Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Science, oh Lord!

Sleights of Mind - The Neuroscience of Magic from theory11 on Vimeo.

Watch out! Scientist all over the world are watching you. Analysing magic and trying to learn from it. From their point of view this makes complete sense. From their point of view, magic is an old kind of performance that deals with deception. And magicians, so it seems have figured out how our mind processes information and found ways to trick the brain into thinking something else, thereby fooling the audience.

And guess what, we have. We have found principles and methods that trick the perception. Problem is, we do not know why they work. But it really doesn't matter that much, as you don't have to know why vanilla tastes good, you just enjoy it.

So scientists have a lot to gain by exposing the magic. But we magicians have nothing to gain by helping the scientific folk. We get noting of any value out of it. We get no money, no bookings, no information that is of any use for us. It is simply a one sided relationship. Science is the parasite and magic is the host.

Think about it!

So why are we open when a scientist ask us to explain a certain method? Damn, we need to learn to shut the hell up. If they wanna know about it, they need to learn, practise, rehearse and perform.

Keep the secret!


Richard said...

Speaking as a performing magician for many years and now as a psychologist as well (almost finished my degree) I have to say, you're missing the point.

I have been reading quite a bit about the "Neuroscience of Magic" after an ABC episode of Catalyist here in Australia about a yr ago.

To use your analogy again; the scientists like vanilla too, but they are looking at the ingredients and the making of the ice cream to better appreciate the persons ability to enjoy the icecream.

They arent the "next step" in The Masked Magician?!

One of the BIGGEST breakthroughs they found studying magic is that the human perception if sight can be up to 40% imagined, and during that 40% you're completely unconscious of the world around you - that means up to 40% of what you see DOESNT EVEN EXIST IN THE REAL WORLD.

Now, thats not going to get a magician a booking, and it surely doesnt mean the scientist is going to start a Las Vegas show - but as far as science is concerned thats a HUGE thing for psychology.

More power to them I say, and as soon as my degree is done, Im going to be off looking for someone I can do my Masters with in the Neuroscience of Illusion! ;)

Roland said...

Am I missing the point? I do agree that what scientist can learn from us magicians is a great thing. But my complaint is about how we magicians gain nothing helping science. So why the hell do we openly expose all our trade secrets in the name of science that easy?

Damn said...

because this isnt the inquisition and we are not the Catholic church either.

Mike said...

Roland !!!

You are sounding like the usual old self important magicians !!

Get real. I very much doubt there is much to learn from magic in psychological terms...its more the other way around.

But if it inflates your ego then fine. This however makes you this weeks Magic Failure.

NB Would you feel better if scientists just went out and bought the myriads of published secrets that magicians openly expose in book and DVD to line their pockets.

Lord help me !!!