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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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cinemagician
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Whit Haydn wrote:

Suspension of disbelief is irrelevant.

OK for now it is...you're right

Without a false cause, the audience has no challenge to tackle and no reason to care.

"Look, those cards have moved," does not engage anyone.

Agreed

"I can make those cards move, just with the power of the mind--watch!" would be more likely to attract the interest of the spectators.

Agreed

Erdnase used the "natural affinity of the cards" as the motivating cause. This sort of "quality" of the object cause is too passive, generally for my tastes, and creates tricks that may be foolers, but do not seem to challenge and engage the audience the way that other formulations might. Twisting the Aces and Oil and Water are often presented in this manner.

Agreed

It is very dangerous and confusing to introduce the definitions of Nelms, Fitzkee or anyone else in this discussion. Nothing should be assumed unless it is defined and agreed on beforehand. I use the same terms often differently. I do not mean the same thing they mean, and you should not assume that I do. I am trying to redefine everything in terms of this new way of looking at the subject.

Disagree- without linkage of your ideas to other concepts it is impossible to have a discussion.

The "Theater of Deception" (including fake magic, fake science, fake alchemy or any other similar "theatrical swindle") is distinguished by the 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.

I asked for some ideas on names for the categories, something that would be helpful when we start on step two of the description of magic--the dilemma. No one has tried to tackle that, which would actually help me and help us move on to the next level.

OK lets focus there-
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

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bishthemagish
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A little bit of my opinion here but there are two ways a magician might use the words "Magic Effect".

The first way is often said by stuck up magicians when they talk about the magic they do or a magic trick they own. How often I have heard magicians say "It is not a magic trick it is a magic effect" of "Tricks are for kids we do effects".

That to me is silly because magicians do tricks and the audience experiences the magic effect.

Then there is the "Magic effect" doing magic tricks has on the imagination of the audience or the spectator. The "effect that is magical" that it has in the mind of the audience in their own imagination.

One of the more interesting things about this thread is how some have tried to box it up. Only magic tricks can be put into the box. The effect that the tricks have on others in a performance that they see and happens in their own imagination is what you might call - "Thinking outside the box or experiencing the effect of real magic.
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Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2006-05-16 15:28, cinemagician wrote:
Whit Haydn wrote:

"It is very dangerous and confusing to introduce the definitions of Nelms, Fitzkee or anyone else in this discussion. Nothing should be assumed unless it is defined and agreed on beforehand. I use the same terms often differently. I do not mean the same thing they mean, and you should not assume that I do. I am trying to redefine everything in terms of this new way of looking at the subject."

Disagree- without linkage of your ideas to other concepts it is impossible to have a discussion.



Who did Fitzkee link to? Who did Maskelyne and Devant link to? I don't agree with them, or with Nelms, or with any other writer on magic. I have my own, I think better, way of looking at things. All of these guys were very helpful to me in understanding and formulating my theory, but I found them all wanting.

Why on earth would you want to understand what I am saying by trying to use their contradicting terms and ideas?

Why is it impossible to have a discussion without resorting to the terms and definitions of other writers?

This is not an amalgam of theories, or a different way of looking at things, it is a systematic theory.

If you bring in the Fitzkee usage of "effect" as a violation of natural law, then wouldn't that be confusing to those who understand the term "effect" in Maskelyne and Devant as the type of theatrical effect involved, whether an effect of surprise or repetition or transformation?

Why NOT rewrite the terms so that we are all on the same page?

This theory I am presenting is not meant to be a sort of "Stone Soup" that is improved by everyone throwing in something like a head of lettuce or a carrot.

I meant to define everything and defend everything.

I wanted to make sure I could make people understand what I am saying.

I don't need anyone's help in figuring out what I have to say. I already know what I want to say.

I just want to see if anyone else can understand it the way I am expressing it, and if anyone else finds it of as much use and help as I do in my work.
cinemagician
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O.K. the re-writing would be beneficial. Perhaps it has not been attempted Since "Our Magic" and YES, you are correct, their terms and definitions are dated and not even used the same way that they were 80 years ago.

Fitzkee and M&D for the most part did not did not "link to" other theories too much

Darwin Ortiz did, that is what makes "Strong Magic" palateable.

But you're right, the linkage is not absolutely necessary-

What do you mean by "some ideas on the names of the categories"

Can someone select another example like the "Exclusive Cotterie" we seemed to be making some progress there.

Good example Tommy
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Whit Haydn
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Actually, Fitzkee, Nelms, and many others have made the attempt since M & D to set forth a basic theory of magic. Others, like Darwin Ortiz, have written valuable commentaries on these subjects, though not constructed as a formal system.

My undergraduate degree in philosophy and graduate studies of systematic theology tend to lead me to look at these things in a very formal and systematic way.

I do not find M & D dated in the least. Their theory is still an acceptable position I think, and their work is seminal, valuable and probably the most incisive thing on magic I have ever read. Like Johnny Thompson advises, I reread the chapters on theory in Our Magic at least once a year. I just don't agree with them, and my disagreements are profound.

I am sorry that you find my attempt to create a systematic theory of magic less palatable because I do not rely on prior authority.

Why don't you continue making progress, cinemagician. I think I will go make a sandwich.
cinemagician
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OK- tonite I want to submit a routine of my own so that it can be disected in light of the basis of your theory?

But for now-

We can consider "The Exclusive Cotterie"

Based on Tommy's description of the routine sans the "patter" it seems that we have some dissonance between what the "missing or untrue premise" might be.

If presneted flatly, as in, "I'll place the ladies in a face down row, and deal 4 indifferent cards on top of each queen" and then "bang" - "Look man- now they're all in the same pile"

Then "the missing or untrue premise" must be that the queens were delt in four separate places to begin with.

If the presentation is beefed up (still week) to include, the introduction of a tailsman or charm placed marked with the symbol for "female" on top of the "leader" packets, and the audience is told that this tailsman "attracts the queens by drawing upon the inherent "feemale energies of the cards" and then they arrive.

The valid sylogism is that the thing really works. The missing or untrue premise is that this is not really how it was achieved. ?

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

William Butler Yeats
Whit Haydn
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Have fun. I am done here. Good luck, and thanks for all the interest.

I think that this thread, as valuable as it may have been in places, just isn't the right place for me to try to explain something as complicated and obviously controversial as these ideas on the nature of our art.

I don't think it is anyone's fault, just the nature of the beast.

I think I will go start a thread on which magic trick is the most clever in design.

Everyone can then have an equal vote, with equal value.
cinemagician
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Can anyone besides Whit attempt to analize, "The exclusive cotterie" in light of his theory?

I think my question in the post above this one is valid. And would help me to better understand the theory.
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Jonathan Townsend
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Okay

I saw a guy put down the four queens far apart.
Then he put three cards on each queen.
Then he asked me to pick a pile of cards of the four and I did and put my hand on them.

Then the guy made each of the queens vanish from the other piles.
And when I looked under my hand there were all four queens.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
cinemagician
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Ok, Jon-

This is what I want your oppinion on-

With a presentaion as base as that the valid sylogimsm is-

I saw a guy put down the four queens far apart.
Then he put three cards on each queen.
Then he asked me to pick a pile of cards of the four and I did and put my hand on them.

The one missing or untrue premise in this case is THE METHOD itself

How does this change when the "natural affinity of the cards" premise is added as the motivating cause?

Does the fact that the cards assemble then verify the premise thus making it a "valid sylogism?
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Whit Haydn
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The untrue premises are always "the method," or at least a part of the method that is noted by the spectator. The syllogism's conclusion--The affinity of the queens for each other caused them to mysteriously disappear from three other packets and magically change place with other cards or those other cards transformed magically into the queens.

I don't see the point in talking about my theory, since we have never really presented it. Anything that is said from now on will likely be a misunderstanding of what I want to say, since none of us is in possession of the same set of definitions.

That is why I do not want to discuss this anymore. It is useless to discuss it if we are not going to do the work of coming to agreement for the purposes of discussion of the definitions of the terms we will be using. We have to agree on what meaning of a word we will be using in the course of our discussion. Without this time-consuming and important task, conversation is useless. We have only Babel.
cinemagician
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OK, thank you.
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Dave V
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This just in:

Image
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
tommy
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LOL

Erdnase got around this problem by simply telling us what his terms meant at the start of the book. He did not ask us to agree with them.

"Technical Terms"
"MANY of the methods of card manipulation explained in this work originated with us, and we have, in describing the various processes and conditions, used certain terms for the sake of brevity, to designate the particular matters referred to. The reader desiring to follow the action intelligently must clearly understand the meaning of the terms. A careful perusal of the following definitions will save much time and perplexity in comprehending the processes described:"

-Erdnase-


So might I suggest that Whit says “Look I ain’t asking you, what my Technical Terms mean , I am telling you!” We don’t have to agree with terms we just have to comprehend how the author is using them.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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cinemagician
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Sorry If I contributed to his throwing in the towell. I have posted an apology.

M.W. Walsh
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
magicalaurie
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Quote:
On 2006-05-12 19:28, kregg wrote:
Add a pinch of salt and BAMM!!!


:hysteric:
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"Movement is the arc between two deaths..."
D. Humphrey


I can sympathize with Whit's frustration. We each feel it. Obviously Whit has a very complex mental map he is trying to express piecemeal. We will naturally try to understand things by relating it to how we have defined things before (compare/contrast).

Everyone here has found Whit's formula useful.
No one here really understands what he is saying either. I'm a bit lost in his use of many terms, (such terms as " Art of Deception or Theater of the Dilemma, or how something that contains no deception can be placed inside the "Theater of Deception").

All that aside, I think the mapping is important. If we wish a definition of what we do to show distinction from other arts then we could map from there.

However, as Bill Palmer keeps saying, the definition itself should be concise. I've given my definition early on in many forms, so I won't redo that here. Rather, let us consider what magic ISN'T. I see magic as a subset of most anything, but as a subset it distinguishes itself. I also see it's originality possibly in how it combines (and recombines) other arts into a new experience.

In lieu of Whit listing definitions of all his terms and posting the intro to his new book as part of the defining process for us to follow...I suggest we continue to see how our maps relate to the classic maps we keep associating ourselves with.


What distinguishes magic from other arts?

First consider the Classic Nine Arts as trilogies (outlined by Paul Weiss in his book "The Nine Arts"). Most of us would find "Magic," as we perform it, to lie in the trilogy of "Dynamic Arts." But I think "Magic" is being developed in the other areas as well.

1. Spatial arts (a triad of Architecture, sculpture & painting)
The members of this first triad create spaces,
2. Temporal arts (a triad of musicry, story, and poetry)
The members of this second triad create times.
3. Dynamic arts (A triad of music, theatre, and the dance).
The members of this third triad create ways of becoming."

Weiss points out the more we synthesize the arts, the more we multiply them. They become "Compound Arts" with hundreds of possible combinations from the initial set of nine.


As I said, the third trilogy is where most of us perform our type of "magic." And as these deal with "way of becoming," it seems apt to the the label of magic consists in a "transformational state of mind."

However, magic in Spatial arts could be found in such standing illusions as Jerry Andrus creates and photographs.

The Temporal may be an area developed more in such work as Knepper and "Wonder words.' Those cases where perception is altered using ONLY words to bring about he effect in the mind of the spectator.

This is just "Food for Thought."
Perhaps a dead horse that can't be beat is the winner.
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On second thought, forget it (It won't let me delete)
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Whit Haydn
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Quote:
On 2006-05-16 23:26, Bilwonder wrote:
"Movement is the arc between two deaths..."
D. Humphrey


I can sympathize with Whit's frustration. We each feel it. Obviously Whit has a very complex mental map he is trying to express piecemeal. We will naturally try to understand things by relating it to how we have defined things before (compare/contrast).

Everyone here has found Whit's formula useful.
No one here really understands what he is saying either. I'm a bit lost in his use of many terms, (such terms as " Art of Deception or Theater of the Dilemma, or how something that contains no deception can be placed inside the "Theater of Deception").

All that aside, I think the mapping is important. If we wish a definition of what we do to show distinction from other arts then we could map from there.

However, as Bill Palmer keeps saying, the definition itself should be concise. I've given my definition early on in many forms, so I won't redo that here. Rather, let us consider what magic ISN'T. I see magic as a subset of most anything, but as a subset it distinguishes itself. I also see it's originality possibly in how it combines (and recombines) other arts into a new experience.

In lieu of Whit listing definitions of all his terms and posting the intro to his new book as part of the defining process for us to follow...I suggest we continue to see how our maps relate to the classic maps we keep associating ourselves with.


What distinguishes magic from other arts?

First consider the Classic Nine Arts as trilogies (outlined by Paul Weiss in his book "The Nine Arts"). Most of us would find "Magic," as we perform it, to lie in the trilogy of "Dynamic Arts." But I think "Magic" is being developed in the other areas as well.

1. Spatial arts (a triad of Architecture, sculpture & painting)
The members of this first triad create spaces,
2. Temporal arts (a triad of musicry, story, and poetry)
The members of this second triad create times.
3. Dynamic arts (A triad of music, theatre, and the dance).
The members of this third triad create ways of becoming."

Weiss points out the more we synthesize the arts, the more we multiply them. They become "Compound Arts" with hundreds of possible combinations from the initial set of nine.


As I said, the third trilogy is where most of us perform our type of "magic." And as these deal with "way of becoming," it seems apt to the the label of magic consists in a "transformational state of mind."

However, magic in Spatial arts could be found in such standing illusions as Jerry Andrus creates and photographs.

The Temporal may be an area developed more in such work as Knepper and "Wonder words.' Those cases where perception is altered using ONLY words to bring about he effect in the mind of the spectator.

This is just "Food for Thought."
Perhaps a dead horse that can't be beat is the winner.


"Mr. Kurtz, he dead. A penny for the old guy."
--T. S. Eliot

"People luv to be cheated, but they wants it done by a artist."
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"Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!"
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

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