Two sides of the magic coin.

Recently I have been struggling a lot with; “the Meaning behind the magic”.

“Why do I do magic?”

“What do I want my audience to feel?”

“What are my goals?”

“Are all of my goals egocentric or do they have some way to make me achieve a higher purpose?”

Those are some of the questions I have recently been struggling with.

When I was younger I always heard Michael Vincent say “Just ask yourself; “Why do you do magic?”.

At that time it didn’t have as much meaning as it has now. I interpreted it a completely different way. When I was younger, it was more of a question of; am I doing it for me or for the audience?  although magic started out as something purely for me, later it transformed into something that I liked to do for the audience.

Or at least so I thought, and I liked to believe.

In reality, there was still an ego goal behind “doing magic for the audience”. The goal was that I wanted to be “cool”, I could make the audience feel something and transfer them into an impossible world and that would make me “cool”.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that, however, I was lying to myself. I was saying to myself, and to others, that I was doing it for the audience and not for myself anymore. But, this couldn’t be further away from the truth.

Recently I started to acknowledge this, that there was still an ego goal behind it. The first time I started to acknowledge this, it was followed by insecurities and a feeling of incompetence. I felt like I was an unskilled magician, I couldn’t make my audience feel what I wanted them to feel and I wasn’t worth their time1.

After all of the insecurities came up, I had to perform at a gig, I started not really wanting to go there and I was even thinking of giving my client a refund and not showing up at all.

Luckily, some of my friends said that this is normal and it is something that all artists go through at one point or another.

I decided to still go to the gig and I was shown that the ideas that my ego was showing me were not true, people loved the performance.

After this experience, however, I started to reflect on all of it and I started to realize something;

So very often we believe that we should do the art for a higher purpose, to create something timeless and astonishing, To give ourselves completely to our art and to set our ego aside.

Even though I like the idea of setting ego aside, for now, it is important for me that I realize that performing the art of magic has two intentions for me.

One of them is gifting the audience a great experience and one of them is an ego goal, something for me that I haven’t fully figured out yet.

Something trough which I feel a sense of meaning.

 

1 Ooh, the fun things that ego can tell you, that bundle of false made-up believes about yourself that tries to keep you tied to your own confinements of how you believe the world is.

 


2 comments


  • Mike Vincent

    Rico, I full resonated with your post. Here is my take on it. It’s ok to have a healthy ego, in fact you cannot escape your ego, none of us can. Your post indicated The that may. For me, magic is a beautiful subject to study. I love studying magic and my ego loves sharing my joy. Now consider this, my ego is not running the show, no way. I study and practice for my joy and pleasure. My performances is for the joy of my audience. My ego knows this and let’s me get on with it. I am in touch with my humanity and humility.

    So for you, just remember, take the work seriously, just don’t take yourself too seriously. We are not brain surgeons or mathematicians calculating the re-entry to earths atmosphere. We do card tricks why, because we love it and we love sharing it with people. Sometimes we get paid other times it’s just for fun. This is a beautiful thing.
    Cheers
    Mike


  • Chris Wood

    Hi Rico, try not to beat yourself up too much… the fact you care sets you on the right path. One of the problems inherent in “why do you do magic” is “knowing who you are”. I’ve written a bit about this for the young magicians club at the circle recently.. basically there is a big difference between pride of accomplishment and simply revelling in applause. Carefully crafting something that you are proud of and seeing it’s performance refine and mature brings much more satisfaction and a more lasting sense of self worth. The more dedication, the more inner fulfilment.


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