The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » On lying to the audience (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
k
View Profile
Loyal user
Marseille
282 Posts

Profile of k
Hello everyone.

I had a question regarding what you say to your audience and to know how you feel about lying.

I'm kind of an impromptu guy, do believe in "energy", chi (or ki or chakra, aura...) and stuff.

I'm agnostic.

When I perform levitation effects, such as loops, ITR or even balducci, sometime I present it with a magical (illusion or prestidigitation approach), but other time, I tend to use it as "proof" of surrounding energy and/or static electricity, and power to control such energies, going so far as explaining that everyone can do it, taking examples on Shaolin monks, and the east side of the planet's vision of the world.

I do the same with mentalism, such as "think of a card" effect, fishing for the answer with muscle reading and micro expressions... presenting it as mind / cold reading.

Still, I'm so convincing that they all believe in what I say. Mind you, I'm a business man so I know how to lie. Even those who dearly believe in God or Gods find a way to go on my side and say it is possible with faith.

One time, I've had a person try to "feel" the energy spot where I did the Balducci effect. He stood there for at least 20 minutes, and came back to me saying "i felt it!" He was so happy I just couldn't ruin it and say it was just an illusion.

So sometime, I feel I should tell them after a session that it was all magic and there is no such things as energy flow. But as I do believe in these flows, I refrain myself and leave it like that, having them spent a nice moment and talking with their friends about how everyone could do it with meditation, that monks can levitate as a form of training, etc..

I feel torn. In a way, I love it, but in another way, I feel I'm just using the human's gullible side.

How do you guys deal with it, and what do you think?

Isn't magic lying anyway? Making everyone think impossible effects are possible with hard training?
I'm just a blind Con that lost his I...
remember, Magic's everywhere... ("Your are the magic !" - Albert Goshman)

"Voici mon secret. Il est très simple. On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux" St-Exupéry
Ross W
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
1700 Posts

Profile of Ross W
I think it was the late Jerry Andrus (someone correct me?) who made a point of never lying to his audience. Instead of saying things like, "And now it has completely vanished," it would be, "and it seems like it has completely vanished." although probably more elegantly phrased.
Author.
Twitter: @rosswelford
www.rosswelford.com
whiteoakcanyon
View Profile
Special user
895 Posts

Profile of whiteoakcanyon
When performing mentalism I like the approach of pointing out after the second effect that I am not here to try to convince you of anything but rather to entertain you. It is just part of the banter and not meant as a point of discussion. I have seen Osterlind take this approach on one of his DVDs.
Damian
View Profile
Veteran user
363 Posts

Profile of Damian
K,

I think we are all faced with this at one point or another. You'll have to work out, in each case, what you think is best. I've done different things, in different situations, but in general, I prefer to let them know, as soon as possible, that everything I do is a trick. If you let it go on too long, it could get sticky. We know that many people believe in "energy flows," and other invisible phenomena, like mind-reading. That's why mentalism is popular. But I don't feel comfortable when an audience member believes that what I've shown them is real magic, when I know (regardless of what I believe to be possible) that it was a trick.
Alan Munro
View Profile
Inner circle
Kentwood, Michigan, USA
5771 Posts

Profile of Alan Munro
If an audience is watching a magic performance, they give their implied permission to lie to them for entertainment purposes. They just don't know for sure which parts of the performance are lies.

If people insist on being gullible in their everyday lives, there's nothing that you can really do about that. Everyone has a brain, and it's an organ that's meant to be used. Some use it far less than others.
Fábio DeRose
View Profile
Inner circle
San Paolo, Brasile
1477 Posts

Profile of Fábio DeRose
I have often found myself with this same sort of dilemma that you mention, k.

What I have fund out that works for me when doing a more "mystical", if you will, approach to my magic, is embracing the whole aura (pun intended) of mysticism not in a way that I claim these things is true, but instead as an artistic approach.

What it does is that it leaves enough room (pretty much a gray area, that is) for both people to actually believe that you are doing an intense concentration of energy or that it is just a beautifully framed magic trick. It comes down to how they will perceive your magic.

As in the Universe, there is always duality. Take CHRISSS for example: He truly claims to possess magical powers that allow him to levitate. SOme poeple call it BS, some others believe him. I can't count on how many times laymen asked me how the heck is he able to focus so much energy that he levitates from building to building. It kind of works for him 'cause he just does not mind about the ones who don't believe him.
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
www.ENIGMAGICO.com.br

Twitter @Enigmagico
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
You do it the same way you lie to kids about Santa or the Tooth Fairy...with a twinkle they won't understand until they do it.
Dick Christian
View Profile
Inner circle
Northern Virginia (Metro DC)
2620 Posts

Profile of Dick Christian
In a very real sense we are inherently lying whenever we present something as "magic." The lie is compounded when we then offer a pseudo-explanation for what occurred. Such compounding can easily be avoided by simply not offering an unnecessary and disingenuous "explanation." What's wrong with simply performing the effect and letting it go at that? The only explanation necessary -- i.e., "it's magic" or (in the case of mentalism) "I know what you're thinking" -- is implicit in the performance itself. Why add to it?

BTW, I find it interesting lying in the context of performing magic -- where by simply agreeing to watch the audience is giving implicit permission for you to lie -- seems to concern you yet your statement that "Mind you, I'm a business man so I know how to lie" -- which suggests that you find it acceptable to lie in a business context -- seems to be okay. Am I the only one that senses an inconsistency there?
Dick Christian
Fábio DeRose
View Profile
Inner circle
San Paolo, Brasile
1477 Posts

Profile of Fábio DeRose
Truth is a deeply subjective concept.
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
www.ENIGMAGICO.com.br

Twitter @Enigmagico
Yellowcustard
View Profile
Inner circle
New Zealand
1311 Posts

Profile of Yellowcustard
I see myself as a story teller. So when I don’t lie I tell stories. I do mention what we see might not be what we think.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27145 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
If you make it obvious in context why you are doing what you do, they will understand how to interpret what you are saying while you are doing it - again - in context.

If you don't understand either context or why are doing what you doing (audience view) when performing, IMHO, it is well worth the efforts required to know and own your messages and decide what messages you wish to give others and where you want to deliver them - and maybe how too.

The last bit of advice in this post is about consistency and congruence. Your audience will usually feel much more comfortable if the way you act, speak, present yourself in performance is consistent with the presumed intentions of the character and consistent in character through the performance.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
So, by the way, I don't think lying is either good or bad. It is a tool. If you have never told a lie, then you are a boor and an idiot. Say the magician deliberately lies and deceives his audience; why would you think that to be bad?

I am amazed at the number of people who just accept at face value that lying in itself is somehow "wrong." I would love to know what k's concern was...Do you have a religious conviction against lying? If so, I would like to know where it comes from and why you believe lying is wrong.

When the Gestapo comes to the door, does a good man say, "We have the Jews hidden in the basement." or does he lie?

I think lying in business is wrong, if it is used to take advantage of someone, or to get someone to do something they wouldn't do if they knew the truth. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when lies are used not to hurt or take advantage of someone, but to make social situations more agreeable.

Isn't it the decision to use a lie to hurt someone or take advantage of them that is wrong, not the lie itself?

If the wife lies to the husband about where she spent the evening and with who, is that wrong? If she was seeing another man, then the lie is just another part of the betrayel. But if she is planning a surprise party for the husband's birthday, is it still so bad?
Fábio DeRose
View Profile
Inner circle
San Paolo, Brasile
1477 Posts

Profile of Fábio DeRose
Whit's hit the core spot of the subject.

K's an agnostic, as I can see, which really doesn't really tell much about his convictions - I guess. It likely comes down to some sort of belief system.
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
www.ENIGMAGICO.com.br

Twitter @Enigmagico
jfquackenbush
View Profile
Special user
Out here on the desert
622 Posts

Profile of jfquackenbush
Whit's hit the nail on the head. Also, it's important to note that there's a difference between fiction and deceit. While magic is deceptive, in our culture unless you're starting a cult or something a performance of magic or mentalism is much closer to fiction than it is to lying. Good magic and a good performance engages the audience in a suspension of disbelief. They are participating in the deception and the fiction in a very real way. That's different than what happens in a harmful lie where the person lied to is taken in by a belief that the world is somehow other than it actually is.
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27145 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2011-05-21 23:16, Whit Haydn wrote:...if it is used to take advantage of someone, or to get someone to do something they wouldn't do if they knew the truth. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when lies are used not to hurt or take advantage of someone, but to make social situations more agreeable.

Isn't it the decision to use a lie to hurt someone or take advantage of them that is wrong, not the lie itself?...


And just how can one know, with complete certainty, the nature of the context or the way in which ones presented "truths" will be interpreted or affect others? Did you notice the deletion of mention of the other side of that coin - that of responsibility?

At least we have the notions of theater and performance as entertainment to work from. There are are others who have a vested interest in maintaining their claim to other social constructs where "saying the thing that is not" has its greater rewards, as Swift put it.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Donal Chayce
View Profile
Inner circle
1770 Posts

Profile of Donal Chayce
Synchronistically, earlier tonight the following sentence in Jon Racherbaumer's current Genii column, under the heading "Lure and Blur?", caught my attention:

More than ever, we consumers have a thirst and love of artifice where distinctions between fiction and nonfiction are blurred to the point of invisibility.

It seems to me that this might not only apply to the subject matter of this particular thread (would not such "lying" merely be giving the people what they want?), but also to where we might--or should--be heading as magical entertainers, particularly when it comes to "character."

Pop Haydn comes to mind, as does Derren Brown and even Mac King.
Dr_J_Ayala
View Profile
Inner circle
In search of Vlad Dracul and his
2169 Posts

Profile of Dr_J_Ayala
Quote:
On 2011-05-21 00:21, Whit Haydn wrote:
You do it the same way you lie to kids about Santa or the Tooth Fairy...with a twinkle they won't understand until they do it.


That is probably one of the best answers to any question I have ever heard!

So as not to beat it (this subject) to death, I also agree with the other posters that Mr. Haydn has hit it on the head. Lying to an audience is only what you make of it.
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27145 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Dr_J - While I respect Whit and would turn to him in an instant with questions about performing, character and practical experience IMHO that position you are supporting, specifically "only what you make it", is incomplete and leaves out the entire matter of "what it means to them, the audience" and what follows from their interpretation of "what should".
...to all the coins I've dropped here
ancientmagic
View Profile
Regular user
Tucson AZ
112 Posts

Profile of ancientmagic
Ross,

Actually what Jerry said is that he did not believe in lying and that never lied to others. If anyone here ever asked Jerry to critique a routine or move or an idea will know exactly what I mean. I was a friend of Jerry's for over forty years...I never once heard him tell a lie. However, Jerry had no compunction nor reservation about telling someone, "We placed your card into the middle, watch as I push it completely flush...now, doesn't that look completely fair...nothing could be more fair," when in reality the card was already back on top before he even said the word "watch."

A lot of confusion also comes from what Jerry said about spectators guessing your methods. When a spectator would guess something close to the secret and an effect and ask Jerry, he would not say to them..."No you are wrong," directly lieing but would redirect them down some obscure path that made them doubt their own theory.

What Jerry "preached" and that many confuse with what he said about lying was that you never, never, never do anything that would embarrass a spectator. He often tied the two together by saying that there was a limit to what you could impose on the rational mind of a spectator (ie...lie about) before you were just plain insulting them or implying that they were an idiot.

But yes, Jerry never lied in private life.

Best John
"In victory you deserve champagne…in defeat you need it!" –Napoleon Bonaparte
Fábio DeRose
View Profile
Inner circle
San Paolo, Brasile
1477 Posts

Profile of Fábio DeRose
Quote:
On 2011-05-24 18:34, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Dr_J - While I respect Whit and would turn to him in an instant with questions about performing, character and practical experience IMHO that position you are supporting, specifically "only what you make it", is incomplete and leaves out the entire matter of "what it means to them, the audience" and what follows from their interpretation of "what should".


I think that one of the beauties in all artforms comes exactly from not imposing to each respective audience anything. Let them decide what should they believe - or not. Everyone has a choice.

Sometimes we, as artists, chose a very specific path to lead our presentation and it sometimes is very intrinsic that not everyone really "gets", but in these cases it (the concept one develops through the magic effect) is not imposed to the audience - I, for example, have created my Linking RIngs routine on a deeply metaphorical basis. Some people catch my drift and enjoy the presentation even further from the effects presented. Some others, in turn, just enjoy the magic as it is - a mystery of rings that link and unlink seemingly for pure magic.
Fábio De'Rose - Ilusionista
www.ENIGMAGICO.com.br

Twitter @Enigmagico
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » On lying to the audience (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.17 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL