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What is Magic?

Last week I was doing a brief interview for my schools local TV channel, and the interviewer asked me "What exactly is magic?". I took the opportunity to really present my view on what magic is, and what it's all about. So on the spot I said the following and really put all my thoughts and my heart into it:

"Well, some people say magic is a trick, some people say it's real, some say it's illusion, all of which is true. But really, magic is all how the audiance percieves something. It's all about the experience. Sure, magic is a trick and an illusion, but that's just one side of it. What happens in my hands is all just a trick, but the real magic is how the audiance feels during an effect and what sort of emotional experience it creates inside of them. Whether the person feels excited, or happy, or sad, or emotionally moved, it's all just the way each individual percieves the effect and how the experience it. And for each person this feeling is unique which is wy magic is so universal and a very powerful art-form."

I just wanted everyones take on this. Do you agree with what I said? What are your thoughts?

Dylan P.
 
Sep 20, 2009
446
83
"in the writings of British occultist Aleister Crowley, is defined as "the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with the will", including both "mundane" acts of will as well as ritual magic. Crowley claimed that "it is theoretically possible to cause in any object any change of which that object is capable by nature"
 
Apr 25, 2009
459
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37
Yorktown, VA
Jason England gave a great story on what he though magic was during EMC. I advise everyone to go out and listen to it, great advice overall. I really like what you said.
 
Apr 1, 2009
1,067
1
32
California
Magic to me doesn't always come in the form of a magic trick. Magic tricks just happen to be a medium for the magic. I hate making it seem like these tricks are just like the hammer and nails to build a tree house, when individually, the tricks are beautiful pieces of art. Calling it a medium makes the art sound so dull to me. Or makes it appear as though no other art can reach this level. "Magic" is the result of what I do with illusions, trickery, cardistry, music. That's what I do. I don't say I do magic, because magic is only what I hope to achieve. To me magic is that feeling you get when your breath is taken away. Listening to Rachmaninoff's Piano Concertos for the first time. The first kiss. Holding hands even. Watching a child play... laugh. A wedding. Having children. When you read a story or poetry and you get that warm soothing feeling in the back of your throat. when you see a rainbow. Anything you can possibly imagine to generate these feelings. Do I do magic? no. But one day, I hope to.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,663
3,980
New Jersey
I always try to avoid the word "magic"....I'm not a fan of lying to my audience.

All too often would be magicians fall into the trap of presenting effects as a challenge because they feel superior based on knowing the secret. That superiority comes across to the spectators as arrogance and they feel inferior because they were tricked or become motivated to burn the magician to find the secret. That type of performance isn't magic and I can see your hesitation to call your performance "magic".

But don't be discouraged, if you work on routining, patter, scripting and presentation and a dedicate yourself to both practicing and rehearsing your effects, you will be able to call what you do "magic" without feeling that you are lying to your audience.
 
Aug 4, 2010
167
0
All too often would be magicians fall into the trap of presenting effects as a challenge because they feel superior based on knowing the secret. That superiority comes across to the spectators as arrogance and they feel inferior because they were tricked or become motivated to burn the magician to find the secret. That type of performance isn't magic and I can see your hesitation to call your performance "magic".

But don't be discouraged, if you work on routining, patter, scripting and presentation and a dedicate yourself to both practicing and rehearsing your effects, you will be able to call what you do "magic" without feeling that you are lying to your audience.

You failed to realize that I am not a "would be magician"....Anyways If you like to blatantly lie to your audience (they aren't dumb enough to believe that magic does exist) then power to you...I for one do not present them a puzzle to solve but a flawless execution/performance of whatever trick I choose to present...You failed to realize that either way you go about it the effect will always be a puzzle to them regardless of presenting the effect as "magic" or not... but I rather not look like a fool and insult their intelligence by dropping ridiculous lines such as "abracadabra If I snap my fingers the cards will magically switch places trough the magical time device in the cardbox"....I would obviously not reveal the sleights and mechanics to them but I would drop all the time machine card bs and proceed with the reveal.

the end result will be the same "oh me gawd!!!! the cards switched places. How did you dew that!"...
The typical Old School magician will say "Magic"...I will respond by saying that it was me who did the work..."The effect was achieved through my prestigious Elite Prestidigitation"

Although avoiding insulting your audiences intelligence by claiming that you have pixie fairy "magical powers" is good to me.....It all comes down to....
I rather take credit than the deck.

I'm not a huge fan of the Old school patter btw...In fact I am against it...I need a good word to describe how much I oppose the Old school magician scripting-fictional-cheesy stories they come up with....
 
Sep 26, 2007
591
5
Tokyo, Japan
Why is this troll still here? lol.

I think you fail to realize that even the smartest of spectators, the most logical of spectators, can let go of their logic to simply just enjoy and "indulge" in the idea of magic, for a short while. At the end of the day, they will go home and know that it wasn't true magic that happened. But if you take away that small possibility for them to enjoy something different, right from the get go, then you fail as an entertainer. Each spectator will enjoy the magic in their own way, but if you go in there and simply say, "this isn't magic. I am tricking you with sleight-of-hand," for the few people that wanted to just let go and "believe" for a short while, you just ruined that possibility.

Post after post, you stick to your arrogance and claim your 'elite-ness', yet you don't grasp very simple ideas in magic.

Oh and by the way, ease up on the use of the ellipses. Overusing them makes you look like an uneducated fool.
 
Apr 25, 2009
459
0
37
Yorktown, VA
You failed to realize that I am not a "would be magician"....Anyways If you like to blatantly lie to your audience (they aren't dumb enough to believe that magic does exist) then power to you...I for one do not present them a puzzle to solve but a flawless execution/performance of whatever trick I choose to present...You failed to realize that either way you go about it the effect will always be a puzzle to them regardless of presenting the effect as "magic" or not... but I rather not look like a fool and insult their intelligence by dropping ridiculous lines such as "abracadabra If I snap my fingers the cards will magically switch places trough the magical time device in the cardbox"....I would obviously not reveal the sleights and mechanics to them but I would drop all the time machine card bs and proceed with the reveal.

the end result will be the same "oh me gawd!!!! the cards switched places. How did you dew that!"...
The typical Old School magician will say "Magic"...I will respond by saying that it was me who did the work..."The effect was achieved through my prestigious Elite Prestidigitation"

Although avoiding insulting your audiences intelligence by claiming that you have pixie fairy "magical powers" is good to me.....It all comes down to....
I rather take credit than the deck.

I'm not a huge fan of the Old school patter btw...In fact I am against it...I need a good word to describe how much I oppose the Old school magician scripting-fictional-cheesy stories they come up with....

Of course you are lying to your audience. But is that a bad thing? I mean, a magician is just someone playing the part of a magician. Like an actor, one of our professions is to create the scene of illusion for our audience. The actor lies on many levels to get their audience to connect emotionally to the performance. Magicians do the same thing, though we do it through effects. I agree that the old school scripting doesn't work in most scenarios, but I don't think we have to destroy everything that has been used from the past. There are still some good parts, and we can take those and add them to our acts. I am a magician, and when I am performing I will lie up and down to my audience, because it is entertainment. Someone once said somethinl like it is the job of the artist to convince others of his lie, and that is what we do.

And if you don't believe that they are "dumb enough to believe" (just a side note, that is a poor way to look at those your spectators so I am going to change it a bit)... And if you don't believe that your audience is willing to believe that magic really does exist, you obviously haven't seen the number of people that believe in Voodoo, aliens, ghosts, witch craft, even the early stories of most religions.
 
Aug 4, 2010
167
0
No I am not an actor.. I am an elite Prestidigitator...I entertain through My effects just like Old School magicians do.. minus the useless and audience intelligence insulting patter...and yes I know there are various uneducated people out there that will believe everything....my card handling is so advanced that even if I explained to them that It's not magic they would choose to believe that I do have powers....I will not go out of my way to change their minds...

Why is this troll still here? lol.

I think you fail to realize that even the smartest of spectators, the most logical of spectators, can let go of their logic to simply just enjoy and "indulge" in the idea of magic, for a short while. At the end of the day, they will go home and know that it wasn't true magic that happened. But if you take away that small possibility for them to enjoy something different, right from the get go, then you fail as an entertainer. Each spectator will enjoy the magic in their own way, but if you go in there and simply say, "this isn't magic. I am tricking you with sleight-of-hand," for the few people that wanted to just let go and "believe" for a short while, you just ruined that possibility.

Post after post, you stick to your arrogance and claim your 'elite-ness', yet you don't grasp very simple ideas in magic.
Oh and by the way, ease up on the use of the ellipses. Overusing them makes you look like an uneducated fool.

First of all do not call me names...that is very immature of you...I am an adult so show some damn respect...Second of all I do not allow failure...I just stated that no educated individual or anyone below the age of 12 will believe that you really do have magical powers...Like I said...If you like to lie to your audience and insult their intelligence then power to you....I however refuse to Insult my audience like that...If they want to believe that what they saw was magic then whatever...You failed to realize that I never exclusively said that I say "this isn't magic" before performing an effect.... reading comprehension fail? I said that I will not claim that what I am doing is an act of magic during performance..I will not use any dumb magical lines during my performance...that is all...no semantics...If they do ask me how I did It I will respond to them by telling them that I did the effect through my Elite Prestidigitation yes....But the person asking how I did something does not believe in magic anyways... Do you understand what I am saying to you right now?
flawless logic 120% accuracy....

third of all...I can type however I choose to type....I am not bound by your limitations :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Sep 26, 2007
591
5
Tokyo, Japan
No I am not an actor.. I am an elite Prestidigitator...I entertain through My effects just like Old School magicians do.. minus the useless and audience intelligence insulting patter...and yes I know there are various uneducated people out there that will believe everything....my card handling is so advanced that even if I explained to them that It's not magic they would choose to believe that I do have powers....I will not go out of my way to change their minds...



First of all do not call me names...that is very immature of you...I am an adult so show some damn respect...Second of all I do not allow failure...I just stated that no educated individual or anyone below the age of 12 will believe that you really do have magical powers...Like I said...If you like to lie to your audience and insult their intelligence then power to you....I however refuse to Insult my audience like that...If they want to believe that what they saw was magic then whatever...You failed to realize that I never exclusively said that I say "this isn't magic" before performing an effect.... reading comprehension fail? I said that I will not claim that what I am doing is an act of magic during performance..I will not use any dumb magical lines during my performance...that is all...no semantics...If they do ask me how I did It I will respond to them by telling them that I did the effect through my Elite Prestidigitation yes....But the person asking how I did something does not believe in magic anyways... Do you understand what I am saying to you right now?
flawless logic 120% accuracy....

third of all...I can type however I choose to type....I am not bound by your limitations :)

Summary for those who did not take the time to read his post:

"Bla bla bla"

End of summary.
 

RealityOne

Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
3,663
3,980
New Jersey
You failed to realize that I am not a "would be magician"....

Failure... is not... in... my vocabulary....

Anyways If you like to blatantly lie to your audience (they aren't dumb enough to believe that magic does exist) then power to you...I for one do not present them a puzzle to solve but a flawless execution/performance of whatever trick I choose to present...You failed to realize that either way you go about it the effect will always be a puzzle to them regardless of presenting the effect as "magic" or not... but I rather not look like a fool and insult their intelligence by dropping ridiculous lines such as "abracadabra If I snap my fingers the cards will magically switch places trough the magical time device in the cardbox"....I would obviously not reveal the sleights and mechanics to them but I would drop all the time machine card bs and proceed with the reveal.

Your response is a false dichotomy. A performer's choices are not limited to providing a hackneyed presentation based on a stereotypical magician or providing a "flawless execution/performance" without patter. Let me explain....

Magic is performing an effect that the spectator believes is impossible. Does the "abracadabra" presentation add to the impossibility? No. But along the same lines, performing without patter or the typical say-do-see (say what you are doing, do it and ask the audience to see what happened) doesn't add to the impossibility either. The answer is to develop patter that adds to the impossibility.

the end result will be the same "oh me gawd!!!! the cards switched places. How did you dew that!"...The typical Old School magician will say "Magic"...I will respond by saying that it was me who did the work..."The effect was achieved through my prestigious Elite Prestidigitation"

I think Roberto Giobbi said it best:

Prestidigitation seems to imply, from its etymology, that it is necessary to have nimble fingers in order to produce the illusions of magic, which is by no means strictly true....The word prestidigitation, therefore only imperfectly describes the art which it denotes.
Genii, May 2010, p. 30.

By claiming the feats you accomplish are done through your prestidigitation you have actually removed the impossibility and made it a demonstration of skill. You might as well be a juggler, and, to paraphrase Robert-Houdin, a magician isn't a juggler.

Although avoiding insulting your audiences intelligence by claiming that you have pixie fairy "magical powers" is good to me.....It all comes down to.... I rather take credit than the deck.

The options aren't the props taking the credit or the magician taking the credit. The options are presenting what you are doing as "skill" or presenting it as something that cannot be explained. I can take credit for making a signed card disappear from a deck and reappear in my wallet without resorting to explaining, "I was able to do that because I'm really good and fast with cards." Further, the wands and pixie dust are just examples of bad presentation style.

I'm not a huge fan of the Old school patter btw...In fact I am against it...I need a good word to describe how much I oppose the Old school magician scripting-fictional-cheesy stories they come up with....

Try to overcome your closed-mindedness regarding patter. Just because a lot of magicians use fictional cheesy stories as patter, that doesn't mean that all patter has to be a fictional cheesy story. Coming up with strong patter that enhances an effect isn't easy, but that shouldn't cause you to give up on developing strong patter for your effects.

I just stated that no educated individual or anyone below the age of 12 will believe that you really do have magical powers...Like I said...If you like to lie to your audience and insult their intelligence then power to you....I however refuse to Insult my audience like that...If they want to believe that what they saw was magic then whatever...You failed to realize that I never exclusively said that I say "this isn't magic" before performing an effect.... reading comprehension fail? I said that I will not claim that what I am doing is an act of magic during performance..I will not use any dumb magical lines during my performance...that is all...no semantics...If they do ask me how I did It I will respond to them by telling them that I did the effect through my Elite Prestidigitation yes....But the person asking how I did something does not believe in magic anyways...

I suspect most people believe in magic. Not in the sense of fairy dust and magic wands, but in the sense of a performer being able to do what appears to be impossible. They understand that it is a combination of skill and knowledge and gimmicks. However, if a magician does their job, the audience will experience astonishment - which I define as the conflict between reality (the mind saying I know there is a way to do it) and impossibility (the senses saying that I have seen something that shouldn't happen) being won out by impossibility. It is easy to shoot for tricking your audiences based on your prestidigitation skills. It is more difficult, but also more rewarding, to astonish your audiences by performing magic.

I do like Roberto Giobbi's definition of magic:

The purpose of magic is to take man's world of dreams, desires, and fantasies as the subject and show how it can be lived by a super-hero, a God on earth, who is the magician, the maker of wonders. The beauty and wisdom harbored by the mysterious , and the feeling of astonishment and wonder created by the magician's performance, liberates the spectator from the constraints of his limited intellect and leads him... over the rainbow, through Alice's mirror into Wonderland, where everything is possible.
Genii, May 2010, p. 32.
 
Apr 25, 2009
459
0
37
Yorktown, VA
Well said RealityOne... The thing that I don't understand about Elite's presentation is that he rips into the Old School Magicians, and then says that he performs like them?

Honestly, when I tell someone that this was done by "Prestidigitation" they just look at me and have no idea what I just said. I also don't understand why Elite trys to make those who claim "magic" as their means of performing sound like they are belittling their audience, because I can honestly say, they don't feel that way at all after one of my performances. I do my best to help them along the path of believing the unbelievable, which isn't easy to do most of the time.
 
Last week I was doing a brief interview for my schools local TV channel, and the interviewer asked me "What exactly is magic?". I took the opportunity to really present my view on what magic is, and what it's all about. So on the spot I said the following and really put all my thoughts and my heart into it:

"Well, some people say magic is a trick, some people say it's real, some say it's illusion, all of which is true. But really, magic is all how the audiance percieves something. It's all about the experience. Sure, magic is a trick and an illusion, but that's just one side of it. What happens in my hands is all just a trick, but the real magic is how the audiance feels during an effect and what sort of emotional experience it creates inside of them. Whether the person feels excited, or happy, or sad, or emotionally moved, it's all just the way each individual percieves the effect and how the experience it. And for each person this feeling is unique which is wy magic is so universal and a very powerful art-form."

I just wanted everyones take on this. Do you agree with what I said? What are your thoughts?

Dylan P.

That is exactly what magic is the feeling the people get when they witness the trick. Simple Two tumbs up to you
 
Aug 4, 2010
167
0
Failure... is not... in... my vocabulary....

well now it is...seeing as how you just used it...I'm glad I could help in making you realize and add a new word to your vocabulary.

Magic is performing an effect that the spectator believes is impossible. Does the "abracadabra" presentation add to the impossibility? No. But along the same lines, performing without patter or the typical say-do-see (say what you are doing, do it and ask the audience to see what happened) doesn't add to the impossibility either. The answer is to develop patter that adds to the impossibility.

I'm pretty sure that a card switching places in their hands is going to be impossible and just as impressive regardless....You can believe what you want but in the end of the day the audience is there to see not listen.

I think Roberto Giobbi said it best:

Genii, May 2010, p. 30.

By claiming the feats you accomplish are done through your prestidigitation you have actually removed the impossibility and made it a demonstration of skill. You might as well be a juggler, and, to paraphrase Robert-Houdin, a magician isn't a juggler.


He fails to realize that The audience does not believe in real magic and that everything they are seeing is trickery...I just choose to be honest about it...they will never be able to figure out "how I did it" so it is "magic" to them...If you define magic as an effect that astonishes... Regardless... their selected card appearing inside a kiwi is going to look impossible to them... A magician is not a juggler...A magician is a guy that amazes people with their trickery and sleight of hand.

The options aren't the props taking the credit or the magician taking the credit. The options are presenting what you are doing as "skill" or presenting it as something that cannot be explained.

You forgot about the third option...presenting what you are doing as skill and as something that cannot b explained...Well it can be explained but I wont explain it so it remains unexplained....Is it a puzzle now?...Only if they want it to be a puzzle...but those people are the ones that see everything as a puzzle anyways...Also I don't tell in presentation that what I am doing is my card skill until they ask....And if they asked they know damn well is not magic....However sometimes I do choose to perform my sleightfest + flourish combo..thats what you call a modern magician...visual effects no BS.

I can take credit for making a signed card disappear from a deck and reappear in my wallet without resorting to explaining, "I was able to do that because I'm really good and fast with cards." Further, the wands and pixie dust are just examples of bad presentation style.

me too but If they ask I tell them straight out...That is what they are thinking anyways....You don't understand that it is a given that people who ask how stuff is done are thinking that you are fast with cards...people that really believe that you have powers just go :wow:

Try to overcome your closed-mindedness regarding patter. Just because a lot of magicians use fictional cheesy stories as patter, that doesn't mean that all patter has to be a fictional cheesy story. Coming up with strong patter that enhances an effect isn't easy, but that shouldn't cause you to give up on developing strong patter for your effects.

I come from the modern school of thought that people want to see effects not hear memorized lines/stories...I mean seriously? Cannibal cards and Vacuum cards?.....What is good patter video according to you? In before some Old 1976 video.

I suspect most people believe in magic. Not in the sense of fairy dust and magic wands, but in the sense of a performer being able to do what appears to be impossible. They understand that it is a combination of skill and knowledge and gimmicks. However, if a magician does their job, the audience will experience astonishment - which I define as the conflict between reality (the mind saying I know there is a way to do it) and impossibility (the senses saying that I have seen something that shouldn't happen) being won out by impossibility.

If you define magic as that I agree...and essentially this is what I do minus all the ridiculous magical lines....

It is easy to shoot for tricking your audiences based on your prestidigitation skills. It is more difficult, but also more rewarding, to astonish your audiences by performing magic.

Like I said..You just defined magic as "a combination of skill and knowledge and gimmicks"...The only difference in reality is that by calling your stuff "magic" and dropping ridiculous lines you insult the audiences intelligence and you will look like dishonest and foolish in the process....The audience will experience astonishment either way you want to call it...the effect will be the same.

I do like Roberto Giobbi's definition of magic

The purpose of magic is to take man's world of dreams, desires, and fantasies as the subject and show how it can be lived by a super-hero, a God on earth, who is the magician, the maker of wonders. The beauty and wisdom harbored by the mysterious , and the feeling of astonishment and wonder created by the magician's performance, liberates the spectator from the constraints of his limited intellect and leads him... over the rainbow, through Alice's mirror into Wonderland, where everything is possible.

Genii, May 2010, p. 32.

Magic- A Guy doing effects to astonish and entertain an audience by creating illusions of seemingly impossible feats using purely natural means.
 
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