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Josh Riel
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I too enjoy expatiating.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
funsway
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I agree with your clarifications, Michael, and think Fantasy vs Reality is better than Illusion. I think I understand the concept that Tommy is reaching for, but the use of the term "fear" messes it up.

but I disagree that "illusion" is the overall impression we wish to leave with the audience after a performance, especially as a substitute for "reality." "Magic" is the imprtession we wish to leave (story told) -- and "Magic" and "Illusion" are not synonyms. For one thing, the spectator may believe in all sorts of magic that has nothing to do with illusion, and there are many illusions that do not bring magic to mind, e.g. most optical illusions.

but "Fear" is still the main stumbling block. Neale Donald Walsch posited that Fear & Love were the only valid human emotions, making them not oposites, but exclusionary, i.e. if it doesn't look like love try and discover what fear is functioning. Obviously there ar emany other emotions at play in human interactions, but they are either subdivisions of love/fear or false emotions offered to mask one or the other -- an illusion perhaps. When Tommy attempts to extend this model to magic it would mean that Illusion and Reality are exclusive -- and we know that this is not true (Michael's construct). Even Fantasy and Reality are not exculsionary bercasue both have so many sloppy conotations.

In magic effect we want both an emotional and rational reaction to create that "sense of awe and wonder" or Whit's Dilemma. Even if we assume that a spectator wishes to escape from his mundane life into a fantasy world, then a magic show is just one way of doing so. As MIchels pointed out, the magician uses illusion as one of the ways of creating a false reality to feed this craving for fantasy. It is because the results are "real" that magic leaps to the forefront of the spectator's mind.

I have suggested (opinion) that many people lead a fantasy/false existance on a daily basis. What they crave is not more fantasy, but a demonstration of "real" that gives them hope for coping with their personal problems. They do fear the unknown -- often feeling out of control over what is happing. The magician demosntrates control of the unknown and therefore conquers fear.

If Tommy's thesis were correct then a spectator should have a heightened sense of fear after a performance. Instead he has deminishes sense of fear and a heightened sense of control and well being. He has been "entertained" but also has "entertained" some new concepts. If "love" comes into play it is that he now loves life more and fears the unknown/uncontrollable less.
"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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Tommy writes,

"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."

Do you really believe that you Tommy, a single mind, occupying such a small piece of time-space, is the ultimate arbitrator of Reality?

You also cite Terrorism as an example of reality. We know there are real events where people take their lives and the lives of others. Is the tragic reality of those deaths captured in a single ill conceived word, "Terrorism." I would wager most of the violence you've seen is in movies and on the news. How real is that?

"Or how about getting some one to cut off one of your toes and then you can just think it back on."

Is that more real than love? Why or why not? Is it because love can be more intense than the pain or vice versa? How about if there is more pain or more love is it then more real?

If you want to make grandiose philosophical points, think, then use some finesse.

Funsway writes,

"I have suggested (opinion) that many people lead a fantasy/false existance on a daily basis. What they crave is not more fantasy, but a demonstration of "real" that gives them hope for coping with their personal problems. They do fear the unknown -- often feeling out of control over what is happing. The magician demosntrates control of the unknown and therefore conquers fear."

Magic is then relegated to some trendy, oprah-esque empowerment ****?

A card trick represents control of the unknown? Assuming as you say people fear the unknown and they stumble across someone who has control of the unknown but the apparatus of that control is unknown wouldn't that be even more terrifying?
tommy
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Everyone in the real world is insecure. Which means everyone is living in fear in the real world. Illusion is a distortion of reality, unlike hallucination which is not reality at all. Its important to understand these terms clearly. The world of entertainment, where reality is distorted to create a world illusion which is not altogether a world away from reality, is where the go. Our audience feel secure when they are with us being entertained. As if by magic their fear is vanished into thin air.

He who is without fear throw the first stone.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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"Magic is then relegated to some trendy, oprah-esque empowerment ****?"

hardly -- since magic performance probably goes back more than 10,000 years. Magnetism was once mysterious and an "unknown force," and those who could use it purposefully consider powerful. Today it is not mysterious and anyone can control it -- so there is no fear attached to it. Yet, magicians use magnets more and more to produce magic results, though it is wise to separate the action from the revealed magic results, i.e. provide some alternative cause for the magic.

"A card trick represents control of the unknown? Assuming as you say people fear the unknown and they stumble across someone who has control of the unknown but the apparatus of that control is unknown wouldn't that be even more terrifying?"

I mentioned this "real fear" in an earlier post, especially with mentalism. This is why disclaimers or an obviously silly story may be necessary for some presentations. To allow the audience to believe the magic might be real is charlantry -- one horn of the Dilemma that cannot ethically be ignored.(opinion)

Throughout history magic tricks have been used to deliberately create fear, respect, worship or otherwise control people. Today this has been mostly replaced by false advertising, political obfuscation and various appeals to ignorance in mass media. Thus, the performing magcian has the opportunity to bring a "breath of fresh air" to wounded spirits by promising to do things, then always following through.


Just saw your last post, Tommy. "living in fear in the real world" is much more acceptable than the original "living in fear OF the real world," but I still think "fantasy" is better than "illusion" to describe how people avoid dealing with real world problems. Let's leave "illusion" for a deliberately caused event rather than a state of mind -- "illusion" being one way to enhance or focus a fantasy.
"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
Donnie
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Funsway,

When you write, "What they crave is not more fantasy, but a demonstration of "real" that gives them hope for coping with their personal problems. They do fear the unknown -- often feeling out of control over what is happing." and "The magician demonstrates control of the unknown and therefore conquers fear."

You make magic into a device of empowerment. It becomes like a sappy motivational book where the wooden protagonist overcomes some inane and arbitrary obstacle.

You are of course free to explore such contrived themes in your own magic but don't reduce the essence of an entire pursuit to your pseudo-psychological, silly motivational-speak lexicon and watered down worldview.

Tommy,
Hallucination in a clinical sense is expierencing something which is not there. However that definition is suited to a specific scientic pursuit not the gargantuan metaphyscial debate you are undertaking. Also, the etymology of 'illusion' is characterized by a mischievous streak. To my knowledge there has never been a heroic, courageous or inspirational flavor to the word 'illusion'. Perhaps up until now my font has been too small so here, "TOMMY YOU ARE MAKING SWEEPING AND UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS. STOP SPEAKING IN PLATITUDES!"
tommy
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An illusionist as far as our art is concerned it seems to me, is a conjurer or magician who creates illusions, as by sleight of hand or as if by magic. An illusion is a distortion of reality. The illusionist by manipulating things of the physical world gives his audience distorted view of the realty of what has actually happened, which appears to them, as if something or someone has moved mysteriously from one place or condition to another, thus the illusion is created. His audience may or may not fantasise that this guy is a real magician, and they may say onto him, “Wow you are real good! You could be, a professional!” Smile
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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That last statement seems a not unreasonable view of things Tommy, although your use of the word "illusion" is somewhat loose imho. That aside, your illusion-love-fear conclusion follows only if one reasons "by analogy." Magical thinking to be sure.
Michael Kamen
funsway
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 13:30, Donnie wrote:
You make magic into a device of empowerment. It becomes like a sappy motivational book where the wooden protagonist overcomes some inane and arbitrary obstacle.


Well, Donnie, I have used magic in an allegorical sense to "overcome obsticals" with thouhsands of business owners in one-on-one business development presnetations/projects. There is nothing "psuedo" about it, nor meant to be motivational, nor psychological. Many people consider things to be impossible (for them) because they do not see alternative solutions. Simply telling them the answer does not work because they have no ownership. If instead, a simple demonstration by way of a magic effect can lead them to coming up with the new solution themselves -- then they will implement the change because the idea is "theirs." Many people are afraid of change. A properly timed magic effect can minimize the fear -- fact, not speculation.

Just because you do not agree with another person's idea, there is little to be gained by applying inappropriate labels as you have done. Please don't do that. If you wish further information on a subject you do not understand you can always send a PM.

but I realize Tommy is concerned with magic provided as entertainment, and we should focus on that theme. Because of my experience I feel that fear of the unknown can be minimized by performance magic. I am not saying that should be a major focus in designing a routine, but it is a factor to be considered. More importantly,magic as charlantry can increase fear -- and that should always be a concern.
"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
tommy
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 15:11, Michael Kamen wrote:
That last statement seems a not unreasonable view of things Tommy, although your use of the word "illusion" is somewhat loose imho. That aside, your illusion-love-fear conclusion follows only if one reasons "by analogy." Magical thinking to be sure.


If people love magical things and reality isn’t magical, and there are just two emotions in the entire universe: love and fear. Each and every one of our thoughts, actions or feelings can be traced back to these two root emotions. Another way to say this is that everything, which is not an expression of love, is an expression of fear. Then it follows. Smile

We all know at the end of the day that reality is just a drag and that’s why we all love magic. And them people that love reality and fear magic are just nuts.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Donnie
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Funsway,

When you make an unfounded and ridiculous claim like, "I have suggested (opinion) that many people lead a fantasy/false existance on a daily basis. What they crave is not more fantasy, but a demonstration of "real" that gives them hope for coping with their personal problems." and "A properly timed magic effect can minimize the fear -- fact, not speculation." You are engaging in pseudo-psychology by making vague unsupported psychological claims and insisting they are factual.

"Many people consider things to be impossible (for them) because they do not see alternative solutions. Simply telling them the answer does not work because they have no ownership. If instead, a simple demonstration by way of a magic effect can lead them to coming up with the new solution themselves -- then they will implement the change because the idea is "theirs." And you do this for, "business owners in one-on-one business development presnetations/projects."

How is that not like the hundreds of other motivational speakers, life-coaches and self-help gurus that promote "creative problem solving, innovative business models and tips for overcoming professional anxiety"?

As I said, if you do that banal stuff with magic fine, but don't use it to describe the essentially qualities of an entire artform.
Michael Kamen
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Well Tommy, I think we all know that reality is highly magical, in the most generic sense of the word.

What we do as magicians may, in fact, be wonderful at times, but to call it magical in the same sense seems a bit hyperbolic to me. Then, anything may turn up as "magical" in that sense from time to time. We can hardly own that now can we?
Michael Kamen
tommy
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Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be. In its widest definition, reality includes everything that is and has being, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. So what in reality is highly magical, in the most generic sense of the word?
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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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 11:18, tommy wrote:
Everyone in the real world is insecure...


Not if you'd just listen to those invisible mini flying pink elephants that tell you stuff you really need to know in a voice that sounds like Richard Bandler. And also if you learn not to listen to those little blue guys who want you to think they are the smurfs but really are out to make you revisit your mistakes till you give in to despair.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Michael Kamen
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Quote:
On 2010-08-25 17:45, tommy wrote:
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be. In its widest definition, reality includes everything that is and has being, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. So what in reality is highly magical, in the most generic sense of the word?


The point, I think, is that reality is as likely to invoke magical feelings as it is to invoke fear, or anything else. I think you would be hard pressed to demonstrate that folks who show mostly fear responses to their "reality" are more likely to enjoy magic than folks who show mostly magical responses (let's call those "responses of wonder").
Michael Kamen
Jonathan Townsend
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Okay - now for the folks who can remember other stuff from outside magic here:

First, all you really know is subjective experience. The rest is a model one builds and our language is suspiciously poor at describing the layers of stuff we put into our model:
0) immediate sensory experience
1) memories of sensory experience
2) imagined or recalled sensory experience
3) inferences or rules we make about our experience
4) linguistic constructs we acquire by way of text or other people
5) things we learn and put into our model by experience
6) things we accept by way of reported but unverified data about our immediate circumstances - ie things we imagine we could easily verify by direct experience
7) things we accept as reported rules for physical context - maps/blueprints
8) things we accept as reported social moores/patterns of behavior anchored to social values
9) things we accept as accurate in other contexts - maps of other cities etc
...

so many layers but all we have in our language to describe such data is the word "know" and to describe the acquisition of such data is "to learn".

Get real. We can do better. I have faith in you - even if you are white letters on the green background here.

:)
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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A stone....not a hand full of sand.
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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You say stone, I think ... you mean as big as the moon or bigger?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
tommy
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Last week I asked the kid Oscar:

What is the smallest thing in the world?

The smallest grain of sand in the world!

So what’s the biggest thing in the world then?

The biggest grain of sand in the world!

Smile

He is 4.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
funsway
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Donnie offers, "When you make an unfounded and ridiculous claim like ..."

perhaps you should read my posts again. My opinions are based on thousands of performances, from which I have drawn conclusions that serve me well. I have never suggested that all magic performance fits this model, nor that anyone else use magic in this way. The point is what a spectator might think, and my experience suggests that some spectators will find a lessening of fear from watching a magic show. Others might have an increase in fear if the performer gets too close to charlantry. Most may have no brush with fear at all.

When I perform magic for entertainment I am careful to let the audience know it is "not real" and avoid effects that I feel could be "fearful" for that particular audience. This is a personal ethical choice.

In support of Tommy's position I am offering factual evidence that fear does have relevance to the performance of our art. That is all. In opposition, I have argued that people do not seek either fantasy or illusion out of fear of problems in "real" life.

If you can stop tossing derogatory words around I would be interested in your personal view of the relevance of fear and magic and the experiences you can offer to support that view. I read post on the Café to learn more about what other magicians think and feel -- and I thank Tommy for introducing this theme even if I disagree with his choice of words. and it is always fun to get JT and MK involved in a discussion.
"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
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