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Topic: Is magic just a lie?
Message: Posted by: kardistic (Dec 27, 2018 10:22PM)
Hey guys,

didn't know where to post this since I am new.

I was talking with a stranger the other day and wanted to show him a magic trick, but he just said "no" to me, because magic is just lies.

After that I gave it thought and I realized that I had to lie quite often especially they are trying to guess how I did it and their guess is right.
Message: Posted by: magicfish (Dec 28, 2018 04:53AM)
Grab a copy of the Klutz Book of magic, take the magician's oath on page one, then read the first lesson. (Hint, the first lesson is about lying).
Message: Posted by: funsway (Dec 28, 2018 05:00AM)
"magic" as a concept is as real as a person's capacity for awe&wonder. The world is filled with inexplicable phenomena and "magic" is the term applied by many.
Thus, magic exists because human brains have the capacity to embrace possible solution other than dogma and "proved science." As a concept, magic is not lie,
though each individual's definition may be different.

As magicians we pretend at magic. We announce that we will demonstrate something considered impossible and then do exactly that.
We are the most truthful performers of any art or theater or entertainment or communication venue. We have no need to lie.

We readily admit to using psychology, guile, skill, trickery and more to create an illusion from which an observer might say, "must be magic"
Magic occurs in the mind of the observer, so if there is nay "lie" it is in the mind of the observer.

...

It seems this person is confusing false information with a lie.
Yes, to tell a fanciful story or claim a ball is some where it is not can be considered false information. But, when you announce in the beginning that it will be false it can't be a lie.

If you claim to have special powers for pay it is a lie and called charlatanry and is illegal in most States and Countries.

So, be clear as to what you are about and be confident that you tell only the silliest of truths and plausible falsehoods for entertainment.

You should have thanked this person, however, for not wasting your time. Astonishment and magic and only occur if the observer desires and expects it.
It does not matter if their perspective is false or even a lie, they are not wroth your effort to entertain or change.

...

Of greater importance (for me) is your statement, "They are trying to guess how and their guess is right."

If that is their reaction then you are not doing something right. Your task is to eliminate every option other than "must be magic."
There should be no "guess" or game of 20 questions. And even if they do offer/claim an explanation, you have not need to answer.

You never have to lie about what you did, or justify it either. Performance magic is not about puzzles or ego challenges or skill demonstration.

Enjoy your journey. If nothing else, it will make you more aware of the lies all around you from politicians, marketers, preachers, employees and friends.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Dec 28, 2018 06:48AM)
Going strictly by your post since that's all I know...

One, this was a stranger. Maybe he or she just doesn't like magic or has been "ruined" by bad performances. Not everyone likes magic.

Two, always a possibility that he/she felt you came on too strong. Again, might be based on prior experiences.

Three, as funsway said, if they're trying to guess, and telling you about it, then you're doing something wrong. We can't suggest a solution without watching you perform.

Four, if you "lie" about how it's done, you might he coming across as confrontational, or it's obvious that you're lying.

Five, if that happens, the magic is gone. Now it's just "I know and you don't."

The only suggestion I can offer at this point is to watch a whole bunch of magic performances in your own genre and see how the performers come across -- both the good ones and the bad ones. You can do that on YouTube.
Message: Posted by: HeronsHorse (Dec 28, 2018 01:30PM)
I'm reading The magic Way by Juan Tamariz just now.
I think you should have a read of this. It helps to understand the spectator and their thoughts on your trick and performance and how you can counter this kind of attack!
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 28, 2018 01:53PM)
Yep, magic is a lie. But your audience gives you permission to lie to them, and they are complicit in it. One of the prerequisites to a magic performance is that your audience knows you're going to lie to them, and can't wait to see it. Sounds like your guy didn't want to play, and that's okay.

I agree that if your audience is trying to guess how you did it (whether or not they are right), then you did something wrong. But that's super common with new magicians. When I was new, people tried to guess or mess me up all the time. But at some point that changed, and now I cannot remember the last time someone did that. You'll get there as you get better.

Also, I never do a magic trick for someone. I perform magic. Totally different thing. ;)
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 28, 2018 02:02PM)
[quote]On Dec 28, 2018, danaruns wrote:
Yep, magic is a lie. But your audience gives you permission to lie to them, and they are complicit in it. One of the prerequisites to a magic performance is that your audience knows you're going to lie to them, and can't wait to see it. Sounds like your guy didn't want to play, and that's okay.

Also, I never do a magic trick for someone. I perform magic. Totally different thing. ;) [/quote]

Yea this, and then the last sentence as well. It really sums up the point.

Complicit in it? Simply by knowing what they are in for does indeed make them complicit. It never actually occurred to me but it is true.
Message: Posted by: kardistic (Dec 28, 2018 07:13PM)
Well sometimes I do have to lie...

Spectator says his random guess that the card is probably on top and I say ...no its not and do a DL.. but in reality it is.

Or for example ACR... during the performance I am saying that their card goes to the middle of the deck, but in reality it doesn't.

So imo, doing magic involves lying to the spectators.

Ofc that the stranger didn't like magic at all, but it made me realize that I do have to lie and he isn't wrong... and since then I feel bit uncomfortable when I have to lie to someone.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Dec 28, 2018 11:09PM)
[quote]On Dec 28, 2018, danaruns wrote:
I agree that if your audience is trying to guess how you did it (whether or not they are right), then you did something wrong.[/quote]
Not necessarily.

I've met many people who believe that they have to figure out how every effect is accomplished. Your performance could be flawless and they'll still shout out stupid possible [i]modi operandi[/i]. You cannot overcome the nature of some people.
Message: Posted by: Uli Weigel (Dec 29, 2018 03:52AM)
Actually, it's the natural state of mind of most human beings to be sceptical and trying to come up with solutions to things they don't understand. Otherwise we wouldn't be here. To don't do that vocally during and after the performance of magic tricks/shows is a cultural convention based on centuries of cultural evolution und experience, an unsigned contract between the audience and the performer to the benefit of both parties. It takes a certain amount of maturity and self-confidence on the part of the audience to be able to enjoy the magic without ruining the experience for themselves by convulsive "debunking" efforts. It helps, if the magician is actually good - magic wise and communication wise. Bad magicians tend to encourage the puzzle solving impulses of the audience.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Dec 29, 2018 09:17AM)
If you do not give them something of value in return for following your lies, then you are wasting their time.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 29, 2018 09:54AM)
[quote]On Dec 28, 2018, S2000magician wrote:

Not necessarily.

I've met many people who believe that they have to figure out how every effect is accomplished. Your performance could be flawless and they'll still shout out stupid possible [i]modi operandi[/i]. You cannot overcome the nature of some people. [/quote]

I suppose that's true. I haven't any deep thoughts on this subject.

I was just looking at it from the practical standpoint of the newbie. When I was a newbie, people were constantly trying to bust me and guess the methods. At some point, as I got better, that stopped. And now I cannot even remember the last time I had such an experience. I chalk it up to (1) being far better at my craft, and (2) "performing" rather than "doing magic tricks." Even if I just do a couple impromptu tricks for people at a gathering, I put on a performance. And no one EVER audibly tries to guess methods. Yes, afterward someone will occasionally breathlessly ask, "How did you DO that!?" but no one ever tries to question me, blurt out methods or mess me up.

I chalk it up to being a good magician, relative to where I was as a newbie. If you are good enough at the techniques and entertaining enough to engage them, they tend to be sucked into the experience rather than look at it as a contest.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Dec 29, 2018 10:37AM)
When wanting to pass on biblical reference through some gospel magic, I made a mistake in my presentation of the "Ticket to Heaven" trick which had a 10 year old girl say to me at the end. "so you don't have a ticket to heaven?" "then your just a lair." I stopped performing, for a year after that. To get back to magic I had to realize that the lies I tell are not the kind of lies in the bible. They are more a creative license, we take as performers inherent to magic. Acting takes similar license. The issue did come up for me again when considering mentalism and how I would approach it? I decided to come from a scientific perspective, instead of esoteric. For me, it's just a better fit.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (Dec 29, 2018 12:41PM)
Everyone lies. If you say you don't, you're lying. And magic is just pretend, it's not a lie.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Dec 30, 2018 06:51AM)
You say "pretend" I say "creative license". I think we agree?
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 30, 2018 10:45AM)
Isn't "magic" as we are talking of it just a theatrical construct anyhow? I for one do not go out trying to scam people into thinking X so that I can get them to give me money to make it rain, or start a church.

So if we agree that it is a "theatrical construct" does the word "lie" even apply? I mean it is story telling. You guys might not believe this but Willy Loman doesn't really die at the end of every performance. Yes sorry to tell you the actor is not actually killing himself. The world created in the story is a theatrical construct into which the audience projects itself. So the idea that somehow it is a lie that he is not really killing himself is silly.

In a similar way magic is the same thing as the term is commonly used by performers. (If one is doing something using "magic" to do other nefarious things I am not addressing those ideas.) We create our own world and people can easily participate in it or not simply by buying a ticket or not. OR they can simply refuse to let someone foist a trick on them when they don't want to see one. In this particular case we have almost no context with the exception of he was talking to a stranger. It is possible, heck probable that the remark was just an off hand way to blow off the situation. I don't put too much meaning into the interaction itself.

But as for a "lie" I really don't think the word applies. It is theater. If magic is a lie so is most if not all of theater. It is a world they willingly step into and can step out of any time they wish. Magic is a performance.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Dec 31, 2018 09:59AM)
[quote]On Dec 27, 2018, kardistic wrote:
...I was talking with a stranger the other day and wanted to show him a magic trick, but he just said "no" to me, because magic is just lies.
[/quote]

My sister said the same thing. In essence she said she dislikes:

Magic
Clowns
Stand-Up Comedians
Circus acts
Stunt shows
Escape artists

She cannot stand show-offs. Yet she is a fun person! She told me to leave my magic at home...

Doug
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Dec 31, 2018 02:55PM)
Dougini, what she does not realize is you are the Magic... The props you use are just tools to show the Magic.
Message: Posted by: Gerald Deutsch (Dec 31, 2018 03:45PM)
Magicians often claim they do the impossible when they perform and when a layman discovers how it was done he may think the magician "lied".

I have written much about "Perverse Magic" where what happens fools the magician as well as the spectators. Hence - no lie!

After all, magic is to entertain!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 31, 2018 03:51PM)
OK did Johnny Cash lie when he was never in Folsom Prison? How many examples do I need to give where this happens? I think the point is made.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Dec 31, 2018 08:14PM)
[quote]On Dec 31, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
OK did Johnny Cash lie when he was never in Folsom Prison? How many examples do I need to give where this happens? I think the point is made. [/quote]
Did Milli Vanilli lie or did they entertain?
Message: Posted by: Psyfl (Dec 31, 2018 08:28PM)
Performing magic/mentalism requires using techniques of deception. Of course, there are many people who have used such techniques for nefarious purposes. I'm thinking of people like faith healers and fake psychics. On the other hand, the average magician/mentalist only uses techniques of deception for entertainment purposes, but they use techniques of deception nonetheless. If some people don't like that and interpret it as "lying" then sobeit, you can never please everyone.
Message: Posted by: S2000magician (Dec 31, 2018 09:39PM)
[quote]On Dec 31, 2018, Psyfl wrote:
I'm thinking of people like faith healers and fake psychics.[/quote]
I'm thinking con men (and women) of any stripe
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 31, 2018 10:25PM)
[quote]On Dec 31, 2018, Tom Cutts wrote:
[quote]On Dec 31, 2018, Dannydoyle wrote:
OK did Johnny Cash lie when he was never in Folsom Prison? How many examples do I need to give where this happens? I think the point is made. [/quote]
Did Milli Vanilli lie or did they entertain? [/quote]

I can not speak to this. I was not a fan prior to the revelation of the lip syncing.

To me the only thing you could get them for is being caught.

But you are talking about a different thing I believe. In song writing does one HAVE to experience the things they sing about? As opposed to faking the skill necessary to accomplish singing. I think songwriters are FULL of things they have never done. Singers sing songs about things they have never done often in the first person. Is this a "lie"? I believe there is a definite difference. But as I said the problem with them was getting caught.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Jan 1, 2019 04:26AM)
So logically speaking we can deduce from your post Danny, that things are only wrong, if one gets caught? Milli Vanilli, perpetrated a fraud upon the public and as such not only lied but broke a trust afforded them, by their fans.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 1, 2019 09:59AM)
I'm not sure Senor. Lip synch and voice sweetening and oh so much more is industry standard for a very long time. As I said I am not really the right person to judge the situation.
Message: Posted by: HeronsHorse (Jan 1, 2019 11:33AM)
Magic is not lying. It is performance. I really can't see how it is complicated. It isn't!
Message: Posted by: JimBeta (Jan 3, 2019 05:41AM)
Yes magic is all lies. When you do not even realize that anymore or act like it is not then you are fooling yourself. Maybe it has something to do with years working as a magician. Maybe after a few years of deception you feel ready to also fool yourself. It is possible yes.
The question is not really if magic is a lie, which it is, but if this lie is really wrong to do.
A well known, but of course I forgot his name, Christian theologian once say about lying: It should never be done because it hurts what the gospel is about. One can not lie once because his credibility in what he professess comes in danger then. But when someone is lying while clearly showing that he is joking. There is nothing wrong with that. Because everyone knows its just a joke. That it is not true.

So basicly it is simple: Do you act like there is no lie? Or do you not matter that people understand it is a lie and there for it doesn't matter that it is a lie?
I choose the second one over the first.

Yes it are all lies, but it are not wrong lies. They can be, when you try to act like it is all really real but when you even just raise the suspicion that it is not real and that you are fooling them, there is nothing wrong with lying in the first sentence you speak and also nothing wrong in continue to just lie about anything that has to do with the effect you show or your act.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 3, 2019 08:23AM)
That applies to life. Not to theater. Sorry but in performance lies do not enter into the equation.
Message: Posted by: Senor Fabuloso (Jan 3, 2019 08:27AM)
Because in theater we and the audience assumes that what it sees is a lie or better yet, make believe. Right Danny?
Message: Posted by: HeronsHorse (Jan 3, 2019 09:41AM)
Danny and Senor Fabuloso make the same point I made. If an act is made in performance, how can you possibly call it a lie? That is ridiculous to me. All actors are not liars!
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Jan 3, 2019 09:55AM)
Exactly.
Message: Posted by: eatmagic793.8 (Jan 3, 2019 04:48PM)
I'm not sure if I wholly agree. Yes, the art is full of lies, no doubt about that. But the lies in magic are simply part of the vehicle to achieve "magic". In and of itself, the lies in magic, combined with the technique, psychology, etc don't necessarily create the product of magic unless you include the spectator. Without the spectator, there's no magic. So I guess magic is the "simulated reality" (to quote David Parr) that *successfully* plays in a spectators mind. The lies are a part of magic, but magic is not just a lie.
Message: Posted by: David Parr (Jan 4, 2019 02:48PM)
Magic is not about lies to any greater degree than a painting of a bowl of fruit is about lies. All art ó drawing, sculpture, theater, cinema ó involves some level of technique to create representations or simulations. Magic is simulated impossibility. Itís a complex behavior that addresses a basic human need. Deception is a fascinating human behavior also, but I donít think we do justice to the complexity of magic by defining it entirely by only one element. When defining magic for myself, Iíve taken a broader, more open view, and Iíve chosen words that are not so burdened with negative baggage.
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Nov 24, 2019 12:08AM)
I think it simply depends on how you define magic.
And the way its been shaped the concept of magic.
Its probable that that guy had an experience that made him think Magic=Lies
Its like a matter of the perception the person had from a magic trick

Just my thoughts
Cristůbal
Message: Posted by: landmark (Nov 27, 2019 02:22PM)
Meaning = action + language + context.

Confusion of context = confusion in meaning.

Determining the meaning of the context depends on, well... the context of the context

...and so on.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Dec 1, 2019 03:07PM)
Christians are supposed to lie. It is using a lie to take advantage of someone or cause them harm that is wrong. To say lying itself is wrong in all circumstances is ridiculous. Refusing to lie under any circumstances the height of arrogance and self-justification. "Just being honest" is often a cover for mean-spiritedness and abuse.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 1, 2019 05:03PM)
Aren't parables in and of themselves a form of lie? A story that didn't happen to convey a "truth". A lie to put forth the truth is no less a lie.

I could be way wrong.
Message: Posted by: David Parr (Dec 2, 2019 02:25AM)
Is every painting, sculpture, and photo a lie? Bambiís mom didnít die! Hamlet isnít a real prince! Might as well include every word ever written, because theyíre hopelessly inaccurate and open to multiple interpretations. History, biography, poetry ó all lies. Thereís a reason why Art History 101 isnít called Lies & More Lies. Because that would be absurdly simplistic and missing the point. What art does is represent things. It uses symbols, imagery, artifice. Magic does this too. Itís a performing art that represents things that are impossible according to the rules of the everyday world. This is not lying, itís stagecraft.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Dec 2, 2019 11:29AM)
When the Nazis come to the door, should the householder tell the truth about the people hiding in the cellar, or lie?
When you are on the way to an event and a lady asks how she looks, do you tell her you don't like that dress, it makes her look fat?

Magic is dependent on the Technology of Deception. Our tools are the same as those of the politician, marketer, military, salesman, con man, thief and swindler. Skills like pick-pocketing, acting, makeup, camouflage, sleight of hand and illusion are used by criminals and the good guys. Magicians use these skills for entertainment. To create a story for the spectator to tell. If the story is created in the right way it is liberating and fun. If the spectator falls for charlatanry, he will be put at a disadvantage. It is framing. If the spectator knows you are kidding, and knows that you know he knows it, then anything is fair. The wink makes the lie okay.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 4, 2019 10:48AM)
Says you to a stranger:
Would you like to go see a movie?
Would you like to see a play?
Would you like to watch me paint a picture?
Would you like to see a magic trick?
*
however, using magic while you are talking with someone might get you a different response.

[quote]On Dec 31, 2018, Dougini wrote:
My sister said the same thing. ...She cannot stand show-offs. Yet she is a fun person! [i]She told me to leave my magic at home...[/i][/quote]
*
magic tricks don't need to look like you're showing off.
Message: Posted by: Magical Moments (Dec 4, 2019 02:21PM)
When I do carry a few effects in my pocket or in a small carry case, I first size up the situation before I attempt to perform a magic trick or two for someone.

If I do not feel comfortable or do not get the correct vibes so to speak, I just do not bother.

Of course, on the occasions I do not take any tricks along with me, someone always asks me to do a trick. So...I have a few I can usually do with things within my reach. Household items so to speak.

I always say that I am willing to perform some magic for anyone willing to watch and mean that literally!
Message: Posted by: weirdwizardx (Dec 5, 2019 10:05PM)
I think it depends on how you define what magic is...
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 10, 2019 11:07AM)
[quote]On Dec 27, 2018, kardistic wrote:
...I was talking with a stranger the other day and wanted to show him a magic trick, but he just said "no" to me, because magic is just lies.[/quote]The good part is you asked. The line about caring how much you know applies here.
Message: Posted by: Ray Pierce (Dec 17, 2019 01:37AM)
How many times did Malini let a block of ice melt in his pocket because the time wasn't right? This is the art of the lie. At it's worst it defrauds. At it's best, it creates wonder. It is our job and goal to know the difference and bring that to life.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 17, 2019 08:05AM)
To ask if magic is a lie is to miss the point of performance art. Willie Loman dosen't really die in the play. Is it a lie every night?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Dec 17, 2019 08:19PM)
[quote]On Dec 27, 2018, kardistic wrote:
I was talking with a stranger the other day and wanted to show him a magic trick, but he just said "no" to me, because magic is just lies. [/quote]If you're working doing strolling magic: Real question- Can tough audiences be won over by seeing how well you treat other audiences? What would happen if you agreed and then asked if they'd like to watch you lie to the folks at the next table?

If this is social rather than professional then they've told you about a boundary in their life.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Dec 18, 2019 01:58AM)
[quote]On Dec 17, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Willie Loman dosen't really die in the play. [/quote]

He doesn't really exist, either, while we're at it.
Message: Posted by: Dannydoyle (Dec 18, 2019 08:49AM)
[quote]On Dec 18, 2019, LobowolfXXX wrote:
[quote]On Dec 17, 2019, Dannydoyle wrote:
Willie Loman dosen't really die in the play. [/quote]

He doesn't really exist, either, while we're at it. [/quote]
Another LIE! Good point.
Message: Posted by: TomB (Dec 22, 2019 05:56AM)
When you ask someone if they want to see a magic trick, and they respond, Yes, then you have permission to ethically deceive them. They understand that you are an actor playing the part of a wizard with supernatural powers. They want to be fooled.
Message: Posted by: TomB (Dec 22, 2019 07:18AM)
I like this link from Penn and Teller
https://youtu.be/cTrcUp2-NjA
Message: Posted by: TomB (Dec 26, 2019 08:08PM)
The book The Magic of Michael Ammar has a chapter on psychology in which he discusses lying. It might be worth looking at, they might have it at a local library.
Message: Posted by: LobowolfXXX (Dec 26, 2019 08:37PM)
[quote]On Dec 26, 2019, TomB wrote:
The book The Magic of Michael Ammar has a chapter on psychology in which he discusses lying. It might be worth looking at, they might have it at a local library. [/quote]

Also a great book in general.