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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » Is magic still unreal? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Alan Wheeler
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I was happy to return to this Food For Thought Forum and see old friends still posting here. It seems some magicians have NOT stopped thinking too soon! I dropped by because I was remembering some conversations from years ago. Once, I remembered, as Tommy was posting about the "logos," I tried to bring in the Bible passage about the Word in the beginning. I cannot recall the discussion exactly, but at some point Jonathan Townsend wrote, "You are so close."

The discussion was likely about the perennial issue that often used to raise its persistent head, "Is magic real?" Some folks--such as Whit Haydn--would argue that magic must be impossible or outside reality for the magic effect to register as a miracle. Others argued that magic was magical in the sense of a sunrise or smile of a child, having real effects in the human heart. I think some mentalists may have argued that magic re-enacts or works alongside something real. Please forgive me if I have oversimplified or misstated any of the positions; I am just reminding myself that there were diverse and strong opinions on the matter.

To give further food for thought, I want to share a YouTube video about the archetype of the magician. It's easy to see from the many movie references that what is very real for some people can be used as entertaining fodder or meaningful theme. For me this is down to the storytelling or presentation side of magic rather than the effect proper--although the idea of overlap or liminal space is interesting to me.

The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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Dr. O
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Thank you for sharing that video. Looks like I will be adding several books to my stack of things to read. Lots to think about...
Alan Wheeler
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The thought just came to me that magic's meaning is the subtext of our performances.

For Penn and Teller, the magical assumption is simply that the tricks are amazing and entertaining.

For some mentalists, the assumption is that something real is being re-enacted or displayed. It's a different argument being made and supported by credibility, logic, and emotion.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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funsway
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You, tricks can be amazing and entertaining, and a re-enactment of something real can have a profound impact.

But, if your objective is to be a magician and create the conditions under which magic is expected and appreciated, it is another matter.

Perhaps with today's audience of multiple-choice mentality and stunted imagination, a "must be magic" response is no longer possible.

For me, this is not a "subtext of performance" - it is the reason to be creating new effects and performing and appreciating life in a special way.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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weirdwizardx
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I believe that if certain type of magic plus mentalism, could be seen as real.
WitchDocChris
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Traditional mentalism is real.

I think all the mystery arts offer an opportunity to create a space where the audience can genuinely test their limits of reality safely. It can create moments of genuine wonder. However, I feel many, if not most, performers are either scared of that and thus unconsciously avoid it (It's just a trick, folks!) or they don't believe in the potential themselves enough, or are too lazy, to create that space properly.
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weirdwizardx
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I agree with you. I think that as magicians our goal should be convince the public of something real happening.

And make them think with your effects, What is real? What is not? What is reality?
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