Through history, the word magic has invoked a variety of images in peoples minds. Deities, dragons, witches and spirits. People have been killed because of it and people have risen to power because of it. But in today’s society magic has taken on some different imagery. Most people now will instantly think of big stages, pretty girls in bikinis and lot’s of smoke. Or maybe they will think of the lower key close up or street magic which involves just a deck of cards or a coin. Either way, magic is now a performance art.
There is a problem which runs through today’s magic though. It’s belief. Belief can be a great thing, but not when it’s out of ignorance, or when it takes advantage of someone. Magic is that art of illusion. Nothing more. It is not real. I find there are too many people who still think that stars, tea leaves or lines in your hand have magical ability. But more importantly there are too many illusionists who claim to have other worldly powers. They are frauds, plain and simple. They can not read minds, they can not bend spoons by the power of thought and they can not make something out of nothing. Again I say, it is the art of illusion. There is always a gimmick. Magicians lie. But to take this art form and use it in order to take advantage of someone is an insult to the craft and to those who practice it honestly…well, as honestly as it can be practiced.
So if we know it’s a lie, why watch it at all? I’ve heard more than one person tell me they don’t like magic because they know it’s all fake. Well obviously they don’t watch TV or play video games because those are fake as well right? It’s a stupid argument which I can only conclude stems from viewing magic as childish and insignificant. I think if anything magic is more important the older you get. Toddlers don’t need magic because to them the whole world is fascinating. Magic can bring out the wonder in us. We grow up and lose our imagination. We forget what it’s like to be amazed by the world around us and get too focused on what we know as fact.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love science, I love knowing exactly what is going on around me and I don’t like people grasping for answers which aren’t there. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love to wonder! No magician knows the answers to every other magician’s trick. Even the arguably greatest magicians in the world, Penn & Teller get fooled at least once an episode on their show! It’s fun to be amazed. It’s fun to feel like just for a few minutes anything is possible.
Though I haven’t practiced much in recent years, there was a time when I really wanted to be a magician. I spent hours practicing in from of a mirror, I carried decks of cards everywhere I went and I read all I could about the history of magic. I know a good deal of the gimmicks. We know Brad Pitt isn’t really saving Earth from an alien invasion, yet we still sit and enjoy the performance. Likewise, I know that card was chosen ahead of time and forced to get the amazing result, but I enjoy seeing the performance. Every magician has his or her own way of doing things and the small nuances can make a world of difference in a trick!
So I say to you, go learn some magic. Even if you can just do one trick to impress your friends. Learn about it, then go watch a magic show and feel that amazement again.