The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3..8..13..18..23..26~27~28~29~30..40~41~42 [Next]
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
16262 Posts

Profile of tommy
I agreed with Whit's deffinition about six pages back and I am always interested in what Whit has to say.

The only problem with the deffinition for me is knowing what it deffines?
To me it defines how magic is created. For the sake of argument I accept that is a definition of magic itself.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
chrisrkline
View Profile
Special user
Little Rock
965 Posts

Profile of chrisrkline
I think it is more of a goal of what we want to create. How we create this is further down the road.

If you look over the years on this forum at the "What is magic" threads, many, if not most, people focus on the supposed reaction of the audience to the "supernatural" aspects of the average magic show, and very little on what we do. We all know, or suspect, what we would do if we ran across a real demonstration of magic or psychic phenomenon--"Martha, find the smelling salts!" Many believe that our focus should be to figure out how to bring about this state of mental disorder in our shows. But many want to reinvent the wheel. They don't believe that magicians take it all seriously enough. It is almost as if once we personally think we understand this suposed deep and important "something" happening in the audiences' mind, that we need to develop a whole new way to perform. Because of this, these discussions often devolve into the need to express an understanding of the profundity in magic, ("If magic were real, would I do a card trick?") or into vague ruminations on the connection with our show and the "magic" in the real world. It also leads some to believe that we diminish our show if the audience does not "believe."

Whit seems to ask us to step back, and just look at what we do. He doesn't speculate on what might be happening in the audiences mind, rather, it seems, he looks at successful magicians and routines, looks at the audience and what they really express, and looks for a connection. What connects the goofball street performer in a fedora, the kids magician with the big bow tie, the serious stage performer in a tux, and David Blaine? What connects any of our effects, the ones that have an explicit supernatural component, and the ones that mention silly, made up, laws of physics? Are the audiences' reactions to our "magic" really the same as they would be if they truly experienced a supernatural event? Do we want that as a goal? Whit's whole idea here, if I understand it, is that use deceit to convince people something is true that they know is not true. Both of these are necessary. They must accept the proof and they must know that the conclussion can't be true.

Sounds like a place to start.
Chris
JackScratch
View Profile
Inner circle
2151 Posts

Profile of JackScratch
Why does everyone think an ego is a bad thing?
Josh Riel
View Profile
Inner circle
of hell
1999 Posts

Profile of Josh Riel
While I have nothing of real value to add here , as is not unusual, I would still like to hear Whit Haydn continue, as well as Tommy, Johnathan Townsend and others as well that I have (to my loss)paid less attention to since I first came. This is one of those kinds of discussions that these guys thrive on. Makes for good reading.

May I make a suggestion that if this becomes 2 or more parts that you make another thread? This takes a lot of reading. It's hard to remember where the posts are that you want to reference.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
A second thread will be lost and separated from this one in a short time.

Since my arguments have to be built one on another, I would rather keep them all in one place. I already feel bad that some important things I said on the Blaine thread are now not on this one.

Tommy:

The primary statement is simply a description of that which distinguishes the performance of magic from other theatrical performances. Nothing more. It is not a definition of magic. It is the starting place for a description. It does what I said that any primary formulation of the definition of magic should:

"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."


That is the meaning of this formulation:

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.

This formulation describes in general, all the parts of the Theater of Deception that can be described this way: Fake Science, Fake Magic, Fake Alchemy, etc. All of these have this one thing (the valid but false syllogism) in common.

These performance arts (Fake Magic as opposed to Fake Science, for example) are distinguished from each other by the nature of the lie that is told, and the manner in which the dilemma is set up.

But this statement describes what these arts have in common that are different from all the other performance arts in the Theater of Deception and in the Art of Theater.

Chris:

Thanks. I feel all better, now.

Drew:

No one has said ego is a bad thing.

However letting ego get in the way of the search for truth might be bad...
cinemagician
View Profile
Inner circle
Phila Metro Area
1094 Posts

Profile of cinemagician
Excellent Post Chris. Awaiting part two.

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

William Butler Yeats
Bill Palmer
View Profile
Eternal Order
Only Jonathan Townsend has more than
24279 Posts

Profile of Bill Palmer
If you ask the hosts to lock the topic, then the new one will take its place and not be lost in the shuffle. Of course, the old one will go away, but it can be linked in the first message in the new topic.

I don't think we need a definition that requires a background in psychology, NLP or newspeak to understand. I've always believed that it is beneficial to eschew obfuscation. And self-referential redundancy should not be repeated, either.

Above all, a book with a title such as A Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphyisics of Magic would serve only to cloud the issue. And we Kant do that.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
16262 Posts

Profile of tommy
Right Whit I understand now and thank you. I kept looking at the topic "Definition of "Magic" and assuming,... well I got confussed. Sorry.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
It's easy to get lost in all these words. That is the problem. Let us limit the words we use.

"No, I've never been lost, but sometimes I been a might bewildered for a few days." --David Crockett
Bilwonder
View Profile
Veteran user
Oroville CA
327 Posts

Profile of Bilwonder
Chris,

Those statements about "meta-experience" were Jonathan's statement's not mine. Whit and Jonathon seem to have some agreement about them and they seemed much closer to my way of defining "Magic." Whit was not understanding my terms, so I was trying to establish common agreement first. I don't like the highly technical language either and find some of it confusing also, but I think we were talking about the same kind of thing. I agree it is better to "eschew obfuscation."

My understanding of "defining magic" was to focus on the goal of what we want to achieve in the spectators minds. Whit wants the discussion to narrowly define only those areas where our performance is distinct from other types of performances. I have no problem with this pursuit and would like to follow it also. However, I find it confusing within the context of "defining magic" if we don't first acknowledge that magicians also perform magic that is SHARED with other arts and it is no less magical to the observer. Whit want to define terms by cause and I wish to define them by effect. One problem I have with defining by cause, is that it defines "out" any OTHER way of producing the effect we might use.

Quote:
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.


Whit,
you said you don't understand my terms or what I'm saying in my critique of this formulation back on page 13. Let's just take one of them now and tell me what words I need to define for you.


Your formulation would seem to exclude the following effects (just 3 examples) from a magic performance:


A) When the magician demonstrates "invulnerability" by pounding a nail into his face. This sets off the same logical problem without the deception.

B) Flash Paper- Vanishes without a trace. With no deceit, many can't fathom that ANY such paper should vanish leaving nothing behind.

C) Illusions such as the "Blade Box" and "Sword Basket." What is seen is actually happening. However, deception occurs because the spectator's spacial sense is challenged. Now, in most current cases, magicians have ADDED a false argument (with paint and patter) to heighten and/or extend the effect (this is especially true for the Zig Zag). Indeed there is a "logic Problem," but not necessarily one with a direct "lie."

The reason they are excluded is because they are based on "The magic of unexpected phenomena." Magic in which there is no direct deception. Everything is as it appears. However, the spectator is sent into a dileama just the same. And of course this happens in physics all the time, but performers use it also. The fact that it is a shared phenomena with Physics should not exclude it.

What terms are difficult here? Is this not what WE DO?
billswondershow.com
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27157 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2006-05-15 13:38, Bilwonder wrote:...that magicians also perform magic that is SHARED with other arts and it is no less magical to the observer...


Would you offer an example of magic performed that is shared with other arts?

By observer, do you mean the person outside the theater who observes the same mundane world regardless of what is happening inside the theater, or perhaps the audience which is affected by the performance they attend?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Bilwonder
View Profile
Veteran user
Oroville CA
327 Posts

Profile of Bilwonder
Jonathan, I want to stick with the examples I've given for now. And as I said in an earlier post, magicians perform in and out of the theatre. I don't want to get into dissecting that now either. For now, it seems enough of an example that I have mention we share the stage with those who give demonstrations of physics.
billswondershow.com
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
kregg
View Profile
Inner circle
1958 Posts

Profile of kregg
Quote:
On 2006-05-15 13:33, Whit Haydn wrote:
It's easy to get lost in all these words. That is the problem. Let us limit the words we use.

"No, I've never been lost, but sometimes I been a might bewildered for a few days." --David Crockett


I've been blowing spit bubbles for the last three days!

Kregg
POOF!
chrisrkline
View Profile
Special user
Little Rock
965 Posts

Profile of chrisrkline
With the pounding nail, you have to give the context of the whole routine. If they are convinced that you are really pounding a real nail into your face, it seems that deception is involved.

I don't see how the flash paper is magic. It may be wonderous, and may "signify" a suposed magical moment, but it, by itself, does not seem very magical.

Clearly, there is deception in the sword box. The fact that you are not explaining the optical illusion aspect is relevant. You want them to believe something that is not true. If they don't believe that the swords are passing through the same space as the body, then how can there be any "magic"?

There are many wonderous events, some that occur on the magic stage, some that do not. They are not all magic in the sense we use the word.

Clearly Whit is restricting what we call magic to those effects that involve deception. If you disagree, then you need to find an effect that most magicians consider a magical effect (or something that has the same outcome in the theater of deception) that also has no deception. I am not sure that you can. It would help to look through the classic effects, ones that we all know about. I am sure Whit has thought about most of the thousands of classic effects and has failed to find any that lack a deception.
Chris
LobowolfXXX
View Profile
Inner circle
La Famiglia
1194 Posts

Profile of LobowolfXXX
Quote:
On 2006-05-15 13:38, Bilwonder wrote:
Chris,



Your formulation would seem to exclude the following effects (just 3 examples) from a magic performance:


A) When the magician demonstrates "invulnerability" by pounding a nail into his face. This sets off the same logical problem without the deception.




This doesn't seem to be excluded by Whit's definition as I understand it. It's a simplified variation, but still...

Premise: One can't pound a nail into his face and remain unharmed.
Premise: The magician pounded a nail into his face.
Conclusion: The magician must be harmed.
Flaw: The magician seems UNharmed.
Dilemma: There is no such thing as magic; there can be no other explanation.
"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."
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27157 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2006-05-15 15:31, Bilwonder wrote:...For now, it seems enough of an example that...


It means what?
seems to whom?
that what
and in what context
and for who to consider
and what must they believe in order for your argument to be valid

Without answers to those and the rest of the stuff you (the reader) are free to dig up using the meta model, we are unlikely to have useful findings.

Go ghoti.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Whit Haydn
View Profile
V.I.P.
5449 Posts

Profile of Whit Haydn
I don't think that the blockhead is a magic effect. It is a part of the theater of deception, but it is not magic because it does not use magic as an explanation. Nor is it fake science for a similar reason. It is simply presented as an unexplained anomaly. It would be closer to using trickery to apparently tie a cherry stem with the tongue. It is a faked skill. Like fake knife throwing, weight guessing, and strong man stunts. They are all part of the Theater of Deception but not part of Fake Magic, Fake Science, etc.

It fits into the category of Theater of Deception, but into a slightly different one from Fake Science, Fake Magic, etc., because it does not make a claim that is patently untrue. It uses proofs to show that the nail is real, solid, and actually goes into the nose. But the point is the grotesque and surprising event itself, not the lie that it is being used to prove.

It is a surprise, because no one knew it was possible, and there are several possible solutions--all of which seem ghastlier than the correct one. No explanation is given. There is no challenge to the audience, no real lie that is known to be impossible is given. This would be similar to an optical illusion or other similar deception.
Bilwonder
View Profile
Veteran user
Oroville CA
327 Posts

Profile of Bilwonder
What context is needed when you see someone pound a nail into his head? It either appears unbelievable to you or not. Some may try to brush it aside as a mere stunt, but I believe it fall squarely as a form of classic invulnerability. And I find no deception involved.

As for the flash paper, I said, it is the fact that there seems to be no trace left is a puzzle to many. This seems to be a complete classic VANISH. Of course the brightness of the flash and lack of heat puzzles many people also. Anything that becomes more common becomes less magical even if we don't understand it.

Are you saying then that the blade box is only magic if we make a specific claim about what we are doing? We are not allowed to let the spectator orchestrate their own deception? I'm not arguing what is the best presentation, but rather that the "magic" happens without out the need to construct a particular kind of deception (syllogism). Some things that are true just don't seem reasonable.

These are not exhaustive examples (and I did give others on page 13). They are just what come to mind at the moment. Leaving Physics, try the field of mathematics.
No deception. I will predict the future (a classic effect) using only random numbers you give me. I will predict their total after you flip them and subtract and then flip them and add them. No deception.

In any case, I don't see these or many others fitting squarely with the syllogism Whit presented. This does not invalidate the formula, nor does it make less magical those things that fall outside of the formula.

Jonathan is asking the "who" and "what." And the answer is "not everyone" of course. The more homogenous your audience, the more predictable the reaction. We are able to work for large groups because there are great similarities in many groups judgments, but many do vary. When I watch Daryl's rope routine (or any of variations) I can never see anything but a guy playing with a long and short piece of rope. I know it's "magic" for some by audience reaction, but for me it's like staring at those "Magic Pictures" trying to get it to go 3D. My point is that it is often the spectator's own self deception and refusal to acknowledge a possible reality that creates the deception. For some it is magic for others it is a shrug. In many many cases however, all the magician needs to do is present the truth is is seen a "magic" because the spectator lives in some form of self deception.
billswondershow.com
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Josh Riel
View Profile
Inner circle
of hell
1999 Posts

Profile of Josh Riel
It's not a matter of telling the audience anything. Some things are considered abnormal or impossible. When we do them we do the abnormal and impossible. We do not have to say anything, yet we allow them to believe whatever they want to believe. What is it called a sin of omission? When you do not tell the truth, even though you don't lie you are still guilty.

Can my next door neighbor pound a nail into his nose? no. Would he try? no. Would my doing it seem unreal? yes. Is it? no. If I don't tell him what I'm actually doing then what? I am lying.

Does flash paper really vanish? no. It merely becomes gas, water, carbon, energy. Do many know this? no. If it disappears and we do not explain it, what then? They have a incorrect explanation, therefore we lie. (I hope flash paper is not a stand alone effect)

The blade box should be self explanatory in this light and anything else "we" do.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Josh Riel
View Profile
Inner circle
of hell
1999 Posts

Profile of Josh Riel
As a matter of fact scratch the flash paper thing. If it is used as an unexplainable or abnormal thing that is. Since schools teach the basics of what I had mentioned most people should understand the concept. They see it with gasoline they should have a grasp of the concept. That is simply a science display. (Unless you tell a lie)hmmmm.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Definition of "Magic" (9 Likes)
 Go to page [Previous]  1~2~3..8..13..18..23..26~27~28~29~30..40~41~42 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL