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Whit Haydn
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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?
JackScratch
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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)


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.
Whit Haydn
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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.
JackScratch
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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?
Bilwonder
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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?

"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?

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?

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.
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Jonathan Townsend
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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. Smile

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.
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Bill Palmer
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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 basic definition of magic.

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."
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Whit Haydn
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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?


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.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2006-01-04 12:19, Whit Haydn wrote:
Magic is a valid syllogism with at least one missing or untrue premise.


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.
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JackScratch
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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.
RandyStewart
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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.
Jonathan Townsend
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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? ...


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.
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tommy
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In a nutshell.

Magic: The proving of an illogical argument that is known to be illogical but can not be disproved logically.

?
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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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.


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.
Whit Haydn
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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.

?



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.
Bill Palmer
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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.
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Whit Haydn
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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.
Jaz
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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.
Bill Palmer
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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.)
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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JackScratch
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@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.
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