Creating the impossible

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My job as an entertainer, using the art/craft/skillset of psychological magic is to demonstrate apparent acts, which the majority of us deem to be impossible.

But what is the value of creating such an illusion? Surely the natural reaction to witnessing this should be frustration or perhaps alienation, not having intellectual access to what is really going on.

Yet rarely do I experience reactions even close to this. In fact I would say that it generally brings people to life.

Participants who were previously sedentary or only half interested all of a sudden start to move more and breathe faster. There is always much laughter despite the clear absence of any deliberate comedy. People also become much more physical, touching me and others around them.

“Wonder” or “Awe” serves as a tremendous pattern interrupt and in a lovely way can dissipate the more trivial concerns and anxieties that we regularly hold onto, if not some of the larger ones too.

But on a deeper level I like to imagine that seeing something we previously felt was impossible and cannot easily understand, has an even greater value.

As intelligent and knowledgeable adults we have ‘seen it all’ and can believe we have all of the information needed to survive life’s challenges.

So when something comes along that we cant find a clear way around we tend to trust our existing references of what we think is possible and this can leave us feeling stuck and deflated.

It is often the case that the more intelligent the individual, the more they fall into this trap.

But should they cross paths with the (handsome) magician (not necessarily me, any handsome magician will do), and witness something they simply cannot explain – I like to think it can trigger a bout of positive questioning directed not only at the trick observed, but perhaps at larger concerns too.

‘If I have missed so much here, what else might I be missing?’

‘Am I mistaken about what I believe is or isn’t possible?’

‘Might there in fact be much more for me to discover about the nature of the world than I had previously concluded?’

If the overall effect of the experience has been ‘not knowing the world as well as 10 minutes ago’, then I believe this can set in motion the kinds of paradigm shifts required to help drive real positive change in our lives.

But then again I may be simply trying to convince myself that I’m not just getting paid to do magic tricks. 🙂