“ If you take any activity , any art , any discipline , any skill , take it and push it as far it has ever been pushed before , push it into the wildest edge of edges , then you force it into the realm of real magic .” - Todd Robins
The magic arena is a place of infinite possibilities and there ’ s room to play whatever game you want . But just for a moment let ’ s play the game of pushing the art into the wildest edge of edges .
Astonishment Is Our Natural State Of Mind .
All right . Here we go . Think back to your first magical encounter . The seed experience that first excited you then compelled you to do magic yourself . Someone did a trick for you that made you gasp . For me it was when my uncle Paul smashed a newspaper-covered glass through a tabletop . A moment of ecstatic bliss where every thought was pulled from my face leaving nothing more than empty space .
My first instinct was not to hear a joke or to be entertained or to be told a story or to make small talk but to experience that moment again and again . And it ’ s natural to think if you could learn to do magic yourself , then … well , you could have this experience all the time . But then about three seconds later you realize that it ’ s fun to know secrets and to do things for people that they can ’ t figure out . And suddenly you ’ re out of the astonishment game and into the ego game and with hard work and some good jokes and maybe even into the money game .
So now you ’ re a long way from home and from that virgin gasp that motivated the journey . And now you ’ re performing some of your high-entertainment-value effects and despite yourself a profound moment of astonishment is unleashed . It doesn ’ t happen every time but when the moon is right and the conditions are just so … there it is , a moment of total white-light astonishment . And you look at those astonished faces and maybe you ’ re not sure what to say , or you feel a little guilty , or a bit uncomfortable because it ’ s stopped the flow of your show or changed your easy relationship with the audience .
Something powerful has happened . But everyone knows it ’ s just a trick and you ’ re “ just a magician ” so there ’ s this dysfunctional relationship going on and no one ’ s sure what to do with this strange experience including yourself .
But in general you ’ re pretty happy because on some level you realize this is a big win until someone says , “ I wish the children were here to see this .” And for a moment you feel your whole game fall apart .
YOU ’ RE USING MAGICAL ILLUSIONS
TO DISSOLVE CULTURAL ILLUSIONS IN ORDER TO EXPERIENCE
A MOMENT OF SOMETHING REAL . PAUL HARRIS ,
Doing magic for children can be glorious . But the frequently voiced opinion that the experience of astonishment is a childish thing makes you wonder about what ’ s really going on .
If you listen carefully , you ’ ll also hear things like “ that made me feel like a child again ” or “ you made me feel like a little kid at the circus .” And if you think about this , you ’ ll see that what these astonished adults are really trying to say , even though they ’ re not consciously aware of it , is that for a brief moment , they experienced a clear , primal state of mind that they associate with a child ’ s state of mind . Somehow the adult experience of astonishment triggered some feeling of what it felt like to be a child .
I ’ m going to say this again because it ’ s so much fun using the italics button : The experience of astonishment is the experience of a clear , primal state of mind that they associate with a child ’ s state of mind .
It ’ s the same experience that seduced you into performing magic in the first place . And if you follow these footprints it takes you right up to the crumbling edge of everything we