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Topic: Dis-illusion ?
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 28, 2007 07:04PM)
We all know about magic, the methods, the presentations... and we LOVE it, however...
How many of us do sometimes feel some kind of disapointment because it gets so much harder to believe in real magic. Wouldn't it be awesome to believe that the spirit of your beloved granny pushes around the glass on the table. Doesn't it spoil the fun to see the IT involved ?
Wouldn't it be grand to see a mindreader stare in the flames and announce the name of a loved one without thinking "center tear" for even one split second ?
Yes, we've gained a lot. But sometimes I wonder if it isn't yin and yang in reverse : haven't we lost as much as we have won ?
Don't get me wrong, I don't long to be a shut eye and I enjoy life from our side of the fence very much. But now and then, I do wish I could believe in Santa Claus.
What do you think ?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Sep 28, 2007 07:41PM)
I never believed in "real magic" or Santa Clause, so I've lost nothing. I enjoy magic because of the reactions of others who watch. My problem is poor performances drive me nuts. I might not have noticed how poorly some magicians perform if I wasn't a magician.

And before we have the whole "What is real magic" discussion I meant Harry Potter book-world-flying-dragons-killing curse-magic.

Of course there is always some moron who will still argue the point...
Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Sep 28, 2007 08:24PM)
I'm with you Traveler. I miss the wonder sometimes. Nowadays, I find myself always looking for the method, not sitting back and just enjoying the show.
Something was lost.
Gwyd
Message: Posted by: Payne (Sep 28, 2007 08:58PM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-28 15:04, Traveler wrote:

Wouldn't it be awesome to believe that the spirit of your beloved granny pushes around the glass on the table.

[/quote]

If you ever had the misfortune to meet either of my granny's you'd realize how horroendous a feat ths would be.
You'd be praying it was IT instead of the invisiblre hand of a witch.
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 29, 2007 10:42AM)
Lol
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Sep 29, 2007 10:48AM)
I wasn't raised to believe anything like that.

My grandfather was a penticostal preacher and a con-man.

No santa, no religion, no tooth fairy.
Message: Posted by: Energizer (Sep 29, 2007 11:02AM)
Somebody somewhere said something like: The world is a wonderous enough place without having to invoke fairies at the bottom of the garden.

I agree - there's plenty of mystery, wonder and weirdness to be found by investigating the world scientifically.
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 29, 2007 04:38PM)
Hmmm... interesting, all very scientifically minded people over here. Nobody who has the "yes, virginia" attitude ?
Only gsidhe misses the wonder sometimes, like I do ? In the case of freak prodigy it obviously has to do with how he was raised. How about the rest ? Has it anything to do with being a magician or were you all born under sceptical starsigns...er... :)
Message: Posted by: Pakar Ilusi (Sep 29, 2007 06:03PM)
Depends on what you mean by "Real Magic" now, don't it?

:)
Message: Posted by: Energizer (Sep 29, 2007 06:32PM)
What I really miss is being fooled by magicians! Now my eye is trained better, it is much harder for me to figure out what is a great piece of magic (far the lay person) and which wouldn't fool a 4 year old.

That's why it is so great to see Lennart Green's DVDs or Derren. They remind me of why I study magic.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 29, 2007 06:52PM)
Puzzled by the question.

Obviously theres lots of magic around.
Have you ever stopped to notice that when you let go of something it moves all by itself toward the floor... no strings, threads or even magnets involved.

Or look at how easily folks fool themselves or permit themselves to be misguided by others.

Or was that question just a half hearted whine that after learning it was mommy and daddy managing the presents under the tree you wished it was not and want to somehow regain that fantasy of a guy who lives at the north pole?

The start of magic is holding oneself accountable and responsible for what one believes. Do you want to start into magic?
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 29, 2007 07:04PM)
Lol !
I'm not a beginner anymore, Jonathan. I meant the question just as I posed it, but perhaps in other words : do you believe that knowledge of magical methods stimulates a sceptical worldview rather than the feeling being part of a tradition of shaman's, seers and wizards. For once there was a magical worldview, which, I believe is feared / dispised / ridiculed by so-called magicians. Isn't this irony in a way ?
And, dear Jonathan, the Santa thing is just a metaphor I used. Sorry if I confused you.
Message: Posted by: Freak Prodigy (Sep 29, 2007 07:08PM)
I like the wonder of the natural world.

Crazy stuff out there!

Don't need Santa for that.



Brett.
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 29, 2007 07:16PM)
Sure, but that's science, not magic. Although those two branches were closely related - if not the same - once.
The reactions I'm getting confirm my feeling that many magicians are rationalists "pur sang". As a teacher I realise the importance of thinking in the real world, BUT I also deplore the fact that the feeling for poetry, metaphor, etc. is going down in our society.
Especially in a community of magicians we could expect that some people long to bring a sense of mystery and enchantment instead of only entertainment and fooling. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I do it also, but still...
There were initiatives like "mystery school" in the past, so there were people who understood this "missing" . To bad it had to end.

BTW, Santa is a metaphor in the "yes, virginia" sense, not a chubby guy living in Lapland. Considered that way, I do believe there's a need for Santa. My children love the chubby one, I love the metaphor. I also believe that it's a good thing to keep something of the child you once were alive, deep inside you. But that's another controversial opinion, of course.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Sep 29, 2007 08:23PM)
Two days ago, I was playing with my 4 year old daughter. I kept turning one coin into another as I have done as long as she can remember. Then she asked me "Daddy is that real magic, or are you just switching two coins?". I was proud and disappointed at the same time.
Message: Posted by: elmago (Sep 29, 2007 08:35PM)
Magic and science are not the same. Magic contraticts science. Magic gets its mystique from the unexplained. Whenever there is a logical scienctific explanation for something, people then accept it and not believe it is magic. People may believe something is magic up until the point it can be explained. And then there as those who still believe the world is flat, but that is another topic.

For instance, in Transcidental Meditation, you are supposed to be able to levitate your body off the ground by scientific means. They claim they can prove it from a scientific perspective. Lets imagine that they master a method and achieve the third stage which is the ability to fly. Would people still pay to see David Copperfield's Flying illusion? (Iknow he no longer performs it but you see my point.)

MR.
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 29, 2007 09:19PM)
Josh, your daughter was amazed and critical at the same time. You should be proud !
Elmago, magic and science are different things indeed. There was a time however that the boundaries between the two weren't as clear as today. Mnemonics, for instance, were once seen as very, very bad, almost in the "evil" sense of the word.
Message: Posted by: Energizer (Sep 29, 2007 09:32PM)
Josh - I LOLed at that post. Very funny. But what did you tell her?

I think magic definitley breeds critical thinking and scepticism. There's plenty of scientists out there who are not especially sceptical or critical - I'm sure there's plenty of magicians as well with some rather strange beliefs. But on the whole I think magic encourages its practitioners to think logically and in a down to earth fashion in a way that science also does, but sometimes cannot.

I have been studying psychology (part time) and magic simultaneously for 7 or 8 years now. The magic has been of enormous benefit in sharpening up the science and straight thinking - although occasionaly I get weirded out.
Message: Posted by: sibbie (Sep 30, 2007 01:47AM)
I have been in doing magic for 12 years and there is plenty I still don't know. I just have to look hard to find it is the issue; but what a fun issue to address!
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Sep 30, 2007 04:48AM)
I believed in all sorts of stuff. Once.

I actually thought it might ... just MIGHT ... work if I did what George Reeves did on TV: tie a towel around my neck, assume a "flying" posture and jump off something a few feet high (not a building, I'm not crazy). I mean, it was 1958 and stranger things were happening all the time (how else do you explain the rise to #1-hit-with-a-bullet of "The Witch Doctor" ['Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang']?).

Just in case it needs mentioning, I was wrong. Gigantic-gauze-bandage-covering-an-immense-scrape-down-my-side wrong.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 30, 2007 05:36AM)
If you look under the order of science you can find magic.

And if you study magic you will find yourself doing science.

But if all you desire are excuses that others might accept... keep up the good work.

Just a beginner here. And I hope that stay that way.
Message: Posted by: MagicSanta (Sep 30, 2007 06:37AM)
Josh Riel...I believe in you.

If you read the introduction of The Magic of Michael Ammar David "The Love Machine" Copperfield mentions that when one learns magic they lose the ability to find wonder in it. That is true. What one does find, if they look for it, is the science of magic as Mr. Townsend mentions, you'll find the art of entertaining, and a facinating history. You discover a different type of joy, rather than being the spectator you get to be the hero to some lil' boy or girl for an hour. I think the trade off worked out well.
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 30, 2007 07:27AM)
[quote]
OnBut if all you desire are excuses that others might accept... keep up the good work.

Just a beginner here. And I hope that stay that way.
[/quote]

and if all you desire is to show off how great you are by replying in a patronising way, I'd say get a life and get off my back. I asked for opinions, not for hostility without a cause. Knock yourself out, but don't expect me to reply to you anymore.

As for the others, thanks for the opinions, they are appreciated.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Sep 30, 2007 09:57AM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-29 12:38, Traveler wrote:
Hmmm... interesting, all very scientifically minded people over here. Nobody who has the "yes, virginia" attitude ?
Only gsidhe misses the wonder sometimes, like I do ? In the case of freak prodigy it obviously has to do with how he was raised. How about the rest ? Has it anything to do with being a magician or were you all born under sceptical starsigns...er... :)
[/quote]

I have wonder in the methods at times. When I see what to me is an obvious switch and I know no one else caught it, it feels great.

Other than that, I feel wonder in the performance. Copperfield, Burton, P&T, these people sell what it is we're watching and I enjoy watching them.

There is a lot of cynicism in the magic world. Watching some of Cyril's performances on YouTube, a lot of the comments were of the "oh that's so obvious" mode, as if these people were capable of so much better. (Maybe they are, but they're not uploading them onto YouTube or anywhere else that I can see.)
Message: Posted by: Traveler (Sep 30, 2007 12:09PM)
Valid point, mandrake.
I also can take delight in not knowing the methods. Derren Brown fools me badly, that's the main reason I'm so intrigued by his show.

Rossmacrae, I like the anecdote. My father did the same thing when he was young. After seeing "Mary Poppins" he jumped out of a tree with an umbrella. Same result as you had.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 30, 2007 01:31PM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-28 15:04, Traveler wrote:
We all know about magic, the methods, the presentations... and we LOVE it,...
[/quote]

I challenge the basic premise as offered up top. And draw attention to what I feel is a presupposition of an unhealthy fascination and distraction from magic.

Magic is NOT about the trickery. That trickery is so base as to be known as "con games" and much worse when used out of context.

Instead I suggest magic is a way of looking at things. And how we get others to look at things in "that way" happens to be showing them tricks under special and theatrical conditions.

Now I do agree that many in our craft seem to lose focus on the audience and what the audience enjoys - instead setting their sights upon the mechanics. But that is IMHO truly misguided ... almost literally losing sight of the forest to puzzle over a leaf.

Traveller, we can discuss YOUR issue about what you perceive as patronizing offline if you want. Just don't expect me to deny too much reality or ignore too much of what I've spent years exploring.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Sep 30, 2007 01:34PM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-30 08:09, Traveler wrote:
Valid point, mandrake.
I also can take delight in not knowing the methods. Derren Brown fools me badly, that's the main reason I'm so intrigued by his show.

Rossmacrae, I like the anecdote. My father did the same thing when he was young. After seeing "Mary Poppins" he jumped out of a tree with an umbrella. Same result as you had.
[/quote]

Am I the only person in the world who, as a kid, did _not_ think an umbrella or a cape would make me fly? I played "Superman," I jumped off the porch. I didn't think I was going to really fly!
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Sep 30, 2007 01:37PM)
I treated the wind changing direction and Mary Poppins blowing into and out of their lives as "story language" and did not think about how big an umbrella she might need to do that ... or the mechanics used in the movie as there was not such a great "tell" as to distract me from the story element.
Message: Posted by: rossmacrae (Sep 30, 2007 07:06PM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-30 09:34, mandrake01 wrote:
Am I the only person in the world who, as a kid, did _not_ think an umbrella or a cape would make me fly?
[/quote]
This issue was a "life lesson" for me - NOT the bad scrape I got from it, but how it was possible for a rational person to think "naaaah, it won't work ... but maybe there's something I just don't know and it will ... but this is so incredibly stupid ... but what the heck, here goes!"
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Sep 30, 2007 10:07PM)
Yeah, but you only had a scrape. I, on the other hand, had a full leg cast. Cool, huh?!?

It was only the first in a whole bunch of stupid experiments that ended with my first marriage. It takes some of us longer to grow up, I guess.

Raven
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Sep 30, 2007 10:30PM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-30 09:34, mandrake01 wrote:

Am I the only person in the world who, as a kid, did _not_ think an umbrella or a cape would make me fly? I played "Superman," I jumped off the porch. I didn't think I was going to really fly!
[/quote]

Of course we never hear about the times it works. Every year, hundreds of children are carried off to the heavens on the handles of umbrellas. Only to explode in outer space.


Energizer,
I told her that I did use tricks to accomplish the things I do, but it was the words and motions that created the magic. And that although I couldn't really turn one coin into another, the feeling she got when they changed, created real magic for her in her mind. The next day she told my mother "I think I'd like to learn magic someday. Maybe I could take a class." My mom had a good laugh over that.
Message: Posted by: Energizer (Sep 30, 2007 10:37PM)
An excellent response Josh!

Olly
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Sep 30, 2007 11:08PM)
I never expected Jonathan to be the guy to respond with the cerebral version of "Magic is in the smile of a baby".

Josh #2 I hope you might be able get some magic lessons for your daughter. Have you written to Santa Clause? He can do some crazy ****. He can squeeze through a 10" hole, and he's pretty fat.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Sep 30, 2007 11:33PM)
Josh #2,

I would, but Santa doesn't like Jews*.





*Kanye West told me.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 1, 2007 12:14AM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-30 19:08, Josh Riel wrote:
I never expected Jonathan to be the guy to respond with the cerebral version of "Magic is in the smile of a baby"....
[/quote]

um... where?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 01:19AM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-29 14:52, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Puzzled by the question.

Obviously there's lots of magic around.
Have you ever stopped to notice that when you let go of something it moves all by itself toward the floor... no strings, threads or even magnets involved.

[/quote]

Instead of babies, we have gravity, but the concept is the same. And yes, it is the same argument.

I had a sixth sense that someone was going to try to bring this discussion into a forced scholarly discussion. While, Jonathan, you always do try to make it uncomfortably intellectual, I didn't think it would have been you this time.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 01:26AM)
Josh #2: No, Santa would like Jews, but he doesn't believe they exist. And if they did he would be really scared they would kill him.

I really do apologize for that Josh #2.

Kanye West is a very handsome and talented antisemitic. He didn't kill Jesus.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 1, 2007 01:35AM)
In overview I hold that HOW we perceive a thing greatly influences what we think about it. If we look at cause-effect alone we are left to physics. If we look to intentions and results we get magic.

The baby's smile itself is not the feeling WE have when WE look at it. And we now have the notion of "mirror neurons" to help us understand what's going on inside us.

Getting back to what happens when we let go of a thing...we call the phenomenon "gravity" and even have some equations that describe the motion of objects but that in no way explains it. It remains a mystery so deep that Einstein knew the had LOTS of work to do before even getting close to a satisfactory model ... and even after trying to simplify the problem down to just charge+mass he did not get so far on the explanation side - we still have what Newton called action at a distance and no intermediary to carry that action.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Oct 1, 2007 02:14AM)
Along those lines Jonathan:

I understand how a magnet vibrates a speaker cone, to cause vibrations that my ears perceive as sound. And how the shape of a moving wing causes pressure zones that induce lift. But the fact that a wiggling piece of paper can sound like a bell or a symphony orchestra, and a huge metal bus full of people can soar through the air, both seem magical to me.

Josh #2, it was nice knowing you.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 1, 2007 02:30AM)
Would you go for "mysterious" or "spooky" instead of "magical" as your word there?

The reason I'm asking is that I suspect what we call "magic" also involves a component of will as one of the causal aspects.

For example, would your reaction to the speaker be different if the speaker only worked for a few minutes after you fed the dog and only while the dog was in the room? Or only for a few minutes after you cleared your mind and imagined a sea turtle swimming in the ocean ... and when you lost your mental image of that turtle the sound stopped.

how's that?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 02:39AM)
Right! And I can say: "The babies smile is magic" in more than five words also. However, regardless of the number or syllables of the words I use, it is the same thing.

O.K., even though we want to believe we matter when we "magic" something, we don't. We don't matter. We do not matter on a philosophical, religious, or scientific level. We pretend to do "A" when we in fact do "B". We are liars, we are irrelevant. We are as irrelevant as the guy who can speak Klingon, we are as irrelevant as the guy who can eat more hot dogs than anyone else, we are as irrelevant as the woman who can sing "Habanera" (The Aria from Carmen). Sure we may be interesting, we may be entertaining we may be whatever we think we are, except relevant. And the perfect example of our irrelevance is the excuses we have for our trite little thing. We change nothing that is real with our magic. And some will really want to believe it regardless.


This is just a discussion of why we are really great when we make a quarter disappear? Yeah, I guess that's what I might miss (If I thought a guy making a quarter disappear was really great) if I didn't know that I [i]just kept it hidden[/i]. Can anybody make that sound deep?

So..... Do you miss [i]not[/i] knowing how something is done? No. Do you want to miss it? Hell no!

word.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 02:41AM)
Josh #2 It has never been nice knowing me.
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 02:42AM)
It's hard to make a point when I type slow......
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Oct 1, 2007 02:45AM)
JoshR, I am positing that when we are engrossed in the story of "what happens to the quarter" we are not aware of the methods used to make the story happen using a borrowed and marked quarter. IMHO it's when the performer fails to engage their audience or does something so awkward as to break the spell of the performance that we get jarred into thinking about "what else" they are doing - ie the "methods"

IMHO
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Oct 1, 2007 02:52AM)
[quote]
On 2007-09-30 22:30, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Would you go for "mysterious" or "spooky" instead of "magical" as your word there?

[/quote]

Well I guess it's more "bizarre" for me (I know why it happens so it's not mysterious. It doesn't send chills up my spine like something spooky would). Compared to your example, it would be almost magical.

BTW are you designing the next generation of "the Clapper"?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 1, 2007 03:01AM)
Can a magician (Assuming that the magician in question knows the concept of the method) really be relieved of the knowledge of what he himself does?

There is the "willing suspension of disbelief", but is there a need for the "willing introduction of ignorance"?
Message: Posted by: enginemagic (Oct 1, 2007 11:27AM)
I notice when you do something amazing that others don't understand or know how it works they look at as magical.especially when you make it look effortless.
Message: Posted by: stoneunhinged (Oct 1, 2007 12:15PM)
For some reason this entire discussion makes me think of Monty Python's "Confuse a Cat" sketch.

Jeff