What is the highest form of magic?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by raccoonfight, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. I have heard many different people say that manipulation is the highest form of magic. But i don't think that is true at all. In a manipulation act you don't talk, and you don't talk with the audience. In busking you have to draw a crowd, talk and joke with the audience, and even ask for moola.

    What do you guys think?
  2. I don't think there is a "highest form". Using that phrase would seem very arrogant and disrespectful. I wouldn't say any area/form of magic is above any other form.

    I think what the general public perceives to be "higher" may be definable, but would constantly be changing. At the moment, I think street/close-up magic is probably up there in their eyes.
  3. Manipulation gets this classification because it is one of the more pure forms of magic and no, it is not limited to "mime" acts such as you describe. I talk quite a bit during Cups & Balls, my Sponge Balls & coin work when I did it. . .

    . . . if you didn't catch that let me be more blunt. . . ​

    we use "manipulation" or what is literally prestidigitation (magic created by the digits or fingers) in about 90% of the stuff most of us perform, even in Mentalism (billets). So "manipulation" is the foundation of magic and I know of very few buskers that don't rely on it, especially when it comes to those "do something for me now" types.

    There was a time not all that long ago (in my youth) when Mentalism was classified as the "pinncale" to a magicians career, the "purest form" of magic that took years to master, which is why all Mind Readers, well into the mid 20th century, usually had greying hair & beards, etc. with many a 20 year old deliberately dying their hair and using make-up so as to look older and thus, more of a legit authority on a given topic. This "mold" was shattered in the 1970s by a small group of up-starts that included the likes of Stephan Minch, Bob Cassidy, Larry Becker and Lee Earle and by the latter 70s included John Riggs, Banachek and Richard Webster . . .

    I've gone off topic but only to show how different aspects of magic have been classified as "the top of the heap" but the truth is, we have performers in each area of magic that are true masters that can boggle the mind, defying (apparently) all the methods and logic we thought we knew about the craft. When it comes to the great manipulation acts only two stand out most for me; Shamada and Norm Nielson (especially Norm) when it comes to stage work and of all people Johnny Thompson and the great cardician Martin Nash when it comes to close-up.
  4. Ladder productions.
  5. Craig always has insight on this and that's something I can always appreciate.

    Taking this a different direction (Since he answered it's actual meaning already), I would say the 'highest' form of magic is making the audience feel something incredible has happened. I don't think it really matters what form of magic you use to do this. Mentalism may be the 'purest' but if not performed well (As it so often is) it's just boring.

    I say, aside from a view for classification, that the highest form of magic we can hope to achieve is something truly moving to our audiences.
  6. It's me. I'm the highest form. Not bragging - just saying.
  7. Have you ever tried to do a magic trick or some one or act out a scene convey a message and deliver a statement without talking? It's not as easy as you think.
  8. QFTT. It's like the guys learning today have ever see video of Cardini work or read about Chung Ling Soo.
  9. magic with hallucinogens. That's what you meant by highest form... right?
  10. I've noticed that people see Penn & Teller and think, "I can do that!" Which is why most magic is never performed for a live audience.
  11. I perform for live people all the time. There is a walking mall in my town. And it is a thriving place for jugglers and magicians. And you have to draw a crowd and a lot of magicians don't know how to do that. I have been performing there for 3 years. I have done manipulation acts in the past but i feel that the most traditional way of magic is busking. This may not mean that it is the highest form, but it still is the oldest way of performing magic.
  12. I never mentioned you by name, so I'm not sure what the point here was supposed to be.
  13. I think it might be a bit of self justification.

    Now, I'm not trying to sound like and old man, but... It seems more and more younger magicians are not getting a sold base in magic. They are getting the $10 card trick download of the week. They are working 100% in cards and never cracking the spine on any of the nine Tarbell books. While I love seeing more and more young people take up the art, It pains me that they run headlong into it with bicycle blinders on. While in some ways I think the internet is great for magic, in other ways it let people skip having a mentor in magic. To get the well rounded magic education so many. myself included, have received in the past.

    I'm sure the young guys know who Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo was, but what about Max Malini, Nate Lepzig, Slydini, J. N. Hofzinser Alex Elmsley, J.B. Bobo, or Charlie Miller. There is so much more to learn then "street magic".
  14. In all likelihood the 'oldest' way of performing magic is more like what fakirs or charlatans do. As in, "I'm doing this to convince people that I have supernatural power."
  15. I do believe that people should have a mentor and should not only do card tricks. But when ever I hear people say street magic even magicians they are talking about a David blaine/Criss Angel kind of magic, and what I mean by street magic is busking for example Gazzo. What i am understanding from you, is that the highest form of magic is the traditional way were people would have mentors and not every one was just buying trick after trick. Which i agree with.
  16. The highest form of magic can be large Vegas type acts. Small stage like David Ben. Cose up like Vernon or busking like Gazzo. It depends on how it is presented. You can have someone who just goes through the motions and uses the generic supplied patter and it is ok or worse. Then you have the guys who spends months or years getting everything about the effect down. They make it their own. That is the highest form of magic. Taking any effects and making it something special and personal.
  17. While there is a movement within magic (Mentalism & Bizarre Magick) to be more "organic" and "real" (known as Urban Shamanism) I would warn you to be very careful with the whole "I'm Real" thing, it can backfire and I mean that on the legal as well as physical end of things (not to mention the whole being harassed by other magicians & cynics).

    Arguably this would be one of the "higher" forms of magickle presentation from the public's point of view. The problem is when you get idiots on AGT like the Amazing Head (or whatever he called himself) that was doing supposed physical stunts but without being forced into the stage Magician's category of competition. That was wrong of him, the show producers as well as his competitors for not outing the freak (sorry, but he went way over the top when it comes to some of his material).

    Because of the Shamanic aura around this new way of presenting magical things, we are able to give to the public the kinds of hope, enchantment, escape and spectacle they are craving. Just look at the new rebellion against intellectualism within society itself and you find that the average human being has had enough of technical progress and the push away from those things that make them comfy; preferring to embrace the concept of things "divine". But look at history and you'll see why; how society will embrace elements of faith and the surreal during eras of uncertainty, conflict, apparent cruelty/inhumanity and political as well as social betrayal -- during such times the public seeks out that magickle fix be it prayer, chanting, or embracing some tangible facet of "religion" (not necessarily religion as most of us recognize such, but a faith in a divinity of some form).

    When we perform in this manner we have the OBLIGATION to be able to establish rapport with our patrons and sufficient background in the counseling arts & sciences to DO NO HARM when in the act of guiding and helping patrons to become more and more empowered and in control of their lives & destinies. We are likewise obliged to keep our ego out of the process, placing the power in their hands and their mind not aggrandizing things for our own benefit. I promise, I'll be the first in line to expose you and get you into a court room for fraud, larceny and more. We are not gurus and our onus is to use our knowledge and skills to help others as well as amuse them; creating laughter and awe are ways of healing the soul after all.
  18. Just to clarify, I never said I supported this idea. I'm just betting that long before 'magic' was used to entertain, it was used as proof of divine power. Whether the person doing it even realized it was fraudulent or not.

  19. It was and still is used as proof of the devine. It has been well established though out history.
  20. "Fraudulent" is a big nasty term, Christopher, and when it comes to magicians & skeptics, it's rarely applied with a fair and balanced attitude. Countless "legitimate" businesses use the same tactics calling it something else and never get as brutalized as people that believe in such things. Yet, big business has usurped BILLIONS of dollars from innocent people over the years and never once been "outed" and held to the irons over it. Less than 10% of known psychic operators (general estimate) are known to be guilty of larceny and deliberate fraud and yet they are set as a standard for anyone with a tarot deck; "All Psychics or Miracles are fraudulent!" and thus, "criminal" -- "unethical" -- "immoral".

    I think it far more criminal, unethical and immoral to slander a person's faith, especially when they are elderly and have lived by a given tradition for most of their life and it is within the confines of that faith that they are seeking validation. It is inhumane to brow beat such a person and call them a fool & idiot for believing in horse pucky just because it makes us feel validated -- vindicated -- for being an all out ass hole!

    As noted, there is a line that I draw in the sand when it comes to this Urban Shaman concept, but I will always defend the right of magic workers to create MAGICK vs. the act of doing tricks. I will defend the philosophy of the Urban Shaman concept because right now it's what the public not only wants, but needs -- it is the big placebo for sure, but sometimes placebos do far more good when used, than any other "science". This is exactly why we are seeing a rise in church related involvement within society as well as an embrace in the esoteric and occult.

    BTW. . . I don't mean this to sound like an "attack" on you, Christopher you were just the one that introduced an issue that plays big on me and my defensive mechanisms

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