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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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kregg
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When my son was two I was warned of "The Terrible Two's." This didn't happen, because, I didn't believe it, Plus, I used mood interrupters. I'd ask him his favorite color or where a toy was, as a result he wasn't as terrible as two can be.
Today, there are distractions to distractions- cellphones, TV monitors, noises galore and so much more. Unless the environment is controlled to some degree, people can only deflect so much until it builds up and overwhelms them. As a manipulator, I have to know when repetition (a tool) is hypnotic or boring.
Magic is a lot like a well decorated room. If the senses are flooded by color, texture and shapes, the mind closes off to the input. It cannot process any more until it builds anchoring attachments to individual objects. Hence, the "new" popularity of one-on-one street magician. Here the reactions and the relationship are more important than the magic. People are communicating via third party devices and are looking for simple.
If the room is too plan, lacking invitation, uninspiring or ordinary- the mind dismisses it and searches for more inviting distractions. So, we can't strip magic down too much.

Aside: The next time you go to a party notice, no matter how big the sofa, it's rare to see more than two people seated at any given time (unless they are children).
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tommy
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In the Blaine Tribe Card Case; Blaine failed to raise a reasonable doubt because the Jury did not understand the evidence. That is they did not understand this ordinary deck of cards. In a court case this would be akin to putting before the jury expert evidence without an expert to explain the evidence to it. The Jury can not test or accept evidence as proof that they can not understand. In fact the tribe did not understand that Blaine was showing them evidence of magic. Even when Blaine showed them the water from a leaf they did not understand what it was all about, as they did not see themselves as a jury. They had not heard the prosecution case that magic does does not exist, science had not put it's case to them and so they did not get it. The tribe guy thought, when shown, that he, could get water from a leaf and tried to do it himself. He did not know it could not be done he just thought he had been shown something that could be done. This was not magic to him. When I vanish a card for my two year grandson he takes a card and he tries do copy me, to him it can be done because he has seen me do it. He is just puzzled why he can not do it. So when you show someone magic they must first hear the case for prosecution by way of having put before them the evidence of science. In other words they have been educated. They must first have learned that some things are impossible. When such educated people are shown something that defies that education they do not think they can do it or accept it is possible but they accept they can not always believe their own eyes. This raises a reasonable doubt because if they can not believe their own eyes how can believe science. They are in a dilemma because science is based on observation and they have seen you can not rely on what you observe. In other words they have been shown that seeing is not believing. They might get out of the dilemma by concluding that the hand is faster than the eye or by some other fanciful explanation. Whatever the fanciful explanation is, you could say that is magic, maybe?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
kregg
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Somehow, I don't think the tribe would understand the concept of a jury using their terms; let the interpretation errors begin. The definition/meaning of magic, to them, is different, not wrong. In the movie The God's Must Be Crazy. The bushman doesn't understand the rules and is put through a system in which he cannot relate.
Someone once said, "If you travelled a hundred years into the future, you couldn't handle the change and you be in shock." This has been experienced on a smaller scale when people wake up from coma's. Information is limited to our senses and our individual capacity to process it.
In the US, if you walk into a courtroom and tell a judge that you didn't know the law. The judge will shoot back with some incantation of, "Ignorance is no excuse." Too bad judges don't feel the same regarding Miranda rights.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Imaginary courts are free to decide and decree "off with her head" as they please.

Tommy, who is in your imaginary count? Are there witnesses? Where do your imaginary witnesses come from? What do they believe? What about your imaginary judge? What does he want to happen in his courtroom?

If some of use feel a need to bring in imaginary constructs ... kindly make the context and content of these items explicit.
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tommy
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Somehow, I don't think the tribe would understand the concept of a jury using their terms either. The point is they did not understand the magician was trying prove or disprove anything. To them he was just showing them something. While the other comments might be true they are beside the point. In magic there must be a case to answer.

PS

Sorry Jon I did not see your reply and I will read it now.

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

Tommy
kregg
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Tommy,
I'm not arguing with your point. Jurisprudence is pointless if the rules keep changing during a game.
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Jonathan Townsend
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I like the idea of an internal courtroom and a verdict of "magic". In college a candidate psych professor had done work on virtual audiences and manipulating the virtual audiences we have in our imagination and unconscious. If only I had a clue about NLP back then I would have been VERY interested in his research.
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tommy
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Jon I don’t know but sort of:

The Indictment:
Count 1, Magic on this day you stand accused of not existing. How say you?

Magic:
Not Guilty.

Prosecution:
Ladies and Gentlemen of Jury magic has entered an incredible plea and denies the charge. Nevertheless, we who live in the twentieth century are, or should be, aware that the laws of nature cannot possibly be contravened. They may be set in mutual opposition, but they cannot otherwise be overcome or defied. The forces of nature, humanly speaking, are incapable of either destruction or suspension. We rest our case.

Defence:
We call our first witness “The Exclusive Coterie”

The Witness:
I “The Exclusive Coterie” swear to tell a lie the whole lie and nothing but the truth.

Judge:
Ladies and Gentlemen of Jury. The burden of proof does not rest on the shoulders of the accused but on the prosecution who must proof their case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused is entitled to an acquittal if you are now left with any doubt. It is time for you decide based on the evidence.

Jury:
Not Guilty.



By this verdict they do not believe that magic exists, of course, they know it is a lie been proved. It is just an acknowledgement that the evidence from the witness, a trick, was good enough to raise a reasonable doubt.

Who are these people in this imaginary court? If I was mind reader maybe I could tell you but I am not. They are just abstract concepts dancing around their minds. The audience does not imagine it is in an imaginary court or any of that. It is just an imaginary way that we can look at magic. Nevertheless I say it’s useful to look at it this way. Moreover a good idea to get a good book on the law of evidence which would help I think. It is a complex subject and not easy to explain. I am no expert on the law of evidence or magic but I instinctively feel that if I was an expert on the law of evidence, then I would be a better magician. A court is just a theatre and like any theatre we can learn things from it.

“Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

“The penalty for laughing in a courtroom is six months in jail; if it were not for this penalty, the jury would never hear the evidence.”
H. L. Mencken

“In the courtroom of the conscience, a case is always in progress.”
Dutch Proverb


And one for Bill Smile

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Patrick Differ
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Tommy writes:
Quote:
So when you show someone magic they must first hear the case for prosecution by way of having put before them the evidence of science. In other words they have been educated. They must first have learned that some things are impossible. When such educated people are shown something that defies that education they do not think they can do it or accept it is possible but they accept they can not always believe their own eyes.


I like this comparison. It took me a couple of readings to get it together, and that's why I too like Jon's pokes and prods to flesh it out the analogy.

It's happened to me numerous times. When I didn't set up the dilemmas correctly by setting the stage properly in the expository phase of the show, I would be well into the second series before everyone watching would realize what the heck was happening. That means the first set was lost because they didn't know what they were looking at. Now, who's fault was that?

Although not exactly the same, it's still very much like presenting evidence to a jury. If someone doesn't tell them what they're looking at, how the heck can anyone expect them to know? Who's fault would that be?

It seems to me that by setting the stage properly, one half of the dilemma can pretty much set itself. All that is left is the character's fine tuning. Smile
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
kregg
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Quote:
On 2006-06-19 21:33, Patrick Differ wrote:
It seems to me that by setting the stage properly, one half of the dilemma can pretty much set itself. All that is left is the character's fine tuning. Smile


Good summary Patrick.
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Bilwonder
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I see some similarities with the presentation of magic and the court analogy:
It dramatizes the "Magic as an argument" and you have the adversarial positions making an argument before an audience. But as an analogy, it falls apart if taken too seriously.

We have to pick and choose what we find useful. Looking at the "Rules of Evidence," as suggested, I don't think would be too helpful. Legally, the jury is often asked to ignore evidence they may find compelling (suspension of disbelief?). And there must be the presumption of innocence in most cases, whereas magicians are usually presumed "guilty" of cheating. Although the overall analogy may be helpful, I don't think digging into the actual (and very diverse - from region to region) rules of procedure would be of much use. The aims seem much too different.

However, it may be an interesting discussion to construct a case charging the magician with "breaking a law of Nature." Are we guilty of violating a law of nature? What is the proof? Does the jury presume our innocence? Do we want to be found innocent? Can we preserve our personal "secrets" (self incrimination or have such evidence considered "inadmissible") and still be found "not guilty." This would mean we must make a case that we do not violate any laws of nature without "revealing our sources." It would also mean that our actions must seem to present a strong case for the prosecution.

I other words, I see this analogy may be most useful for us in developing the "horn" that says "this is not magic," and we must do so using only circumstantial evidence (without divulging protected sources).
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"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
tommy
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In a court there is a case to answer. It means the prosecution have given evidence to the court upon which a reasonable jury could convict without hearing from the defence. At half time when the prosecution have rested their case the defence might argue there is no case to answer and therefore no need to offer any evidence in defence and the judge might throw the case out of court.
The prosecutions case is this:

“Nevertheless, we who live in the twentieth century are, or should be, aware that the laws of nature cannot possibly be contravened. They may be set in mutual opposition, but they cannot otherwise be overcome or defied. The forces of nature, humanly speaking, are incapable of either destruction or suspension.”

-NM-


Accordingly the magician does have a case to answer. In court they say you are presumed innocent until you are proved guilty but the case would never go to the jury if there was no case to answer.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Jonathan Townsend
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The "case" as suggested is obsolete and borers on juvenile. It all depends on what you mean by the word "is"?

There is no doubt that the performer is using magic. They KNOW the performer is not using magic. The rest of that argument is sophistry. Just so we can get this done and need not return to this blind alley in our dialogs, consider this:

if someone really did use magic... what would happen to them? And how quickly. Pretend for a moment that you did your tricks using real magic. How long till you wound up locked away in a laboratory or worse. Could you keep that light under a barrel? Okay, now that you are grounded to our common reality, let's get back to the theatrical reality of performing.

After the early twentieth century, the notions of possible and likely changed.
With that shift, magic also moved further away from the representational into the metaphorical.

It's so very easy to forget what our harsher critics told us when we were starting into magic. Perhaps some here would benefit from some unfiltered feedback so the honest perspective of the audience can be taken into account in these discussions.
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tommy
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Subjectivism is the fact that we cannot know everything, or even know anything for sure. Because everyone's mind is different everyone experiences events differently.
Magic is Subjective. So what do you know? Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
kregg
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This is why many lawyer's take acting classes; It helps them make strong, emotion driven closing arguments.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Anyone read example in that old book about a play where a magician character completely surprised a skeptic character and even magicians in the audience were fooled because they did not suspect the skeptical character was doing some of the method work?

Got it?

Theater is where we are and so too is that imaginary courtroom. Even if you create a virtual Perry Mason in your mental courtroom there is little reason to believe the audience will be playing DA Berger and give up their position due to a clever argument you are playing in your mind... or that a virtual Della Street will be paying attention to Perry while she ogles the virtual Paul Drake at every opportunity.

Case and Context dissed.

And can I get two snaps for the postmodern analysis too?
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cinemagician
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Quote:
On 2006-06-24 21:00, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Anyone read example in that old book about a play where a magician character completely surprised a skeptic character and even magicians in the audience were fooled because they did not suspect the skeptical character was doing some of the method work?

Got it?



Got it! Brilliant post Jon!

"In the eye's of the audience this lawyer and the magician were bitter enemies. In reality it was the lawyer who helped create the illusions."

so writes the author
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
tommy
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The magicians audience does not know the truth as the truth is never what it seems. Their perception of a reality is based on the facts that they know. The facts upon which the audience rely are established by the magician by trickery, the evidence of which is suppressed. The verdict on magic or nay is based on those facts that have been established and not on suspicion, belief or opinion. They can’t argue with the facts that they have accepted. If those facts lead a reasonable man to conclude that what he saw defied nature then it would not be perverse of him to bring in a verdict of magic.

By the way:

If a magician were to expose the secrets of magic to an audience that would be akin to a squealer, a rat, an informer in a court case.

If a magician were to use a stooge that is akin to having a bent juror or maybe more like a witness who commits perjury for the defence.



PS

And Jon your posts to are like The Times Crossword Puzzle. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Merlin Wolfstone
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Reading all this information has been time well spent. Thank you to everyone who contributed your thoughts.

Even though this fantastic thread/subject is a few years old, I would like to share another definition discovered…

Magic - The topologies of human experience.

All the best,


MW
Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2010-03-11 10:03, Merlin Wolfstone wrote:...

Magic - The topologies of human experience....


Interesting word there - topology.

A reference to R. D. Laing?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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