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Ken Dyne
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Hi everyone!

I realise that this is a very deep question and will not be at all easy to answer. I think together we an maybe come somewhere close to an answer.

We talk so often about this "magic" but I am finding it difficult in my mind to work out exactly what THAT is.

Magic is not the tricks that you perform. It is not the skill which you have practiced to make it look like you are reading that person's mind. Instead it is something else. I have always thought of it as the response which is instilled in the spectator. The way we make them feel?

Okay this is fair enough, but how does this magic feel? And furthermore, if we know how that feels what do we need to do to allow people to expeirence that. As oppose to the tricks?

Where do the tricks stop and the magic begin? Well, for my mind the magic happens right inside the minds of the spectators. But what is that, this thing that is happening? How do we control it? Create it and most importantly, aplify it.

If the magic is merely the feeling of wonder, then if I fool them that should solve it. however this is not the magic, just to fool them is not enough. So what IS this thing we call magic? What is the response.

Once we identify it, we can manipulate it, create it and of course make it vanish.

Any thoughts?

Kennedy
MR GOLDEN BALLS 2.0: https://mentalunderground.com/product/mr-golden-balls-2-0/" target="_blank"> https://mentalunderground.com/product/passed-out-deck/

BAIRN: Named 'Best Mentalism Product Of 2014 by Marketplace of the Mind is my collection of more than 40 mentalism routines in a beautiful paperback book: http://www.mentalunderground.com/product/bairn
Cameron Francis
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Great question, Kennedy! Your question comes at a perfect time for me as I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I don’t have an answer, but I do have thoughts.

I believe that magic is something that all artists strive to achieve. Not just magicians but painters, actors, directors, writers, dancers. They all do what they do to inspire wonderment and awe in others. Even if it’s only for a moment. Because, really, magic can only exist in a moment. But moments are capable of changing a person’s life.

Just because we are magicians, doesn’t mean we always create true magic; true wonderment. I know when I perform, there are times when I can see a spectator enjoying a “trick” but really that’s all they’re enjoying. A clever trick. I don’t like that reaction. I want them to be amazed. I want their minds to blow up and suddenly realize that there are more possibilities in this world than they ever imagined. My goal is to create true magic. To make everything I do wonderful. Lofty, yes. Unrealistic, maybe. But if I didn’t strive for it, my magic would always be mediocre.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that creating magic is not only what I do on a technical level but is the objective of what I do. It may seem like I’m stating the obvious but I’m not so sure about that. Think about why some people do magic. There are a lot of reasons to do it and a lot of them have nothing to do with real art.

I’ll stop there for now as I’ve just run out of steam.
MOMENT'S NOTICE LIVE 3 - Six impromptu card tricks! Out now! http://cameronfrancismagic.com/moments-notice-live-3.html
Brian Turntime
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I wish we would eradicate the dysphemism "trick" from our collective vocabulary, with all of its astonishment-sucking connotations.

Our lexicon is resilient enough to absorb "effect" as a universal substitute for the word trick without any loss of integrity.
------

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright
chmara
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Ahhh -- Kennedy -- breath deeply and come to the dark side one index topic above this one. The question of "magic" is something we all struggle with.

It is deeper to emotion than just a feeling and closer to apotheosis than "Aha." And it is rare.

Magic comes differently to people of different backgrounds and chemical make-ups. To a psychotic, living in an already magical world a "trick" might seem common -- or in mentalism, proof that someone IS reading their mind -- even with the aluminum wrap on their head. Often a change in chemistry works for those poor psychotic people -- and any mentalist who has worked for drunks has made a mini-discovery of this chemical truism.


To a person of strict belief based religion -- not moderated by critical thinking -- magic may be transubstantiation -- or the work of the devil. For generations these uncritically accepted beliefs caused ill and death -- to "practitioners" out of step with mainsteam belief.

To a modern person (read George Bernard Shaw's "Man and Superman") it might be the battle for the ideal and getting a person to rationally look at irrational happenings. (Act three - Don Juan in Hell is especially to the point.)

Therefore -- it depends.

Brian seems to be on the right path -- but at a common rest stop. Trick and effect semantics are not the answer which, in my opinion, must be sought in routine, over-arching plot and individual attitude taken by the presenter.

Many who have become acquainted with Jeff McBride can understand this. His daily attitude allows him to transcend from mere performer to "magician" as he performs because he has conditioned himself to accept the magic at an emotional sharing level then sharing by giving. And now he has added to that role the task and attitude of a true magus in sharing in hs teaching.

I did not know Jeff until a few years ago -- and must only be accounted as an aquaintance -- or student --
and not a close friend although I wish I was.

But I have among my friends and acquaintances some of those who knew Jeff McBride when he was going through his "tuxedo magic" adolescence as a trickster. They knew him in some of his New York Years when he could not be sharing -- because he felt the material he was developing "was his."

Now that Jeff McBride has discovered that NOTHING except what we can learn and give back --often in a better form than received -- is all any of us own, he has become truly magical. I have watched people blossom into people -- not just magicians -- under his guidance. I think only a person who knows what it is to be a person that feels by more than "reaction" but has understanding and empathy can truly become a magician.

These who study, even fior a brief poeriod with Jeff do not have to accept his spiritual practices --- he is clear the practices work for him and may not work for you....but they need heed his advice on magic performance as it is earnest and solid. Many I have met have benefited from seeing an attitude that is accepting of magic can help you become as a performer -- but have had to carve their own path in the wilderness to happiness in magical performance. The craft is not the same for every practioner.

Kennedy -- it is an exceptional question as to what is magic. Study the Cargo Cults that followed World War 2 in the Pacific. Study the Saints and Martyrs, religious and political. Study the great stage performers and audience reaction. Study the reactions to early spiritualism -- and the eventual revolt against it. Look at the anti-cloning lobbies. Understand how people can be wrapped up in belief as a defense mechanism -- then figure a way for them to suspend disbelief -- or open their minds to new belief -- and you will have discovered the true magic. And do it thoughtfully -- your way with reguard, but not necessarily acceptance of all the advice you will receive in this regard.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Ken Dyne
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Thanks for the thoughtful responses so far guys. I am pleased that I am not alone in this search.

I too hate it when someone asks to see "a trick". However there are ways I have found to combat it. In order to combat it we must understand that the fault may not lie with the spectator or the person asking at all. Rather the lable we attach, and the meaning we attach to the word "trick". After all, that is all this is, a word. So its meaning could be just as the magic. This is one way of interpreting it.

Another thing which really bothers be is the person (or persons) who expeirence the tricks and not the magic. Of course there are wide reasons why this could be the case. Maybe there is soemthign goign on in their lives which means they have blocked this. Maybe they just don't want to experience it. Maybe they have experienced bad magic. I will always rememnber something that Jamy Ian Swiss told me and that was that there are not many people who do not like magic, howvere there are more who have bad experience and expectations of magic. The tru magus is to allow that person to experience the real magic that there is out there, that is if they are allowed passed the barriers.

Feelign the magic has often been described as "childlike wonder" or seeing the world through a child's eyes once more. So perhaps by allowing one's suspension of belief and enjoying the magic one could appear weak, or weaker. Soem people have issues with power and control and thus can not allow this to happen. This is another barrier for the mage to overcome.

I think the main difficulty in creating magic lies in the close up worker's or restaurant worker's situation. I have and continue to perform in restaurants to this day. However I understand that the majority of people who come to the restaurants I work regularly are not there to see magic, nor are they there to be entertained. They are there to eat their meal.

The beat goes on....and my ind continues to wirrr...

Kennedy
MR GOLDEN BALLS 2.0: https://mentalunderground.com/product/mr-golden-balls-2-0/" target="_blank"> https://mentalunderground.com/product/passed-out-deck/

BAIRN: Named 'Best Mentalism Product Of 2014 by Marketplace of the Mind is my collection of more than 40 mentalism routines in a beautiful paperback book: http://www.mentalunderground.com/product/bairn
Waters
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Great thoughts Kennedy, Great Posts everyone,
...those are exactly the reasons why we must be adept at rapport and truly enjoy people. I think the "secret" lies along these line... not the latest "hotlist" at the dealer. When we become invested with our audience (be it one or many), they become invested in us. There is the timeless adage in sales... people buy from people they like." On a similar note... "people are engaged by people who are engaged with them".

This is a major reason that I don't like performing for magicians. I don't feel engaged, therefore, I am not feeling a connection with the peformance. When we do not choose to "see" people and "be in the moment" with them, I truly believe the magic is lost. We can perform "tricks", but no "magic". Magic is the moment created between 2 minds (it is not all in their mind)it is a shared cerebral and emotive experience. If you don't feel it...they don't either.

Sean Waters
http://www.watersmagic.com
Gordon Fisher
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Magic is...

"an emotive ride"


end of
Cameron Francis
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Richard Osterlind has some great thoughts on this stuff. Read what he says about likability as a performer in Essays. I think there's a lot to that. If people like you, they're more likely to take a journey with you.
MOMENT'S NOTICE LIVE 3 - Six impromptu card tricks! Out now! http://cameronfrancismagic.com/moments-notice-live-3.html
Brent Allan
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A lot of text space is devoted to this very topic in Derren Brown's book "Absolute Magic"
Turn your business card into a relentless salesperson that brings you business!

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Ken Dyne
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I have richard's studff and really love it. you know Absolute Magic escaped my claws, I must get hold of a copy if this is the case Brent. Thank you for the direction.

I would also be interested to see how many people feel satisfied with the magical jouney that they take their audiences on.

Best,
Kennedy
MR GOLDEN BALLS 2.0: https://mentalunderground.com/product/mr-golden-balls-2-0/" target="_blank"> https://mentalunderground.com/product/passed-out-deck/

BAIRN: Named 'Best Mentalism Product Of 2014 by Marketplace of the Mind is my collection of more than 40 mentalism routines in a beautiful paperback book: http://www.mentalunderground.com/product/bairn
Roki
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I think an important distinction is between an individual and a group . People vary on their individual concept of what is real/magic . With one person it is easier to find the line to cross . I like to do some simple innocent stuff and then let their curiosity lead me to there desire for the impossible.
With a group or audience you have to generalise and engage with universals that they will follow . I see it as the same as hypnotic induction . Group inductions are different to individual work. The magic place is where the normal reality orientation has been shocked suprised or simply cannot find a place to categorise what they are experiencing.
Waters
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How True!

Sean
Shakutau
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In Great symbology: Magic is You. Through you they see Them. Through them they understand and see Magic as clear as day, as if you were to open your door to see the sunrise, or as if you clearly see the path home while many other paths exist at the same time. This Magic looks like it comes from you, but they see that it comes from them also. That it is alive and not a concept, not a name or train of thought.

This Magic, clear from all expectations is the highest happiness everyone can experience.
Paul Shirley
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In my work as a musician (playing cover songs 6-9 gigs a weeks for 20 years) I have learned one very important thing.... The song that makes one person want to dance can make another want to
break down in tears, depending on the meaning that the song has to them.

Brown eyed girl is one example... a simple feel good song, that I have played for years and always gets a good vibe happening. One night a young woman ordered me to stop playing it mid song. I didn't. She kept rudely insisting until I had to tell her to get lost. She burst in to tears and went back to the group she was with to complain about me etc... Turns out that this song was played at her friends funeral that morning.
Now, not being a REAL mind reader, there was no way I could have known this... Tears in heaven by Clapton will almost always get some sort of sad response as it is a common funeral song... but Brown Eyed Girl??!!

This is a rare example... but the point I am trying to make is that the magic happens within the mind of the person witnessing it and can be vastly different for each person... the same way that one song can mean so many different things to different people.

I feel that the effect magic has is heightened greatly by presentation, and our ability to adapt style depending on the person you are performing for. Of course, this is different when performing for a large group but...
If you show someone, who quite obviously has a very scientific logical brain, an effect that relies on 'Spirit activity' as an explanation ... they will probably put it down to being a neat trick. Frame the same effect as a psychology experiment and they will probably enjoy it more.

Conversely, if someone seems open to things of an 'Other world' nature.... then a psychological approach will seem like a cool trick... but framing the effect as being guided by the spirits will give them something to remember for a life time.

I feel that the most powerful magic happens in the mind of the viewer... it is our job, using our methods, to facilitate that as best we can... which can often mean changing tact to suit an audience and present in a way that will
allow them to feel the magic with the most potency.
Jonathan Townsend
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Have a quick read of Greg Egan's story TAP.
Then consider what magic would feel like if you felt it when there was no magician?
Then consider how you would feel if you tried to experience magic when you flipped on the light switch or dropped a ball; Where's the magician?

If you can put down the magic shop books for a little while - perhaps we can get further into what we mean by "magic" and where we would like to elicit it.

:)
Quote:
On 2005-07-20 18:08, Brian Turntime wrote:
I wish we would eradicate the dysphemism "trick" from our collective vocabulary, with all of its astonishment-sucking connotations.

Our lexicon is resilient enough to absorb "effect" as a universal substitute for the word trick without any loss of integrity.

what is this "our" - start with your. The lexicon of the magic shop also abuses the word effect, both in a fundamental sense and then again in terms of accuracy. "As reported by an easily distracted five year old while prompted by the seller of the product"?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
KungFuMagic
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My concept is that magic happens in the interpersonal connection between performer and audience. If we can entice one or more people to trust us to be "honest and respectful" with their sense of wonder and amazement, then we have a chance to touch that part of them that wants to be "amazed and amused". If we can express a confidence in ourselves and a genuine respect and concern for the emotional welfare of our audience, then they will be willing to suspend their disbelief even for brief moments to allow us to tease and entertain them and offer them experiences they don't get many other places. . . they will be willing to step beyond the shuffles, the flash paper and the sequined show girls to the inner, more fundamentally satisfying part of our craft. They will appreciate being shown that what they see and hear and believe day by day may just be an illusion or partial 'truth' in the world. We give them permission to wonder and dream.

Of we just cut cards and make them reappear.
Nick Sasso
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Dreadnought
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One has to connect with the person or the audience on an emotional, spiritual and maybe even physical level. I think the heavy one is the emotional one as that can arguably evoke the more powerful memories and feelings. Once the performer connects and empathizes and sympathizes with them he/she has gained their trust. It should be a shared experience as everyone, the audience and the performer are sharing time. The two don't have to feel the same thing, but they should understand what the other person is feeling the two should be in complete solidarity.

As for manipulation, of course it can be manipulated. The performer is asking for the audience to follow him. As for mentalism... once unfettered access into a mind has been gained manipulation can be used for good or bad purposes, hopefully good. It's all about entertainment. It's the audience wanting to go somewhere and us taking them there.

I don't think it is them seeing the world through a child's eyes, I think it is a moment of solidarity where they see the world, for that moment, through each other's eyes, them seeing and you empathizing and sympathizing, and them seeing your empathy and sympathy and gaining your trust. I think it is especially important that the performer sees through the eyes of the audience. Once he/she sees the world through the eyes of the spectator he/she knows how to deliver.
Peace

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Shrubsole
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I think a lot of mentalists are out of work social workers or wannabe ones.

I think it this grey area of some mentalists thinking they are their own gift to mankind that starts the downward slope deeper and deeper to the point of believing their own hype.

There is no shame in social work, it's regular work and you can always show them a trick or two, but at least then some will be in the correctly labelled job and doing some good helpful work.
Winner of the Dumbringer Award for total incompetence. (All years)
Waters
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Quote:
On 2011-07-17 02:24, Shrubsole wrote:
I think a lot of mentalists are out of work social workers or wannabe ones.

I think it this grey area of some mentalists thinking they are their own gift to mankind that starts the downward slope deeper and deeper to the point of believing their own hype.

There is no shame in social work, it's regular work and you can always show them a trick or two, but at least then some will be in the correctly labelled job and doing some good helpful work.


I think there is some truth to your statement. I have a degree in Psychology and (unfinished) post-graduate work in Counseling, Education and also Theology. (Maybe if I had focused on completing one, I might have fininshed). Nonetheless, while your statement has merit, I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to infuse meaning in one's craft, art...whatever. Imagine a painting, in which, the artist invests nothing of himself. It is just another oil-painting ("thank you very much"). I think even this metaphor breaks down because painting exists outside of a performance (and it can be created with no intention of sharing and still be art, which mystery entertainment can't). Still the best art communicates something meaningful. What is "communicated" is where the vision is realized.

-Waters
Silvertongue
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I've read quiet a bit on Magic theory and have performed enough to see a variety of reactions from a variety of people from around the world. To me Magic is something that is alive, evolving constantly -isn't that what places like the Café are all about?- I don't think we can put a label on it and say this is what it is and this is how its evoked because it doesn't exist in that way. I would liken it to a rainbow in that when the correct causes and conditions come together a rainbow appears and when they cease so does the rainbow, or a cloud appearing from an empty sky is another example I would use. So what are the causes and conditions for Magic? As we know they are many and varied, I think a big part of it is the performer and the character he portrays when he is appearing to the minds of others. Charisma, skills in prestidigitation, acting, juggling, vocal talent, storytelling, are a few skills that can be possessed by the Magician and these are but a few. I think when you understand who the Magician is you understand what is and how to do Magic.
For as long as space exists,
And living beings remain in cyclic existence,
For that long, may I too remain,
to dispel the sufferings of the world.
-Shantideva

Engaging in the Conduct of a Bodhisattva
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