“Pick a card, any card.” Oh, the anticipation!…
I love magic and illusionists, I'm fascinated by what they do. Not how, but what. It’s that feeling of suspending, transcending and seemingly defying the laws of physics, nature and what we ‘know’ is possible that is compelling.
It starts with ‘The Pledge’ where the magician shows you something familiar, known and safe. A deck of cards for example. But that’s not what we’re here for.
It’s the next step, ‘The Turn’ where it really gets interesting. What’s familiar suddenly becomes extraordinary; it changes, disappears, behaves differently. It doesn't make sense, you can’t comprehend or understand what’s happening. The more you try, the less sense it makes. So you let go, tentatively.
Normally, we work hard to avoid this feeling of lack of control. We plan, manage, assess, deconstruct, quantify, define and future-proof our lives to defend against the unknown. The unknown is threatening, disconcerting, uncomfortable. From the relative safety of a theatre seat however, we’ll suspend judgement for long enough to be entertained. But outside, in the ‘real’ world, it’s too risky.
The final step is ‘The Prestige’, the big reveal. This is the part where the magician brings the audience back from the precipice of the unknown. The rabbit appears, the two halves of the body are joined and the missing card is revealed. The audience breathes a sigh of relief and applauds in awe.
It still doesn’t make sense but there’s relief and closure. That feeling of being guided into the unknown and being completely baffled only to have it all work out in the end is intoxicating.
You could find out how it was done, the magician could reveal his secret but that would spoil the adventure, there would be no magic.
Unless of course, you began to notice where ‘The Turn’ is playing out in your life right now…
Now that's exciting. Are you up for it?
More wow, less how.