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bishthemagish
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Quote:
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
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.

Please forgive me for being a slow reader because I have to decode before I can read. But also try to understand that I have talked magic theory with some of the best show business minds in magic since I was around 8 years old. Each one of them had their own theory and each one had an open mind as I have.
Quote:
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
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."

Very good I add because magic was the word used to describe the wonders of natures forces.
Quote:
On 2006-05-14 16:20, Whit Haydn wrote:
But it isn't any use to just keep throwing in your own terms and concepts without explaining them.

Unless they suggest to people to think about it as food for thought. One of the more interesting things I find about your theory is the way that you put it - the audience or the spectator is left on the horns of the bull.

From this point of view it is suggested that magic is a con, a lie, magic doesn't exist, magic is a fairy tail, all magic is storybook magic and theater. A con to con the audience. I understand this theory and understand the point of view. And I partly agree with it as it describes the way that many magician that I have known do magic and present it to an audience.

Is magic real to you Whit? Jon? Tommy?

Yet there are other points of view. To some magicians they also say hypnotism is fake. Hypnotism is not real yet I walk out on the stage and can do a hypnotic show with a row of chairs a mike and the subjects that want to be in the show.

Also it is odd that many magicians insist that magic is not real and it is sort of a lie or a con. To put it into your own theory I will try. If the magician does a magic trick on the stage and it is a lie or a con.

Then the audience watches it and they have the experience of the magic effect. Or the effect of magic. The oooooh. Does that make the ooooh or the experience of the effect of magic any less real?

In my opinion and my theory that the experience of real magic - that ooooh is real. It may only exist for a moment but it is real. Therefore in theory magic is real if the audience watching believes that it is real. And that depends on their own personal belief system.

You might say that in theory I use the science of manipulation to give the audience the suggestion of magic to give them the real experience of a magic effect. Or the unexplained effect of magic.
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Whit Haydn
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Look, guys. It is simple.

If we do not find a common set of definitions with which everyone can agree, then it is just silly to continue talking about this.

I have a fully defined set of definitions and categories with which I believe the theory of magic can be discussed, and by which all of the various approaches to our art can be described and compared.

We have discussed the first part of the definition, and have started to talk about the second part, the dilemma.

But other people have other theories--other sets of definitions. I will be glad to discuss anyone's theory, as long as we can get agreement on the definitions.

The important thing is for everyone to be on the same page. To share the SAME definitions, so that we know whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.

It is like the old story of the blind men and the elephant. When each of the blind men approached the elephant on his own, they each came away with a different understanding.

One thought it was like a rope, another like a snake. One thought it was like a tree, another like a wall. One thought it was like a huge leaf or a waving fan.

If all of them had approached the same part of the elephant together and come to agreement, then they could all move together to the next part and decide what that was like. Eventually they would get a much clearer picture of the elephant.

Magic is the elephant.

Let's talk about one part at a time.

Use my definitions, or someone elses but let's decide on one aspect of the theory at a time--one definition at a time.
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Quote:
On 2006-05-14 16:54, Bilwonder wrote:
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.


If you are saying the same thing, then let us agree on the primary formulation of my theory. If you are not saying the same thing, tell me which words you can not accept and why.

If you do not agree with my formulation of the basis of my theory, then you misunderstand both Jon and me.

I'm not sure to what extent Jon agrees with me, but I am certain he understands what I am saying.

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.
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Seems to me that calling it another catagory when the theory don't fit is like moving the goal posts.

Does explaining how something works tell us what it is?

Is magic real to you Tommy? At certain moments it is, yes.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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I'm a huge fan of Whit's theory. It sounded right when I read it. I particularly liked the part about the logical argument placed in the spectators' minds. I liked it so much that I decided to put it to the test of real work. As we all know, there's a bit of a difference between theory and practical application.

Besides all that... I just wanted to say that I was working all day Friday. I had about 70 people around me and wound up performing everything I knew. It's a darn good thing I brought my cards with me...

Anyway... the whole time performing, I was able to keep the "Horns of the Dilemma" clearly in my mind, even though the idea is relatively fresh to me. When the scales tipped in one direction, I tipped it the other way. When they tipped the other way, I tipped them back. The results of the day were slightly better than astounding, and that means that we're really on to something here.

As has been mentioned, ways and methods of setting up the dilemma are indeed as diverse as the individual. I hope Whit eventually has the time to write as much as he can about these different ways. And I hope he puts me at the top of his list when he decides to sell his ideas to this community.

Thanks, Whit. I'm finding, through practical real-time application, that your ideas work, and they work well. And that's no BS.
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Thanks, Patrick.

There are a lot of other realtime applications of my theory that are very useful in determining how to set up an effect and sell it, and how to create the right kind of engagement with the audience that can make them care about every trick that you do.

The theory can help you to understand why someone like Billy McComb, who would talk for hours about Nelms and Fitzkee and Maskelyne and Devant, could do a show that the first time you watch it you think, "God I'm glad I saw that" and you could watch the same act a thousand times afterward, and know how every trick was done, and still enjoy it as much the thousandth time.

There is no way to get to anything deeper until we can reach some sort of agreement on the primary statement.

I can't take anyone to the places I want to take them if everyone insists on hacking his own way through the jungle.

Let anyone make the attempt to define magic, but let us stick to that one simple statement. If we can not define what we do as an art form, we will never be successful at accomplishing anything.

I really am amazed that no one wants to accept my primary statement on the nature of magic, even just for argument's sake. Doesn't anyone want to see where it might lead?

Agree or disagree, or offer corrections, addendums, etc.:

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.

Or make your own formulation and let us examine that. It should be the most complete and concise description possible of exactly what it is that any performing magician, whether artist or entertainer, whether close-up, stage or television, does that is different from any other performing art. How do we distinguish the performance of Magic from any other performing art?

I think this is an important discussion, one that may be read many years from now.

I am writing seriously with that in mind, and I hope that you are, too.

But let us just consider one definition at a time, or I am out of here.
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Whit -

Though it's far from unanimous, I believe a number of people in this thread are on board with your definition. Personally, I'm more intersted in hearing (and responding to) your views on the subsequent steps than a mish-mash from people whose ideas are either conflicting or less well-defined, whether on this thread or another.

Drive this sucker out of the station...some of us are on board & eager to see stop #2.
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Part of the problem is that some of us do not understand the fundamental rules of definition. You can't form an acceptable definition of a word if you use that word or one of its derivatives in the definition, itself. However, you can use the word in an example that follows the definition.

For example, you can't define "up" by using a definition of "in an upward direction." It is meaningless, because you need to know what up means in order to understand what upward means. However, once you have defined "up," you could say, "For example: He started on the first floor and went up the stairs to the second floor."

So, a valid definition of "magic" must not contain the words "magic," "magical," "magician" or any other terms that refer to magic, itself. Otherwise, you are defining magic in terms of itself.

I like Whit's definition as a starting point for a theory of magic.

BTW, just to clarify something I said WAAYYY back a long time ago -- although I don't feel that many card tricks are magical, it's because of the presentations, not the tricks themselves. OOTW can knock a spectator's socks off. The signed card in the sealed envelope in wallet is strong medicine, presented well. "Rainbow Cascade" is a very strong piece of card magic, if presented well. But done in a mediocre manner, they are worthless.

The tricks are tools, not goals in themselves. It's how we use those tools that produces the magic. Or whatever it is.
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Thanks, Bill. Well said.
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As fascinating (and frustrating) as step one was, I'm ready to move on to step two.
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See, I don't realy think the definition is the problem here. I think the problem here is that each and every one of us wants everyone to agree to use the definition that we have each presented. Mostly, I'm certain, because we are each the one who presented them. In other words, we are magicians and our egos are appropriately out of control.
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Unless I have missed something, Whit does not intend for his defintion to be the end product. It's just the groundwork of defining what magic is, not its emotional impact upon an audience or the exact methodology of it.

It's basically brick #1.
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Josh Riel
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This is where you get the reply: "I don't think the definition of magic should be made out of bricks, Mr. Palmer. See magic is a flowing, moving thing so it should be more along the lines of '1st gallon' rather than 'brick # 1'". Which is why no one can describe an elephant with their eyes closed.

Honestly while even I, the not smartest person here can understand , there will never be a unanimous-isity-ishness.

I say on to the second gallon!
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Quote:
" If you are saying the same thing, then let us agree on the primary formulation of my theory. If you are not saying the same thing, tell me which words you can not accept and why."

Whit, you seem to be playing "leap frog" with me. I gave a part of Jonathan's statement as a proposed starting point of agreement. You made no comment on that. I've already told you which words and why on the formulation you keep putting forth (although you've change a few words since that post, it does not effect my comments). You did not respond to those.

I will post again in more detail Jonathan's statements that seem to fit mine and he claims fit's yours [somewhat rearrange to highlight a "definition." My additions in brackets]. I know this is a broader starting point, but if we can agree this is "where the magic is" then we can discuss how the formulation you keep presenting fits [either all the time or part of the time]. I do hope you go back and address my earlier post directed this.

Again, I don't see these as "many definitions," but rephrasing the same thing.

Quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
In Whit's terms, a magician opens a door between an imagined world and the shared world of the performance, then keeps his foot in to allow things to pass between those worlds and perhaps offers the audience a peek into an imagined world, all the while making sure nothing else from that world seeps in and that the audience stays in their world too.

Consider then, that a magician is one who moves things between those worlds [ or "magic"= the perception that we have moved between worlds].


[Magic is] a meta-experience...
It is in watching ourselves bounce between what we expect to be true and what we observe as true that we find MAGIC.

[Magic is] collapsing an anchor of conviction against an anchor of perception. The dilemma that starts the feedback/transderivational search/cognitive dissonance is how we elicit that meta-experience [=Magic].
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Whatever magic is I hope I don't do all that stuff to the poor folk who watch. Most are only kids for gosh sake!
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
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Read on McDuff, Read on...
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Bilwonder:

Those statements all deal with the dilemma and have nothing to do with the primary statement.

If you insist on re-writing the primary statement it should:

"be the most complete and concise description possible of exactly what it is that any performing magician, whether artist or entertainer, whether close-up, stage or television, does that is different from any other performing art. How do we distinguish the performance of Magic from any other performing art?"


I could not comment on anything you have said so far because you have defined none of your terms. I have no idea what you are talking about, and if anyone else here does, I would like to have them explain it to me.

If you don't accept my formulation, write one that is not self-referential (does not contain the word magic anywhere in the definition), and that describes every kind of performance magic and how it is distinguished from every other kind of theatrical performance.

No one can put tea in a cup that is full.
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Quote:
On 2006-05-14 23:49, JackScratch wrote:
See, I don't realy think the definition is the problem here. I think the problem here is that each and every one of us wants everyone to agree to use the definition that we have each presented. Mostly, I'm certain, because we are each the one who presented them. In other words, we are magicians and our egos are appropriately out of control.


I have asked people to accept my definitions at least as a starting point for discussion. But there has been no consensus on that. So I have offered to consider anyone else's theory who was willing to set down an orderly, definition at a time theory of magic. Anything to be able to discuss the nature of magic with a set of terms that everyone all agrees on.

I do not have an ego investment in this argument, and I don't think magicians who are serious about their work allow ego to get in the way of their crtitique and understanding of the art. It is too important to the creation of art to have a set of critical tools with which to understand what we do or want to do.

I don't know who you are intimating is just arguing out of ego, but I am certain it isn't me. I am trying to test my theories in front of other thinking performers. So far, few seem to want to hear them.

It may be useless to attempt this sort of in-depth look at magic on a forum such as this. Too many people are not serious about the effort. I have learned some things, and I think improved some of the wording of my formulations.

But the amount of time it takes to respond to people who have not really tried to understand what I am saying or allowed me the chance to lay out the theory as a whole, and to the repetitive circumlocutions of those who do not want to take time to define their terms and simplify their expressions, makes this less and less worthwhile for me.

I have been trying to explain the critical tools with which I have approached my work for the last thirty years. Over that time, I have created numbers of routines such as the Comedy Four Ring Routine, the Mongolian Pop-Knot, Teleportation Device, Killer Epic, Chicago Surprise, Intricate Web of Distraction and others that are well known among magicians and have won numerous awards from the Magic Castle and others.

I have performed many different kinds of magic in many different venues--close-up, manipulation, illusions, mentalism, street-magic, comedy clubs, restaurants, cruise ships, amusement parks, casino showrooms, television, and film. I am not bragging, just stating that I have had consideable experience in both performing and creating magic, and some success. I am not just an armchair philosopher.

I think it is worthwhile to understand how an artist goes about creating his art. I am surprised only three or four people have expressed any interest in hearing what I have to say.
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The use of the word magic in the definition reminds me of the kid who is asked to define the word amazing; "Amazing, something that amazes you."
POOF!
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Well Whit, I certainly would like to continue, but I understand why you would have better things to do. Even though I have had to drift away from my very part-time magic because of some concerns at school, I still would buy your book when it comes out (some years from now.)

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.

Bilwonder. Whit provides us a clear starting point. The central ideas (formal logical argument, untrue premises, concious deception, the need of the spectators to accept that something has been proven that they firmly believe to be untrue) are clear. One might debate specifics such as the need for formal as opposed to informal logic, or even to what extent the spectators need to maintain the conviction that the conclusion is false (but which the magician has proven to be true.)

But it is easy to just start here. Why not just start with the statement and investigate where it will go. Look at in light of several routines. Look at it in light of the creative process and use Mr. Haydn's considerable experience for our benefit.

Whit mentions that he does not understand what you are saying. I will specify.

When you say that magic is a meta-experience, are you using this like someone might say something is a meta-cognigtion? Meta-cognition means to think about one's thinking. Are we experiencing our experiences? What does that mean? This is what magic is? Would it make any difference if you had just written experience rather than meta-experience? And even if you just changed it to experience or not, what does it mean to say

[Magic is] a meta-experience...
It is in watching ourselves bounce between what we expect to be true and what we observe as true that we find MAGIC.

[Magic is] collapsing an anchor of conviction against an anchor of perception. The dilemma that starts the feedback/transderivational search/cognitive dissonance is how we elicit that meta-experience [=Magic].


Are these both separate definitions? They both start with "Magic is" but the second references the first. What in the world is transderivational search? How does feedback play a role? I do have some experience with philosophy, particularly the method of writing quasi-philosophical musings that make no sense (I was in college once, too.) But I do not understand this. How does it lead to better magic.

How does this help me be a better magician?

Why is this a better formulation than Whit's?
Chris
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