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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » "Is magic real" and you. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Josh Riel
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Is Santa real? A child asks you.
Why did he ask you that?
I surmise that many would think the answer lie in the wrong place; The child wants toys, the child is ignorant (Not a bad word), Wishes and dreams and simple things.

I disagree, I think the child asks that question out of necessity.

Consider this: The child is told by television, adults, billboards etc. that Santa is real. However, the facts that are presented to the child in every other way,
and any other time tell the child that Santa can not do the things he is said to do. This would make it seem to the child that something is wrong.

Now what would an intelligent person do when presented with such a clashing of beliefs? They would use whatever methods were at their disposal to reach a conclusion.
Now who would a child go to? An authority on the subject. This is his only real option to resolve the conflict.

This leads me to think the problem lies not with the child, rather the source of the conflicting (And incorrect) information.

Is magic real? The spectator asks you... See where I'm going with this?

We wonder why the spectator asked the question, but for the wrong reasons. Otherwise we wouldn't be asking for an answer to the question (Over, and over, and over), but a way to resolve the issue.

What are you conveying in your tricks that would make a person question it to the point where a serious well thought out answer is needed to dissuade them from calling you a god, or a poorly phrased answer might cause them to be crushed and hate magic?

My son's teacher is teaching him some very... theoretical and different ways of approaching multiplication and division (One that I would not have thought would worked had my son not proven it), yet my son does not think it necessary to believe or question if the teacher has invented math, or is some super genius. The teacher has made those questions irrelevant. Only the subject matters.

I guess my point is that we might be better off trying to decide what we are doing to create the question, rather than the lesser question of how to answer it.

An addendum: This is not the same thing as being asked to explain the trick. Curiosity, or the desire to have the riddle un-riddled (?) is something else entirely.

I do not believe this is the same as a spectator possibly believing you may have supernatural power. If there is the chance that your answer will tip the scale in either direction (Belief/disbelief), there is the problem.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Bill Hallahan
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I'm not against changing people's beliefs. I'm just against changing people's beliefs with false evidence. From what you wrote, I expect you agree with that.

(Of course, I might be against someone trying to change people's specific beliefs, however, that really is another discussion. For example, if someone wants to convince people to go on crime sprees, I would obviously be against that).

Josh Riel wrote:
Quote:
I guess my point is that we might be better off trying to decide what we are doing to create the question, rather than the lesser question of how to answer it.

Good point. To be fair, there will always be some people who lack a certain level of discernment, and will feel it appropriate to ask someone who presents illusions whether the magic they present is real, and by "real," I mean a manifestation of the performer's supernatural power.

David Copperfield openly refers to himself as an illusionist, and even refers to 'tricks' in his show at times, and yet some people still (at least claim) that the magic he does is real! Go figure.

I really don't think this is much of an issue for most magicians. It applies more to a few mentalists, and it's quite clear that they intend to deceive their audiences about themselves. These mentalist's can do quite well financially with those who don't see through them, however, they generally alienate a significant portion of their potential market. You can't fool all of the people all of the time.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
gaddy
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Q: "Is 'Magic' real?"

A: "Who are we to question the wisdom of 100 Disney films!"
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
tommy
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Quote:
When presenters or characters in a soap die, those who have watched that person a lot often grieve for the character, as if they have lost a friend. Some events can even cause media outcries, such as the imprisonment of Deirdre from the TV soap Coronation Street, which caused many national newspapers to campaign for her release. We also talk to the TV a lot. Not many football fans can sit through a televised match without shouting at the players or the referee, and many people tell characters what to (or not to do) next.

Don't go down the stairs in your nightie! No don't open the door! No...!!!


So I have come to think, what’s the difference.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
kregg
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Brother has this been covered to death. Is the child asking you to authenticate Santa, or does the child suspect that Santa is make believe?

Years ago, at a party, a friend asked me if I believed in ghosts.
"No I don't."
Another friend chimed in that she didn't believe in them either.
"But, how is that possible, aren't you a christian?" I asked.
She was puzzled, "Yes."
"You never heard of the father, the son, and the holy spirit, or as some say holy ghost?"

As a magician I have never tried to present myself as a mystical being. I'm not the 24/7, commando type of dude ... I do magic on stage, that's where it ends. And I have met few magicians who've ever come close to anything more than amazingly skillful. So, my question is, what magician's have ever given any one of us the impression that "magic is real" beyond the average age of enlightenment?
POOF!
Josh Riel
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Kregg, this is in fact exactly why I wrote this. The desire to have that tired question answered fills many pages here. I think it's the wrong question.

So I agree with you.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Open Traveller
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Quote:
On 2008-10-09 22:23, Josh Riel wrote:
Is Santa real? A child asks you.
Why did he ask you that?
I surmise that many would think the answer lie in the wrong place; The child wants toys, the child is ignorant (Not a bad word), Wishes and dreams and simple things.

I disagree, I think the child asks that question out of necessity.

Consider this: The child is told by television, adults, billboards etc. that Santa is real. However, the facts that are presented to the child in every other way,
and any other time tell the child that Santa can not do the things he is said to do. This would make it seem to the child that something is wrong.

Now what would an intelligent person do when presented with such a clashing of beliefs? They would use whatever methods were at their disposal to reach a conclusion.
Now who would a child go to? An authority on the subject. This is his only real option to resolve the conflict.

This leads me to think the problem lies not with the child, rather the source of the conflicting (And incorrect) information.

Is magic real? The spectator asks you... See where I'm going with this?

We wonder why the spectator asked the question, but for the wrong reasons. Otherwise we wouldn't be asking for an answer to the question (Over, and over, and over), but a way to resolve the issue.

What are you conveying in your tricks that would make a person question it to the point where a serious well thought out answer is needed to dissuade them from calling you a god, or a poorly phrased answer might cause them to be crushed and hate magic?

My son's teacher is teaching him some very... theoretical and different ways of approaching multiplication and division (One that I would not have thought would worked had my son not proven it), yet my son does not think it necessary to believe or question if the teacher has invented math, or is some super genius. The teacher has made those questions irrelevant. Only the subject matters.

I guess my point is that we might be better off trying to decide what we are doing to create the question, rather than the lesser question of how to answer it.

An addendum: This is not the same thing as being asked to explain the trick. Curiosity, or the desire to have the riddle un-riddled (?) is something else entirely.

I do not believe this is the same as a spectator possibly believing you may have supernatural power. If there is the chance that your answer will tip the scale in either direction (Belief/disbelief), there is the problem.


Fess up. This is your patter for Oil and Water, isn't it?
Josh Riel
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Actually, I use it for my 30 phase ambitious card effect. that way they won't know what put them to sleep.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
George Ledo
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I remember when I was a kid, and before my Dad came up to me very seriously and spilled the beans, thinking that Santa could not be real if only because he was in so many places at the same time. Department stores, Salvation Army kettles, TV, and whatnot. My brain didn't think in terms of "Santa impersonators" -- it just went in the direction of "what's wrong with this picture?"

But then -- and here's where I think I'm addressing the topic -- someone told me that Santa is not a person, but an idea, or a concept, or a representation of something nice, and that it doesn't matter if the character is real, as long as what he stands for, and does, is real and it's done for the right reason. I don't want to go into religion here, but I've heard basically the same thing from too many people to think it was just an isolated thought.

For me, magic (as we think of it here in the Café) works the same way. It doesn't matter if it's real, as long as it catches your attention long enough to make you wonder (wonder, as in the sense of a little kid seeing his first firefly or spider web; in other words, WOW!) at what you saw. And that's basically what I tell people on those rare occasions when the question comes up.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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Josh Riel
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My theory doesn't have much to do with answering the question "Is that real magic?" but the question "Why do they ask such a dumb question?".

It is dumb, there is no real magic (at least performed by us, and if you think you perform real magic you are a moron.). They know this, yet they just might believe if we tell them it's real. What are we doing to cause them to reach the conclusion that something that is clearly stupid, might just be real?

Does this come up? At least more than the few Bill alluded to:
Quote:
To be fair, there will always be some people who lack a certain level of discernment, and will feel it appropriate to ask someone who presents illusions whether the magic they present is real, and by "real," I mean a manifestation of the performer's supernatural power.


If it does, what are you doing wrong?

Not directed at anyone posting here. Reason seems to be taking control here. that's not what I expected..
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
George Ledo
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Quote:
On 2008-10-12 00:59, Josh Riel wrote:
My theory doesn't have much to do with answering the question "Is that real magic?" but the question "Why do they ask such a dumb question?".

Quote:
To be fair, there will always be some people who lack a certain level of discernment, and will feel it appropriate to ask someone who presents illusions whether the magic they present is real, and by "real," I mean a manifestation of the performer's supernatural power.


If it does, what are you doing wrong?

Okay, then, here are my thoughts...

First, people ask what we consider dumb questions because, to them, they're not dumb questions. I went for years believing and preaching that there's no such thing as a dumb question -- and then I got converted. Now I totally believe that there's such a thing as a dumb (or worse) question, but I also have to believe that the guy asking it doesn't think so. I'm not defending this; it's just an observation.

Second, I don't know that we're doing anything wrong if we get hit with these questions. Fine, if we come across like the magic is real, then we need to accept that these questions will come up. But, in a typical magic show, if someone asks if it's real, then all I can say is that maybe the performer did his job right in making the tricks look like magic.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
evolve629
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Is magic real? Depends on who you ask, but most Wiccans and Pagans will tell you they accept magic as part of their daily life. I don't expect my specs to accept anything as real, but most people said they accept magic as an "escape of daily reality of life."
One hundred percent of the shots you don't take don't go in - Wayne Gretzky
My favorite part is putting the gaffs in the spectators hands...it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling inside! - Bob Kohler
Josh Riel
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The question of faiths, religions, babies and sunrises is not relevant here.

Magic, other than making a card rise to the top of the deck 45 times, imagining you are making a deep connection with the spectator, is for another thread on wacko people.

I'm talking about the spectator who (We think) thinks a 17 phase chop cup routine is real magic.

If you put a ball into your left hand, then it appears under a cup, does your spectator ask you if it is "real"?
If they do, what are you doing wrong?
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Father Photius
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I gave up trying to answer "Is magic real" . Now I just ponder the question, "Is Josh Riel?"
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
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