townsend and others as well that I have (to my loss)paid less attention to since I first came. This is one of those kinds of discussions that these guys thrive on. Makes for good reading.

May I make a suggestion that if this becomes 2 or more parts that you make another thread? This takes a lot of reading. It's hard to remember where the posts are that you want to reference.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 15, 2006 10:08AM)
A second thread will be lost and separated from this one in a short time.

Since my arguments have to be built one on another, I would rather keep them all in one place. I already feel bad that some important things I said on the Blaine thread are now not on this one.

Tommy:

The primary statement is simply a description of that which distinguishes the performance of magic from other theatrical performances. Nothing more. It is not a definition of magic. It is the starting place for a description. It does what I said that any primary formulation of the definition of magic should:
[i]
"It should be the most complete and concise description possible of exactly what it is that any performing magician, whether artist or entertainer, whether close-up, stage or television, does that is different from any other performing art."[/i]

That is the meaning of this formulation:

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/i]

This formulation describes in general, all the parts of the Theater of Deception that can be described this way: Fake Science, Fake Magic, Fake Alchemy, etc. All of these have this one thing (the valid but false syllogism) in common.

These performance arts (Fake Magic as opposed to Fake Science, for example) are distinguished from each other by the nature of the lie that is told, and the manner in which the dilemma is set up.

But this statement describes what these arts have in common that are different from all the other performance arts in the Theater of Deception and in the Art of Theater.

Chris:

Thanks. I feel all better, now.

Drew:

No one has said ego is a bad thing.

However letting ego get in the way of the search for truth might be bad...
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 15, 2006 10:35AM)
Excellent Post Chris. Awaiting part two.

-Mark
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 15, 2006 11:00AM)
If you ask the hosts to lock the topic, then the new one will take its place and not be lost in the shuffle. Of course, the old one will go away, but it can be linked in the first message in the new topic.

I don't think we need a definition that requires a background in psychology, NLP or newspeak to understand. I've always believed that it is beneficial to eschew obfuscation. And self-referential redundancy should not be repeated, either.

Above all, a book with a title such as [i]A Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphyisics of Magic[/i] would serve only to cloud the issue. And we Kant do that.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 15, 2006 11:28AM)
Right Whit I understand now and thank you. I kept looking at the topic "Definition of "Magic" and assuming,... well I got confussed. Sorry.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 15, 2006 12:33PM)
It's easy to get lost in all these words. That is the problem. Let us limit the words we use.

"No, I've never been lost, but sometimes I been a might bewildered for a few days." --David Crockett
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 15, 2006 12:38PM)
Chris,

Those statements about "meta-experience" were Jonathan's statement's not mine. Whit and Jonathon seem to have some agreement about them and they seemed much closer to my way of defining "Magic." Whit was not understanding my terms, so I was trying to establish common agreement first. I don't like the highly technical language either and find some of it confusing also, but I think we were talking about the same kind of thing. I agree it is better to "eschew obfuscation."

My understanding of "defining magic" was to focus on the goal of what we want to achieve in the spectators minds. Whit wants the discussion to narrowly define only those areas where our performance is distinct from other types of performances. I have no problem with this pursuit and would like to follow it also. However, I find it confusing within the context of "defining magic" if we don't first acknowledge that magicians also perform magic that is SHARED with other arts and it is no less magical to the observer. Whit want to define terms by cause and I wish to define them by effect. One problem I have with defining by cause, is that it defines "out" any OTHER way of producing the effect we might use.

[quote]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/quote]

Whit,
you said you don't understand my terms or what I'm saying in my critique of this formulation back on page 13. Let's just take one of them now and tell me what words I need to define for you.


Your formulation would seem to exclude the following effects (just 3 examples) from a magic performance:


A) When the magician demonstrates "invulnerability" by pounding a nail into his face. This sets off the same logical problem without the deception.

B) Flash Paper- Vanishes without a trace. With no deceit, many can't fathom that ANY such paper should vanish leaving nothing behind.

C) Illusions such as the "Blade Box" and "Sword Basket." What is seen is actually happening. However, deception occurs because the spectator's spacial sense is challenged. Now, in most current cases, magicians have ADDED a false argument (with paint and patter) to heighten and/or extend the effect (this is especially true for the Zig Zag). Indeed there is a "logic Problem," but not necessarily one with a direct "lie."

The reason they are excluded is because they are based on "The magic of unexpected phenomena." Magic in which there is no direct deception. Everything is as it appears. However, the spectator is sent into a dileama just the same. And of course this happens in physics all the time, but performers use it also. The fact that it is a shared phenomena with Physics should not exclude it.

What terms are difficult here? Is this not what WE DO?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 15, 2006 02:09PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-15 13:38, Bilwonder wrote:...that magicians also perform magic that is SHARED with other arts and it is no less magical to the observer...[/quote]

Would you offer an example of magic performed that is shared with other arts?

By observer, do you mean the person outside the theater who observes the same mundane world regardless of what is happening inside the theater, or perhaps the audience which is affected by the performance they attend?
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 15, 2006 02:31PM)
Jonathan, I want to stick with the examples I've given for now. And as I said in an earlier post, magicians perform in and out of the theatre. I don't want to get into dissecting that now either. For now, it seems enough of an example that I have mention we share the stage with those who give demonstrations of physics.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 15, 2006 03:22PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-15 13:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
It's easy to get lost in all these words. That is the problem. Let us limit the words we use.

"No, I've never been lost, but sometimes I been a might bewildered for a few days." --David Crockett
[/quote]

I've been blowing spit bubbles for the last three days!

Kregg
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 15, 2006 03:29PM)
With the pounding nail, you have to give the context of the whole routine. If they are convinced that you are really pounding a real nail into your face, it seems that deception is involved.

I don't see how the flash paper is magic. It may be wonderous, and may "signify" a suposed magical moment, but it, by itself, does not seem very magical.

Clearly, there is deception in the sword box. The fact that you are not explaining the optical illusion aspect is relevant. You want them to believe something that is not true. If they don't believe that the swords are passing through the same space as the body, then how can there be any "magic"?

There are many wonderous events, some that occur on the magic stage, some that do not. They are not all magic in the sense we use the word.

Clearly Whit is restricting what we call magic to those effects that involve deception. If you disagree, then you need to find an effect that most magicians consider a magical effect (or something that has the same outcome in the theater of deception) that also has no deception. I am not sure that you can. It would help to look through the classic effects, ones that we all know about. I am sure Whit has thought about most of the thousands of classic effects and has failed to find any that lack a deception.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 15, 2006 03:59PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-15 13:38, Bilwonder wrote:
Chris,



Your formulation would seem to exclude the following effects (just 3 examples) from a magic performance:


A) When the magician demonstrates "invulnerability" by pounding a nail into his face. This sets off the same logical problem without the deception.

[/quote]


This doesn't seem to be excluded by Whit's definition as I understand it. It's a simplified variation, but still...

Premise: One can't pound a nail into his face and remain unharmed.
Premise: The magician pounded a nail into his face.
Conclusion: The magician must be harmed.
Flaw: The magician seems UNharmed.
Dilemma: There is no such thing as magic; there can be no other explanation.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 15, 2006 04:43PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-15 15:31, Bilwonder wrote:...For now, it seems enough of an example that...[/quote]

It means what?
seems to whom?
that what
and in what context
and for who to consider
and what must they believe in order for your argument to be valid

Without answers to those and the rest of the stuff you (the reader) are free to dig up using the meta model, we are unlikely to have useful findings.

Go ghoti.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 15, 2006 09:24PM)
I don't think that the blockhead is a magic effect. It is a part of the theater of deception, but it is not magic because it does not use magic as an explanation. Nor is it fake science for a similar reason. It is simply presented as an unexplained anomaly. It would be closer to using trickery to apparently tie a cherry stem with the tongue. It is a faked skill. Like fake knife throwing, weight guessing, and strong man stunts. They are all part of the Theater of Deception but not part of Fake Magic, Fake Science, etc.

It fits into the category of Theater of Deception, but into a slightly different one from Fake Science, Fake Magic, etc., because it does not make a claim that is patently untrue. It uses proofs to show that the nail is real, solid, and actually goes into the nose. But the point is the grotesque and surprising event itself, not the lie that it is being used to prove.

It is a surprise, because no one knew it was possible, and there are several possible solutions--all of which seem ghastlier than the correct one. No explanation is given. There is no challenge to the audience, no real lie that is known to be impossible is given. This would be similar to an optical illusion or other similar deception.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 15, 2006 09:24PM)
What context is needed when you see someone pound a nail into his head? It either appears unbelievable to you or not. Some may try to brush it aside as a mere stunt, but I believe it fall squarely as a form of classic invulnerability. And I find no deception involved.

As for the flash paper, I said, it is the fact that there seems to be no trace left is a puzzle to many. This seems to be a complete classic VANISH. Of course the brightness of the flash and lack of heat puzzles many people also. Anything that becomes more common becomes less magical even if we don't understand it.

Are you saying then that the blade box is only magic if we make a specific claim about what we are doing? We are not allowed to let the spectator orchestrate their own deception? I'm not arguing what is the best presentation, but rather that the "magic" happens without out the need to construct a particular kind of deception (syllogism). Some things that are true just don't seem reasonable.

These are not exhaustive examples (and I did give others on page 13). They are just what come to mind at the moment. Leaving Physics, try the field of mathematics.
No deception. I will predict the future (a classic effect) using only random numbers you give me. I will predict their total after you flip them and subtract and then flip them and add them. No deception.

In any case, I don't see these or many others fitting squarely with the syllogism Whit presented. This does not invalidate the formula, nor does it make less magical those things that fall outside of the formula.

Jonathan is asking the "who" and "what." And the answer is "not everyone" of course. The more homogenous your audience, the more predictable the reaction. We are able to work for large groups because there are great similarities in many groups judgments, but many do vary. When I watch Daryl's rope routine (or any of variations) I can never see anything but a guy playing with a long and short piece of rope. I know it's "magic" for some by audience reaction, but for me it's like staring at those "Magic Pictures" trying to get it to go 3D. My point is that it is often the spectator's own self deception and refusal to acknowledge a possible reality that creates the deception. For some it is magic for others it is a shrug. In many many cases however, all the magician needs to do is present the truth is is seen a "magic" because the spectator lives in some form of self deception.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 15, 2006 10:13PM)
It's not a matter of telling the audience anything. Some things are considered abnormal or impossible. When we do them we do the abnormal and impossible. We do not have to say anything, yet we allow them to believe whatever they want to believe. What is it called a sin of omission? When you do not tell the truth, even though you don't lie you are still guilty.

Can my next door neighbor pound a nail into his nose? no. Would he try? no. Would my doing it seem unreal? yes. Is it? no. If I don't tell him what I'm actually doing then what? I am lying.

Does flash paper really vanish? no. It merely becomes gas, water, carbon, energy. Do many know this? no. If it disappears and we do not explain it, what then? They have a incorrect explanation, therefore we lie. (I hope flash paper is not a stand alone effect)

The blade box should be self explanatory in this light and anything else "we" do.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 15, 2006 10:25PM)
As a matter of fact scratch the flash paper thing. If it is used as an unexplainable or abnormal thing that is. Since schools teach the basics of what I had mentioned most people should understand the concept. They see it with gasoline they should have a grasp of the concept. That is simply a science display. (Unless you tell a lie)hmmmm.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 03:23AM)
I am not yet happy with the categories: Fake Science, Fake Math, Fake Magic and Fake Alchemy, etc. are good categories, but I don't like the names.

Fake Science could also be used in the Art of Deception as charlatanry rather than theater.

There should be a better name for the performance arts of Fake Magic, Fake Science and the like that distinguishes them from the same skills being used for charlatanry rather than entertainment and artistic expression.

There should be an overall name for the category within the Theater of Deception that involves the dilemma.

This would separate it from the presentation of Fake Skills such as tying the cherry stem, snake charming, strong man stunts, etc.; as well as from the presentation of the odd, the unusual or the puzzling--such as blockhead, optical illusions, impossible objects, grind show oddities, etc., which often include the syllogism but try to tell a lie that the spectators are intended to believe.

Else they allow the spectators to be confused by the demonstration of some physical odditiy or anomaly that seems to work counter to their understanding of the way things should behave. All of these should be included under the Theater of Deception. They are different however from the Theater of the Dilemma in various ways.

So there is the Art of Deception, which includes the Theater of Deception. The Theater of Deception has many distinguishable categories, and among these is the Theater of the Dilemma. This is where we would find Fake Science, Fake Magic, etc.

Outside the Theater of the Dilemma--yet still within the Art of Deception--you might find other varieties of Fake Science and Magic that use the tools of deception to accomplish something other than art or entertainment.

They do not want to leave the spectators in a quandry, they want to convince him beyond doubt of their false proof.

The Theater of Deception is also included as a category of the Art of the Theater.

It is a branch of the Theater, and outside this small branch, still in the realm of the Theater, are similar presentations--stories about magic, or about con men and magicians--theatrical presentations that do not attempt to convince the audience of anything, but rather allow the audience to suspend disbelief and emotionaly engage with the story.

The categories are all overlapping circles, that mark a continuum of deception from art to fraud--the art of magic which we practice is a small part of this picture.

I think these categories are very useful for describing the differences between the different sorts of presentations either concerning or involving deception.

I am just not happy with the names of the categories. Any suggestions?

For example, I would love to use the Art of Magic to describe what we do instead of Fake Magic. But The Art of Science doesn't work too well. On the other hand, there is so little difference in the practice and theory of Fake Science, Fake Magic and the rest, that perhaps they should all be simply variations or alternative dressings of the Art of Magic...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 04:08AM)
I think a theory is a good one when it allows you to make many fine distinctions, and gives you discernment with which to analyze and compare things that on the surface may appear similar but which in reality have very different goals, rules, and tools.

The more helpful a theory is in explaining things and solving artistic problems, the more valuable the theory will be.

No artistic theory is "true" or "not true," since we are not talking science, but artistic creation.

What I think this theory can accomplish is to show the fine distinctions that can be made between many similar things, helping us to understand and analyze what it is we are trying to do.

But this theory also, for me, shows why the continuum is so interesting. Thieves and magicians, con men and actors have often been associated in the common mind, both justly and unjustly.

But there are such shared tools, talents, concepts, interests and skills that these fields are all intertwined both in their histories and in the people who have created those histories.

Conmen must be actors, thieves must be conmen, actors must know how to use makeup, just like a criminal might.

It is obvious that these fields overlap, this theory helps to show how and in what ways, and how they are also different.

"There was no actor anywhere better than the Jack of Hearts."
--Bob Dylan "Lilly, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts"
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 16, 2006 04:58AM)
“The Exclusive Coterie”
“In Effect. The four Queens are selected and laid face down in a row on the table. Three indifferent cards are placed on each Queen. Now the company selects one of the four packets, and it is found to consist of the four Queens only.”

-Erdnase-

So when we describe the “In Effect” that is the "False Premise" of any trick,. if I am not mistaken.

In card magic there does not seem to be many False Premises /In Effects.

However there are endless ways to apparently Prove the False Premises /In Effects are true.

I ask, in the spirit of enquiry, as I do not know, is that correct ?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 16, 2006 05:46AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 05:58, tommy wrote:
...
I ask, in the spirit of inquiry, as I do not know, is that correct ?
[/quote]

Yes, I would agree that you are correct in that you do not know.

Inquire is useful if you are interested in new things.

Taking the example cited from the "erdnase" text, try filling in the missing information in the statement of effect and see where that gets you. Use the meta-model for this part. Next step: ask why each presumption is in place and what permits each to be taken as valid.

Hint: what is the difference between an indulgence and an acceptance?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 16, 2006 06:14AM)
Our upgraded model now offers regenerated monitored paradigm shifts.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 16, 2006 08:48AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 07:14, tommy wrote:
Our upgraded model now offers regenerated monitored paradigm shifts.
[/quote]

Got UBIK?

Or would a reference to an issue of Promethea help?

For most, probably a good idea to know what ideas are in print for open discussion before wrestling with secrets and the unconscious at large.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 16, 2006 10:50AM)
:)

“The Exclusive Coterie”
“In Effect. The four Queens are selected and laid face down in a row on the table. Three indifferent cards are placed on each Queen. Now the company selects one of the four packets, and it is found to consist of the four Queens only.”

All that “In Effect” stuff is lies, is it not?

The Method then explains how to prove those lies, doesn’t it?

Is that the sort of thing that Whit means.

If it’s not, could you explain where I am going wrong, without using sophistry please.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 12:04PM)
Yes, Tommy, you have it pretty correct. But, you need to make a distinction between plot and effect.

The effect is the apparent false conclusion of the argument. The plot is the description of the process by which this effect was achieved.

The syllogism or argument may or may not be fully included in the description of the plot, but generally it is.

The plot is really sort of the story that we create for the spectator. It is his description of what he would have witnessed.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 12:11PM)
"In effect"---Hmm

Sure, you can use it if you want, but you may run the risk of confusing the term with the "effect".

I think Juan Tamariz uses the term "proceedure effect"- also confusing.

The problem with discussing theory is a problem of terminology.

In the "Exclusive Coterie" the EFFECT is one of TRANSPORTATION or TRANSPOSITION.

If you were to present it flatly as above, there would be no PHENOMENON or apparent means for how it occurs.

The valid silogism is the fact the the queens are delt into a face down row and that three indifferent cards are delt on each queen.

The missing or untrue premice is that the queens NEVER WERE delt onto the table in a face down row.

In a presentation as flat as that one that's the lie-

Whit?
The missing or untrue
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 12:12PM)
Sorry Whit submitted his message while I was typing mine. (above)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 12:25PM)
Without a false cause, or magic moment (passing the shadow) the effect would be unclear. It would be a presentation of an anomally. I suspect that people would dismiss out of hand that the desire of the cards to stay together with those of their own kind (coterie) is the actual cause.

In general though, I suspect the performer would actually say a magic work, snap his fingers or do some other action that signifies the "real" cause.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 12:44PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 13:25, Whit Haydn wrote:
Without a false cause, or magic moment (passing the shadow) the effect would be unclear.
[/quote]

I think the effect would be clear, but pretty illogical without some kind of premise attached to it.

Good magic is not a violation of logic (as far as the story or premise goes say- like the introduction of your Transportation device)but rather a voilation of physics.

Without a good premise on which to hang the EFFECT (in this case the trasposition of 4 queens with the indifferent cards) there is less oppertunity for the audience to suspend disbelief, and more of a tendency to simply view it as a meaningless trick.

When discussing Whit's theory it is important to cite examples which take place in the context of an ACT or PRESENTATION.

Otherwise certain varriables will go missing.

We can best test or discuss the theory by citing clear examples-

Mr. McComb's "Half Dyed Hank" is a better model for discussion than

"Them linking rings"
Message: Posted by: chrisrkline (May 16, 2006 12:46PM)
Tommy, there is clearly deception working here. Four queens are clearly laid down in a row. Twelve indifferent cards are then put on the queens. The queens then "move" with no intervention on the part of the magician to one pile. The spectator can exam the cards and is convinced that there are only four queens and that the magician could not have switched them out, or any other sleight of hand.

It was magic, but there can't be magic.

It may well turn out that the dilemma is the most important and controversial part of Whit's theory. More precisely, it is the [b]need[/b] for the dilemma that is the most controversial. In what he seems to be saying, that in the theater of deception there are effects that do not rely on the dilemma. With the tying of the cherry stem, you want them on one horn, which is the side where the spectator believes it is impossible to tie the cherry stem in the mouth, but ends up believing it is possible. We do this a lot in "magic" shows, where we claim all sorts of impossible sleight of hand abilities. When I do the Chicago Surprise, and I was unable to do the face up CF, I have their selection returned and I do some very fast fancy false cuts to supposedly make it look like I "found" their card and brought it to the top. Of course I am deceiving them, but I want them to believe I could really do it (even though I fail in finding their card--it is treated as a failure, not that it is not possible.) This is not magic. It is bizarre skill.

The same thing happens, or could happen in the ACR. It can become a series of impossible sleights. For it to be magic, the spectator cannot believe you used sleights, impossible or not. You have to convince them you did nothing to bring the card to the top.

I do a card to pocket where I use fake engineering to get the card to my pocket (invisible wire, available at any Home Depot but hard to find :) ) but it is presented in such a way that they don't really believe it. I make the card jump to my pocket in such a way that they know my explanation is false. I do this supposedly as part of a proof that the invisible wire really works well--the spectator holds the deck, pushes the card in himself, and I am five feet away.

But it is not part of the theater of deception that involves the dilemma, if the dilemma is not present.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 16, 2006 01:04PM)
I don't believe we need to have all the categories in the basic definition. The basic definition should be as concise as possible. The expansions on the definition can include the categories as well as the other niceties that are apparently being added before a definition has been codified.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 16, 2006 01:06PM)
Thank you. I just wanted to relate it to a card trick because I am just a card guy and some of the other stuff reffered to I don't know about. Anyway that has helped, thanks.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 01:08PM)
Cinemagician:

When I said the effect was unclear, I meant that since no cause was indicated, the cards just moved from one position to another. I know the effect as taught, so I know that we are told that there is a natural affinity of the Queens for each other, so that is the "cause." Without that stated cause, all we know is that the queens moved. We have no idea what caused it. It is just an anomaly. "Look, they moved by themselves!"

Chris:

That is very good. There are many different types of presentations that involve magic in the Theater of Deception, and the Art of the Theater. The Art of Magic under the Theater of the Dilemma best describes what magicians actually do that makes them different from charlatans and actors.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 01:10PM)
...
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 01:15PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 14:08, Whit Haydn wrote:
Cinemagician:

When I said the effect was unclear, I meant that since no cause was indicated, the cards just moved from one position to another.
[/quote]

I understand what you meant. Here is a glaring example of the probelm with terminology.

To me "effect" means the specific violation of physics or reality beng demonstrated. Fitzkee's list is a list of EFFECTS.

I was not reffering to the effect in the sence of "the trick" or the routine.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 01:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 14:08, Whit Haydn wrote:

Without that stated cause, all we know is that the queens moved. We have no idea what caused it. It is just an anomaly. "Look, they moved by themselves!"

[/quote]

Which is the same as saying what I wrote:

"Without a good premise on which to hang the EFFECT (in this case the trasposition of 4 queens with the indifferent cards) there is less oppertunity for the audience to suspend disbelief, and more of a tendency to simply view it as a meaningless trick."

Right?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 02:02PM)
Suspension of disbelief is irrelevant.

Without a false cause, the audience has no challenge to tackle and no reason to care.

"Look, those cards have moved," does not engage anyone.

"I can make those cards move, just with the power of the mind--watch!" would be more likely to attract the interest of the spectators.

Erdnase used the "natural affinity of the cards" as the motivating cause. This sort of "quality" of the object cause is too passive, generally for my tastes, and creates tricks that may be foolers, but do not seem to challenge and engage the audience the way that other formulations might. Twisting the Aces and Oil and Water are often presented in this manner.

It is very dangerous and confusing to introduce the definitions of Nelms, Fitzkee or anyone else in this discussion. Nothing should be assumed unless it is defined and agreed on beforehand. I use the same terms often differently. I do not mean the same thing they mean, and you should not assume that I do. I am trying to redefine everything in terms of this new way of looking at the subject.

I keep falling into the trap of discussing things in the theory that have not been defined because people refuse to move through things step by step.

When I write the book, I will be able to explain and define things step by step as we go along.

In this discussion, as I try to make the most minimal statements on which to rest the theory, people keep bringing up arguments about things that are not involved in the statement at hand but should come later.

"What about...?" type questions keep me discussing aspects of my theory that I have defined for myself, but have not defined here. Therefore, nothing I say may mean what someone else hears--because they use the term differently.

Everyone seems to want to talk about things in their own perceived order of interest, and using their own terminology with their own, or someone else's definitions, rather than letting me lay things out in the natural progression of the argument I want to make, with the meanings of all the terms defined and agreed on as we go.

That is what is so frustrating, and why things keep getting confusing.

Everyone wants to talk about the little part of things that they feel are interesting or on which they have something they would like to say.

None is actually trying to help clarify what I have said in the primary statement or offered ideas to assist in clarifying the categories by coming up with better names.

None simply asks for explanations or changes to the actual wording of the statement.

Instead they say, "Well what about this? Where does that fit into your theory?"

I should just answer, "Later." But I don't want to sound rude, and I don't want people to lose interest.

This IS helpful for me, as I stated. I wrote most of this theory out years ago in Chicago Surprise. It took less than thirty pages. We are at 19 pages and I have only managed to explain the first statement in the description.

Were I able to lay it out step by step, every word would be defined and agreed on before being used.

The only statement of my theory that I have wanted to make so far, is this:

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/i]


Everything else I have said on this board is in reponse to people who keep wanting to discuss other concepts instead.

My repsonses are in keeping with my theory, but the words as I use them have not yet been defined. So little is accomplished.

I asked for some ideas on names for the categories, something that would be helpful when we start on step two of the description of magic--the dilemma. No one has tried to tackle that, which would actually help me and help us move on to the next level.

Without a little discipline, we will never get anywhere.

So far the discussion has been mostly irrelevant to the primary statement.

As I said, you guys can talk about anything you want. This is not my board or my thread. But if you don't want to wait and buy a $40 book to hear what I have to say, then you should try to focus and help me get everything out in order so that you will actually have something to discuss instead of haggling over terms and ideas that are irrelevant and meaningless because the terms are undefined.

This is a new theory. None of the words we use as defined by previous writers will be of use here. No one else's theory should be invoked. It just confuses everything and leads to the Tower of Babel that we have here.

The problem with magic theory now is that we have no common agreed on definitions for even the most basic words like "effect," "plot," etc. Maskelyne and Devant had a totally different usage and understanding of "effect" than Fitzkee. They meant a completely different thing, not different ways of looking at the same thing.

The problem I have is that though my own theory may not be the only way to look at things, or even a good one, we will never know until we can lay it out and define the terms so that everyone can discuss the elements of the theory with the same words, defined the same way.

It may be that no one is really interested in a discussion, and would prefer to just have a survey of what everyone thinks about magic theory.

If that is what you want, then I think I would rather spend time on a thread discussing what tricks are underpriced.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 02:28PM)
Whit Haydn wrote:

Suspension of disbelief is irrelevant.

OK for now it is...you're right

Without a false cause, the audience has no challenge to tackle and no reason to care.

"Look, those cards have moved," does not engage anyone.

Agreed

"I can make those cards move, just with the power of the mind--watch!" would be more likely to attract the interest of the spectators.

Agreed

Erdnase used the "natural affinity of the cards" as the motivating cause. This sort of "quality" of the object cause is too passive, generally for my tastes, and creates tricks that may be foolers, but do not seem to challenge and engage the audience the way that other formulations might. Twisting the Aces and Oil and Water are often presented in this manner.

Agreed

It is very dangerous and confusing to introduce the definitions of Nelms, Fitzkee or anyone else in this discussion. Nothing should be assumed unless it is defined and agreed on beforehand. I use the same terms often differently. I do not mean the same thing they mean, and you should not assume that I do. I am trying to redefine everything in terms of this new way of looking at the subject.

Disagree- without linkage of your ideas to other concepts it is impossible to have a discussion.

[i]The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true. [/i]

I asked for some ideas on names for the categories, something that would be helpful when we start on step two of the description of magic--the dilemma. No one has tried to tackle that, which would actually help me and help us move on to the next level.

OK lets focus there-
Message: Posted by: bishthemagish (May 16, 2006 02:30PM)
A little bit of my opinion here but there are two ways a magician might use the words "Magic Effect".

The first way is often said by stuck up magicians when they talk about the magic they do or a magic trick they own. How often I have heard magicians say "It is not a magic trick it is a magic effect" of "Tricks are for kids we do effects".

That to me is silly because magicians do tricks and the audience experiences the magic effect.

Then there is the "Magic effect" doing magic tricks has on the imagination of the audience or the spectator. The "effect that is magical" that it has in the mind of the audience in their own imagination.

One of the more interesting things about this thread is how some have tried to box it up. Only magic tricks can be put into the box. The effect that the tricks have on others in a performance that they see and happens in their own imagination is what you might call - "Thinking outside the box or experiencing the effect of real magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 02:37PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 15:28, cinemagician wrote:
Whit Haydn wrote:

[i]"It is very dangerous and confusing to introduce the definitions of Nelms, Fitzkee or anyone else in this discussion. Nothing should be assumed unless it is defined and agreed on beforehand. I use the same terms often differently. I do not mean the same thing they mean, and you should not assume that I do. I am trying to redefine everything in terms of this new way of looking at the subject."[/i]

Disagree- without linkage of your ideas to other concepts it is impossible to have a discussion.

[/quote]

Who did Fitzkee link to? Who did Maskelyne and Devant link to? I don't agree with them, or with Nelms, or with any other writer on magic. I have my own, I think better, way of looking at things. All of these guys were very helpful to me in understanding and formulating my theory, but I found them all wanting.

Why on earth would you want to understand what I am saying by trying to use their contradicting terms and ideas?

Why is it impossible to have a discussion without resorting to the terms and definitions of other writers?

This is not an amalgam of theories, or a different way of looking at things, it is a systematic theory.

If you bring in the Fitzkee usage of "effect" as a violation of natural law, then wouldn't that be confusing to those who understand the term "effect" in Maskelyne and Devant as the type of theatrical effect involved, whether an effect of surprise or repetition or transformation?

Why NOT rewrite the terms so that we are all on the same page?

This theory I am presenting is not meant to be a sort of "Stone Soup" that is improved by everyone throwing in something like a head of lettuce or a carrot.

I meant to define everything and defend everything.

I wanted to make sure I could make people understand what I am saying.

I don't need anyone's help in figuring out what I have to say. I already know what I want to say.

I just want to see if anyone else can understand it the way I am expressing it, and if anyone else finds it of as much use and help as I do in my work.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 02:48PM)
O.K. the re-writing would be beneficial. Perhaps it has not been attempted Since "Our Magic" and YES, you are correct, their terms and definitions are dated and not even used the same way that they were 80 years ago.

Fitzkee and M&D for the most part did not did not "link to" other theories too much

Darwin Ortiz did, that is what makes "Strong Magic" palateable.

But you're right, the linkage is not absolutely necessary-

What do you mean by "some ideas on the names of the categories"

Can someone select another example like the "Exclusive Cotterie" we seemed to be making some progress there.

Good example Tommy
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 02:50PM)
Actually, Fitzkee, Nelms, and many others have made the attempt since M & D to set forth a basic theory of magic. Others, like Darwin Ortiz, have written valuable commentaries on these subjects, though not constructed as a formal system.

My undergraduate degree in philosophy and graduate studies of systematic theology tend to lead me to look at these things in a very formal and systematic way.

I do not find M & D dated in the least. Their theory is still an acceptable position I think, and their work is seminal, valuable and probably the most incisive thing on magic I have ever read. Like Johnny Thompson advises, I reread the chapters on theory in Our Magic at least once a year. I just don't agree with them, and my disagreements are profound.

I am sorry that you find my attempt to create a systematic theory of magic less palatable because I do not rely on prior authority.

Why don't you continue making progress, cinemagician. I think I will go make a sandwich.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 03:21PM)
OK- tonite I want to submit a routine of my own so that it can be disected in light of the basis of your theory?

But for now-

We can consider "The Exclusive Cotterie"

Based on Tommy's description of the routine sans the "patter" it seems that we have some dissonance between what the "missing or untrue premise" might be.

If presneted flatly, as in, "I'll place the ladies in a face down row, and deal 4 indifferent cards on top of each queen" and then "bang" - "Look man- now they're all in the same pile"

Then "the missing or untrue premise" must be that the queens were delt in four separate places to begin with.

If the presentation is beefed up (still week) to include, the introduction of a tailsman or charm placed marked with the symbol for "female" on top of the "leader" packets, and the audience is told that this tailsman "attracts the queens by drawing upon the inherent "feemale energies of the cards" and then they arrive.

The valid sylogism is that the thing really works. The missing or untrue premise is that this is not really how it was achieved. ?

???
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 03:25PM)
Have fun. I am done here. Good luck, and thanks for all the interest.

I think that this thread, as valuable as it may have been in places, just isn't the right place for me to try to explain something as complicated and obviously controversial as these ideas on the nature of our art.

I don't think it is anyone's fault, just the nature of the beast.

I think I will go start a thread on which magic trick is the most clever in design.

Everyone can then have an equal vote, with equal value.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 03:46PM)
Can anyone besides Whit attempt to analize, "The exclusive cotterie" in light of his theory?

I think my question in the post above this one is valid. And would help me to better understand the theory.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 16, 2006 03:54PM)
Okay

I saw a guy put down the four queens far apart.
Then he put three cards on each queen.
Then he asked me to pick a pile of cards of the four and I did and put my hand on them.

Then the guy made each of the queens vanish from the other piles.
And when I looked under my hand there were all four queens.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 04:06PM)
Ok, Jon-

This is what I want your oppinion on-

With a presentaion as base as that the valid sylogimsm is-

I saw a guy put down the four queens far apart.
Then he put three cards on each queen.
Then he asked me to pick a pile of cards of the four and I did and put my hand on them.

The one missing or untrue premise in this case is THE METHOD itself

How does this change when the "natural affinity of the cards" premise is added as the motivating cause?

Does the fact that the cards assemble then verify the premise thus making it a "valid sylogism?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 06:20PM)
The untrue premises are always "the method," or at least a part of the method that is noted by the spectator. The syllogism's conclusion--The affinity of the queens for each other caused them to mysteriously disappear from three other packets and magically change place with other cards or those other cards transformed magically into the queens.

I don't see the point in talking about my theory, since we have never really presented it. Anything that is said from now on will likely be a misunderstanding of what I want to say, since none of us is in possession of the same set of definitions.

That is why I do not want to discuss this anymore. It is useless to discuss it if we are not going to do the work of coming to agreement for the purposes of discussion of the definitions of the terms we will be using. We have to agree on what meaning of a word we will be using in the course of our discussion. Without this time-consuming and important task, conversation is useless. We have only Babel.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 06:24PM)
OK, thank you.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 16, 2006 07:39PM)
This just in:

[img]http://davevmagic.com/forumpix/newspaper.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 16, 2006 07:46PM)
LOL

Erdnase got around this problem by simply telling us what his terms meant at the start of the book. He did not ask us to agree with them.

"Technical Terms"
"MANY of the methods of card manipulation explained in this work originated with us, and we have, in describing the various processes and conditions, used certain terms for the sake of brevity, to designate the particular matters referred to. The reader desiring to follow the action intelligently must clearly understand the meaning of the terms. A careful perusal of the following definitions will save much time and perplexity in comprehending the processes described:"

-Erdnase-


So might I suggest that Whit says “Look I ain’t asking you, what my Technical Terms mean , I am telling you!” We don’t have to agree with terms we just have to comprehend how the author is using them.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 16, 2006 07:53PM)
Sorry If I contributed to his throwing in the towell. I have posted an apology.

M.W. Walsh
Message: Posted by: magicalaurie (May 16, 2006 10:16PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-12 19:28, kregg wrote:
Add a pinch of salt and BAMM!!!
[/quote]

:hysteric:
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 16, 2006 10:26PM)
"Movement is the arc between two deaths..."
D. Humphrey


I can sympathize with Whit's frustration. We each feel it. Obviously Whit has a very complex mental map he is trying to express piecemeal. We will naturally try to understand things by relating it to how we have defined things before (compare/contrast).

Everyone here has found Whit's formula useful.
No one here really understands what he is saying either. I'm a bit lost in his use of many terms, (such terms as " Art of Deception or Theater of the Dilemma, or how something that contains no deception can be placed inside the "Theater of Deception").

All that aside, I think the mapping is important. If we wish a definition of what we do to show distinction from other arts then we could map from there.

However, as Bill Palmer keeps saying, the definition itself should be concise. I've given my definition early on in many forms, so I won't redo that here. Rather, let us consider what magic ISN'T. I see magic as a subset of most anything, but as a subset it distinguishes itself. I also see it's originality possibly in how it combines (and recombines) other arts into a new experience.

In lieu of Whit listing definitions of all his terms and posting the intro to his new book as part of the defining process for us to follow...I suggest we continue to see how our maps relate to the classic maps we keep associating ourselves with.


What distinguishes magic from other arts?

First consider the Classic Nine Arts as trilogies (outlined by Paul Weiss in his book "The Nine Arts"). Most of us would find "Magic," as we perform it, to lie in the trilogy of "Dynamic Arts." But I think "Magic" is being developed in the other areas as well.

1. Spatial arts (a triad of Architecture, sculpture & painting)
The members of this first triad create spaces,
2. Temporal arts (a triad of musicry, story, and poetry)
The members of this second triad create times.
3. Dynamic arts (A triad of music, theatre, and the dance).
The members of this third triad create ways of becoming."

Weiss points out the more we synthesize the arts, the more we multiply them. They become "Compound Arts" with hundreds of possible combinations from the initial set of nine.


As I said, the third trilogy is where most of us perform our type of "magic." And as these deal with "way of becoming," it seems apt to the the label of magic consists in a "transformational state of mind."

However, magic in Spatial arts could be found in such standing illusions as Jerry Andrus creates and photographs.

The Temporal may be an area developed more in such work as Knepper and "Wonder words.' Those cases where perception is altered using ONLY words to bring about he effect in the mind of the spectator.

This is just "Food for Thought."
Perhaps a dead horse that can't be beat is the winner.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 16, 2006 10:48PM)
On second thought, forget it (It won't let me delete)
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 16, 2006 11:23PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-16 23:26, Bilwonder wrote:
"Movement is the arc between two deaths..."
D. Humphrey


I can sympathize with Whit's frustration. We each feel it. Obviously Whit has a very complex mental map he is trying to express piecemeal. We will naturally try to understand things by relating it to how we have defined things before (compare/contrast).

Everyone here has found Whit's formula useful.
No one here really understands what he is saying either. I'm a bit lost in his use of many terms, (such terms as " Art of Deception or Theater of the Dilemma, or how something that contains no deception can be placed inside the "Theater of Deception").

All that aside, I think the mapping is important. If we wish a definition of what we do to show distinction from other arts then we could map from there.

However, as Bill Palmer keeps saying, the definition itself should be concise. I've given my definition early on in many forms, so I won't redo that here. Rather, let us consider what magic ISN'T. I see magic as a subset of most anything, but as a subset it distinguishes itself. I also see it's originality possibly in how it combines (and recombines) other arts into a new experience.

In lieu of Whit listing definitions of all his terms and posting the intro to his new book as part of the defining process for us to follow...I suggest we continue to see how our maps relate to the classic maps we keep associating ourselves with.


What distinguishes magic from other arts?

First consider the Classic Nine Arts as trilogies (outlined by Paul Weiss in his book "The Nine Arts"). Most of us would find "Magic," as we perform it, to lie in the trilogy of "Dynamic Arts." But I think "Magic" is being developed in the other areas as well.

1. Spatial arts (a triad of Architecture, sculpture & painting)
The members of this first triad create spaces,
2. Temporal arts (a triad of musicry, story, and poetry)
The members of this second triad create times.
3. Dynamic arts (A triad of music, theatre, and the dance).
The members of this third triad create ways of becoming."

Weiss points out the more we synthesize the arts, the more we multiply them. They become "Compound Arts" with hundreds of possible combinations from the initial set of nine.


As I said, the third trilogy is where most of us perform our type of "magic." And as these deal with "way of becoming," it seems apt to the the label of magic consists in a "transformational state of mind."

However, magic in Spatial arts could be found in such standing illusions as Jerry Andrus creates and photographs.

The Temporal may be an area developed more in such work as Knepper and "Wonder words.' Those cases where perception is altered using ONLY words to bring about he effect in the mind of the spectator.

This is just "Food for Thought."
Perhaps a dead horse that can't be beat is the winner.
[/quote]

"Mr. Kurtz, he dead. A penny for the old guy."
--T. S. Eliot

"People luv to be cheated, but they wants it done by a artist."
--Josh Billings
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 17, 2006 09:01AM)
"Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!"
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 17, 2006 01:30PM)
Bilwonder says:

"I see magic as a subset of most anything, but as a subset it distinguishes itself."

How does it distinguish itself?

How is the performance of magic say, different from a play about magic?

How is the performance of magic different from a short con game?

How is the performance of magic different from the faked seance of a charlatan medium?

How is the performance of magic different from a mentalist who uses trickery to convince people he actually has telepathic powers?

How is the performance of magic different from a mentalist who uses trickery to entertain people and make them think, but does not try to convince them that his skills are real?

How is the performance of magic different from tricking someone with fake plastic dog poop?

You say magic distinguishes itself, but can be combined with other arts to produce something new.

How do we distinguish magic from other arts before we combine them?
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 17, 2006 02:09PM)
How can magic be distinguished until the effect has been achieved? You would have to tell the audience what you are and plan to do by action, words or known cliche',
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 17, 2006 06:45PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-17 14:30, Whit Haydn wrote:

How is the performance of magic different from tricking someone with fake plastic dog poop?

[/quote]

I can't believe I'm doing this but...

I.

1.) A prankster named Fred places some fake dog poop in an area where it would be unwelcome.

2.) You see the fake dog poop, and for at least a moment, assume that the fake dog poop is real.

3.) Upon closer observation, you realize the dog poop is fake.

4.) Although you were deceived momentarily, the deception is nullified by the realization that the poop was in fact fake. There is no delima of any kind; at one moment the poop was thought to be real, in the next moment you discover that it was fake.

"That Fred, what will he think of next", you think.

II.

1.) You see Fred the next day. Fred displays a small red silk hankercheif.

2.) He is wearing short sleves and his hands are otherwise empty.

3.) He slowly tucks the hanky into his closed left fist and it vanishes, then both hands are shown to be unmistakenly empty.

4.) Although Fred does not posses any powers beyond the norm, you saw that his hands were empty before and after the vanish of the hankercheif.

5.) You know it's not real (because Fred pumps Gas for a living and performs for children on the weekend) yet you have no explanation as to how what you whitnessed could have been possible.

6.) You know it must be a trick of some kind but how?

7.) So you ask Fred, "How was it done" He says, "Magicians never tell."

"That Fred, really fooled me, BUT in a different way than he fooled me with the dog poop."

Deception deliberately occurs in both senarios. But in the second senario, you are left to ponder how it could have been achieved, while in the first example, the question of how does not even enter your mind.

I would like to credit my friend "Fred Craps" for his assistance with this post.
...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 17, 2006 07:09PM)
Yes, but Bilwonder does not believe there is deception involved in either case. Perception is reality.

The dog poop is real, because it is perceived as real.

There isn't any trick involved in the silk vanishing, there is no deception--it is real. Because that is how you perceived it.

There is no deception, no lie, no intentional misleading. What is seen is reality.

At least that is how Bilwonder has been stating it.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 17, 2006 07:17PM)
A quick scan of of the fred crap's thead suggested a really strange trick where you use a hank to apparently vanish a dog's leftovers and later have it reappear...
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 17, 2006 07:30PM)
When has belief been a guarantee of reality? The whole perception thing reminds me of my mother's warning that came with my first gun: "Do you know how many people get shot with unloaded guns". It was a warning against perception wasn't it?
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 17, 2006 07:33PM)
LOL- Jon, I should have spelled it with a "K" though

There are more differences that could be stated but for the sake of brevity?....
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 17, 2006 10:18PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-17 20:09, Whit Haydn wrote:
Yes, but Bilwonder does not believe there is deception involved in either case. Perception is reality.

The dog poop is real, because it is perceived as real.

There isn't any trick involved in the silk vanishing, there is no deception--it is real. Because that is how you perceived it.

There is no deception, no lie, no intentional misleading. What is seen is reality.

At least that is how Bilwonder has been stating it.
[/quote]

Whit,
You confuse me with someone else. I never said any of those things.
I believe magic occurs in the dilemma (the "ping pong" against perceived limitations). Any thing that induces this state of mind in the spectator would be labeled "magic" by him. It is the mind in flight. It is as real and insubstantial as a flame (with all of it's magical metaphor). It exists between two states. This is our goal, to ignite this state of mind in the observer. This is why I said magic is not in the deception (fake poop). I know it’s easy to group my statements along with others.

After discovering that this is this state of mind is my goal (and is what separates it from other arts), the next question is HOW to create it. I know Jonathan prefers us not to use the phrase “state of mind,” but it’s just easier for now.

I say lets look at everything that induces this framework, and I notice it does not always need an instigator because the spectator contributes to his own illusions. Any of us, at any time can perceive an act of nature in a “magical way” that we view as doing the impossible. I’ve seen water run uphill, or vanish before my eyes, spirits seem to rise from the ground. It doesn’t matter that some may learn the secret. Some do not and remain perplexed forever.

As magicians, we should take notice of what creates these moments and learn from them no matter the arena we find them. This doesn’t mean we should not ferret out to the fullest extent an avenue such as Whit’s formula. I just suggest that when we map out the territory we fully acknowledge what may be magic.

There is no difference to me between “fake magic” or “real magic.” These are just terms referring to some perceived means of achieving the desired resulting state of mind in the observer. There is no difference to me if I use strings or spirits to induce the dilemma. To some invisible string is as impossible as invisible spirits. You choose your audience accordingly. To some I construct a lie. To others I tell the plain truth. What ever I think will boggle them the most.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 11:40AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-17 23:18, Bilwonder wrote:
[quote]
I believe magic occurs in the dilemma (the "ping pong" against perceived limitations). Any thing that induces this state of mind in the spectator would be labeled "magic" by him. It is the mind in flight. It is as real and insubstantial as a flame (with all of it's magical metaphor). It exists between two states. This is our goal, to ignite this state of mind in the observer. This is why I said magic is not in the deception (fake poop). I know it’s easy to group my statements along with others.

[/quote]

Are you saying any dilemma produces the experience of magic?

Is any experience of cognitive dissonance magic?

Are you suggesting that a dilemma discovered in nature by a scientist creates the same feelings in him as magic does in a spectator?

Does the feeling identified as "magic" by the individual experiencing it mean the same thing as the work we do called "magic"--is there a difference between the art and the feeling? How do you distinguish these two uses of the word magic?

Describe the dilemma you are talking about.

You said "magic" is a subset of anything, but that it "distinguishes itself."

If "magic" can be a subset of anything, then it must be a very debased and meaningless term.

How does magic distinguish itself from say a short story like "Labyrinth" by Jorge Luis Borges? The story creates a dilemma for the reader and should force him into a reverie of wonder.

How is that different from what we do?

How is magic distinguished from other art forms?

You said:

"There is no difference to me between “fake magic” or “real magic.” These are just terms referring to some perceived means of achieving the desired resulting state of mind in the observer. There is no difference to me if I use strings or spirits to induce the dilemma. To some invisible string is as impossible as invisible spirits. You choose your audience accordingly. To some I construct a lie. To others I tell the plain truth. What ever I think will boggle them the most."

Does an experience of "real magic" effect the mind the same way "fake magic?"

Would experiencing "real magic" not have a much more profound and different effect on the mind than the experience of a "fake magic" trick?

Give me a concrete example of how you use "real magic" in your performance.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 18, 2006 12:23PM)
A fake tells a lie about itself.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 18, 2006 01:59PM)
[quote]
Are you saying any dilemma produces the experience of magic?
[/quote]
No. Not ANY dilemma. Only the kind that rattles the individuals perception of limitations (boundaries of what is possible).

[quote]
Is any experience of cognitive dissonance magic?
[/quote]

To say magic lies in the cognitive dissonance of course is not to say they are the same. The dilemma must involve limitations NOT perceived as self imposed (such as Ethics or friendship). One reason I wanted more focus in this area is so further distinctions could be made in our definitions. I don't claim to have it mapped out, but see this as where the event takes place. The essence of "magic Thinking" is it comes out of "no where."
[quote]
Are you suggesting that a dilemma discovered in nature by a scientist creates the same feelings in him as magic does in a spectator?
[/quote]

Not just "a dilemma," but one that challenged what he believes possible. Perhaps his reliance on the scientific method . That is kind of dilemma we are talking about. I have always stated it was about challenging a set of limitations. I have merely agreed with you to call this a "dilemma."
[quote]
Does the feeling identified as "magic" by the individual experiencing it mean the same thing as the work we do called "magic"--is there a difference between the art and the feeling? How do you distinguish these two uses of the word magic?
[/quote]
I have never said we are talking about a feeling. There is emotion that goes with this experience (one of alienation), but the experience is in is largely in the mind. There is the feeling of Numinous. There is also a conflicting feeling or reverting to infantile perceptions before we acknowledged certain boundaries of limitations and the whole world was magic. This is the "safety zone"(DMZ) we default to so we can escape the feeling of being alienated from our world. That is why I don't think "magic" has to point to any type of world view explanation (i.e. Witchcraft).
[quote]
Describe the dilemma you are talking about.

You said "magic" is a subset of anything, but that it "distinguishes itself."

If "magic" can be a subset of anything, then it must be a very debased and meaningless term.

How does magic distinguish itself from say a short story like "Labyrinth" by Jorge Luis Borges? The story creates a dilemma for the reader and should force him into a reverie of wonder. How is that different from what we do?

[/quote]

As a subset, I only meant it is found to coexist in that rhelm (as I suggested int the listing of the "nine arts."

To the story, however, as I clarified before, this is not the kind of dilemma we are talking about. "Labyrinth" is essentially symbolic and not directly confrontational to the observer's map of what is possible. If the story however induced some kind of trance in the reader whereby he actually experience a form transcending beyond the limits of what he believed possible..then it would be the same. I think "Kentonism" tries to toy with this idea.


[quote]
How is magic distinguished from other art forms?
[/quote]
Magic is distinguished by the "state of mind" it induces. What may be shared is the coexisting emotions. Also, I would also not use the term "reverie of wonder" quite as loosely as you do.
My understanding of this word has been heavily influenced by the writings of Abraham Heschel on the subject and is tied closely with the "sublime." Below are a few selected "remixed quotes" of Heshel that may help a little.

[quote]
There are aspects of given reality which are congruous with the categories of scientific logic, while there are aspects of reality which are inaccessible to this logic..To surrender to the mystery is fatalism, to withdraw into reason is solipsism. Man is driven to commune with that which is beyond the mystery. Modern man fell into the trap of believing...all wonder is nothing more but the effect of novelty upon ignorance...and there is no necessity to go beyond the world in order to account for the existence of the world. This lack of wonder, this exaggeration of the claim of scientific inquiry, is more characteristic of popular science books...than of the creative scientists themselves...

...the sublime is that which we see and are unable to convey. It is the silent allusion of things to a meaning greater than themselves...it is that which our words, our forms, our categories can never reach. This is why the sense of the sublime must be regarded as the root of man's creative activities in art, thought, and noble living.

To the modern man everything seems calculable...He has supreme faith in statistics and abhors the idea of mystery. Obstinately he ignores the fact that we are all surrounded by things which we apprehend but cannot comprehend; that even reason is a mystery to itself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
[/quote]

Which leads me to the quote I gave in an earlier post:
"Wonder is not a Pollyanna stance,
not a denial of reality;
wonder is an acknowledgment
of the power of the mind to transform."  
santiz Christina Baldwin


[quote]
Does an experience of "real magic" effect the mind the same way "fake magic?"
[quote]
I don't believe the mind perceives a difference in the experience. However, any experience will change as it is linked or associated with other ideas (i.e. science, witchcraft, art...).
[/quote]
Would experiencing "real magic" not have a much more profound and

[/quote]

"There is no difference to me between 'fake magic' or 'real magic.' These are just terms referring to some perceived means of achieving the desired resulting state of mind in the observer."

Give me a concrete example of how you use "real magic" in your performance.
"There is no difference to me between 'fake magic' or 'real magic.' These are just terms referring to some perceived means of achieving the desired resulting state of mind in the observer." However, I suppose fake magic could be construed as donning the the symbols historically associated with magic without creating any dilemma.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 02:09PM)
Bilwonder said:

"To say magic lies in the cognitive dissonance of course is not to say they are the same. The dilemma must involve limitations NOT perceived as self imposed (such as Ethics or friendship). One reason I wanted more focus in this area is so further distinctions could be made in our definitions. I don't claim to have it mapped out, but see this as where the event takes place. The essence of "magic Thinking" is it comes out of "no where.""

"Cognitive Dissonance" is, in fact, a feeling. It is the "feeling" of discomfort that comes from attempting to hold two contradicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. The "reverie" of wonder is the attempt of the mind to resolve the conflict (the dilemma) through creative thought, a series of "what-ifs," and thereby escape the discomfort--the burr under the saddle. Any dilemma produces cognitive dissonance. What separates magic from nature is the knowledge that the dilemma was caused to happen by the performer. We know that it is a construct. We just don't have the technology to re-invent the effect. The element of fraud in a magic effect should not be taken out of your account.

"There is no difference to me between 'fake magic' or 'real magic.' These are just terms referring to some perceived means of achieving the desired resulting state of mind in the observer. However, I suppose fake magic could be construed as donning the the symbols historically associated with magic without creating any dilemma."

I don't follow you. Can you give some concrete illustrations of the dillemas you are proposing, both natural and man-made? Can you give me an example using a classic magic trick and one using your "real" magic?
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 18, 2006 02:18PM)
Whit,
You keep asking me to distiguish what I don't see as different.
I have given examples all along the way.
As a child I passed by a sream that seemed to run uphill. This was magic. I went to Colon Michigan and saw a coin fall upwards. This was magic.
What are you trying to get me to say?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 02:19PM)
I would like for you to make a distinction. Are you saying there are no differences between the two events?

Write out the dilemma for the stream and one for the coin.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 18, 2006 02:19PM)
"Snicker". He wants you to say that you were wrong and he was right.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 18, 2006 02:21PM)
We are cross posting.
Posts are changing during responses...
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 02:22PM)
No. I want him to explain the theory he is proposing. It sounds as if he is saying that anything that produces "wonder" is magic.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 18, 2006 02:38PM)
In many respects it certainly is. What we do is magic, what we do creates wonder, not all things that create wonder are what we do, but all things that create wonder are magic.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 02:49PM)
Why do you say that all things that create wonder are magic?

Is anything that creates wonder magic?

If so, what do you mean by magic?

What is the difference between "what we do" and magic? (you said that not all things that create wonder are what we do, but all things that create wonder are magic)
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 18, 2006 02:50PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-18 15:09, Whit Haydn wrote:

"Cognitive Dissonance" is, in fact, a feeling. It is the "feeling" of discomfort that comes from attempting to hold two contradicting thoughts in the mind at the same time. The "reverie" of wonder is the attempt of the mind to resolve the conflict (the dilemma) through creative thought, a series of "what-ifs," and thereby escape the discomfort--the burr under the saddle. Any dilemma produces cognitive dissonance. What separates magic from nature is the knowledge that the dilemma was caused to happen by the performer. We know that it is a construct. We just don't have the technology to re-invent the effect. The element of fraud in a magic effect should not be taken out of your account.

I don't follow you. Can you give some concrete illustrations of the dillemas you are proposing, both natural and man-made? Can you give me an example using a classic magic trick and one using your "real" magic?
[/quote]

I don't want to split hairs about terms such as ""Cognitive Dissonance." My focus it on the "attempting to hold two contradicting thoughts" dispite the varied emotions that may accompany it. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I laugh.Sometimes I cry laughing. Do I need to add, I'm feeling "Cognitive Dissonance today" to my feeling chart?

I understand you limiting your definition of wonder for your purposes. And I can accept those terms in order to learn more of what you are saying. I am just stating that my framework on the concept is a bit different and tried to expand on that with quotes of Heschel.

And yes, I did say there was no difference for me between the stream and the coin.

No. Again, not anything that produces "wonder" is magic. However, magic consits of a wonder without explaination.

The element of "fraud" is only valuable to be in order to set a wall of limitation with the audience so I can create a reliable dillema. I don't want to short circut the "magic" by establishing (proving) another worldveiw. I don't want to prove god or witchcraft. My job is purely iconoclastic. I want to crack walls, not establish them.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 02:58PM)
If you could do "real magic," then why on earth wouldn't you attempt to prove it, instead of by setting up a dilemma based on the idea there "is no such thing as magic?"

If your proofs are not deceptive, why try to create an untrue dilemma? "There is such a thing as magic/There is no other explanation" should be the conclusion of a demonstration of real magic. There would be no dilemma.

Is it right to hide the fact that there is real magic by creating a false dilemma? By trying to impose the horn of the dilemma that there is no such thing as magic, if in fact there is, aren't you doing a disservice?

You said that magic is distinguished by the state of mind it induces, not by the nature of the actions involved in creating this state. Does that mean that anything that creates that state is magic? If the actions of nature produce the same state as those of a magician, how can we distinguish between the two?

Wouldn't the advice coming from your theory to the magician be of the sort--"Be the stream flowing uphill." How can we learn anything of use, if we can not even distinguish our art form from a sunset?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 18, 2006 03:13PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-18 15:49, Whit Haydn wrote:
Why do you say that all things that create wonder are magic?

Is anything that creates wonder magic?

If so, what do you mean by magic?

What is the difference between "what we do" and magic? (you said that not all things that create wonder are what we do, but all things that create wonder are magic)
[/quote]

Oh come on, this is pretty simple. Lets pretend for a moment that someone made up a book that defined most, if not all things. Then we could pretend that some of the things defined within actualy had multiple definitions. It is pretty concievable that there would be things in existance tham met more than one of the defenitions of a word, but not all of them. Likewise we could assume that some things would share some of the defenitions of a word, but not all of the defenitions.

Magic already has quite a few defenitions and what we do fits some of those defenitions, but not all of them. Some of the things that fit some of the other defenitions also fit some of the defenitions that what we do, does, but not others. It's realy not all that complicated.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 18, 2006 03:58PM)
Jack Scratch says:

"Magic already has quite a few defenitions and what we do fits some of those defenitions, but not all of them. Some of the things that fit some of the other defenitions also fit some of the defenitions that what we do, does, but not others. It's realy not all that complicated."


Is that so?

The complicated task, Drew, is to distinguish which of the definitions applies to the thing we are considering. If we want to build a "car" we must know what sort of "car" we want to build--a railroad car, a Buick roadster, etc. That is why when people have a serious need to communicate, they decide on a specific use for a word within the context of the conversation.

I object when people say things about the performance of magic, the feeling of magic, the dark arts of magic, the literature of fantasy magic, without stating which of these they are talking about, or which type of magic within each of these areas. They often don't even seem to be making any distinction in their own minds.

Words used carelessly are not only confusing to the listener, but reveal a confusion in the thinking of the speaker.

I have practically given up understanding what you and Bilwonder are saying because you refuse to use a word the same way more than once.

That is not surprising since you obviously don't care what you mean at all. You are just sounding off.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 18, 2006 05:43PM)
Oh obviously. Whit, you are more arguementative than I am, and that's an acievement.

It is expected that one will show which defenition or defenitions he or she is intending by context clues. It is entirely for the intended meaning to be that of multiple defenitions. In a subject as abstract as magic, I would tend the thing it could even be oposing defenitions of the word. What are you looking for in this thread?
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 18, 2006 07:59PM)
Whit,
Please don't mix what I'm saying with JackScratch.

[quote]
If you could do "real magic," then why on earth wouldn't you attempt to prove it, instead of by setting up a dilemma based on the idea there "is no such thing as magic?" If your proofs are not deceptive, why try to create an untrue dilemma? "There is such a thing as magic/There is no other explanation" should be the conclusion of a demonstration of real magic. There would be no dilemma.

Is it right to hide the fact that there is real magic by creating a false dilemma? By trying to impose the horn of the dilemma that there is no such thing as magic, if in fact there is, aren't you doing a disservice?
[/quote]
"Proving" is a separate issue.
The dilemma is not between "there is no such thing as magic" & "There is." The dilemma when "Fraud" is involved between what ever I am proposing and the observer's set of limitations. In your T.P. device, you ask them to assume a "scientific frame of reference" then act in ways unusual for such a demonstration. If you act consistently you may prove this is the state of the art in science. Your idiosycracies indicate something else is going on. Unable to conclude what it is they revert to the childhood "default" of "magic."

It's hard for me to see a distinction between "real" or "Fake" magic merely because the method is hidden. It seems to me that magic in every case is dealing with "hidden means." Even "Occult Magic" refers to that which is hidden. It is a "hidden means" of altering the world in way not considered possible. Once the means is fully "in the light" of understanding it's something else besides magic. Jesus didn't do magic, because believers don't see the source as hidden. Scientists don't do magic if we see all the connections (or believe they are there).



[quote]
You said that magic is distinguished by the state of mind it induces, not by the nature of the actions involved in creating this state. Does that mean that anything that creates that state is magic? If the actions of nature produce the same state as those of a magician, how can we distinguish between the two?
[/quote]
Yes. Anything that creates "that state of mind" (for lack of a better term) is "labeled Magic" as a "default" response. I'm not sure how to answer the next question. If they are the same, why should try to distinguish them? I can however state that the magician may (or may not as a choice) use a different path to ignite this state of mind...and THAT could be distinguished.
[quote]
Wouldn't the advice coming from your theory to the magician be of the sort--"Be the stream flowing uphill." How can we learn anything of use, if we can not even distinguish our art form from a sunset?
[/quote]
A sunset is not magic. It may be wonderful. A stream flowing uphill is not magic in itself. It is understanding my responses to the events and realizing I can induce similar responses in others as in by creating the same kind of frameworks. Our art form is to be aware of common limiting perceptions and to confront the spectator's deceptive assumptions in these matters. Indeed, I play my own magician when nature deceives me. I pass this on in my demonstrations to others. I do not discount my use of deliberate deception. I only say it is not always needed because the spectator is the co-conspiriter in the matter. "Proving" is often just "norming the audience" by reinforcing prejudices.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 18, 2006 08:57PM)
When will appears to affect the world against all known sensibilities... we have a look to where magic can happen. When we (audience) know that this is offered as entertainment, we are free to feel "magic". It is an internal state, elicited by the entertainer. The opening of doors to places that were till a moment before, unknowable. :)

Just a quick aside to those who wish to be magicians... there is no magic to be had in this craft. We elicit it in others. To the magician, it is craft and much hard work. Watching the faces of the audience light up when they experience the feeling of magic is worth it... for some.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 18, 2006 09:28PM)
My perception of the problem of definition here is that Whit (and many of the rest of us) wants a basic definition -- no frills, no symptoms, no categories -- that states the essence of magic. In other words, this group of people is trying to formulate a [b][i]basic definition of magic.[/i][/b]

One or two others want to take this framework, and before it is even set, dress it up, trick it out and write a dissertation.

It's not necessary. It only confuses the definition. It gets away from the fundamental process of definition of terms. We don't need to define every facet of magic. We need to define what is common to all of them. Whit's definition does it.

It reminds me of the story of the young man who came to Israel to visit the Wailing Wall. He saw an old man standing at the wall, speaking softly, and moving in rhythm to his speech. As the old man turned to leave, the young man asked him what he had been doing.

"Praying," the old man replied.

"How often do you do this?"

"Every day."

"What are you praying for?"

"Peace in the middle east."

"Is it working?"

"No. It's like talking to a wall."
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 02:17PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-18 18:43, JackScratch wrote:
Oh obviously. Whit, you are more arguementative than I am, and that's an acievement.

What are you looking for in this thread?
[/quote]

Actually, Drew, I was hoping to present a novel, systematic theory of magic on this thread. I don't consider myself argumentative.

I just care deeply about magic theory and the importance of our art. I am quite comfortable in my beliefs, and willing to discuss them in detail with anyone.

However, I am not comfortable with people just saying whatever the heck sounds good to them from the stuff they've read in magic and pop culture. This is a serious task that should be taken seriously. If you want to say something, make sure it is thought-out and all your terms defined.

I am just about ready to start writing a book that I have been working on for more than thirty years. I have published pieces of the theory in various books over that time, including the Chicago Surprise and the School for Scoundrels Notes on Three-Card Monte, and have received a lot of interest, discussion and debate from others in the field including Darwin Ortiz, Tommy Wonder, and Jamy Ian Swiss.

I have a degree in Philosophy and have done graduate work in systematic theology at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria and St George's College in Jerusalem, and studied marriage and family counseling at Huntington State Hospital in West Virginia.

So I do have a good background in logic, philosophy, and psychology.

I began work on this project in magic theory in 1976 with the first publication of Chicago Surprise.

It has been a lot of work to get this theory to this point, and I guess I thought it would be of interest to the members here, and valuable to me as well, to put the main outlines of the theory out here before publishing the book--for debate, clarifications, and other input.

I have used this theory to create many award winning routines, and have won six magician of the year awards in every performing category at the Magic Castle since my first award for stage magic in 1979. Most of my routines have been in print for years, and videos of many of them are available at my web site.

I have worked both close-up and stage magic for forty-six years--since I was ten, and have worked professionally in every conceivable magic venue--street, restaurant, amusement park, ships, theater, television, private parties, biker bars, strip joints, you name it!

So I bring both some experience and study to the work of understanding magic.

Apparantly, there just isn't enough interest on this board in examining anything with any rigor. Only a couple of guys were interested in accepting my first statement and going further.

You and Bilwonder have insisted on talking about your own esoteric theories and have refused, even for the sake of argument, to agree on any definitions.

Your insistence on including esoteric belief systems in your theory of magic makes me very suspect. I am very against working with a theory of magic that would not include me, my ideas of magic, or any of my work for the last thirty years as your theory seems to do. I do not accept that the reality of "magic" as some esoteric thing has anything at all to do with my work.

I was willing to discuss your theory, or Bilwonder's instead of mine, but neither of you seem willing to come down to earth enough to define your terms, or at least to define them in such a way that they can be of help to a performer trying to construct a routine.

I am still willing to discuss anyone's theory of magic, as long as they are willing to do the hard work of defining their terms first. Without that work, nothing of any meaning can be accomplished. Everyone is just brating and bawling like stubborn mules.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 19, 2006 02:47PM)
[quote]
On 2006-01-04 12:19, Whit Haydn wrote:
Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise.
[/quote]

I still go with "the experience of discovering your train of thought has been {insert Whit's statement above} " as one of the conditions for finding magic.

I also hold that the components of "willful action" and "unlikely outcomes" as consequences of those actions need to be in there somewhere.

Something has to distiguish magic from nature. And likewise from technology.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 19, 2006 03:05PM)
Have you ever seen thos stupid paintings that you have to blur your vision and stare at to see the picture? I don't know about BillWonder, but that's a lot like what I'm trying to say. You are trying to pin down something I don't feel can or should be pinned down. I still say that putting deception and lies into our art, in its nature anyway, is completely counter productive. Now you have real nice credintials, and that's great, but if you can't convince me, or anyone else for that matter that what you are saying has merit, then you're wasting your time. You have a defenition of magic that you like. You talk about magic, the magic performed by magicians, and art with no soul. You talk about the work of a magician and insist on words like "lies" and "deception", words I feel have little place discribing what we, as magicians, do. I think it's one thing that some of us actualy do those thing, and feel them, so long as it's all legal, but it just shouldn't be in the defenition. Now I have explained why, and you disagree, but you don't seem willing to take that disagreement all the way out. You don't seem interested in actualy defending it. You want me and Bill and whoever to just lay down and let you by.

I still say this thread is silly. The defenition of magic and conjouring already exists, and it's a good workable defenition, and not like likely to be replaced in the English vernacular.
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (May 19, 2006 03:11PM)
Hi, I'm new to this forum. Is this an easy topic to play in?

Just kidding.

I've known about Whit's impressive background for a couple of years now and in his post above he actually only stated applicable accomplishments in regards to the topic at hand.

One of the toughest college courses I ever took was 'Logic/Philosophy' and barely hung on to that grade. I thought I was being logical in assuming it was an easy and automatic 'A+' assuming I was a logical creature. Hurts my pride to admit it, but I was far from it and still struggling to learn and apply logical methods of thinking to areas of every day life.

I've read Whits theories and setting aside my emotional approach to magic and anything I might think I know about magic, I've so far, what little I can understand, have found it infallible. Like it or not, it is sound.

I don't doubt that Whit is wise enough to know that he may change or evolve the theory with time but as it stands, it has no holes that I can find.

My suggestion for anyone who wants to grapple with Whit's theory is that, at a minimum, you be familiar with and apply Models of Logical & Analytical thinking or you'll find your language and his not communicating as evidenced by 20 pages of foreign language and their definitions of ....what was the topic again?...oh yes, this thing called magic.

I'll never forget an old boss I had who's favorite expression was "Where's your common sense?!". With time I learned his definition of "common sense" was anyone's words or actions that made him money. There was no observable model of logical thinking. Anything else to him was useless and void of 'sense'. I guess the model worked for him but none of us were let in on the secret.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 19, 2006 04:10PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-19 16:05, JackScratch wrote:
Have you ever seen thos stupid paintings that you have to blur your vision and stare at to see the picture? ...[/quote]

The technology behind those "stupid pictures" has a name as do the pictures themselves. To see the image one is well advised to stare at a point about ten feet behind the plane of the stereogram.

Muggles have a vague definition to work from, one that pertains to stories. We need something that works in our domain of offering stories.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 19, 2006 04:46PM)
In a nutshell.

Magic: The proving of an illogical argument that is known to be illogical but can not be disproved logically.

?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 04:47PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-19 16:05, JackScratch wrote:
Now you have real nice credintials, and that's great, but if you can't convince me, or anyone else for that matter that what you are saying has merit, then you're wasting your time. You have a defenition of magic that you like.

You talk about magic, the magic performed by magicians, and art with no soul. You talk about the work of a magician and insist on words like "lies" and "deception", words I feel have little place discribing what we, as magicians, do.

I think it's one thing that some of us actualy do those thing, and feel them, so long as it's all legal, but it just shouldn't be in the defenition. Now I have explained why, and you disagree, but you don't seem willing to take that disagreement all the way out. You don't seem interested in actualy defending it. You want me and Bill and whoever to just lay down and let you by.

I still say this thread is silly. The defenition of magic and conjouring already exists, and it's a good workable defenition, and not like likely to be replaced in the English vernacular.
[/quote]

If you thought this thread silly, then you should have stayed out of it instead of just messing around and derailling it.

You say "the defenition of magic and conjouring already exists, and it's a good workable defenition, and not like likely to be replaced in the English vernacular."

Okay. Please put that concise and complete definition down for the slow learners in the group such as myself.

My theory may not have made sense to you, or to Bilwonder, but I think there have been a number of workers on the forum who have managed to understand and see the value in it. I have managed to construct routines using it, and I do not feel my magic is "souless" as you claim. I would be interested in hearing your critique of my work using your theory. You can see both stage and close-up routines at http://www.whithaydn.com

Perhaps you would be willing to put up a video of some of your creations, so that we can see how your beliefs about magic influence your work. Then maybe I could begin to understand from what direction you are coming. As it stands, I can't even imagine what effects you would create.

There are many other magicians who do not like to use the word "lie" with magic, and will insist that they do not lie. But they would never claim there is no deception in a magic trick. You are among the very few who insist that magic does not involve any kind of deception. I would really like to see one of your effects that has no lies and no deception.

BTW, Drew, the word definition is spelled correctly in the title of the thresd. You can use that in the future as a model.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 05:01PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-19 17:46, tommy wrote:
In a nutshell.

Magic: The proving of an illogical argument that is known to be illogical but can not be disproved logically.

?

[/quote]

Drew says no. You are claiming that there is some kind of deception going on. Besides, the argument is logical, just false. It can not be disproved logically because the error is factual, not logical.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 19, 2006 05:46PM)
Before the rest of you guys jump in on Whit and start trying to take his theory apart, let him state what he has to say.

Most of the definitions of magic that are in print or on the internet are the kinds of definitions that are intended for laymen. (If you don't like that term, then muggles, the uninitiated, non-magicians) We are all allegedly magicians here. Whit is trying to define magic in as precise a way as possible in order to post the rest of his theory. If we keep picking at his definition, which seems to be a solid one to me, he will never get into the next phase.

So, sit back, relax, and let him post.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 05:55PM)
Thanks, Bill. But I don't want to hog the floor unless others are interested. If you would like to hear the ideas I have, then say so. If there is enough interest, I will try again.

If you would rather continue discussing the theories of Bilwonder and Jack Scratch, then I will retire from this exercise.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (May 19, 2006 06:13PM)
I'd like to hear your ideas but for some reason I don't see it happening here.
Really too much going on here.
Posting your ideas on a web site and linking to it may be better.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 19, 2006 06:46PM)
I'm mostly ears.

(You know what I look like, Whit, so you know that if I said, "I'm all ears," I would be lying.)
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 19, 2006 07:44PM)
@Whit-How bout the two defenitions on the first page, second post. I think they are pretty good myself.

If my spelling realy bothers you, one of us is going to have to leave the forum perminantly, because it's likely to not get a whole lot better.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 19, 2006 07:50PM)
Jaz,
The problem is, unlike some of the posters who are derailing the discussion at every turn, Whit has a true desire to [i]discuss[/i] his theories with others.

Taking it to a website or Blog loses the interaction he seeks.

He's even expressed an interest in discussing the theories of others as well, but it's really hard to keep the conversation on track while people ping-pong between multiple discussions.

Your idea might be a "happy medium" where he posts pieces at a time, and then opens it up for discussion. At a time of his choosing, he simply moves on to the next step, with or without the cooperation of the others. When done, his website, wiki, blog, whatever, will be a complete reflection of his thoughts, before and after the discussions have occurred.

This is a great opportunity to actually witness a book being written and the thought processes involved in it's creation. I'm looking forward to it.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 19, 2006 08:25PM)
Whit, you are arguing with 2 people. Do what most people do with my posts: Ignore them. I would like to see the rest of the theory evolve. I don't think you can convert those who would rather argue than understand.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 08:33PM)
Jack Scratch says:

[quote]
"@Whit-How bout the two defenitions on the first page, second post. I think they are pretty good myself."

If my spelling realy bothers you, one of us is going to have to leave the forum perminantly, because it's likely to not get a whole lot better.[/quote]

You mean these, I take it?

[i]1. Magic is the use of ones(sic) will to cause things to happen. (this is a quote of Aliester Crowley, yes it refers to a different magic, but I feel it applys(sic) to both equaly(sic) well. Actualy(sic) I feel they are pretty much one in the same.)

2. Conjouring(sic), Entertainment useing(sic) feets(sic) that are believed impossible.[/i]


These two that you want to use are not really meaningful in distinguishing magic (conjuring) the performance art from magick the religion (ritual magic), magic as fantasy (Harry Potter/Merlin), magic as a kind of superpower or force, and the use of magic as special effect or transitional device in theater and film.

Actually, many special effects in film created by CGI would fit those definitions.

If you can not define your work any clearer than that, you will end up painting a picture when you are trying to compose a symphony.

How do you know if you are actually summoning a demon or doing a double lift if they are the same thing? Do you really think a definition that includes so many different possible artforms, technologies and concepts could be useful to anyone?

How many times does Bill Palmer have to explain to you that dictionaries are simply a general explanation of how words are used by people. They are surveys, not analysis. Most people use words wrongly. That is why a horrible double negative like irregardless--that should never have existedat all--is now excepted as a word--it was voted in because enough ignorant people used it that it became an "accepted" word in English.

That is not how any technical subject is discussed. You define your own terms to suit the rigors of the subject. No technological writing will look to a popular dictionary to understand it's terminology.

We are trying to get a working definition of the art form we are engaged in.

You obviously just want to go on twirping about unicorns.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 19, 2006 08:48PM)
Drew:

Those definitions are irrelevant. One is about the occult. The other basically defines magic as conjuring. Since magic and conjuring are synonyms, it's a circular definition.

Let Whit make his statement.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (May 19, 2006 08:48PM)
I didn't mean ignore MY post.... Sigh....
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 08:51PM)
Sorry, Josh. Didn't mean to ignore your post. I am not trying to convert Drew. I am just trying to get him to shut up.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 19, 2006 08:53PM)
Whit, what's lacking with the stories type definition? "When in a story, will effects a result, we have magic"

I'm taking the subjective frame of reference on this item with the claim that anything one experiences or believes is a story even if only one tells oneself.

As the story "teller" or "giver" the performer brings people into a situation where they take the story with them.

How is this for a framework or perspective?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 09:12PM)
Interesting, Jon. Let's get back to that after I introduce my theory, or pm me. I am quickly losing interest in this project, and if I don't get to lay out the theory soon, I am probably going to move the whole discussion over to http://www.ScoundrelsForum.com and start all over without all this baggage.

On the other hand, I would hate to lose a lot of the work that has already been done in this thread. Even though I am starting over, the clarifications and arguments we have had so far might be helpful to someone.

Except for a few time-wasting posts from people that refuse to accept that there is at least some difference worth talking about between magic that requires the performer to do a double-lift and magic that requires you to know the exact pronunciation of a demon's name, much of value has been said by many people.

So let's move on if we can, and try for clarifications and exceptions and modifications after the whole thing is laid out.
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 19, 2006 09:13PM)
Actualy Bill, that was ment to be the defenition of "Conjouring" to be used in place of magic for purposes of discribing the work of a magician.

That's the thing about the first defenition it's realy broad. Sommoning a deamon and a DL aren't the same thing, no, that's what you have the words "Summoning a Deamon" and "DL" beyond that, I believe them both and a great deal more to fit in the same genre. Doing a DL and a pass are two different things as well, do you feel strongly that they need two different genre's also? I love Crowleys definition because it is perfect. It doesn't discribe the occult, it discribes any concious act of man as magic. That's what I discribe magic as. I can get more specific, thus the defenition of "conjouring" but for the word "magic" it should be restricted. It shouldn't be defined in tiny finite terms.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 19, 2006 09:13PM)
Okay Whit I'd like to know more about what works for you.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 19, 2006 09:21PM)
Drew:

So any concious act of man is magic? I need you to do a thirty minute show of conscious acts. Are you any good? Got any references? Can you tell one conscious act from another? Which ones do you recommend? Do you think a theory based on something this big and nebulous is going to help anyone else even accomplish a conscious act?

A double lift and a pass do belong in the same discussion. They are both a part of sleight of hand. Something used by card sharks, pickpockets, theives, magicians, confidence men and others. Anyone that uses it would be interested in talking to anyone else that uses it, even for different purposes. We can learn something from the others, even if they have different uses for it.

Sleight of hand is one of the Arts of Deception. It is used by both entertainers and thieves, and the principles are the same.

The practice of pseudo-magic (I thank Bilwonder for this term) that we get hired to perform, also makes use of sleight of hand. We classify things together because they belong together.

You want to jump into a conversation of sleight of hand that may be of interest to the magicians, con men and gamblers who are participating, and talk about demons and Harry Potter spells.

The reason we separate a discussion of Demonic Summoning from one of performance magic, is that the one is irrelevant to the other. Most people are not going to be interested in a combined discussion. I don't need to know anything about summoning a demon to do my next gig at the Magic Castle. I do need to know about magic, theater, sleight of hand, acting, etc. By making every definition so broad, you never can be questioned about your beliefs. You can never be found out to be wrong. What you don't mean can't hurt you. Since you don't say anything, you can't mean anything. You can't be wrong.

That is just stupid. You can not distinguish between any of these arts and technologies because you do not have anything to say about any of them.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (May 20, 2006 02:28AM)
The parlour could use a good "conscious act" act. I'm working on a 10-minute audition in which I'll lift my hands, alternately.

The logical extension to the notion that "everything is magic" is that pretty much nothing is.

ok, off to Scoundrels Forum.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 20, 2006 02:44AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-19 22:13, JackScratch wrote:
Actualy Bill, that was ment to be the defenition of "Conjouring" to be used in place of magic for purposes of discribing the work of a magician.

That's the thing about the first defenition it's realy broad. Sommoning a deamon and a DL aren't the same thing, no, that's what you have the words "Summoning a Deamon" and "DL" beyond that, I believe them both and a great deal more to fit in the same genre. Doing a DL and a pass are two different things as well, do you feel strongly that they need two different genre's also? I love Crowleys definition because it is perfect. It doesn't discribe the occult, it discribes any concious act of man as magic. That's what I discribe magic as. I can get more specific, thus the defenition of "conjouring" but for the word "magic" it should be restricted. It shouldn't be defined in tiny finite terms.
[/quote]

That statement proves that you haven't understood one word of what Whit has been trying to say. We are trying to find a precise definition of magic, as we perform it, not occultism. To say that magic or conjuring is entertainment that uses feats that are believed impossible is way too broad.

BTW, the similarity between a classic pass and a DL is much closer than the similarity between a classic pass and trying to conjure the spirit of Abramelin the Mage.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 20, 2006 02:46AM)
Not quite yet, LobowolfXXX. Maybe everything has quieted down. Lets wait and see for a bit.

Some people only learn respect at the wrong end of a pool cue.

Thanks, Bill. Exactly right.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 20, 2006 11:01AM)
Whit,
I am chomping at the bit. We can all speed read and brush over the silly posts. No need to dignify what is already clear to 99% of us.
You were saying...
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 20, 2006 11:29AM)
Fine, you guys define magic as anything you feel like defining it as. I still strongly disagree with defenitions that state deception and completely disassociate what we do with rainbows, summoninmg extra dimensional creatures, and babies smiling, directly, but I shouldn't be this worried about your intent. The word means what society holds it to mean, whatever that may be. Even if you get your decision into the American Herritage Dictionary, it is my sispicion that the overal usages will not change. I find you defenition, as I last read it a little offensive, but what I can't find is a reason why you would care that I find it offensive, so find away.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 20, 2006 12:15PM)
We are not trying to change the overall usages of the word. The dictionary, as we have told you before, only does surveys of how words are used by people in actual speech and writing. What we do here has no effect on any of that.

This is simply a group of people agreeing on the set of terms and their meanings that we will use for this discussion. Just relax. You don't have to agree. You don't have to change your mind. It is best if you just sit back and listen for a while. That is all we are asking.

We have heard your disagreements, and have considered them. I am sorry if you found something offensive in my first statement of the theory, but that is the way it goes.

You don't get to change my theory just because you disagree with it.

I don't understand how you manage to disagree so strongly with something you have never let me explain. I feel like I said "I think..." and you yelled "Wrong!"

Just let me lay it out, please, for everyone else.

When I am finished, then I would welcome your criticism. Just wait until you have a chance to understand things a little better.

I am afraid that this whole exercise has been over your head so far, and that if you would relax and try to understand things a little better, you might not be making so many silly statements.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (May 20, 2006 12:43PM)
Drew:

You are the wall I was referring to earlier. Magic, as we are concerned with it on the Café, has NOTHING TO DO with rainbows, unicorns, elves, hobbits, Aleister Crowley, [i]Liber 777[/i] or any other occult stuff. It has to do with the practice of deception for the purposes of entertainment.

The other stuff can be added as flavor to a story line, as a theme, or whatever you wish, but not as a part of the fundamental definition of conjuring.

All we are sa-ay-ing
is give Whit a chance.

BTW, Drew --

I've been having trouble with the Sheets Acquitment. Should I summon Padael or make a larger donation to Exu?
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 20, 2006 01:48PM)
O.K. I'm still here. I like the use of the term "pseudo-magic" in place of "fake magic" in the definition.

It's not perfect, but is probably better than "fake magic" for obvious reasons.

Those who are emotionally opposed to terms such as "fake magic" and "lying" may find it easier to accept, and therefore may be less likely to misconstrue the "definition".
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 20, 2006 02:06PM)
Yes. Bilwonder came up with that in a PM to me. I think it is much better.

Psuedo-Magic, Psuedo-Science, Psuedo-Alchemy, etc. are all genres of the Theater of the Dilemma. They all intententionally create the dilemma (a paradox) in the mind of the spectator for the purposes of art/and or entertainment. This is the major category for performance magic.

Performers might also present other types or categories of entertainment within a performance, but it is the presence of the dilemma that makes the entertainment one of interest to us here.

The Theater of the Dilemma is just one branch of the Theater of Deception.

Fire-Eating, Blockhead, strong man stunts, mind-reading--any sort of theatrical presentation that involves the Art of Deception--are also part of the Theater of Deception.

They do not create the dilemma the same way as in the Theater of the Dilemma.

But each one can be identified and categorized both on the basis of how they handle the deception--they all use some sort of valid but false or invalid argument to deceive--and on the basis of their intent or purpose with regard to their audiences.

I see these as sort of intersecting circles.

The Art of the Theater and the Art of Deception both include the Theater of Deception.

The Art of Deception includes the skills and crafts of make-up, costuming, illusion, camoflauge, acting, etc.

Some of these skills are used by the legitimate Theater and Film, as well as by exotic dancers, criminals, con men, card cheats, thieves, comics, propagandists, advertisers, and all sorts of people with different goals and purposes.

If you understand how what we do in the Theater of the Dilemma is similar and also how it is different from other branches of theater and from other arts of deception we get a better understanding of what we are about.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 20, 2006 03:14PM)
O.K.

"Psuedo-Magic, Psuedo-Science, Psuedo-Alchemy, etc. are all genres of the Theater of the Dilemma."

Presumibly, the terms, "Psuedo-Magic, Psuedo-Science, Psuedo-Alchemy" are grouped together as to allow for a wider range of examples to desribe "what we do".

However, I think that some might find the terms, "psuedo-alchemy" and "psuedo science" initialy misleading.

When I think of those terms, I instantly think of things like phrenology, dowsing and magnetic bracelets; rather than performers who would use these concepts for the basis of their show; or as premises for presentation (such as your transportation device).

Cinemagician
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 20, 2006 03:32PM)
Those would be very similar, but not part of the Theater of the Dilemma. The Theater of the Dilemma is defined by the creation of the dilemma. The Teleportation Device is Psuedo-Science. The Chemical Printing of 100 bills is a con game. The lack of a dilemma, and the purpose of fleecing someone instead of edifying them both distinguish the two.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 20, 2006 04:05PM)
Yes I understand.

I'm just saying that using those terms at the begining of the definiton could be misleading because most people would not imediately think that those kinds of phenomena could be utilized in a presentation that holds to the dilemma.


For the sake of discussion-

What if we were to replace them with the terms, "illusionists" or "sleight of hand artists"

(personally I dislike these terms and feel that they can serve to weaken the dilemma.)
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 20, 2006 04:19PM)
What would happen if the teleportation deviced looked a little more "sharper image" and you told folks you stole if from a travelling stranger?
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 20, 2006 04:27PM)
Same thing. Ony in this case the dilemma is framed more in terms of a demonstration of "psuedo-technology".

OR, maybe if you really laid it on thick (in a board room of a sky-scraper, surrounded by Japanese investors) you might actually convince someone that it really worked

In this case- it's a con. Without intent for the delima it ceases to be performance art and becomes a con.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 20, 2006 05:19PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-20 17:27, cinemagician wrote:
In this case- it's a con. Without intent for the delima it ceases to be performance art and becomes a con.
[/quote]

Very good!
I think that brings us back to Whit's way of thinking that we don't convince them so hard that it's "real" so we can keep them firmly in the middle of the two horns of the dilemma.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 20, 2006 06:42PM)
Exactly. What separates a con game from a theatrical performance is the intent--art or entertainment vs. geeting hold of the subjects money. There is no dilemma in a con game. A person is sold a false reality, and the level of conviction is intended to be high.

To sell someone the story in a con, you don't want any questioning--you don't want to encourage thought--it gets in the way of getting the money.

In the Theater of the Dilemma, you want to instigate creative thought by putting the subject on the horns of the dilemnma. The only real difference between Psuedo-Magic and Psuedo-Science is the nature of the lie that is proven--the conclusion of the argument.

One claims the "cause" of the impossible event is magic, the other claims that it is electro-magnetic oscillation that warps space and enables teleportation. This sets the theme and story environment, the presentation details etc. for the presentation.

But essentially, Pseudo-Magic and Pseudo-Science are the same art form with just different dressings.

Take Pseudo-Spiritualism as an example. The Spirit Cabinet can be used for entertainment, not intended to be "believed" putting it under the Theater of the Dilemma. Fraudulent-Spiritualism might attempt the same exact phenomenon, but for a different purpose and with no intent to create a dilemma--they want conviction.

This Fraudulent-Spiritualism would be under the Theater of Deception, but not under the Theater of the Dilemma. It is different in purpose and in the way it handles the dilemma.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 20, 2006 09:21PM)
Yay!

Clearly I see the differences between the two Theaters. The Theater of Deception is a much broader one, also inclusive of all cons, swindles, and bunco, and the stories my kids try to tell me when I catch them doing something naughty.

Performance Magic, the stuff I do, is in this theater but deserves its own classification, that being the Theater of the Dilemma. Performance Magic deserves this distinction because it specificaly invites the viewers to think critically about the Dilemma and try to resolve it. And that's not the same as trying to solve it.
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 20, 2006 09:26PM)
Just checking if my circles are straight.
Cons or part of the "Art of Deception" but outside any umbrella of the "Theaters?"

And I find the following a bit confusing.

[quote]
Fire-Eating, Blockhead, strong man stunts, mind-reading--any sort of theatrical presentation that involves the Art of Deception--are also part of the Theater of Deception. They do not create the dilemma the same way as in the Theater of the Dilemma.
[/quote]Why are these "outside" the Theatre of the Dilemma" if they create a dilemma (but only in a different way). Shouldn't they more properly be a different portion of the same circle?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 20, 2006 10:05PM)
Let's explore the distinctions before we start lumping okay?

whit? would you clarify?
Message: Posted by: Chevrie (May 20, 2006 10:43PM)
Clearly it all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.
Lonnie
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 20, 2006 11:10PM)
Lonnie, keep you epistomology in your holster for now.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 21, 2006 12:41AM)
Hey, Lonnie!

I meant they do not create a dilemma. They have an argument to make, like to prove a special skill--tying a cherry stem with the tongue--which the audience accepts as possible. If done strictly for entertainment, it is a part of the Theater of Deception. But it is not part of the Theater of the Dilemma--no dilemma is created.

None of this is really part of the basic description of magic, but rather an overview of how things fit together. We will find it much more clear as we begin defining the Theater of the Dilemma.

The main point is, that every sort of approach to magic can be described in this way. The Theater of the Dilemma is just one approach to performing magic, but I think it is the most important and predominant. There are more theater-leaning approaches, and more charlatanry-oriented approaches, and they can each be described and compared using this map.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 21, 2006 01:43AM)
I feel a bit like Lieutenant Columbo here but...

"There's just this one little thing that bothers me"...

I find it really awkward that terms like, "pseudo-science" and "pseudo-alchemy" are used in the basic definition.

These (to me) are elements or subsets of the presentation, not catagories that should stand on their own. They are the phenomena behind the effects.

You are not wrong to list them as you have, but it's a bit odd to me.

Like holding the deck in my opposite hand...

Or typing with one eye closed... ;)
Message: Posted by: Dave V (May 21, 2006 02:01AM)
I take all these "Pseudo's" more as a "for example" rather than an all inclusive list. I think for now I'd be just as happy without any of the "pseudo"-examples. It certainly makes the definition shorter and would stop any complaints or confusion over the specifics of the terms.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 21, 2006 02:07AM)
None of this is part of the basic definition. This is just an overview of the terrain. It helps people to understand more precisely what we are talking about.

Only the Theater of the Dilemma is of interest to us for the time being. The basic definition does not really need to include those "genres." They are probably all the same thing, just dressed in a different costume.

But Pseudo-Science is different from Fraudulent-Science. Pseudo-Science is done for art and entertainment, and creates the dilemma. Fraudulent-Science seeks conviction of its conclusion, not doubt, and seeks monetary award.

The point I want to make clear is that Magic is just one of several theatrical dressings that the Theater of the Dilemma can take. It is certainly one of the most versatile. But what the magician is attempting to do is at heart exactly the same thing that the performer creating Pseudo-Science is doing.

What we need to discuss is the Theater of the Dilemma.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 21, 2006 05:55AM)
Every sane man can do logic.
Magic proves illogical arguments to man.
Therefore: Magic drives men insane.

Or

Magic: The insane driving the sane to the nut house.

:)
Message: Posted by: ASW (May 21, 2006 06:27AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-19 15:17, Whit Haydn wrote:

I am just about ready to start writing a book that I have been working on for more than thirty years. I have published pieces of the theory in various books over that time, including the Chicago Surprise and the School for Scoundrels Notes on Three-Card Monte, and have received a lot of interest, discussion and debate from others in the field...
[/quote]
It's about time.
Message: Posted by: kregg (May 21, 2006 09:33AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-21 02:43, cinemagician wrote:
I find it really awkward that terms like, "pseudo-science" and "pseudo-alchemy" are used in the basic definition.
[/quote]

A pseudo-alchemist should issue disclaimer's and have some knowledge of what not to mix. But, should not offer his snake oil for public use. Using it in a performance makes it theater.

When Tony Curtis played Houdini he wasn't really an escape artist, though he did perform Houdini's escapes on camera as an actor.

The use of "pseudo" seems appropriate to our topic and fits into Whit's definition.

I perform manipulations as a pseudo-magician. Had I'd thought of this years ago, I'd have written this book.

Kregg
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 21, 2006 10:37AM)
Kregg, I understand. I learned to think of "psuedo-science" etc. as what Nelm's calls the phenomenon (the preseumed means for how the effect it achieved).

Whit has made himself clear above, and he is NOT WRONG.

It's just kind of a "flip flop" for me to consider it as Whit has outlined it out above.

It just a minor point. I'm anxious to hear more from Whit.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 21, 2006 11:07AM)
It would be good to leave Nelm's and the others out of this. Let us start from scratch.

Nelms is probably the closest in understanding to what I have to say, but since he is coming from a different angle and does not have a systematic approach, it is better to not use his tools to understand this theory. After this is laid out, then you will see just how much Nelms said was right. In fact, I think a lot of the differences in Nelms when compared to Maskelyne and Devant will make more sense when seen from within this theory of magic.

Remember, the principles of magic don't change. It is what it is. Whatever has worked in the past will work in the future. I am not claiming to have discovered anything new, just a new way of looking at it.

We are simply trying to describe it as clearly as possible, so that by having a deeper understanding of the art, we can make even better art.
Message: Posted by: cinemagician (May 21, 2006 11:48AM)
O.K. no more about Nelms Fitzke or M&D for now.

Anyone else still here?
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 21, 2006 11:53AM)
You bet.
Message: Posted by: The Great Dave (May 21, 2006 03:27PM)
This one comment from the early days of this thread has been very influential on my approach to thoughts on presentation... Thanks to all of you for your valuable contributions.

[quote]
On 2006-01-04 10:56, Clark wrote:
Speaking of "inside the craft" definitions. Asconio had the best definition of magic that I have heard.

"Magic is the difference between an initial situation and a final situation, and the missing causal link between."

He pointed out that many magicians focus all attention on the climax of the routine, but few give proper focus to the initial situation. For example any color changing pack is only as good as the audience being absolutely satisfied that the pack was a different color in the first place. When reading Asconio's definition one can't help but give thought as to how the performer would help the audience convince themselves (as apposed to trying to convince them himself) that the deck was a certain color in the first place.

Point being his definition helped me think through my routines in greater detail.

Best,
Clark


[/quote]


Best Wishes,
Dave
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 21, 2006 06:55PM)
Theater of the dilemma?

Okay, how do you get them into theater as opposed to having them believe they are in some other place? What needs to be true of the venue, the persona of the performer and the way the performance is introduced?

The theatrical frame of reference has some serious presumptions we probably need to recognize.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (May 21, 2006 08:35PM)
[quote]Okay, how do you get them into theater as opposed to having them believe they are in some other place?[/quote]

If you're on the subject of the actual use of the word "theater", I offer this. I understand this use of the word 'theater' to similarly mean 'realm.' And since 'theater' is such an interesting choice of words, it introduces the idea of an actual stage.
This is really neat stuff because, from sheer experience, I've learned that I must 'set the stage.' Whenever I haven't properly set my stage for magic, my work has fallen short. I really, really have worked on setting the stage properly, and when I have, I can then invite them to attend.

[quote]What needs to be true of the venue, the persona of the performer and the way the performance is introduced?[/quote]

It has to be a showing. The persona has to, in so many words, say that it is so a showing. The way the performance in introduced is really out there. So much depends on everything, and I doubt your way is the same as his or her way or the same as mine.

Neertheless, the stage must be set, and the magician must make the invitations and introductions.

I believe that this applies to all venues except one, that one being the display of "guerrilla" magic. Hit and Run magic works better without introductions of any sort. And achieves entirely different results.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 21, 2006 08:40PM)
Whit, does it make sense to discuss the necessary setups for the kind of theater you are discussing?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 21, 2006 10:56PM)
This discussion reminds me of:


What the Tortoise Said to Achilles
by Lewis Carroll



Achilles had overtaken the Tortoise, and had seated himself comfortably on its back.
“So you’ve got to the end of our race-course?” said the Tortoise. “Even though it DOES consist of an infinite series of distances? I thought some wiseacre or other had proved that the thing couldn’t be done?”
“It CAN be done,” said Achilles. “It HAS been done! Solvitur ambulando. You see the distances were constantly DIMINISHING; and so –”
“But if they had been constantly INCREASING?” the Tortoise interrupted. “How then?”
“Then I shouldn’t be here,” Achilles modestly replied; “and YOU would have got several times round the world, by this time!”
“You flatter me – FLATTEN, I mean,” said the Tortoise; “for you ARE a heavy weight, and NO mistake! Well now, would you like to hear of a race-course, that most people fancy they can get to the end of in two or three steps, while it REALLY consists of an infinite number of distances, each one longer than the previous one?”
“Very much indeed!” said the Grecian warrior, as he drew from his helmet (few Grecian warriors possessed POCKETS in those days) an enormous note-book and pencil. “Proceed! And speak SLOWLY, please! SHORTHAND isn’t invented yet!”
“That beautiful First Proposition by Euclid!” the Tortoise murmured dreamily. “You admire Euclid?”
“Passionately! So far, at least, as one CAN admire a treatise that won’t be published for some centuries to come!”
“Well, now, let’s take a little bit of the argument in that First Proposition – just TWO steps, and the conclusion drawn from them. Kindly enter them in your note-book. And in order to refer to them conveniently, let’s call them A, B, and Z: –
(A) Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other.
(B) The two sides of this Triangle are things that are equal to the same.
(Z) The two sides of this Triangle are equal to each other.

Readers of Euclid will grant, I suppose, that Z follows logically from A and B, so that any one who accepts A and B as true, MUST accept Z as true?”
“Undoubtedly! The youngest child in a High School – as soon as High Schools are invented, which will not be till some two thousand years later – will grant THAT.”
“And if some reader had NOT yet accepted A and B as true, he might still accept the SEQUENCE as a VALID one, I suppose?”
“No doubt such a reader might exist. He might say, ‘I accept as true the Hypothetical Proposition that, if A and B be true, Z must be true; but I DON’T accept A and B as true.’ Such a reader would do wisely in abandoning Euclid, and taking to football.”
“And might there not ALSO be some reader who would say ‘I accept A and B as true, but I DON’T accept the Hypothetical’?”
“Certainly there might. HE, also, had better take to football.”
“And NEITHER of these readers,” the Tortoise continued, “is AS YET under any logical necessity to accept Z as true?”
“Quite so,” Achilles assented.
“Well, now, I want you to consider ME as a reader of the SECOND kind, and to force me, logically, to accept Z as true.”
“A tortoise playing football would be –” Achilles was beginning.
“– an anomaly, of course,” the Tortoise hastily interrupted. “Don’t wander from the point. Let’s have Z first, and football afterwards!”
“I’m to force you to accept Z, am I?” Achilles said musingly. “And your present position is that you accept A and B, but you DON’T accept the Hypothetical –”
“Let’s call it C,” said the Tortoise.
“– but you DON’T accept
(C) If A and B are true, Z must be true.”

“That is my present position,” said the Tortoise.
“Then I must ask you to accept C.”
“I’ll do so,” said the Tortoise, “as soon as you’ve entered it in that notebook of yours. What else have you got in it?”
“Only a few memoranda,” said Achilles, nervously fluttering the leaves: “a few memoranda of – of the battles in which I have distinguished myself!”
“Plenty of blank leaves, I see!” the Tortoise cheerily remarked. “We shall need them ALL!” (Achilles shuddered.) “Now write as I dictate: –
(A) Things that are equal to the same are equal to each other.
(B) The two sides of this Triangle are things that are equal to the same.
(C) If A and B are true, Z must be true.
(Z) The two sides of this Triangle are equal to each other.

“You should call it D, not Z,” said Achilles. “It comes NEXT to the other three. If you accept A and B and C, you MUST accept Z.”
“And why must I?”
“Because it follows LOGICALLY from them. If A and B and C are true, Z MUST be true. You can’t dispute THAT, I imagine?”
“If A and B and C are true, Z MUST be true,” the Tortoise thoughtfully repeated. “That’s ANOTHER Hypothetical, isn’t it? And, if I failed to see its truth, I might accept A and B and C, and STILL not accept Z, mightn’t I?”
“You might,” the candid hero admitted; “though such obtuseness would certainly be phenomenal. Still, the event is POSSIBLE. So I must ask you to grant ONE more Hypothetical.”
“Very good, I’m quite willing to grant it, as soon as you’ve written it down. We will call it
(D) If A and B and C are true, Z must be true.

Have you entered that in your note-book?”
“I HAVE!” Achilles joyfully exclaimed, as he ran the pencil into its sheath. “And at last we’ve got to the end of this ideal race-course! Now that you accept A and B and C and D, OF COURSE you accept Z.”
“Do I?” said the Tortoise innocently. “Let’s make that quite clear. I accept A and B and C and D. Suppose I STILL refused to accept Z?“
“Then Logic would take you by the throat, and FORCE you to do it!” Achilles triumphantly replied. “Logic would tell you, ‘You can’t help yourself. Now that you’ve accepted A and B and C and D, you MUST accept Z.’ So you’ve no choice, you see.”
“Whatever LOGIC is good enough to tell me is worth WRITING DOWN,” said the Tortoise. “So enter it in your book, please. We will call it
(E) If A and B and C and D are true, Z must be true.
Until I’ve granted THAT, of course I needn’t grant Z. So it’s quite a NECESSARY step, you see?”
“I see,” said Achilles; and there was a touch of sadness in his tone.
Here the narrator, having pressing business at the Bank, was obliged to leave the happy pair, and did not again pass the spot until some months afterwards. When he did so, Achilles was still seated on the back of the much-enduring Tortoise, and was writing in his notebook, which appeared to be nearly full. The Tortoise was saying, “Have you got that last step written down? Unless I've lost count, that makes a thousand and one. There are several millions more to come. And WOULD you mind, as a personal favour, considering what a lot of instruction this colloquy of ours will provide for the Logicians of the Nineteenth Century – WOULD you mind adopting a pun that my cousin the Mock-Turtle will then make, and allowing yourself to be renamed TAUGHT-US?”
“As you please,” replied the weary warrior, in the hollow tones of despair, as he buried his face in his hands. “Provided that YOU, for YOUR part, will adopt a pun the Mock-Turtle never made, and allow yourself to be re-named A KILL-EASE!”
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 22, 2006 01:18AM)
All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Conclusion: Socrates is mortal.

That seems simple enough doesn’t it? It is, until someone asks what is “man“? What is “Mortal”? Define them! How are we to apply the rule that applies the rule? It results in a kind of Ad infinitum argument such as we have here. At some point we must agree if we are to move on.
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 22, 2006 01:30AM)
What you are agreeing to, Tommy, is simply to agree on the definition for the sake of the discussion.

That syllogism is valid and true. It doesn't matter what the definitions are for it to be true, only that the statements are true and the form valid.

All humankind dies at some point.
Socrates is human.
Socrates will die at some point.

There is no ad infinitum here.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 22, 2006 04:31AM)
There should be no Ad infinitum here if we use a bit of common sense. However I could say Socrates is a man, men have ideas and souls that live ever and therefore the essence of man is immortal. What is a soul? Yadda Yadda. and so it goes. Your argument is quite simple to understand but becomes confusing when guys want to argue over the word “is” for example and then over rules they used to arrive at that definition and then the rule that applied to that rule.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2006 04:50AM)
Tommy, kindly define common sense. Preferably in concise cogent language.

Whit, how do we make sure we get the audience into the right theater?
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 22, 2006 04:58AM)
Why?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (May 22, 2006 05:31AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-22 05:58, tommy wrote:
Why?
[/quote]

That tact works on TV shows though marks a student.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 22, 2006 03:24PM)
Common sense tells us Achilles won the race. Interpretation tells us he did not. Now your asking me to interpret common sense. Why should I step into the same trap as Achilles?
Message: Posted by: JackScratch (May 22, 2006 03:33PM)
The problem with common sense is that it is occasionaly common, it is occasionaly sense, but it is almost never both.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 22, 2006 03:38PM)
:)
Message: Posted by: Bilwonder (May 22, 2006 09:14PM)
[quote]
Whit, how do we make sure we get the audience into the right theater?
[/quote]

While waiting for Whit's reply, I suggest a two drink minimum as the first step. "A wink and smile" doesn't hurt either.

I think the audience may only need the cue of "theatre" to seperate us from cons. This can be done with a few mixed messages in our presentation.

WHICH theatre probably only matters to us in mapping out our presentation.

Whit, Is this close?
Message: Posted by: Whit Haydn (May 23, 2006 03:20AM)
Yes. We are calling it theater simply because its purpose is to entertain, edify, and/or communicate emotion rather than say, convert people to a cult, empty their wallets, sell them a car or convince them that they can conquer the workplace if they conquer fear by walking on hot coals.

It is the intent of the performer--what he is attempting to accomplish--that creates the right theater. The intent of the performer of the Theater of the Dilemma is to create the dilemma. That is why he constructs his argument. To convince people of something that is known to be untrue.

This is the same whether on a huge stage, television, or in one-on-one close-up.

I use the word theater to indicate that the purpose of the performance is entertainment or art. The Theater of Deception would consist only of performances whose goals are entertainment or art.

This would include the Theater of the Dilemma, as well as all other presentations of deception (trying to convince someone of something untrue) that are done for the sake of entertainment or art.

If it is done for another reason, it is no longer theater, even if done on a classic theater stage.

For example, the trick tying of a cherry stem with the tongue (using a second already tied stem) can be Theater of Deception when it is done for entertainment. It is not Theater of the Dilemma, because the lie being told is not unbelievable. The audience may be surprised by the fake skill, but they end up accepting that the performer can actually do what he claimed. There is no dilemma.

This is a kind of charlatanry, but done for entertainment so it would be considered "theater."

When done to win a proposition bet, it would no longer be theater but rather it would be out and out cheating.

When done to impress a potential date with one's highly evolved and highly skilled tongue, it would be charlatanry.

The skill sets and psychology are very similar, but there are subtle differences in the way things would be handled when tying to win the bet as opposed to just showing off a silly trick.

By making such distinctions, we are more likely to analyze the best way to approach either goal.


Posted: May 23, 2006 5:02am
------------------------------------------------------
This talk of Theater of Deception and Theater of the Dilemma is all new to me, just having arisen out of this thread as a sort of overall map of the concept.

The [i]Theater of the Dilemma[/i] would be theater by its very nature. Its goal is to create the dilemma--to give the spectator an emotional and intellectual experience.

This is necessarily art--it is hard to imagine any other use for such a feat if not art and entertainment.

To eliminate or even weaken either side of the dilemma is to move into a different kind of theater. It may still be theater, may still be art, might even be called magic, but it is not "Theater of the Dilemma."

The art that I practice is that of the "Theater of the Dilemma." I used to call this simply "magic," and called anything else charlatanry or "theater." I have come to realize that there are many people in the world of performance magic that do other types of theater (which they call magic) than mine.

There are wide variations from those that do theatrical depictions of magic (who do not attempt to "prove" anything) to those who actually try to convince people that their "powers" are real but use their "proofs" only for entertainment and art, not for other advantage.

I believe all these can be artfully done, and can all arise to the level of high art. It isn't helpful to hijack the word magic to describe only the type of work that I was concerned with. The word "magic" in fact seemed to be nothing but trouble. I was convinced it would be possible to describe what I do and what others do as well without resort to the nearly meaningless term "magic."

But in analyzing the Theater of the Dilemma, I realized that the structure and nature of the deception (lie) and the motivation or intent of the performer's actions can both be used to describe and differentiate between the various approaches. This enables us to make fine distinctions between the requirements and purposes of various theatrical approaches without making any value judgements by the nature of the "process of categorizing" itself.

I wanted to understand the fundamental things about our art--what it is that is actually going on underneath that separates what we do from what other artists do.

By finding a way to describe what the performer is actually trying to accomplish in the structure of the lie itself, how it is different from the lie that creates a dilemma, and by the purposes for which it is used, we can more easily analyze the various methods by which we can accomplish our artistic goals, and have a better understanding on which to layer other levels of meaning.


Posted: May 23, 2006 11:34am
------------------------------------------------------
[quote]
On 2006-05-22 22:14, Bilwonder wrote:
[quote]
Whit, how do we make sure we get the audience into the right theater?
[/quote]
While waiting for Whit's reply, I suggest a two drink minimum as the first step. "A wink and smile" doesn't hurt either.

I think the audience may only need the cue of "theatre" to seperate us from cons. This can be done with a few mixed messages in our presentation.

WHICH theatre probably only matters to us in mapping out our presentation.

Whit, Is this close?


[/quote]

I answered a similar question from Jon on another thread, and the answer may apply here as well:
[i]
I think that is exactly right. For the most part, at least in European culture, the conventions of the theater allow people to understand that what they are seeing isn't "really" real, but a re-creation.

Sometimes, however, magic is presented in one on one situations or under other conditions in which the audience is not prepared for "theater."

Sometimes Fraudulent magic, or Fraudulent spiritualism could be done with the conditions of theater, but viola