Theory Thoughts

Most magic books jump right into technique and tricks, an understandable approach as the majority of starting magicians seek to understand the secrets first. All spectators want to know what happened that caused their astonishment, those more interested in knowing the method are the eager entering the magic world that take the next step to actually purchase a magic book.

Get a few tricks under your belt, perform them with moderate skill, and overtime magic theory becomes an interest. The what and how have been consumed, processed in the minds of the beginner magician, and after a period of time the why questions start to come into fruition…I have a hard time with this approach.

Think about when learning to drive a vehicle for the first time, what does everyone remember…safety first. They don’t teach you how to turn on your windshield wipers, how to parallel park, how to make a left turn. Rather, they teach you about safety, and why safety is important. Lessons around what the signs mean, why they are important, what you need to remember before starting a car, etc. Could the safety lessons equate to magic theory? Perhaps not the best analogy, I figured save myself hours of trying to identify the most applicable analogy, and risk complete paralyzation of publishing this post :).

I argue that the why could be more important than the what and how when starting out in magic. Beginners are immediately suckers for the good and the bad, as they struggle to differentiate between the quality vs the crap. The Ascanio trilogy puts a reader through the journey of understanding his theories, ideas, and principles first. His first book in fact is all theory, no tricks. His subsequent two books are packed with incredible magic. I lean in the direction of Ascanio’s approach…I imagine most would irregardless of the argument currently being made because he’s one of the great magical minds.

I follow the path of understanding the why first so I can better optimize my process of sifting through the what and how. I’m upgrading my shit-radar before it has a chance to become infected with weak art.

For me, Strong Magic – Ortiz.

A recap from my last post…Waving the Aces by Hollingworth and now Ortiz. This will keep my busy for quite a while, Strong Magic is packed with insights.

2 Replies to “Theory Thoughts”

  1. Ortiz is good (I’ve read it several times) but you don’t need to agree with everything he says. Ascanio is interesting but it takes a while to grasp his theories. Tamariz’s recent book “The Magic Rainbow” is excellent but again will take some studying; it is another book full of analysis and insights. I do believe that our magic will be better if we understand these things. Oh, and don’t forget Roberto Giobbi in Volume 2 of Card College.

    1. Thanks Roger, I’m half way through Strong Magic and I’ll absolutely need to read it several times to grasp the material. I have the Magic Rainbow but what haven’t had a chance to read yet, I read Jamy Ian Swiss’s review of it in Magicana and the review in itself was quite dense. Card College volume 2 is good, more approachable than the previous 2 mentioned. Maximum Entertainment 2.0 is coming soon, I’m looking forward to that as I heard great things.

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