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bishthemagish
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Here is part of my theory as to - what is magic?

Jonathan Townsend nailed part of it but I am going to change it a little bit to fit the theory better. What is magic? Whatever the public or the audience thinks magic is in their own belief system.

And whatever the public thinks magic is has a direct effect on how they will respond to the magic effect. When a magician performs a magic trick on a stage or close up and it is amazing and you get that oooooh. I feel that often the audience experienced the "EFFECT of real magic".

Then their own belief system and their conscious mind kicks in and tells them that there is no such thing as magic and then they try to figure it out. If it was good and they are stunned and thinking about it for a long time - and that is what I want them to do - they will talk about the experience to others - often making the magic effect sound even more amazing.

This is only a theory of one branch on a very large tree of knowledge as to part of my theory as to what magic is.

Thanks in advance for reading it.
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kregg
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Most of us accept magic as a general term, but, specificity is what we're needling through. When you define magic; are you defining it properly as a noun or are you trying to make it a verb? The dictionary describes magic without emotional conflict.
If you Google "magic"; Magic The Gathering is usually the first hit among 411 million hits. Are people searching for real magic?
Doug Henning told us, "It's not magic, it's illusion." Other's say, "not tricks, but effects." Penn & Teller boil everything down to BS. Jonathan Townsend's "foot the doorway" was brilliant. Whit has spent many waking hours crafting his wonderful definition.
Surely, we all agree that we are defining magic for our lifetime in our craft. If we reverse time and Google through history magic would have changed more than once, just like it has changed for me throughout my magical life as a prestidigitator.
POOF!
JackScratch
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Waaaaaaay Back at the begining of this thread, I posted a cut and paste from dictionary.com that I thought was pretty all inclusive. At the time no one seemed to like that concept.
cinemagician
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Why not dig it up and see how it compares with Whit's definition? After all the thread is already 17 pages long so it sure wouldn't hurt.
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Bilwonder
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Tommy, one demonstration, many responses, that is to be expected. Not everyone has the same sense of the impossible. When I walk into a room, I can point my wand and say "illuminati" but I find flipping the switch easier. The average person doesn't really understand a thing about electricity, but it's no longer magic because we take it for granted. We think we know something because we're familiar with it. Yet, to a the right people, we have harnessed the power of heaven, something that should be beyond the power of mere human. The difference is in what each perceiver sees as impossible.

I would say magic is a noun. It is a "thing" however insubstantial. Like a flame, it exists between the world of transformation..ever burning but never consumed. There is no solution in our world view and so it eats away at us to no end. Call it a "meta" state or a state...it is a "stalemate" of the mind.

Dictionaries reflect how we use words as well as origins. To say magic is "Supernatural" simple says it is "beyond nature" and does not fit any understanding of the world we have. Then there are the "connotations" of magic (which "Harry Potter" is full of) that have little to really do with magic directly, but simply a pile of historical associations and symbols that mean "magic' to most of us.

"We must look for Consistency;
where this is a want of it, we must suspect deception."
- Sherlock Holmes


A consistent universe is not magical. Conan Doyle looked at Houdini and didn't see a magician, but a spiritualist. Turning this quote on end, if we create consistency for our selves, we are no longer feel deceived.
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"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Whit Haydn
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So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question? My example was to try to explain and describe the work of the performer and the role of the audience in the Teleportation Device. Describe the transactional dynamics of this entertainment. Try to figure out what is actually being attempted, accomplished, and appreciated in this one little experiment--without the word magic being used at all.

You are all trying to think without discipline. Shooting all over the place.

Please stick to one thing at a time.

Nothing can be accomplished if everyone just throws in their two cents about any topic that jumps in their head. I have tried to get agreement on the very first statement of my theory, and after all these pages, we still have not managed to move on to the second statement of the theory.

The theory hasn't even been laid out past that second statement, and the creation of the dilemma, the second statement in the argument, has not even been explained yet.

This is not my thread, and it is not my place to control the direction and content of the thread, but if anyone is interested in hearing more about what I have discovered and believe about magic, then we need to stick strictly to the topics, one at a time, instead of trying to let everyone tell their whole personal theory of magic.

As I said before, I am perfectly willing to sit and let others expound their theories, and just sit back and discuss them one by one, but I have spent thirty years working on this one, and writing and talking about it with some of the best minds in magic. I would love a chance to explain and defend it here, for the sake of helping to write it out in a form that is clear and does not confuse people.

Already, the discussion here has been a help in re-formulating the first statement of the theory in a more clear and concise form.

It would be great to get a chance to do the same with the second statement of the theory.

But gee, if you guys can not focus on one topic at a time, this will just not happen. Seventeen pages! I could pretty much explain the basics of the whole theory in that much space, and we have only discussed the first statement!

If people want to hear any more of my ideas, I am very patient and will be glad to discuss any or all of them. But if this is just going to be a survey of everyone's opinions, and not an arguement or discussion of the principles of magic, then I am out of here.

Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"
tommy
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If there is no magic if they know how the trick is done it follow that not knowing the how of the trick, is magic!

I think that there is magic even when they know the how. It is the real secrets of magic that is magic.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
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Thanks, Tommy. Five uses of the word "magic" in two sentences.

This really brings us forward. Smile

What is the meaning of the word "magic," then?

How can "magic" (There is no magic) be the "how" of the trick if there is no magic?

Could it be you are confusing two different definitions?

Magic exists, even when people "know the how." I thought you said magic was the "how?"

The "real secrets of magic" = "magic." Do you mean the method (the how) of magic equals "magic?" Magic is the secret of the trick?

You have used the word magic in two sentences in more than four ways and with more than four different definitions.

Do you see why I want to ban the use of the term? At least for the present, and until we can agree on a single definition for the use of the term within the discussion.
cinemagician
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Quote:
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question? My example was to try to explain and describe the work of the performer and the role of the audience in the Teleportation Device. Describe the transactional dynamics of this entertainment. Try to figure out what is actually being attempted, accomplished, and appreciated in this one little experiment--without the word magic being used at all.


Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"


I did. Did you read my post!

I mean this one-

Mr. Haydn, The more I read about your theories of magic,the more I tend to view them through the eyes of Henning Nelms. I don't have the time to dig through the entire book but a few points- (I promise not to use the "M" word for the rest of this post)

I. Here is part one of what I'll term the, "Henning Nelms Paradigm" -


1.) The performer claims some specific, supernormal power and makes this claim as impressively as possible.

"Now, the performer introduces his amazing scientific invention, the Teleportation Device! As he touts his invention's tremendous powers (while the audience snickers), he wraps the volunteer's torn bill in tissue paper and affixes it atop the Device's antenna."

2.) He then indicates that the [primary] purpose of his performance is to demonstrate the power.

"Next, he begins to adjust the many fine settings on the device. Strange noises­­, beeps, and buzzes begin to emerge. He aims the Device at his volunteer's lemon, announcing that the teleportation is about to take place (by this point, the audience is certain that the performer is completely whacked)!"


3.) He provides this demonstration and it appears to prove his claim.

"Little by little, his audience's wonder builds as it becomes clear that the bill is the EXACT SAME bill that has been in front of the audience the entire time! It even­­ has some writing on it--­­the spectator's own verified signature!"

II. The second observation I wish to site here here is the difference between an "Effect and a Phenomenon"

The EFFECT of the above routine is one of TRANSPORTATION, (although Fitzkee called it "trasposition" (#3), oddly he never used the word transportation (to me a transposition means two objects switching places with each other.) Other's could perhaps debate that the effect also contains a pennetration (I'd say their wrong but...)

The PHENOMENON- which was another constant in all of the routines/ examples in Nelms's Book- is the introduction and description of the teleportaion device. The "phenomenon" was to indicate the supposed means by which the effect is occuring. (or in my own words "plausible B.S.")

I only bring this up because I remember that we argued over Henning Nelms over a year ago and I believe if you review the book, you will see instances where you and Nelms are using different terms and examples to say some of the same things.

Whit-

Check out the first effect in the book, "Strong Man's Secret". It's essentially a cut and restored rope effect that is presented as a more plausible carnival stunt instead. Admittedly it is a trick but one without apparent means.

It seems to serve as an excellent example of a "valid sylogism with with one missing or untrue premise"

I never used the "M" word!

- Cinemag-----
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
chrisrkline
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I don't know what I can add, but I will try.

The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the conscious attempt to create in the mind of the spectator, by act or words or expression, a formal logical argument (or syllogism) which is valid but whose premises are untrue, thus seeming to prove something true that the spectators firmly believe or know is not true.

Bilwonder mentions that he could walk into a room and wave the wand and say the proper words and the light would come on. Or he could just flip the switch. The light switch is not amazing because we know it works. The fact we do not understand the science is not relevant. If we used wands like they do in HP, then they would be no more amazing. Superman (or Chris Reaves) is not amazing because we know he can fly (or uses wires.) Captain Kirk can teleport from one end of the galaxy and it does not amaze--it is part of the Star Trek universe. They fail as "Theater of Deception, because they fail (or do not attempt) to prove something is true that the audience firmly believes to be not true. A light switch may have a mysterious element to it, but it itself is not mysterious--it just works. Waving a wand would take on the same boring characteristics if we lived in the world of Harry Potter.

A worker in the Theater of Deception in Harry Potter's world of wizards, would have to do some things different than to wave a magic wand.

In the teleportation device, there is a need for the audience to know that teleportation is not possible, at least not possible in the context of a stage show on a cruise ship. I firmly believe that Whit is right there. Using the "Teleportation Device" to move an object from spot to spot is amazing in a way that "The Fedex Guy" (or Captain Kirk) is not--because of its impossibility and that it is proven to really happen--there was a witness! Me! When someone witnesses an effect like this, there is often a psychological reaction that they might express by saying "No way, there is no way..." This is not only expressed at the end of the trick, but often earlier when the spectator first realizes something impossible will happen, and that the showman has engaged them as an eyewitness.

We are shown technological marvels all the time. Things we thought were impossible turn out to possible. For little money down, we too can own the newest, wildest, most impossible, technological marvel. Ten minutes after we get it home it loses its luster. That is why we are always looking for the next big thing. But Whit is not selling his device for three easy payments of 29.99. If the audience could take Whit's TD home, it would be like the first TVs. Amazing until they got them home. People might still not be able to explain how a TV worked, but that was unimportant. When we can control the device, the mystery (or at least one mystery) vanishes. We have all had kids ask for their own wand at shows. I we could give it to them, and it really worked as advertised, the mystery would leave as well. It would have the same effect as giving away our sleight of hand secrets.

In the TD, it is the fact that something impossible happened (clearly proven) that makes it amazing. It is also important, though, that their belief in its impossibility stays in the forefront of their mind that keeps it amazing.
Chris
tommy
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I did not say it was the how but said "if". A lot of spectators guess how a trick is done, even if they guess wrong, they think they know. yet what the see still amazes them. I know how some illusions work but they still fascinate me. I don’t know why.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
So, nobody can talk without using the word "magic?" What has magic got to do with the question?

The word magic has everything to do with the question asked in this thread?
Quote:
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
But gee, if you guys can not focus on one topic at a time, this will just not happen. Seventeen pages! I could pretty much explain the basics of the whole theory in that much space, and we have only discussed the first statement!

If people want to hear any more of my ideas, I am very patient and will be glad to discuss any or all of them. But if this is just going to be a survey of everyone's opinions, and not an argument or discussion of the principles of magic, then I am out of here.

Excuse me what was the question? What is the definition of magic?

In theory the magic used as a word as in the suggestion of magic toward the audience? Or how the audience accepts or denies the suggestion of magic?

Suggestion of magic equals magic effect? That is my theory. Or perhaps the question should be is the effect of magic experienced by the audience that happens in their own mind - real? Or is the experience of a magic effect in the mind real?
Quote:
On 2006-05-14 14:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
Can anyone discuss and analyze the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?"

Sorry but with respect I did not know we were talking about "the art involved in the Teleportation Device routine without ever, ever using the word "magic?".

Sorry I am a little slow at keeping up.
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Whit Haydn
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Read other people's posts, Bish. It is important to try to understand what other people are saying. That will make it easier to keep up. Smile

The problem with continuing to use the word "magic" is that no one has a clue what you are talking about. We have all used the word magic in so many different ways that it is a totally meaningless term in the context of this discussion.

I wanted to try to see if we could find a way to talk about what we as magicians do without using the word "magic."

Chris and Mark have both just said a number of important things about the nature of what we do without ever using the word "magic." If you want to continue on in the discussion with us, then try to write about the topic without the word "magic." If you do not want to talk with us about that topic, then we can discuss your theory if you insist.

Your definitions are unclear. Define magic, and use the word the way you define it.

We will discuss your theory of magic then, instead of mine.

You said Suggestion of Magic = Magic Effect. Okay. What is magic? What is Suggestion? What is Effect?

Suggestion = ?

Effect = ?

Magic = ?

It is best to take these things one at a time. You will need to be patient, to keep trying to explain what you mean.

Take it for granted that no one knows what YOU mean by these terms, so you will have to take time and explain each one. People will argue with you about every aspect of every definition. That is what enables us to eventually understand what YOU are saying.

But it isn't any use to just keep throwing in your own terms and concepts without explaining them.
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If magic does not exist, then of course it can not be defined.
If it can be defined, then it exists in some form.
We can substitute words such as "supernatural" but one of two things will probably happen. We create synonyms with little distinction or we define down talking only about possible attributes that in no way constitute the whole.

Whit, when Jonathan translates you we seem to be saying the same thing. What I hear you say is the syllogism is central to everything. I gave a detailed response to that along with examples as you asked for, yet you gave no response. So, I don't know what I'm missing here. I may be missing something, but it sometimes seems you gloss over my posts with the impression they are all about generalities of the "magic of rainbows." I assure you they are not that.
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JackScratch
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Whit thinks we are talking about multiple things that use the same word, and share some things in common. What I can't get across to him is that they are all the same thing, but in different perspectives. More importantly that something doesn't seem to exist in his world, that is required to understand the nature of the defenition myself and others use for magic. Personaly, I don't see why a defenition is so all fire importantin the first place. Knowing what something is, but denying it's existance is pointless.
chrisrkline
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Whit can better answer what he is thinking. You are having trouble convincing him that they are all the same things because he believes they are not.

So, then you need to provide something to the debate that will help all of us understand what we do and to help us do better. Whit's theory does this, and it helps best when we get away from the esoteric definitions of magic and focus on what we specifically do in our actual shows. One thing I learned from Whit here is that it does me little good to focus on the supposed "magic" in a rainbow, since this does little to help me structure my show. What does help though is to recognize that it is not the trapping of "magic" that amazes it is my act of proving of something to the spectator that they know is not true, but which I have apparently proven.

It is true that the syllogism is not all there is (Whit has never said it was) and knowing it does not guarantee a good magic show, but arguing that a rainbow, a babies smile, God's love, or a kick-butt double lift all share something intangible called "magic" does not help at all.

(I know, I know, the double lift is not the magic.)
Chris
cinemagician
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"These are the new leads, the Glengary leads".

"But you don't get them, because giving them to you is like throwing them away".
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
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Unicorns don't exist, but I know what one is.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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As I see it, it's not quite a syllogism. It's more a train of thought that derails spilling the contents into tera incognito. Attempts to bring the train back on track leave an empty place over which can place a patch called magic.

I have no idea how that got there, it must be magic.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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I kinda like this definition from:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l......ct=title

"The art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that baffle and amaze, often by giving the impression that something impossible has been achieved."

A possible modification might be:
"The art of entertaining an audience by performing illusions that leave the impression that something impossible has happened."
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