The Why Of It

Long experience has taught me that the crux of my fortunes is whether I can radiate good will toward my audience. There is only one way to do it and that is to feel it. You can fool the eyes and minds of an audience, but you cannot fool their hearts.
–Howard Thurston–

I’ve talked a little about how some professional magicians dump on amateurs and otherwise seem to think their title earns them king shit status online. What I’d like to do this time around is examine why someone might behave in such a fashion and what it really signifies.

First I want to make it clear that the majority of professional magicians I’ve known have been the friendliest people in the world. It’s pretty clear that they feel blessed to be in a position to do what they love and actually get paid for it – even when times are tough, which they can sometimes be. They aren’t worried about going to a magic forum or doing a blog and impressing everyone with their professional status; they don’t care about impressing other magicians. They care about impressing their audiences with their magic.

I think some people become performers for all the wrong reasons. While it’s probably true that most magicians crave recognition and acceptance, some few are absolutely consumed by such desires. They’re attempting to compensate for shortcomings in themselves, real or imagined, and are using magic to show the world that they’re worthy of love and adoration. Again, I think most of us want to be recognized and accepted. But those desires are but a component of the larger whole of sharing the art we love. Some few don’t really care anything about magic; they perform because it affords them a means to prove their worth.

The real problem is performing isn’t a substitute for therapy. It might even aggravate the problem. If you’re unable to connect with others in a meaningful way and get the love you’re missing, standing before them and doing tricks isn’t going to change that. They might laugh and applaud, but if you can’t connect the experience will ultimately feel hollow and superficial. Consequently resentment forms. You want to be a part of something and you’ve tried so hard but nothing has changed. Resentment ferments into anger. And hate.

What I’ve noticed about the people who come online and flaunt their professional title is that they’re almost invariably low level performers who’ve had limited success. This makes perfect sense to me, as you’re never going to succeed as a magician unless you can connect with people, unless you genuinely like people and they like you. You’ve tried and failed to show the world at large that you’re worthy of love and you’ve failed. The solution then is to show your fellow magicians what an expert you are.

I’ll admit that this is a lot of conjecture on my part founded on nothing more than personal observation. However, I sincerely believe I’m on the right track. It might very well be that those loud mouth know it alls who drive some of us crazy are crying out for help in the only way they know how. All I can say is that you’ll never get the kind of help you need online, and even when you succeed in proclaiming your status loudly enough that some of your ilk actually listen to your drivel it’s ultimately going to lead to another let down. I wish there were some easy answers, but there aren’t. A very good start can be made when you stop trying to belittle and demean and offer kindness instead. Just a thought. See you next time.


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