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

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Dave V
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Jaz,
The problem is, unlike some of the posters who are derailing the discussion at every turn, Whit has a true desire to discuss his theories with others.

Taking it to a website or Blog loses the interaction he seeks.

He's even expressed an interest in discussing the theories of others as well, but it's really hard to keep the conversation on track while people ping-pong between multiple discussions.

Your idea might be a "happy medium" where he posts pieces at a time, and then opens it up for discussion. At a time of his choosing, he simply moves on to the next step, with or without the cooperation of the others. When done, his website, wiki, blog, whatever, will be a complete reflection of his thoughts, before and after the discussions have occurred.

This is a great opportunity to actually witness a book being written and the thought processes involved in it's creation. I'm looking forward to it.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Josh Riel
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Whit, you are arguing with 2 people. Do what most people do with my posts: Ignore them. I would like to see the rest of the theory evolve. I don't think you can convert those who would rather argue than understand.
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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Jack Scratch says:

Quote:
"@Whit-How bout the two defenitions on the first page, second post. I think they are pretty good myself."

If my spelling realy bothers you, one of us is going to have to leave the forum perminantly, because it's likely to not get a whole lot better.


You mean these, I take it?

1. Magic is the use of ones(sic) will to cause things to happen. (this is a quote of Aliester Crowley, yes it refers to a different magic, but I feel it applys(sic) to both equaly(sic) well. Actualy(sic) I feel they are pretty much one in the same.)

2. Conjouring(sic), Entertainment useing(sic) feets(sic) that are believed impossible.



These two that you want to use are not really meaningful in distinguishing magic (conjuring) the performance art from magick the religion (ritual magic), magic as fantasy (Harry Potter/Merlin), magic as a kind of superpower or force, and the use of magic as special effect or transitional device in theater and film.

Actually, many special effects in film created by CGI would fit those definitions.

If you can not define your work any clearer than that, you will end up painting a picture when you are trying to compose a symphony.

How do you know if you are actually summoning a demon or doing a double lift if they are the same thing? Do you really think a definition that includes so many different possible artforms, technologies and concepts could be useful to anyone?

How many times does Bill Palmer have to explain to you that dictionaries are simply a general explanation of how words are used by people. They are surveys, not analysis. Most people use words wrongly. That is why a horrible double negative like irregardless--that should never have existedat all--is now excepted as a word--it was voted in because enough ignorant people used it that it became an "accepted" word in English.

That is not how any technical subject is discussed. You define your own terms to suit the rigors of the subject. No technological writing will look to a popular dictionary to understand it's terminology.

We are trying to get a working definition of the art form we are engaged in.

You obviously just want to go on twirping about unicorns.
Bill Palmer
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Drew:

Those definitions are irrelevant. One is about the occult. The other basically defines magic as conjuring. Since magic and conjuring are synonyms, it's a circular definition.

Let Whit make his statement.
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Josh Riel
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I didn't mean ignore MY post.... Sigh....
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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Sorry, Josh. Didn't mean to ignore your post. I am not trying to convert Drew. I am just trying to get him to shut up.
Jonathan Townsend
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Whit, what's lacking with the stories type definition? "When in a story, will effects a result, we have magic"

I'm taking the subjective frame of reference on this item with the claim that anything one experiences or believes is a story even if only one tells oneself.

As the story "teller" or "giver" the performer brings people into a situation where they take the story with them.

How is this for a framework or perspective?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
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Interesting, Jon. Let's get back to that after I introduce my theory, or pm me. I am quickly losing interest in this project, and if I don't get to lay out the theory soon, I am probably going to move the whole discussion over to http://www.ScoundrelsForum.com and start all over without all this baggage.

On the other hand, I would hate to lose a lot of the work that has already been done in this thread. Even though I am starting over, the clarifications and arguments we have had so far might be helpful to someone.

Except for a few time-wasting posts from people that refuse to accept that there is at least some difference worth talking about between magic that requires the performer to do a double-lift and magic that requires you to know the exact pronunciation of a demon's name, much of value has been said by many people.

So let's move on if we can, and try for clarifications and exceptions and modifications after the whole thing is laid out.
JackScratch
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Actualy Bill, that was ment to be the defenition of "Conjouring" to be used in place of magic for purposes of discribing the work of a magician.

That's the thing about the first defenition it's realy broad. Sommoning a deamon and a DL aren't the same thing, no, that's what you have the words "Summoning a Deamon" and "DL" beyond that, I believe them both and a great deal more to fit in the same genre. Doing a DL and a pass are two different things as well, do you feel strongly that they need two different genre's also? I love Crowleys definition because it is perfect. It doesn't discribe the occult, it discribes any concious act of man as magic. That's what I discribe magic as. I can get more specific, thus the defenition of "conjouring" but for the word "magic" it should be restricted. It shouldn't be defined in tiny finite terms.
Jonathan Townsend
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Okay Whit I'd like to know more about what works for you.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
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Drew:

So any concious act of man is magic? I need you to do a thirty minute show of conscious acts. Are you any good? Got any references? Can you tell one conscious act from another? Which ones do you recommend? Do you think a theory based on something this big and nebulous is going to help anyone else even accomplish a conscious act?

A double lift and a pass do belong in the same discussion. They are both a part of sleight of hand. Something used by card sharks, pickpockets, theives, magicians, confidence men and others. Anyone that uses it would be interested in talking to anyone else that uses it, even for different purposes. We can learn something from the others, even if they have different uses for it.

Sleight of hand is one of the Arts of Deception. It is used by both entertainers and thieves, and the principles are the same.

The practice of pseudo-magic (I thank Bilwonder for this term) that we get hired to perform, also makes use of sleight of hand. We classify things together because they belong together.

You want to jump into a conversation of sleight of hand that may be of interest to the magicians, con men and gamblers who are participating, and talk about demons and Harry Potter spells.

The reason we separate a discussion of Demonic Summoning from one of performance magic, is that the one is irrelevant to the other. Most people are not going to be interested in a combined discussion. I don't need to know anything about summoning a demon to do my next gig at the Magic Castle. I do need to know about magic, theater, sleight of hand, acting, etc. By making every definition so broad, you never can be questioned about your beliefs. You can never be found out to be wrong. What you don't mean can't hurt you. Since you don't say anything, you can't mean anything. You can't be wrong.

That is just stupid. You can not distinguish between any of these arts and technologies because you do not have anything to say about any of them.
LobowolfXXX
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The parlour could use a good "conscious act" act. I'm working on a 10-minute audition in which I'll lift my hands, alternately.

The logical extension to the notion that "everything is magic" is that pretty much nothing is.

ok, off to Scoundrels Forum.
"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."
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2006-05-19 22:13, JackScratch wrote:
Actualy Bill, that was ment to be the defenition of "Conjouring" to be used in place of magic for purposes of discribing the work of a magician.

That's the thing about the first defenition it's realy broad. Sommoning a deamon and a DL aren't the same thing, no, that's what you have the words "Summoning a Deamon" and "DL" beyond that, I believe them both and a great deal more to fit in the same genre. Doing a DL and a pass are two different things as well, do you feel strongly that they need two different genre's also? I love Crowleys definition because it is perfect. It doesn't discribe the occult, it discribes any concious act of man as magic. That's what I discribe magic as. I can get more specific, thus the defenition of "conjouring" but for the word "magic" it should be restricted. It shouldn't be defined in tiny finite terms.


That statement proves that you haven't understood one word of what Whit has been trying to say. We are trying to find a precise definition of magic, as we perform it, not occultism. To say that magic or conjuring is entertainment that uses feats that are believed impossible is way too broad.

BTW, the similarity between a classic pass and a DL is much closer than the similarity between a classic pass and trying to conjure the spirit of Abramelin the Mage.
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Whit Haydn
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Not quite yet, LobowolfXXX. Maybe everything has quieted down. Lets wait and see for a bit.

Some people only learn respect at the wrong end of a pool cue.

Thanks, Bill. Exactly right.
kregg
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Whit,
I am chomping at the bit. We can all speed read and brush over the silly posts. No need to dignify what is already clear to 99% of us.
You were saying...
POOF!
JackScratch
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Fine, you guys define magic as anything you feel like defining it as. I still strongly disagree with defenitions that state deception and completely disassociate what we do with rainbows, summoninmg extra dimensional creatures, and babies smiling, directly, but I shouldn't be this worried about your intent. The word means what society holds it to mean, whatever that may be. Even if you get your decision into the American Herritage Dictionary, it is my sispicion that the overal usages will not change. I find you defenition, as I last read it a little offensive, but what I can't find is a reason why you would care that I find it offensive, so find away.
Whit Haydn
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We are not trying to change the overall usages of the word. The dictionary, as we have told you before, only does surveys of how words are used by people in actual speech and writing. What we do here has no effect on any of that.

This is simply a group of people agreeing on the set of terms and their meanings that we will use for this discussion. Just relax. You don't have to agree. You don't have to change your mind. It is best if you just sit back and listen for a while. That is all we are asking.

We have heard your disagreements, and have considered them. I am sorry if you found something offensive in my first statement of the theory, but that is the way it goes.

You don't get to change my theory just because you disagree with it.

I don't understand how you manage to disagree so strongly with something you have never let me explain. I feel like I said "I think..." and you yelled "Wrong!"

Just let me lay it out, please, for everyone else.

When I am finished, then I would welcome your criticism. Just wait until you have a chance to understand things a little better.

I am afraid that this whole exercise has been over your head so far, and that if you would relax and try to understand things a little better, you might not be making so many silly statements.
Bill Palmer
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Drew:

You are the wall I was referring to earlier. Magic, as we are concerned with it on the Café, has NOTHING TO DO with rainbows, unicorns, elves, hobbits, Aleister Crowley, Liber 777 or any other occult stuff. It has to do with the practice of deception for the purposes of entertainment.

The other stuff can be added as flavor to a story line, as a theme, or whatever you wish, but not as a part of the fundamental definition of conjuring.

All we are sa-ay-ing
is give Whit a chance.

BTW, Drew --

I've been having trouble with the Sheets Acquitment. Should I summon Padael or make a larger donation to Exu?
"The Swatter"

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cinemagician
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O.K. I'm still here. I like the use of the term "pseudo-magic" in place of "fake magic" in the definition.

It's not perfect, but is probably better than "fake magic" for obvious reasons.

Those who are emotionally opposed to terms such as "fake magic" and "lying" may find it easier to accept, and therefore may be less likely to misconstrue the "definition".
...The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity...

William Butler Yeats
Whit Haydn
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Yes. Bilwonder came up with that in a PM to me. I think it is much better.

Psuedo-Magic, Psuedo-Science, Psuedo-Alchemy, etc. are all genres of the Theater of the Dilemma. They all intententionally create the dilemma (a paradox) in the mind of the spectator for the purposes of art/and or entertainment. This is the major category for performance magic.

Performers might also present other types or categories of entertainment within a performance, but it is the presence of the dilemma that makes the entertainment one of interest to us here.

The Theater of the Dilemma is just one branch of the Theater of Deception.

Fire-Eating, Blockhead, strong man stunts, mind-reading--any sort of theatrical presentation that involves the Art of Deception--are also part of the Theater of Deception.

They do not create the dilemma the same way as in the Theater of the Dilemma.

But each one can be identified and categorized both on the basis of how they handle the deception--they all use some sort of valid but false or invalid argument to deceive--and on the basis of their intent or purpose with regard to their audiences.

I see these as sort of intersecting circles.

The Art of the Theater and the Art of Deception both include the Theater of Deception.

The Art of Deception includes the skills and crafts of make-up, costuming, illusion, camoflauge, acting, etc.

Some of these skills are used by the legitimate Theater and Film, as well as by exotic dancers, criminals, con men, card cheats, thieves, comics, propagandists, advertisers, and all sorts of people with different goals and purposes.

If you understand how what we do in the Theater of the Dilemma is similar and also how it is different from other branches of theater and from other arts of deception we get a better understanding of what we are about.
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