AUGUST 2015: WHAT HISTORICAL PERSONALITIES SAID ABOUT MAGIC

On the magic experience:

Magic enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. ― Thomas Merton 

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true magic and true science. ― Albert Einstein

On the positive effects of fine magic:

Magic washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ― Pablo Picasso

On the magic atmosphere concept:

The object isn’t to make magic, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes magic inevitable. ― Robert Henri

On how important is letting room so the spectators can use their imagination:

The principles of true magic is not to portray, but to evoke. ― Jerzy Kosinski

On a pragmatic approach to learn and improve your magic

Don’t think about doing magic, just get it done. ― Andy Warhol 

On things the spectators doesn’t need to know, even though they may not aware:

If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery in magic, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. ― Michelangelo

On the new ideas in magic:

Magic is either plagiarism or revolution. ― Paul Gauguin

On where the magical experience begins for the spectators:

Magic begins with resistance, at the point where resistance is overcome. ― Andre Gide

On the magician transcending the technique so communication is possible:

Magic begins with resistance, at the point where resistance is overcome. ― Andre Gide

On the extreme act of freedom which is creating a magic act:

To create a magic act is to create the world. ― Wassily Kandinsky

On looking for inspiration, knowledge and teachers in other places:

My masters are strange folk with very little care for magic in them. ― Johann Sebastian Bach

On why our magic cannot be engaging, deep or rich if we are not any of those things in the first place:

The magician must train not only his eye but also his soul. ― Wassily Kandinsky

On making your living out of magic:

Magic is making something out of nothing, and selling it. ― Frank Zappa

A magician is not paid for his labor but for his vision. ― James McNeill Whistler

On how absorbing and demanding magic can be:

Magic is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument.― C.G. Jung

On what the characteristics the fine magician should aim:

A magician should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist. ― Vladimir Nabokov

On having more pretensions with our magic:

Magic for magic’s sake makes no more sense than gin for gin’s sake. ― W Somerset Maugham

On giving the magic the relevance it deserves, either by making every performing meaningful or by not performing it:

Magic is the most beautiful deception of all. And although people try to incorporate the everyday events of life in it, we must hope that it will remain a deception lest it become a utilitarian thing, sad as a factory. ― Claude Debussy

On the philosophy of magic as a performing activity:

Magic must be an expression of love or it is nothing. ― Marc Chagall 

The more I think about it, the more I realize there is nothing more magical than to love others. ― Vincent Van Gogh

On a deeper meaning of magic:

All magic is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril. ― Oscar Wilde

Magic is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious. ― Jean Cocteau

The aim of magic is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ― Aristotle

Magic is a lie that makes us realize truth. ― Pablo Picasso 

You should have guessed by now none of those historical personalities were referring to magic or anything that I said in those quotes (didn’t they?). I just played a game taught to me by master Gabi Pareras, which is looking for definitions and thoughts of beauty, poetry… and replaceing the corresponding words for “magic” and see what happens and… things do happen.

What I did was look for “art” quotes and replace the word for “magic” in them (or even more tricky things). Then interpret or reinterpret them, read the quotes again and hear what they had to say, and they have to say many interesting things to say. Some of the meanings resonated in my head because they were teachings that I already had, most of them from Spanish masters (José Frakson, Arturo de Ascanio, Gabi Pareras, Juan Tamaraiz, Luis García, Gabriel Moreno, Camilo Vázquez…). With some others I am not able to grasp the meaning completely but they are inspiring and it feels like there is something there.

It is really hard to believe none of those people were talking about magic, or maybe they were doing it?. Alan Moore says that art and magic are actually the same thing, like synonyms. That of course is subjective and it depends on our personal understanding of what magic and art are. To me, the magical adjective talks about the “impossibly beautiful” quality, so it makes sense to me.

I can say music, poetry, painting, dance, juggling… can be magical because I have experienced it. Magic can be magical too, but most of the time, to me, magic performances are not magical or artistic at all (so it happens with music, dance…) I think in magic we have the perfect word to define the magic that is not magical which is “tricks”.

I think the experience of witnessing magical music or magical dance not that different from witnessing magical magic, maybe that’s why those quotes and thoughts are so accurate and evocative when we transposed “art” to “magic”. May be it not just chance (or self- deception).

With this post it was not my intention to support the “Magic is Art” cause (neither the opposite). I think the best way to dignify magic is not by convincing the people to recognize it as art, but by creating and performing magical magic. In the end tags like “magicians”, “trickster”, “artist”, “entertainer” won’t change what we are, they are just tags.

Thanks for reading!

Pipo

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