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Magic-Scott
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Beautiful routine Al
billappleton
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Great to see you on the forum Al!

Your new book could be under the tree this year. If I'm good. OK I better just buy the book.
Zombie Magic
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Quote:
On 2012-12-04 16:17, Al Schneider wrote:
My intention is to do magic for people. Really good magic. I am not interested in following some rules others seem to have written. I guess that's what makes me different.

Al, we have benefited from your thinking and offerings to our community!
Lawrence O
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Al, Thank you for the reply. Please take some time to comment on the thinking that follows.

There are no doubts in my mind about your intent and this is not a personal attack. It's just a theoretical attempt to make routines that set up for a perfect finish.

I don't think that Cone and Coin is a good example. I love the trick (even though the cone doesn't relate to anything familiar). The reason why I think that ti's a good "general" example is that it follows the same pattern as René Lavand Three Breadcrumbs. As you say it's the repetition and the friendly pause that build the tension.

There is no problem for me to agree with you (on the contrary) about a strong initial attention level, then as the premises of the effect are developped, the tension in the audience attention is getting down. Then, as you say yourself, the trick has to finish with a higher attention level than at the start.

I'm not advocating to get this with an alumiinum Jumbo coin or any magical prop which seem actually counter climatic for they (as you state)

So, in order to avoid a semantic debate, what is a "climax" and what are its "rules" (which are different from their means)

First what you call the "rules"
These are not derived from magic itself but from scripts (silent, musical or verbal). In any trick, admittedly or not, there is a protagonist, an antagonist and a told or untold story. The good magician presents an interesting protagonist (your high attention entry point) the protagonist is either the tole played by the magician and the theme of the trick (like your monk in your chink a chink). Then the antagonist is introduced, it's the obstacle to overcome like the two cards without anything under them in "Crossed Cards". Then the suspense (tension) is created by suggesting or (weaker) telling the impossible aim. Finally, the protagonist surpasses the antagonist against all odds.
All of this to say that what counts (the "rules") results from the dramatic structure of any silent script. If you feel the need for the effect to end up stronger than it started, you feel the need for a climax.

Now what can be an appropriate climax. The two general perceptions of climax are "bigger" or "more" (quantitatively) with a notion of unexpected impossible surprise. For example the fruits at the end of the C&Bs are "bigger" than the small balls and but also of a different nature to create the surprise. Still as another type of example, the Dr Jacks ending with many small sponges coming out of the cup (more than the cup could possibly contain) is an illustration of the "more". In both cases the spectators are induced to think that the final loads could only have been there from the start but that it is impossible because they have been able to seen the inside of the cups at several stages of the routine and sometimes because the cups have been stzacked or nested and that the loads would have prevented such a stackig.
II agree that after a proper climax we get more of a silent "jaw falling on the floor" than applause and that it creates what Ramsay was calling a blind spot (allowing for example the loading of a fourth large load).
This fourth large load (or second one in Don Alan Chop Cup) plays an important part in what I call a "follow through" The "follow through" in golf terms is the continuation of the movement after the ball has been hit. It serves to direct what you, Al Schneider, call the rewinding in an erroneoous direction. The notion is subtle for it could be counter climatic if misunderstood but is a reputation maker if properly used. Let's use Don Alan's chop cup as an example. After producing the second large loads as a climax, Don Alan would put the small ball in the cup, then the first load, then teh second one and tap with his palm as for putting them back in the cup and pack away. This is a "packing away silent script that underline after the effect (follow through) the impossibility for the loads to have been there all along (which the spectator have to suspect). The follow through not only confirms the impossibility but focus the audience rewinding into an impossible potential solution (which exclude the search of other solutions): the total content cannot fit the container and the audience is convinced that theey would have seen the loading of such large objects if they had been brought in during the routine.

There is more to say, naturally. Suffice to say that a climax supplies surprises and irreversible impossibility together marking the end of a routine by giving the feeling that nothing more could be done. This should discard either the large balls at the end of the C&Bs: not strong enough in surprisse terms because lacking thee change in nature like thee salt in Alex Elsmley's or Horace Bennett's routine or the stack of small coins or the small diamonds that could not have been kept inside by skill. It somehow tells the audience "you can rrewind all you want there are no possible explanation to this punch line (infering that there is no explanation to any earlier part of the routine.)

This notion of climax should also IMHO discard any climax involving something that spectators could associate with "magician props" for these don't supply an impossibility but, on the contrary supply an irrational explanation switching the effect from real magic to theatrical magic (in your theory). A jumbo coin is a magical prop so it tells the audience that all of this was just skill and juggling because the large coins don't exist in real life.
Thus are we taling of the same thing when we are talking of the necessity of a climax. For me, your beautiful effect where a knot in a wool thread unties, doesn't displace the rewinding with a climax that misdirect the rewinding, potentially leaving the audience with the search of a technical solution instead of getting into what Whit Haydn describes as "perceptive dissonance": "I know by common knowledge and personal experience that this can't be done, but it was just been proven to me 'live' under impossible conditions to yet be possible by 'magic' (undefined concept to define incredible phenomena just established).

Yes there is more to say but this is already a lot: sorry for not having been able to make it shorter

I'd love your comments on this.
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Pete Biro
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Two great posts,from two great thinkers.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Al Schneider
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Before I begin I would like to make a few points. First, I have never taken any classes in philosophy or debating. Second, I am not trained in theatrics. Third, your style of prose leaves me behind and I have trouble with what you are saying. I have great trouble understanding the words you use and how your verbiage is structured. I offer this to point out that I may misunderstand your intent or purpose and might come at all of this in the wrong way.

In essence, I cannot respond to your comments as you establish a series of givens from which you pose your concepts. You also throw out things you say I said. For the first, I do not agree with your givens. For example you say, “In any trick, admittedly or not, there is a protagonist, an antagonist and a told or untold story.” I do not admit to that and you give me no choice but to accept the statement. I do not get it. I am just trying to do a trick. The point is that I cannot comment on your thoughts because I do not accept your givens. For the latter, I don’t think I said those things.

I have read your comments several times over. The only conclusion I can draw is that you say I am wrong. However, I can’t criticize that as you say you are not attacking me but seeking a perfect finish. This loses me. I would be a boob in attempting to criticize such a lofty goal. You have boxed me into a corner within the first few sentences.

This causes me to question your intent.

I am attempting to take your questions seriously. So, I will respond by expressing my attitude toward how to finish a routine. I will not address a perfect finish. I do not know what that implies.

I do not think in terms of a great climax. Rather, I think of the overall structure of a routine as a whole. I can think of several structures. One would be, Bam, Bam, BAM, BAMPOW. The idea here is to start off strong and each step gets stronger. Many magicians on the side would see the final BAMPOW as a climax to the routine. I do not see it that way. Rather, the entire routine is to take the audience higher and higher each step until the final blast.

A point here is that each of these four steps need not be different from each other. They may be the same effect for the audience but using different magic technology that convinces the audience what they have seen is not possible. This suggests that some things in magic are more impossible than others, even though the effect is the same.

Another structure would be: UP, down, UP, down, Up, down, POW. Again many magicians on the side would see POW as a climax to the routine. I do not. I see it as an extension of what went before. What occurred before lends power to the final POW.

A common structure (I guess you call this a script.) is BANG, BANG, BANG. Matrix follows this pattern as well as Cross Cards and Cone and Coin. The same thing happens several times in sequence. In my mind, the sequence is a demonstration of the same effect. The effect is about a coin jumping from one location to another. In essence, the sequence is to convince that that is what happened. The first is a demonstration that the audience could perceive as a coincidence. The second time establishes a pattern. The third time is proof that the event occurred. The goal is to demonstrate that a coin can travel from one location to anther without explanation.

Note, I am not selling magic here. I am selling the idea that a coin can travel from location to location without a logical explanation. You see, I wish to respect the audience’s intelligence and not suggest they believe in magic. I want them to understand there is a logical explanation for it. However, I also want them to know they do not know what that explanation is.

With all of this, I do not think Matrix needs a climax.

There is an elephant in the room that most do not want to discuss. That is that many magicians present many tricks, including Matrix, poorly. This is why I bring up the subject of dumping a big coin on the table. These performers need such a device to give the trick legs. When I perform Matrix for real people, the expression on their faces and the gasps of air after seeing the final transposition tells me that any other action would only detract from the effect.

Cups and balls has this problem in spades. The manipulation of the little balls losses almost everyone. The production of the big balls at the end of the trick must be presented to give many performances legs.

I apply this to my performance of cups and balls as well. The routine I developed long ago and have done most of my life fell under my gaze of scrutiny. I think the routine only had legs because of the final loads. I have spent many years overcoming these problems. The result is the stuff I put on the L&L DVD’s on Vessels and Orbs.

Now this subject may be seen as a deviation from the main subject here. It is pertinent for I think the use of climaxes is often used to cover the inadequacy of the main part of the trick.

How many people can perform a cup and ball routine and get a good response without the final loads. How many people can do Matrix and kill the audience. I mean really decimate them. How many people can repeat Matrix several times and kill with each performance. If any reader objects to this, try it on your audiences and see what happens. Is a climax with a big coin just a crutch?

I would like to throw out an example that might make my thoughts more real. I have seen several people use the idea of changing the cards to blanks at the end of some card sequence. Maybe they do an ambitious card routine. Then the performer spreads the cards on the table and they are all blank. This should be a shocking effect. However, it is not. I have done this kind of sequence and I have seen others do it. It does get a reaction but not as much as one would think it should get with all the trouble of swinging in a blank deck.

I propose an alternate way of using the finish. The routine would consist of making cards blank. First the audience must somehow be convinced the cards are normal. Then a card is selected and made blank. A second card is freely selected and made blank. Finally, the same magic wave of the hand is done and all the cards are blank. I think that would shock the audience. It goes bang, bang, and BANG.

The purpose of the preceding magic is to introduce the final effect.

Anyway, I hope all has been entertained by this.

By the by, are you a professor at some university. You talk just like my wife’s college English professor.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
FatHatter
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Major fan of Schneider thinking.

"Note, I am not selling magic here. I am selling the idea that a coin can travel from location to location without a logical explanation. You see, I wish to respect the audience’s intelligence and not suggest they believe in magic. I want them to understand there is a logical explanation for it. However, I also want them to know they do not know what that explanation is."

Dessert isn't necessary to sit down and enjoy a fine meal.
Rainboguy
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AL:

I've been studying your Cups and Balls Routine since we met at last year's Houdini Club and you autographed your book to me and we spent some time together.

Guys,

Al's brain works differently.

He analyzes carefully, then works out practical, out-of-the box solutions.

In my opinion, Al's book, Al Schneider Magic is worth the purchase price just for reading Al's philosophy regarding performing magic.
Magic-Daniel
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I really don't think you get a much better overall "thinker" on close-up magic today than Al.

I really hope Al keeps coming back and shares his thoughts here. Some absolutely gems in his posts.
Lawrence O
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Hi Al

First I wish to apologize if you felt pushed in a corner: such was not my intent
Second, sorry for the verbiage for I'm French and didn't learn English at school but only as an adult working in the Shipping industry (at the time).
Third I must have misexpressed myself for I do acknowledge that you didn't tell anything about a protagonist and an antagonist. I was referring to rules or their absence and trying simply to underline, that when you say that an impossibility (virtual magic) has an end that must be higher in emotional terms than its start, your statement implies that there is some form of a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. The fact that we present, live, some impossibilities also infers that whatever or whoever prevents the dream to get through in real life is somehow an antagonist. The fact that we do a shwo on a small close up stage or (not me) large stages means, IMHO, that we expect the people to project in the character played by the magician (even if the character is himself)

Dear Al, I have not just read your theory on magic or just watched it pedagogically deonstrated in your DVDs, I found it so brilliant that I studied it and took notes and confronted it to my knowledge of magic to.... try and enrich it to progress from the shoulder of someone that I consider a giant. Thus there is no way that I could have tried to push you in a corner. Yet when something seems inconsistent, instead of believing that I'm right and blaming, I'am asking for a reconciliation with the harmony that I seek. Naturally, I'm trying to spare you to have to get through the core of your theory that I share, and try to let you appreciate that my questions are not the basic usual ones. This is possibly what gave you the feeling that I'm trying to corner you, but please believe me I don't. I just want to complete a consistency that SEEM to be marginally lacking, and I don't judge you or your theory, I'm searching precise answers to what my questions are and why.

Let's try and think together because I have no problem to accept that I may have missed something but maybe (without the slightest arrogance) some marginal topics in the expression of your theory may miss some points... but I'm not sure.

Just be certain that my point is not to agress you or your writings or your DVD splendid demonstrations. I just hope to understand why it could not be pushed a shade further. So you can safely unplug the defense mode and get proactively into exchanges or explanations.

...and to answer your last question, I'm just a poetic intellectual, with some anarchic tendancies, that got lucky into various big businesses by being at the right places at the right moments.

With respect and expectations

Etienne
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Al Schneider
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Thank you for pointing out that you are a French speaking person.
To me that explains a great deal.
I will attempt to be kinder with my communicaton.
Right now I can only suggest that when discussing complex thougths that we do so one step at a time.
I am essentially a simple person.
I do not multi-task well.
The subject we are discussing is very complex.
I have read many of your posts in the past and find your insights valuable.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
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Al and Etienne... I would love to see the two of you spend some time together. I know both of you and know you both approach magic far more intently and intellectually than anyone else.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Lawrence O
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Hello Al,
Thank you for your kind post.
We are different in the sense that, if I'm trying to be as rigorous in my thinking as you are, I approach complex problems like a kind of mental juggler and enjoy dealing with complex problems without leaving, as you do yourself, any aspect aside.
This difference in personality is not, IMHO, a drawback for both of us do have to deal with each of the balls one at a time anyways. By nature or education, my personal slope is to reconsider everything that I believe in, time and again.
Actually each time that an analytical study unveils one point, I feel the urge to reconsider how that new ball will harmoniously play with all the balls that I have in the air.
Allow me to quote in its entirety a comment in Linked-in by a former business collegue.
"Etienne is an exceptionally creative person, who has the capacity to see what is hidden to everyone else. He has demonstrated in his life and while we were working together his ability to shake the commonly accepted picture. He generates constructively creative chaos, where those who work with him feel occasionally at a loss because they have never taken the time nor are willing to look into another direction. But if you are willing to listen to something different, Etienne is a real asset. He also has a high level of friendship and knows how to stand up for his causes. He is not afraid to fight. He takes the word friendship to a very high level."
So I'm a complex mind (and I say this with modesty... really!) but attempting to keep a rigorous and detailed approach. I do accept that this back and forth progression between analytical and synthetical thoughts can seem confusing or chaotic to the persons whose thoughts have an impact on mine... and your thoughts had a great impact on mine both on my analytic and synthetic work
So as magic is a very complex and subtle art with intricate concepts, your idea of discussing each topic one step at a time within its context appears to me as really wise.
We started with climaxes so, if this is agreeable to you, before getting deeper, we should possibly exchange first some thoughts on the combined rythms of spectattors' attention to moves, effects and shows, along the images that you describe very conveniently (at least for me) in ways like "Bam, Bam, BAM, BAMPOW" or "UP, down, UP, down, Up, down, POW", etc. This will probably help when we will look at the question of climax.
Actually I wrote down notes on this but I'm embarrased to propose sending them as they are part of about 250 pages of practical exemples resulting from applications of your theory of magic (with some nuances) and would contradict going into each complex topic one at a time.

Respectfully
Etienne
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Al Schneider
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Are you aware of Meyers-Briggs. It is a system of personality assesment.
The traits you describe are refered to, in that method of assesment, are INTJ.
I suspect you are an INTJ. I am one. About 1% of society falls into this category.
INTJ's tend to have a hard life. However, one characteristic they have is an ability to survive in any society quite well. They are emotionally very sensitive but have a drivng personality that allows nothing to stop them. In general, they are the inventors of the world that creates the basis for world wide technological development. We are a proud but often ignored few that live in a world of principle.

I absolutly need complex things to process in my miniute to minute life. I am always writing two or three books at a time. I am presently working on two science books, entropy and the meaning of calculas. My biggest joy in life is the study of Quantum Physics. I have a book out on the subject titled, New Age Quantum Physics. It is available from amazon.com.

You mention a study of soemting that generated 250 pages of notes. A long time ago I ran into a man named Ali Bongo. He asked be about my interest in the study of magic theory. He said, and I am attempting to quote him accurately, "I say, do you think that is necessary?" Well, my notes on that thought generated the book, "The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception" about 600 pages long and available on amazon.com.

My guess is that we are the same kind of person. Yet we are different becasue we base our lives on principle, not some common social pleasantry.

Your comment about keeping several balls in the air is very accurate. However, in communication, I think it wise to focus on one issue. This can be very difficult as most things in life depend on other things in life. If one focuses on one subject intently, some in between material is lost. I view this as the cost of doing business. However, I believe if a single thing is well understood; power is developed to get the in between filler. I find that many people are concerned witht he in between filler and, as a result, loose the big picture.

I hope I am not boring.
And I hope I am not challenging your use of English.

Just my thoughts.

If you really want to talk about climaxes, could we start of with what we want to acheve?

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Dave V
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That explains a lot. I'm an ISTP like about 5% of the population. Now I know why I like studying your work so much.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Al Schneider
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Dave
This stuff is incredable. I have studied Meyers-Briggs a lot.

With those four letters and the fact you are into computers and magic: I feel I have known you half my life.

Many people are concerned that it is just another psych mumbo-jumbo. Initially it was not part of the psych community. They were forced to embrace it because it was so powerful. One of the things it does is tell you the kind of woman you would be compatable with. After I got the tech down on it, I would read dating columns and pick out the right one using this stuff or when I met someone I would consider their type. It worked great.

All the best.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Lawrence O
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I'm aware of the Meyers-Briggs test because I had to pass it when I was an executive at Fairchild and when we sold our aerospace fastners activity to Alcoa, I had to do it. Now I don't remember how they classified me but, within two months, they fired me with a huge golden shake hand.... Smile

Let's go topic by topic as you suggest. As it's an approach you favor, it's an approach that makes sense for me as well.

Since climax is part of a rhytmic, may we start with the rhytm?

On the rhythm, even though I was a pupil with Tony Slydini, I tend to approach it, not like Tony from the performer's stand point (which cannot be ignored) but from the spectators' point of view.
Any rhythm is characterized by a sine wave with an amplitude and a frequency (if my English is correct on this).
In magic the spectators' attention will focus on (at least) three surimposed sine-waves: the attention to the performers moves (small amplitude high frequency), the attention to the effect (its inner logic or story whether told or silent: High amplitude smaller frequency), and the attention to the act (High amplitude -if the act is good- and slow frequency)
These three sine-waves of attention are combined in a strange apparently erratic curve that we can analyze (since you are a physicist) with a sort of intuitive Fourrier Transform. This is not very easy because that complex curve is first altered by the high amplitude point we, as performer, generate with an erect and frozen move or on the contrary with fluent explanatory moves. In short the smart performers like you plays (consciously or intuitively) with these three amplitude and frequency in the spectator's mind. Some magicians like René Lavand become the masters in the art of pauses to play with a simultaneous amplitude of attention in the three curves by bringing temporarily their three frequencies to zero.
Further to this what is virtually impossible to totally control is the tweeking of theese curves by our own personal style. Not unlike you, I have a fairly slow and deliberate style to let the logic of whatever is alleged as important to sink in the spectators mind. Gary Kurtz is talented but with a delivery that is much faster than yours or mine. Our challenge is that energy is an important entertainment tool and we need to compensate our quietly secure performances with some subtle energy (chest leaning forward, intense gazing at the audience without breaking the charm of the smile...)

This explains what I was trying to communicate initially: first we have to catch the audience attention. There the amplitude of attention we seek is fairly high. In your terms it would probably be a BOOM. Then the logic of the routine starts unfolding and the attention shifts on a down sine wave of the effect and a higher attention to the move (smaller amplitude and higher frequency on the down slope of the attention to the effect). Some coins are placed in line on to the table: a few small bam, bam bam. Then comes the obstacle or antagonist (the coins have to travel under two face down crossed cards.) This should raise the audience attention level as it constitutes the impossibility. Clearly a BOOM. Then one of the coin vanishes, and the first card is deliberately and quietly turned over: booom, boom. Then the last card is quieltly turned over BOOOM
In the sinewave of the routine, the last passing possibly will end as BADABOOM for the last passing to end up with a higher amplitude of attention than the initial BOOM.

I'm not describing rhythm as a "must", it's just a statistical observation and it seems to me that performers who claim to make a constant crescendo are seeking an impossible up going straight line and are just observing what they wish to produce (psychological projection instead of factual attention curve).
Now our acting and misdirection technique need to influence the subconscious rhythm of spectators' attention. If a ball is (false) transferred in the hand TO BE ABLE TO pick up the wand (low amplitude and high frequency of attention to the moves for such In Transit actions as Ascanio was calling them), then the magic moment is somehow creating an expectation (higer amplitude and low frequency) and the wand is tapped into the left palm: BAM. This is sufficient to allow fooling not only the eye but the brain. It was permitting Tommy Wonder to steal a pompom in full view because as Ramsay was stating "if you want the spectators to look at something look at it yourself, if you want them to look at you, look at them".

So the design of a routine at the rhythm level cannot end up being a straight line (IMHO) even if the amplitude of attention at the end will (normally) exceed the initial amplitude of attention.

What is your approach on this? Do you feel something comparable? Are there things to add or nuances to be brought?
Quote:
On 2012-12-07 00:59, Pete Biro wrote:
Al and Etienne... I would love to see the two of you spend some time together. I know both of you and know you both approach magic far more intently and intellectually than anyone else.

Thank you Pete but it needs to be stressed that I learned a lot from you, Whit Haydn, and Bill Palmer as well: each and every one being a great thinker with a huge experience
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This post will focus on the concept of the attention of the audience represented as a sine wave. As I have trouble with this, I cannot get to the remaining material.

I have not seen this oscillation representation of audience attention. I kind of have a gut level of what this means. However, I have several problems with it.

I assume you mean the plot you are talking about has time on the horizontal axis and the vertical axis represents attention from the audience. I was taught in school to always label the axes in your problem. We have no units for the vertical so I am not sure what to do with that.

The first thing my mind encounters with this concept is that sine waves have a constant wavelength. This suggests that the tempo of the presentation will be fixed through out the presentation. I have trouble with that. The second thing I see is that this description requires that the curve be continuous, or more accurately, continuously differentialable. (sorry guys, that’s calculus lingo for meaning smooth) My perception is that the attention of the audience is non-continuous or not continuously differentialable.

The next thing I notice is that there are three waves. In my understanding of how the mind works, it can only do one thing at a time. I understand that you superimpose all the waves together to get some odd shaped wave. Of course, Fourier Series Analysis can break out what you see as three distinct basic sine waves. That is, the implication is that the complex wave represents three things the human is doing. There is a mathematical flaw here in that our present academic society believes that math represents the reality of the real world. In my recent studies I have found that this is not true. Math is a measure of the real world. It is not a description of the real world. In quantum mechanics I have found that we cannot understand quantum mechanics because we cannot understand the math that describes it. I explain this in New Age Quantum Physics. That is complex. But let me give you a smaller example. We are all familiar with the word infinity. Well, that is a mathematical term and is used in mathematics. There is nothing in the real world that is infinite. Again, this is discussed in New Age Quantum Physics. A corollary to this is that zero is also a mathematical term that does not exist in the real world. For example, I can have a piece of wood one foot long. Or I can have a piece of wood ¼ inch long. However, I cannot see a piece of wood that is zero inches long. Anyway, using math to represent attention seems to be difficult.

Isn’t this fun.

We can go on with other things.

The assumption that the audience’s attention is following everything is a cognitive physiological theory which I do not ascribe to. Recently Scott Miller, a noted psychologist has been reading my book, The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception. I was worried he would not like some of the material in it for it goes against much academic psychological thinking. It responded to that with a comment that the cognitive guys would rebel. However, he thinks it is great.

Why is interesting? The point is that humans are not continuously cognitive. Most of the time they operate in what I call automatic mode. That is, the human inputs data without the “I” looking at it. Occasionally, the I turns on and processes it. Thus there are two inputs to the human. One is the I consciously or cognitively processing data. The other is data slipping into the mind and being processed automatically. This represents sever breaks in the sine wave concept.

Now we come to another situation. The human can only input data in one thread. The human cannot do two things at the same time. Now there will be a cry in the back of the room that sez, “Hey, I do it all the time.” Well, I will challenge you on that. The human mind works somewhat like a computer. It appears a computer does many things at the same time. But, we know, a computer only has one processor. It works because the computer multi-tasks. It works on one thing a bit and works on something else a bit. There have been laboratory studies to demonstrate this. In fact, someone got a bunch of high class students from Stanford University that claimed there were power mult-taskers. The students were tested to determine their ability at multi-tasking. Across the board the test revealed that high power multi-taskers achieve less that those that used a single thread to handle most tasks. The test showed that much time was wasted switching from task to task. Sure, they were good at it, but it cost time.

The point is that the audience is not watching several things at once. They are switching from subject to subject. I think that is why we can deceive them. We can control what they are thinking about at any given time.

Let’s move on. The human mind cannot focus on one thing for long. It is somewhat like the focus of the human eye. We cannot stare at a specific point for a significant period of time. Try it. Stare at a single point. You can feel your attention move away from that point. You feel yourself constantly pulling yourself back to the point. I believe that is true with attention as well. And I believe the attention is random. My guess it does not follow a sine wave.

Next on the list is the concept of pausing. I understand the concept of dramatic pausing. Some might think that is what I am doing when I pause. Not true. I believe that when people observe magic, they must rewind and review what transpired in some magic presentation. Thus I am pausing to give the audience a chance to do that. In a sense this alters the up and down sine wave to a curve that is going back in forth in time. The data coming into a spectator’s mind is moving to the right on the horizontal axis. When a magic effect occurs, the spectator’s mind goes back in time to review what happened. During that moment, there is no data entering the mind for the I to process. The sine wave is broken. That is it is not continuously differentiable.

Now I do not know what to do. I suspect the sine concept comes from those with a background that views the universe as an analog place. I have a computer background that views the universe as a bunch of discrete bits smeared in a 3D place. Nothing is smooth. Everything consists of jumps in reality. This is the essence of Quantum Mechanics.



Well, I hope this has entertained a few.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Lawrence O
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It certainly entertained me and lead me to think.

Allow me to post my comments on your well supported points.

On the sinewave: you state yourself several interesting points as contradicting the model when they seem to me to confirm it. Let's backtrack a bit first.
You state in your own words that the human mind is binary like a sort of series of 0 and 1 in a computer and, if I understand you well, that the human mind cannot do two things at once but two things in a very quick sequence.
Lets not discuss both axis as, there, you got me perfectly right. Starting from the real world, I tried to model conscious perception or awareness into several 0 and 1 defined as High amplitude of attention as the 1 and absence of attention as the 0 with all kind of intermediary figures with naturally the low figures being low amplitude of attention.
However perception is not just awareness as the Gestalt Theory has more than demonstrated, as I'm sure you know. Our spectators, given few elements, complete themselves the concepts obwerved according to various learned patterns. Thus, staying along the example of the C&Bs, they don't "see" the ball magically travelling under the cup. When we see something disappearing from a place and something similar reappearing at another place, our mind assumes that the object has travelled from one place to the other (actually, it is the principle of the cinema: our mind fills up the gaps between the 24 images per second to create a smoth movement). In fact, this is the main underlying principle behind the cups and balls and magicians like Kent Gunn further "prove it" by letting balls of different colors to travel, dispelling any suspicion of substitution. So attention to the ball, it seems to me, has an high amplitude as the ball is made to vanish, gets to a 0 amplitude (your piece of wood with no measurement) before getting to an even higher amplitude of attention (a series of 1) as the substituted ball "re"appears.
As you see, like yourself, the initial point of my thinking is reality.

Now let's touch on the human mind ability to do or not do several things at the same time. My first basic observation would be that we have five senses and it's definitely common to associate several of them, present or not: you "see" a beautiful woman with a sensuous perfume that arouses us sexually... First we can smell and see at the same time (somuch for the validity of the Stanford test which must have analyzed only linear tasks of a similar nature: as you know any test only demonstrates positively or negatively -again the space between 0s and 1s- the answer to the initial question).
Now the question, in my example, is -aside from her scent- "what is a beautiful woman?" She has lively eyes? a great smile? a large or small breast (according to our positive or negative motherly reference)? long legs? ...So when we perceive this charming lady, doesn't our mind, treat several subjective criteria at once? And, without malice, if you "view the universe as a bunch of discrete bits smeared in a 3D place" (which I tend to accept myself), isn't our mind compelled to incorporate AT THE SAME TIME, at least two or three dimensions?... and this is without her sensual (yet another psychological dimension) scent (... another psychological dimension). It seems to me that the Stanford test was probably covering the performance of linear actions to be validated. But we were discussing of perception of actions by spectators. USC professor of Neurology (d'Amazio) has in his Descartes Error demonstrated that the human brain isn't following a logical linear path but before any action, makes a decision combining multidimensional (emotional) data before the most simple action. Now I would like to question further the validity of the Standford test you mention since people like the British De Bono have established that if the linear (sequential) thinking is commonly used, there are exceptions to this process where outer elements are brought into the line of thinking (lateral thinking) and the two mentionned are humor and creativity (where outside elements are brought into the "line of thinking" rather than following that line logically). Isn't that a multi dimensional approach to your liking?

I'd like to keep exploring what makes me believe into the sine wave of perception and awareness, but, as you suggested yourself, let's proceed in our exchanges one step at a time.

What are your open minded views on the above?
Magic is the art of proving impossible things in parallel dimensions that can't be reached
Pete Biro
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You guys are way over my head. Smile
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