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Socrates

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"Most magicians are afraid of magic" - Max Maven
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Mike Powers

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Was there any context to this quote?

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Socrates

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No context for this quote Mike.

It struck me as interesting though. I remember listening to a conversation featuring Eugene and Max talking about similar topics. Children starting out in magic quite young, learning something which gave them a sense of power... and then not really growing out of this mindset. Of course this would not apply to all magicians, but it appears many magicians did begin at such an early age, usually with a magic set.

I am curious to understand what other folk think of his quote. In my experience a lot of magicians enjoy tricks and are quick to say there is no such thing as magic... that interests me as I am quite happy to believe in magical thinking.

Anyway i look forward to hearing the thoughts of the TMF members.
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Alan Smithee

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socrates
No context for this quote Mike.


It's Maven, so it must be deep and meaningful, far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Although I'm left with another deep and meaningful conundrum: How does he know?
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #5 
I just brought this up in a discussion the other day. Performing magic gives me a sense of power that makes me uneasy. I don’t mean the power of the magic itself. It’s not like you step inside a pentagram to keep you safe from the magic you are doing, or whatever they do, it’s not like that. I don’t think I’m releasing dangerous occult forces into the air. I feel like I’m messing with their mind. I feel like I am betraying a trust, I guess because I’m lying. Even if you tell them you’re lying you’re still lying, which means you are telling the truth but that’s another wormhole.

Now that’s how *I* feel. The quote said *most* magicians are afraid magic. At least in the discussion I started, I seemed to be in the minority.

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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAmazingStanley
I just brought this up in a discussion the other day. Performing magic gives me a sense of power that makes me uneasy. I don’t mean the power of the magic itself. It’s not like you step inside a pentagram to keep you safe from the magic you are doing, or whatever they do, it’s not like that. I don’t think I’m releasing dangerous occult forces into the air. I feel like I’m messing with their mind. I feel like I am betraying a trust, I guess because I’m lying. Even if you tell them you’re lying you’re still lying, which means you are telling the truth but that’s another wormhole.

Now that’s how *I* feel. The quote said *most* magicians are afraid magic. At least in the discussion I started, I seemed to be in the minority.


There's a thread on another forum where a poster reports feeling "guilty" about performing magic.  Something about feeling bad when people are fooled, especially by very simple tricks.  There must be something to it when you hear these stories in multiple places.  

I remember reading about a guy who would perform a trick and then afterwards show the spectator how he did it.  He couldn't rest knowing that they were clueless, it really bothered him.

I can't relate whatsoever to any of this, but it seems to be a real thing with some people.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


It's Maven, so it must be deep and meaningful, far beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Although I'm left with another deep and meaningful conundrum: How does he know?


I'm with Alan here.  A text without context is merely a pretext.
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


A text without context is merely a pretext.


Now that is a quote that probably doesn't need context.

[smile]
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
...How does he know?

I guess it is according to his own experiences : - \
So, if you are one of the magicians that have meet him, there is a good chance that you are afraid of magic according to him : - /

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Axel

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Reply with quote  #10 
In "Magic And Meaning" Eugene Burger dedicates the first chapter to this Max Maven quote and admits that he first didn´t really understood it...But then an AHA-Moment occured to him during a magical presentation he had witnessed. (In Magic And Meaning the first chapter is called "Conversations" and Eugene´s partner here in conversation is Victor Sansoucie):



"Eugene: It was what Abraham Maslow, the transpersonal psychologist, called an "Aha Experience", wherein we instantly see something in a new and revelotary way.

Victor: What did the magician on the video do to stimulate this experience in you?

Eugene: Well, he did an extremely deceptive effect. It really stunned the audience. The look on the spectator´s face was one of complete disbelief. It was quite wonderful.

Victor: And...

Eugene: And then he looked at them and made an exceedingly stupid joke that immideately shattered the moment, the magical experience he had created, so that fearful part of his peronality destroyed it." [...]

Axel
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel
In "Magic And Meaning" Eugene Burger dedicates the first chapter to this Max Maven quote and admits that he first didn´t really understood it...But then an AHA-Moment occured to him during a magical presentation he had witnessed. (In Magic And Meaning the first chapter is called "Conversations" and Eugene´s partner here in conversation is Victor Sansoucie):



"Eugene: It was what Abraham Maslow, the transpersonal psychologist, called an "Aha Experience", wherein we instantly see something in a new and revelotary way.

Victor: What did the magician on the video do to stimulate this experience in you?

Eugene: Well, he did an extremely deceptive effect. It really stunned the audience. The look on the spectator´s face was one of complete disbelief. It was quite wonderful.

Victor: And...

Eugene: And then he looked at them and made an exceedingly stupid joke that immideately shattered the moment, the magical experience he had created, so that fearful part of his peronality destroyed it." [...]

Axel


Some performers are tone deaf when it comes to "reading the room".  They don't understand how powerful a moment can be and not smart or "aware" enough to know when to just remain quiet.

I use a lot of analogies and I think there's another good one for this example.  In baseball, when you are watching on television the broadcaster doesn't need to describe everything because you can see it.  On radio, you have to work differently because they can't.  They can visualize of course, and that is actually better sometimes if you ask me, but that' off the subject.  The point I wanted to make is that in a game there are moments where the broadcaster must just sit back and let the play be the show.  For example, a pivotal moment in a game and someone hits a home run.  The best thing is to sit back and let the roar of the crowd (or the groans!) tell the story.  Saying ANYTHING at that moment breaks the spell.  Magic can be the same way.  Sometimes the best reaction is just to look at the audience and shrug.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #12 
Comedy magicians are the ones perhaps most likely to step on the moment of magic. Silence makes it seem that you're failing as a comedian. But if you're interested in maximizing the moment of magic, silence is golden.

M
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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axel
In "Magic And Meaning" Eugene Burger dedicates the first chapter to this Max Maven quote and admits that he first didn´t really understood it...But then an AHA-Moment occured to him during a magical presentation he had witnessed. (In Magic And Meaning the first chapter is called "Conversations" and Eugene´s partner here in conversation is Victor Sansoucie):



"Eugene: It was what Abraham Maslow, the transpersonal psychologist, called an "Aha Experience", wherein we instantly see something in a new and revelotary way.

Victor: What did the magician on the video do to stimulate this experience in you?

Eugene: Well, he did an extremely deceptive effect. It really stunned the audience. The look on the spectator´s face was one of complete disbelief. It was quite wonderful.

Victor: And...

Eugene: And then he looked at them and made an exceedingly stupid joke that immideately shattered the moment, the magical experience he had created, so that fearful part of his peronality destroyed it." [...]

Axel


Fearful part of his personality...so he perhaps subconsciously but intentionally ruined the magic, because he feared it?

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TheAmazingStanley

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


There's a thread on another forum where a poster reports feeling "guilty" about performing magic.  Something about feeling bad when people are fooled, especially by very simple tricks.  There must be something to it when you hear these stories in multiple places.  

I remember reading about a guy who would perform a trick and then afterwards show the spectator how he did it.  He couldn't rest knowing that they were clueless, it really bothered him.

I can't relate whatsoever to any of this, but it seems to be a real thing with some people.


Yup spot on. Guilt. I don’t understand it. I’m not tricking people out of money. I don’t try to pull off lies like I can make things vanish for real. I don’t harm anyone. Quite the opposite, if all goes well I provide a moment of free entertainment. Why do I feel guilty? (Rhetorical question)


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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco Nagata

I guess it is according to his own experiences : - \
So, if you are one of the magicians that have meet him, there is a good chance that you are afraid of magic according to him : - /


I have met him, so if you're right I suppose I must accept full responsibility. All my fault. I feel thoroughly ashamed.
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #16 
Guilt.
I have no guilt about performing Magic or even doing tricks. It's an honourable business.

As The Amazing Stanley says, we're not tricking people out of money and we don't harm anyone; unless they want to be harmed, but that's really their hangup and not what we're discussing here.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Think of magic and its performance as a contract.  A spectator enters into the contract willingly, understanding they are likely to be fooled.  So as the magician, you are simply holding up your end of the bargain and fulfilling your duties under the contract.  Everyone is happy!  No fooling!
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #18 
Regarding the Axel/Burger/Maven thing, I fully accept that I'm thick, but I don't see how that relates to the "maybe" Maven quote at the top of the thread.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee
Regarding the Axel/Burger/Maven thing, I fully accept that I'm thick, but I don't see how that relates to the "maybe" Maven quote at the top of the thread.


Alan, I don't know if that was what Maven was supposedly trying to communicate or not.  He is still around, so perhaps someone knows of a way to contact him to find out?

What I go out of it was the magician was uncomfortable, and just had to say something rather than letting the moment play out.  The magician's discomfort was based upon fear, a deep-seated fear or reluctance to leave the impression that something truly mysterious, in other words, magical, had happened.

I can't relate at all to that sort of fear.  If someone concludes something I do is the result of magic, I consider it a compliment.
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Hendu71

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ

I remember reading about a guy who would perform a trick and then afterwards show the spectator how he did it.  He couldn't rest knowing that they were clueless, it really bothered him.

I wouldn't show how it's done, but I kind of get the sentiment.  And on a certain level I know it's irrational.  I very much do feel like I'm pranking the person sometimes.  This is more pronounced on tricks like Out of this World, where I'm not using slights, just sort of exploiting people's trust that things are as you say they are.

But then I watch their joy and amazement, and remember that's how I felt when I first saw it, and I get over it.
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hendu71

I wouldn't show how it's done, but I kind of get the sentiment.  And on a certain level I know it's irrational.  I very much do feel like I'm pranking the person sometimes.  This is more pronounced on tricks like Out of this World, where I'm not using slights, just sort of exploiting people's trust that things are as you say they are.

But then I watch their joy and amazement, and remember that's how I felt when I first saw it, and I get over it.


I suspect this is something you can manage and sort out over time.  It will probably become less and less until it vanishes completely.
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jim ferguson

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"I believe he was so conscious of the fact that he was telling "fibs" and that what he was describing or doing was really no miracle at all, that a sense of guilt dampened his effectiveness. He failed to be excited and authoritative because he was so utterly conscious of the machinery and commonplace methods involved. He felt guilty to play act as though the glass tumbler were ordinary when he knew that part of it's bottom had been removed.

This discloses the psychic elements that should combine in an exceptional conjuror. Instead of viewing magic as an immoral deception the practitioner must recognise that it is one of the most honest of arts. The performer admits freely that he is trying to create a pleasant illusion for purposes of entertainment. He does not utilise it's methods to deceive for self-aggrandisement at the expense of others or for misrepresentation. The magician is trying to bring some happiness and romance, some escape into a never-never land where the limitations of ordinary existence are overcome, to lift up the often dull and depressing life of other people. Surely this is a most commendable aim whether in the hands of a clergyman, physician, clerk, or magician. The greater conjurors feel inwardly this romance and excitement, the mystery and wonder of it, and project it unashamedly to their audiences. They believe that a miracle is actually happening".

-John Booth.



Jim


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jim ferguson

"I believe he was so conscious of the fact that he was telling "fibs" and that what he was describing or doing was really no miracle at all, that a sense of guilt dampened his effectiveness. He failed to be excited and authoritative because he was so utterly conscious of the machinery and commonplace methods involved. He felt guilty to play act as though the glass tumbler were ordinary when he knew that part of it's bottom had been removed.

This discloses the psychic elements that should combine in an exceptional conjuror. Instead of viewing magic as an immoral deception the practitioner must recognise that it is one of the most honest of arts. The performer admits freely that he is trying to create a pleasant illusion for purposes of entertainment. He does not utilise it's methods to deceive for self-aggrandisement at the expense of others or for misrepresentation. The magician is trying to bring some happiness and romance, some escape into a never-never land where the limitations of ordinary existence are overcome, to lift up the often dull and depressing life of other people. Surely this is a most commendable aim whether in the hands of a clergyman, physician, clerk, or magician. The greater conjurors feel inwardly this romance and excitement, the mystery and wonder of it, and project it unashamedly to their audiences. They believe that a miracle is actually happening".

-John Booth.



Jim




Very germane to the topic!
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Paco Nagata

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee


I have met him, so if you're right I suppose I must accept full responsibility. All my fault. I feel thoroughly ashamed.

Alan, I just want to clarify that I was joking : - }

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Jack Deschain

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Reply with quote  #25 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Comedy magicians are the ones perhaps most likely to step on the moment of magic. Silence makes it seem that you're failing as a comedian. But if you're interested in maximizing the moment of magic, silence is golden.

M


I honestly don't remember the trick or even the exact wording of the note after the trick. I do remember the notion and it has stuck with me big time.

Paraphrase:

You're all set up for the big reveal. You can pop their bubble or let them float in the either.

 

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paco Nagata

Alan, I just want to clarify that I was joking : - }


I assumed you were. So was I.

Although I have met him several times. Or rather I met him than encountered him several times over a period of five days. This at the British Ring convention.
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