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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Right or Wrong? » » On lying to the audience (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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k
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Hello Everyone and thank you very much for your inputs.

I know we all tend to lie, it's a nasty little trick we all learn one day and keep in our skin. Whit, you are dead right, Lying is a tool everyone uses.

Be it a plain lie, a white lie, an bluff, an ommission, an exageration, a jocose lie, a noble lie, etc., Lying can be found everywhere, even in business, in love, in a courtroom... everywhere. Diplomatie is a form of lie imho.

I'm not saying it's a good thing. I've received an education where I am not supposed to lie at any given time, even if it's for a greater cause, because I was taught to assume my interlocutor is a pure soul and would take all information into account before making a decision.
It has it's good part, gaining trust from my friends and family, it has it's bad parts, as being too honest can turn relationship sour, not everyone can be as detached/pragmatic to make a rational decision on how to react...

Truth hurts. When one has to hit with the arrow of truth, it is wise to dip it's tip in honey.

Whit, I do beleive lying is wrong, but as you pointed, I know there are occasion where a lie would serve a greater good. Occasion where a lie would even be necessary.

Still, it is generally taught everywhere, be it in all the major religions, all the philosophy, that lying is wrong.

Back in the days, I used to beleive in a perfect world where lying would undermine trust in society. We talk to communicate, we lie to deceive.
Sadly, I think society is not ready for pure souls as honesty has a knack of kicking you in the face. We humans are far from perfect, and not ready for open heart discussion as we all hold our own truth. Is Truth subjective?

I would like to have pure trust in what and who surrounds us. Allas, it is not possible with everyone.

Hence I have become a lyer. In Business, in Magic, in the stories I tell, in the sarcasm I use, in diplomacy... I think we are all lyers in a way.

On magic, I always point out it is not real magic: it is an illusion, a deception, a prestidigitation... The hand is quicker than the eye!
And if someone points out a theory on how I have done what I have done, I allways push them to try it at home and see if it works.

Still, on some effects, I say everything is possible, with practice and energy. It IS true of course, I just put the props part away so they leave with the idea it's all based on energy and what not...

I guess as Fabio points out, I have to think that if I tell a lie to an adult and he is too gullible, leave it like that. Some will enjoy the showmanship, others will enjoy a nice story they are free to beleive or not.
We all want to Beleive in something, it makes us feel better, makes us dream a little.

I'd rather be the dream provider than the dream crusher.
So I think I shall continue my way of presenting things, and think of it as entertainement and showmanship... Let everyone have a good time and enjoy the moment.

I'll Really levitate, I'll really use psychokinesis and mind reading because you've all been hypnotised and it all happened in your mind.

(>_<)
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
k
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...As long as it doesn't hurt anyone of course !
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
heather
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For the most part I'll agree with sentiments noted above that assume that the audience goes into a magic show fully expecting to be lied to, but, for some bizarre reason (and this is really outta left field) felt compelled to note that this is a HUGE consideration to take into account if one intends to perform in (for example) West Africa. It isn't about gullibility as much as it is cultural considerations, but some people take special effects very seriously. I have known college-educated and totally reasonable and otherwise intelligent Nigerians who simply cannot grasp that if a character in a movie is killed, the actor does not also die. I cannot get my head around why this is, but would certainly take it into an account before considering a performance in Lagos.

Thank you for letting me get that oddball bit of cultural trivia off my chest. Almost certainly applies to people elsewhere in the world as well, and not just West Africans.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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If you don't ever lie, you will miss out on half the fun in life...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Pakar Ilusi
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It is like real life theater.

In other words, you are Acting.

Whatever you say is just the script/story.

So lie, in character. It's just Acting. Smile
"Dreams aren't a matter of Chance but a matter of Choice." -DC-
Sean Giles
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When my girlfriend asks me 'does my bum look big in this?', should I say...

A. No darling, don't be silly, you look beautiful.
or
B. My god darling, you look like the back end of a buffalo.

I think we all tell White lies based on our own internal code of ethics and morals. To never lie would make us very insensitive and cruel people. Just watch Jim Carrey in 'Liar Liar' for a funny look at what might happen if we always tell the truth Smile

Sean


Posted: Jun 5, 2011 5:24am
------------------------------------
Quote:
On 2011-06-02 12:27, heather wrote:
For the most part I'll agree with sentiments noted above that assume that the audience goes into a magic show fully expecting to be lied to, but, for some bizarre reason (and this is really outta left field) felt compelled to note that this is a HUGE consideration to take into account if one intends to perform in (for example) West Africa. It isn't about gullibility as much as it is cultural considerations, but some people take special effects very seriously. I have known college-educated and totally reasonable and otherwise intelligent Nigerians who simply cannot grasp that if a character in a movie is killed, the actor does not also die. I cannot get my head around why this is, but would certainly take it into an account before considering a performance in Lagos.

Thank you for letting me get that oddball bit of cultural trivia off my chest. Almost certainly applies to people elsewhere in the world as well, and not just West Africans.

That's ridiculous. I have a friend that's west African and to say that a college educated west African cannot grasp that when a character in a movie dies, the actor doesn't also die is beyond absurd and a complete lie. Really!!
twm
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Quote:
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.


Oh, but there is something we can do about it! We can avoid exploiting it!
imDavidQ
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Should we lie while performing? It's all a lie, practically speaking. When you present yourself as a magician, people are put on notice, by definition, that they are going to be deceived, however cleverly. Personally, when performing a mentalism effect, I feel I am acting the part of a mind reader. If I feel someone has gone beyond the point of where I am comfortable with, that is crossing the line between astonishment and true belief of my "power", I will say, "It's a Trick!". Often they won't believe me, but I'm covered. On a personal note, my criterion for lying is simple: If the lie were discovered at a later time, would the person being lied to be upset or hurt? Works for me.
Alan Wheeler
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I think people are going to be more upset if the fiction extends outside the frame of the performance. Outside the frame of performance is where the fiction becomes a lie. For example, people seem to get upset and rant about Chriss Angel online (when they find out he's a trickster) only because they believed his magic extended beyond the show.

However, would extending just the conviction beyond the frame of the show be different? Tommy Wonder would leave a solid steel Zombie ball in his dressing room so that people could pick it up and see how heavy it was. Similarly, Michael Ammar once glued a prepared lemon with bill to a real fruit tree before a performance. I think often the conviction or secret methods extend outside the performance, even if the fiction should not.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2011-05-21 09:57, Fábio DeRose wrote:
Truth is a deeply subjective concept.


Quite the opposite; however, perception is.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
landmark
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Well let me take a different tact; maybe this is part of what Jerry Andrus was up to, I don't know. Stanislavski believed in the Magic If. That is, if you want to act in a realistic manner onstage, that is, "truthfully," don't say to yourself "I am playing a murderer, I will hypnotize myself into believing it is so," (as some people mistakenly think S. advocated) but rather, "IF I were a murderer, what would I do?" Then the body, imagination, and will can all swing into action, because the action is truthful--you are never contradicting what you know to be true, and so your subconscious can follow.

A magician who says "the coin has completely vanished" risks leakage of the desired congruence. One who says "the coin appears to have vanished," doesn't have to worry about being incongruent. I imagine that could be very freeing and relaxing in terms of performing. To lie, even in performance, is a strain on the body and mind.
Whit Haydn
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No it isn't. Lying is as easy as falling off a log. Children pick it up almost as quick as they learn to speak. Civilization would be inconceivable without lies.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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And a lot more violent, no?
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Kevin Ridgeway
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Here's a question for you...If the item has clearly vanished, why do we feel the need to verbally confirm this? I think sometimes we get in our own way. There is no need to tell the audience what they can see for themselves.

That is what made Blaine so different. When the magic happened, he didn't ask for approval, he didn't say 'how was that'. He just did nothing, stayed silent...he let the moment last much longer than most of allow it to...and let the feeling of the spectator be the lasting memory. Not adoration for the magician.

Just my opinion.
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Whit Haydn
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Blaine's approach works best for a single effect. An hour of that kind of presentation on stage would drive the audience nuts.
Brad Burt
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The only way I can think of to keep from lying to an audience as a magician is to NEVER claim to be a magician. Claim to be something else. The Puzzle Master! The Illusion Master! A 'magician' may also be doing illusion, but the mere claim to be a 'magician' bring presupposed baggage with it as to WHAT a 'magician' is and is not. It's simply silly to play word games in an attempt to not 'lie' to the audience as a 'magician' because the very act of producing an effect is a lie of a kind.

If you want to 'talk' around it in some manner then shed the pretense of 'magic' and just go with some other 'form' that allows one to more organically present 'puzzles' or whatever. Seriously. I don't know how one would perform the X-ing the Cut Force without lying in proper fashion. Not if you wanted it to work most of the time and be maximally effective.

Part of the problem is that you can do magic for what amounts to two distinct audience groups.

#1- The modern Western audience of folks who know that 'magician' does not have anything to do with the supernatural. Are there some folks that might believe that? Yes, but it's very small. They EXPECT the magician to do whatever it takes to fool 'em.

#2- An audience group made up of non-sophisticated peoples who are in fact not aware of the what the modern mage is capable of doing. In some, but not all cases this can be a bad thing both ethically and morally. I know a guy who does the creepiest magic he can for natives down in Mexico. I don't condone it and I honestly believe that if he's not careful it could rise up and bite him in the back of the lap.

Curiously in #2 above I don't think it would matter how honest you tried to make your patter.....it wouldn't work. The only way to keep from any moral ambiguity would be to do no magic at all. For many native peoples 'magic' is as much a part of their life as is TV to you and I. Huge paradigm shifts would have to take place for them to not react as if what you are doing is real.

Best,
Brad Burt
Donal Chayce
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Or one could say that he/she is a trickster. I do just that in one routine, even going so far as admonishing the audience to not necessarily believe everything I say:

"It all began the day after my 10th birthday, and you can believe me when I tell you that this is a true story. Then again, I am a trickster...even I don't know how much of what I say is really true."

But I do so purely as part of the window dressing for the routine and not for moral reasons. I have absolutely no qualms about lying to an audience. Smile
Brad Burt
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Donal:

Exactly. We frame what we do for the audience that we have. Ethically I will tell you that I would not do magic tricks for natives in the jungle somewhere. I have had to many first hand accounts from friends on what the AFFECT on the natives is like. I don't want even that small amount of perceived power.

But, come on....anyone in modern America who doesn't understand that 'magician' MEANS 'trickster' of some kind .... maybe they should.

To be honest I have decided to fix the problem this way: I no longer call myself a magician. I call my self a Politician. Heck, EVERYONE KNOWS those guys lie!!! End of problem...........
Brad Burt
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Smile
digiassn
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I'm not sure why this would be a moral dilemma. Your an actor. Your playing the role of a magician. Your audience knows there isn't such a thing as magic. Your not outright lying to them, your playing a role and reciting the lines of that role. If they believe what your doing is "real magic", then your a ***ed good actor, and they have more important problems than being lied to.
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