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tommy
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"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".
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
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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.
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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. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
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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.
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I trust you Whit I am sure you road tested it all and it is all road worthy. Smile



I must be going soft in the head! Did I just buy a used car from Whit?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-05-08 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?


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?


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?


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.
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Jack Scratch wrote:
Quote:
"You visualy see something you know to be impossible, yet there it is, right before your eyes."


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.


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. Smile
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Then why did you disagree with me?
Jonathan Townsend
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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.
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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.
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tommy
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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


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

Tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-05-09 07:11, tommy wrote:
I wish I did understand words far better than I do as obviously it helps in understanding.


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.
POOF!
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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:...


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 Structure of Magic volume 1,2 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.
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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.

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.
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tommy
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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?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-05-09 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?

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?

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.
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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?...


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.
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tommy
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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.


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

Tommy
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Quote:
On 2006-05-09 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. ...


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.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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