Magic And Magicians Essay, Research Paper
Many events were unexplainable and maybe even seemed to be magical before science evolved to what it is today. All questions relating to the origin of life can be answered scientifically. One may question their beliefs based on scientific theory. Human life can be broken down to fundamental theory. Not only geological or biological, but also all events can be answered scientifically. Magic and magicians have certain function in society. The impossible becomes unexplainable, whether it is fact or fiction. But truly in the minds of magicians, their purpose in life is to leave a mystery, a mystery that science is unable to explain. They leave their mark and give people something to think about, a mark which will never be forgotten. Although magic is able to deceive the minds of many, few understand its effect of misdirection of the human mind.
The first accounts of magic were recorded around 1700 B.C. It appeared on the Westcon Papyrus and was recorded by an Egyptian chronicler. Stories of magic were handed down for centuries (Blackstone, 12). It has made a profitable living for soothsayer and gypsies, but there are times when magic was a form of entertainment. During the seventeenth century magic has become a living for some entertainers. Jugglers, wizards, and fortunetellers often appeared as scrub than a man of talent. These respected entertainers attracted lots of attention, not only because of their flaming clothing, but also because of their talents. In time there were traveling performers. Magicians dressed up and traveled for town to town, setting up stages and booths attracting the attention of the people, as well as their money. Pretty soon this sorts of entertainment was everywhere. At fairs they perform when they attract a crowd, then they passed around a hat for donations as if they were beggars. They appeared in places like the market place, street corners, and even adult entertainment bars (Blackstone, 19).
We have seen magic as a form of entertainment, from making someone disappear, to sawing a girl in half. But all great illusions have an explanation. “Magic, as we have seen, is about power- a seemingly magical power used and expressed by a skilled actor to create the illusion of miraculous happenings’. But the most mysterious part of magic is how these miraculous happenings are performed. The real power of magic lies within the native effects themselves (Blackstone, 117).
Magicians refer magical appearance of an object as a production. Th 20-century magician David Blaine uses production. He as through time has taken magic to an extreme. Blaine’s productions usually consist of cards and unusual objects. There is no size limit to a magician’s product. “The only limits is in his skill and ingenuity in doing it”. Like all magicians David Blaine has been practicing since he was a kid. From card tricks to mind games, his technique has been worked on until it was presentable (Blackstone, 118).
The opposite of production is making something disappear. Ever since magic was first used, magicians have been making things disappear form a coin to an enormous animal. There are two basic types of vanishes, the visible vanish where it can been seen without being covered, to the covered vanishes where it disappears under an object. Making an object disappear is quite impossible, but like all tricks there is a scientifically explanation. “The use of psychological conditioning is to achieve a magical effect”. As an object is repeatedly tossed up into the air, the audience is controlled by concentrating on the object. As the final tossed is perceived, the magician fakes the toss and the audience’s eyes follows the imaginary flight. This is an example of psychological conditioning. Till today, it is still used by many magicians. As one of David Blaine’s trick, he is supposedly ripping off the head of a chicken. But as he tucks the chicken’s head under the palm of his hand, he whips out a fake head and pretends to rip it right off its body. As the audience is astonished by this trick, they are not noticing his other hand holding down the head. Like all tricks, magic is just a slight of hand (World Book, 50).
“If one were to imagine an effect universally identified with a magic performer- along with pulling a rabbit from a hat and sawing a lady in two- certainly it would be floating a lady in the air”. Anti- Gravity and levitating is common is ones dream. To be able to levitate, one must practice constantly and make sure nobody sees how it’s done. Levitation is literally an illusion that an object is suspended in mid air. Defying gravity is one of the greatest effects in magic, but really good levitation must be practice a lot and show no flaw. As David Blaine shows his remarkable skills in levitation, he awaits for the audience to look at a different angle. The audience was unable to see a side of his leg, the side that he uses to push himself up. This makes it seem as if he was floating. All illusions can be explain jut by looking at it in a different position and base it on the laws of science (Gaddis, 219).
In the art of magic the central principle is misdirection. “It is the means by which the magician casts the psychological spell that makes the deception work and the illusion seem real”. A magician using misdirection is able to control what he would like the audience to see, as well as what they think they saw. Misdirection is a process in which the magician misdirects the audience’s attention away from the path by which the sham is accomplished. “The intended result of misdirection is thus misperception”. Misdirection is just a cover up so that the audience is not able to see how the trick was performed. There is no suck thing as a perfect trick. All tricks must conceal at least one weak point of a trick (Blackstone, 140).
There are basically two different types of misdirection, physical and mental misdirection. A combination of both skills is usually used to achieve a magical effect. “The purpose of misdirection to control the spectator’s attention so that he is looking at the wrong thing at the right time and away from that vulnerable weak point that can expose the working of the trick”. A sudden body movement or an explosive effect can be misdirecting the audience’s attention. Nobody can be aware of what is going on while the trick is actually performed. The hand will always be quicker then eye (Arieti, 210).
Mental misdirection is far more difficult concept than physical misdirection. “Its effectiveness depends not on direct control of the spectator, but on a surreptitious derailing of his logical train of thought”. Magicians believe that a very good trick must have a surprise ending. It is true that good magic tricks have a surprising ending and David Blaine follows that policy. His entire card trick is a matter of slight of hand. His trick seems to be impressive when it has a surprising ending, but David Blaine has taken it to an extreme. It is quite impossible to perform his tricks, but there is an explanation for everything. Reviewing the tapes carefully, there are a few glitches in the video. Possibly outtakes in which the viewer is not looking. The surprising look on the audience’s face can be just an act. There is a solution to all tricks, but not all answers are true (Blackstone, 146).
Magic is a form of entertainment and mystery. The mystery leaves the audience stunned and fascinated. This is what makes magic more interesting. Magician must protect the secrets of the trick. “Your audience does not know what is going to happen next in your performance, and by never telling them in advance what your are going to do (so that they know what to look for), and by never repeating a trick in the same way (so that the second time around the audience can analyze the action and perhaps discover the method), you have a considerable advantage over them”. Boring people with magic would loose the interest of the trick.
Good magicians defy science and learn from there past mistakes. Science is a logical explanation to everything buy it has its exceptions. Magic is a form of art in which has its weaknesses. If everybody knew how to do the trick, there is no interest to magic. Mysticism has been in the past and probably ever will be one of the great powers of the world. It is bad to pretend its complete opposite. People may argue against it but many should know more and treat it with respect. People must accept magic as something that obeys consistent rules, and upon the effects that are created, people are forced to claim that magic behavior must be part of the physics of the universe, but it is simply based on the foundation of how the brain works.