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Jonathan Townsend
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From how deep is your love to how deep is denial?
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tommy
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It seems to me, Alexander did not unravel the Gregorian Knot by approaching the complex problem in a complex way. Any complex problem needs to be approached very simply as Alexander proved. Its simple: People fear reality and flee to the security of the unreal. The performance of magic is a miniscule piece of a great complex of things that are fundamentally unreal. This is, so to speak, the big picture. Do you agree with that or not or partly agree?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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funsway
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I can certainly agree with the last couple of sentences, but not the extension of “ fear of reality” as a reason why magic is popular. First off, people do not fear reality at all – they fear the responsibility for making decisions in an uncertain world – what they fear is the unknown. They fear that most of what happens in politics, finance, religion, education and even entertainment is “beyond their control.” In order to have some sense of control in their lives they create a fictional life filled with false persona, believing instead of knowing, seeking people to blame for their misfortune and vicarious entertainment. As JT offered, they are in denial of reality rather than in fear of it.

A short number of decades ago people found ways to entertain themselves with games, reading, conversation, music, hobbies, etc. Today, in order to escape the fiction passing as reality, they desire to “be entertained.” Thus, I might agree that “fear of living” might lead to a desire to be entertained, and that performance magic might be sought in this manner. But they do not seek out magic specifically because it offers illusion or mystery. As I illustrated earlier, magic provides an alternative reality that might give them hope of solving some of life’s problems.

So magic effects are true illusions such as running sword through a lady. Spectators know this is not done by “Skill” but by trickery of some sort. However, there is a danger that their appreciation of the “magic for entertainment” crosses the line into “fear of the unknown” – a fear that the performer does have some arcane powers.

So, I agree with the sentiment that you are pursuing, but believe that “fear” is not the appropriate word. Man's greatest fear is not of "reality," but of being found out or looking rediculous in his dilusions.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Donnie
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I can't believe Tommy cited wikipedia.

"People fear reality and flee to the security of the unreal."

A sloppy statement supported with,

"Love and Fear are the only emotions that exist. If we love illusion, it follows, as surely as night follows day, we fear its opposite which is reality."

I'll assume "love and fear are the only emotions that exist" for the sake of unravelling an even more ridiculous assumption.

"If we love illusion, it follows, as surely as night follows day, we fear its opposite which is reality." You can't love both night and day? Illusion and reality are opposites but it doesn't mean love of one neccessitates fear of the other. Sweet and sour are opposites, you can like them both. You are making a narrow metaphysical assumption which pervades much of western philosophy albeit in a much less subtle and interesting way. Opposites cannot be cut into cleanly exclusive entities. You ever hear, "Art is a lie that tells the truth?" The underground man is a more penetrating gaze into reality than your eyes when you are living banal daily rituals.

Also, you keep equating magic and deception with fantasy and fiction. Why?

-Don
tommy
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You might think a man who lives in the real world with real things that exist such as: Tragedies, Misery, Poverty, Terrorism, Killings, Violence, Threats, Kidnapping Hijacking, Murders, Wars, Economic Turmoil and so on and so forth would fear the realities of the real world. But he doesn’t! He doesn’t because he goes to another world. This other work where he goes is called the world of make believe, the world of illusion! The entrance to this other world of illusion is through various doors; One door leads to magicians doing magic, another to films, and yet another leads to booze drugs rock and roll and religion and there are many other doors to this other world of illusions. And what if all the doors to the world of illusion were closed? Well then the man would be forced to face the realities of the real world and though he would be fearful of the realties, with his back to wall, he would stand and fight the evils and defeat them, and then man would live happily ever after. But for now I must go as its time for me to open the doors of the house the rising sun. Smile
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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I can agree than many people go to another world of there own making -- but it is not an illusion, it is fiction pretended to be rea. It is a world of living vicariosly though TV, cell-phones, Internet and other impersonal technologies. People with false persona chat endlessly about subjects of no importance with other false persona. That is dillusion and game playing rather than creating an illusion. It is a world of no accountability and endless blaming others for the ills of the world.

Magic, on the othe rhand, is very "real." A magician promises to do things and keeps the promise (integrity). He announces when something is to occur and it does (punctuality). He claims in advance that he alone is respeonsible for the outcome of the effects (accountability). He follows a specific plan with practiced actions and scripted words (predictability). For many people a magician is the most "real" model of what a person should be in life they will ever encounter. Compare this model with a politician, preacher, advertizer, teacher, beautician, etc.

but most importantly to this thread -- none of this has anything to do with "fear."
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2010-08-22 22:10, tommy wrote:
It seems to me, Alexander did not unravel the Gregorian Knot by approaching the complex problem in a complex way.... Do you agree with that or not or partly agree?

Yup, he chanted it away with a few monks and a time machine.
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tommy
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As for the word illusion I would quibble that an illusion is a distortion of reality as opposed to an hallucination which not reality at all. I don’t have any hallucinations to offer the customer, illusions are the best I can do to help him get away from reality. And doesn’t the magic show come with an explicit fantasy premise? If so does that not dispel any argument that its real or reality?
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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No, Tommy. For many magic effects the result is very real. Whwn a coin magically jumps from the lft hand to the right, it is a real coin in the right hand -- not a mirage, shimmera, photograph or figment of imagination. The illusion is that a coin can travel invisibly from one place to another. The real expectation id that the coin is still in the left hand, but the proven reality is that it is now in the right hand. Whit's DIlemma does not exist from a comparison of imagined things, but of a real result that cannot rationally be explained. Thus, magic is a "real" demonstration" of something considered practically impossible. The "fact" is real -- only the "how" is an illusion.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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tommy
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Sorry but I am only a card guy Ken and I am not sure I get what you are saying about the coin. I am guessing that you are speaking of the illusion of merely turning the hands upwards but in reality throwing the coin from hand to the other without it being seen. The effect being the coin has mysteriously moved from place to another, from the one hand to the other hand. If so then I would say what you are showing the customer in this example is a distortion of reality and thus an illusion. I think “mysteriously” is the proper word to use in this case rather than “invisibly”. There is nothing magic in not being able to see a moving bullet fired from a gun.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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I had no particular method in mind -- only concerned with what the audience sees as "real". SO, let's use cards. A spectator picks one and you place it on the table. His/her expectation/belief is that the face down card is his selected one. You then have a second spectator select a card which you place in your pocket. Same expectation. The card on the table and in your pocket are real things. You now reveal that the two cards have chnaged places -- method does not matter. The reality is that the first spectator's card is in your pocket and the second one's card is on the table. This is a fact -- not an illusion.

The illusion is that the cards changed places by magic rather than skill, gimmicked cards or hypnotism. The performer might direct the illusion by claiming the card crept up his sleeve, down his pant leg and up through the surface of the table. Anyone who believes that is dillusional but it is all fun and entertainment. The magician has demonstrated a "real" movement of cards from one place to another. It is only the "how" that leads to a dilemma and a label of magic. But this new reality (other than anticipated)has no basis in fear.

Now you repeat the effect. This time the "real" expectation of the audience is that the cards will change places. Instead both cards are blank (a real fact) and the performer dumps a pile of pips and numbers on the table. These items are real. Now there are two mysteries or illusions to contend with: what happened to the selected cards and how did the performers get those pips and numbers off of the cards. Again, method is not important here -- only the new reality observed by the audience.

Now, if you wish to say that the magician pretending to do magic is an illusion as opposed to using "authentic magic" to produce the "real" results I guess that's OK, but that does not place "illusion" in opposition to "reality" -- only pretend magic vs authentic magic -- and "fear" is no where in sight.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at https://www.lybrary.com/ken-muller-m-579928.html questions at ken@eversway.com
Jonathan Townsend
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What do you mean nobody can really be sure that there will be a tomorrow or that everything did not come into existence just last week?
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tommy
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When the audience perceive that the two cards have mysteriously switched places is it not a fact that the audience have a distorted view of the realty of what actually happened?

If that is a fact, and an illusion is a distortion of reality, then that is an illusion it seems me. That you seem to agree.

I say tha its an illusion regardless of any other facts connected with the magic effect.

The fact that at the end of the effect, “ the reality is that the first spectator's card is in your pocket and the second one's card is on the table. This is a fact -- not an illusion.” Is irrelevant to the question of whether the effect is an illusion.

The end of a magic effect is not the magic effect the end of the magic effect is the climax that’s all.

There are many facts in each magic effect but every magic effect performed creates a distortion of realty in the mind of its audience.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Michael Kamen
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I think part of the problem is that Ken is talking about a final condition that is real, and Tommy is focused on an intermediate condition that is illusory.

That the card displayed is the card placed on the table, is in all likelihood (depending on method) an illusion. The card actually on the table is real -- the illusion is that another card was displayed and that is "seen" by the audience to have been placed on the table. That visual-cognitive phenomena I think is rightly called an illusion, even though the final condition is real.

Another example is that the card displayed is actually placed on the table. Using a Mexican turnover a different card is revealed. The illusion is that it is the card originally place on the table faced down, is now the one staring at us face up. The legitimacy of the flip over, another visual-cognitive mistake, is what I think may legitimately be called an illusion.

In both examples, both the starting condition and ending condition are real, but something that occurs in between is an illusion.

Magic performance is not the performance of illusions. It is the use of illusions to create magical effects and the cognitive dissonance that can accompany them.
Michael Kamen
Jonathan Townsend
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? real to whom?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Michael Kamen
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Given my point of view on this just described, I must disagree with Tommy's syllogism that people love magic because they love illusion. Firstly, not everyone loves magic, as we saw in another recent thread. Secondly, if they do love magic (and are not magicians themselves), then what they love is the effect and the cognitive dissonance that is brought about. The illusion, I concede, is often beloved by we magicians, and rightly so.

Tommy seems to be using "illusion" as a synonym for "fantasy". I think this is not correct. We could discuss his theory better, I think, in terms of love vs. fear and fantasy vs. reality.

In that context, I think the theory may have some merit.

Posted: Aug 24, 2010 8:56pm
In Ken's terms, (if I understood his gist) that would be real as in substantial. Please correct me Ken.
Michael Kamen
tommy
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No I am not talking about the intermediate condition. I am talking about what a performance of magic is.

I said that people love illusion and illusion comes in many forms and that magic is a minuscule part of great complex of things that are illusion.


? real to whom?

Well Jon if you put a virtual reality helmet on your head and go for a walk in the virtual park. And if you come to a real cliff and go over it then you will find out that realty is real to you and everyone else.
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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Try again, if you take the virtual reality helmet you are wearing off and find another ... what then?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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It will not make any diffrence to a real cliff. Go and test it.

Or how about getting some one to cut off one of your toes and then you can just think it back on.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Michael Kamen
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So,
If magic is a subset of illusion,
and if illusion is the antithesis of reality,
Then loving magic implies loving illusion
and loving illusion implies fearing reality.
and loving magic imples fearing reality.

Ignoring that your argument is completely rhetorical, all of these lemmas are quite dubious Tommy. There is nothing self-evident about this.
Michael Kamen
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