Why Learn Magic?

Everyone has this reason why they want to learn magic.  This defining moment, if you will.

I can find no such defining moment.

Maybe I was lucky as a kid.  We had many school assemblies in which magicians performed.  I recall very fondly seeing one magic show at the Electronic Thing – a huge electronics show and clearance back in the mid 80s held in Detroit.  My parents never seemed to miss a television special, back in those days of only 30-40 cable channels.

My father, too, had developed a knack for deconstructing card tricks then performing them at family functions.

Magic was certainly common enough in my youth.  That is certainly part of the attraction.

In college, I subscribed to PC Computing just to read Penn Jillette’s back page.  I had always loved seeing them perform on television, and was astonished back in the mid 90s to discover a layer of them that went beyond their performances.  They could be classy, shocking, and the most intelligent fools all at the same time.  If there are any modern artists whose work I may feel inspired by, it is Penn & Teller.

That’s not it either.

The 1994 movie Lord of Illusions strikes a little closer to home.  What the hell? may be an appropriate response to this revelation.  For its time – before extreme and street were buzzwords in the craft – the movie paid tribute to both lavish, modern acts such as Copperfield and the smaller scale but no less spectacular “classic” side of magic.  Billy McComb has a small part as a character named Walter Wilder.  The character is first shown wonderfully and idly performing a very nice effect.  His performance, and the scenes that followed among the group of magicians, really struck a nerve with me.

Lord of Illusions did not make me want to learn magic.  It absolutely does stir up the urge to learn more.  I believe this movie also fills in the last piece of puzzle.

This is about learning a truth that not everyone will wish to see.  Far from being mega-maniacal about this, magic is about using that truth to show possibility: two human hands can perform the impossible if the mind that makes them move is committed enough.   There is a feeling of all the darkest secrets of Halloween night and cold, all-too-real determination.  The end result is wonder and happiness, if done correctly.

I have no concretes for wanting to learn magic.  I have an abstract:  learn what is beneath the secrets, achieve the unachievable, and create happiness as an end product.


Andrew is a web developer by day.He has played drums nearly all his life, creates music whenever possible, and plays too many video games.
He has worked as a level designer for a small online video game, as the grim reaper in a haunted house, and traded web design for concert tickets and tattoos.He can be sometimes found performing improvised comedy or stage magic in the south side of Austin, Texas.

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