Exposure of magical secrets: Pros and Cons (Part 1)

Every story has two or more sides to it: Old Jungle saying.

And abiding by the journalism adage, let me try to state the pros andcons of the exposure of magic secrets.

Over the years, many a people have termed magic as the ultimate of all arts. It is said that the other arts aspire to attain the status of magic. That is the reason that an incredible dance/music performance, or even a painting is described as being magical. This statement has been famously attributed to Magician P C Sorcar Jr by Lee Siegel in his book Net of Magic.

But the basis of magic lies in its mystery. It is no secret that the art of magic survives solely on the basis of the element of mystery that it creates in the minds of the audience.

Thus, the moment the secret behind a magic effect is divulged, this mystery, the enchantment, is lost. And magic is relegated to the position of any other performance art like dance or music. The people can see (and appreciate) that it is skillfull and artistic, but its essence, the Charm, is lost.

And therein lies the opposition to the exposure of secrets of magical effects.

The second opposition stems from the fact that there are many a magicians whose livelihood is based on their entertaining shows. Now the moment the secrets are OUT, the enchantment and charm is lost, and thereby the audience too…

Thus, magicians, like any other professionals, do not take kindly to people who are making them lose business, and thus lose livelihood.

The third issue at hand is the fact that magicians are mere custodians of magical secrets. Not the owners. They have received these secrets passed on to them by their peers, guarded through ages, so that they may utilise the same to entertain and enthrall their audiences the world-over.

As stated in an earlier post, the magicians are like the bank employee who has been entrusted with the responsibility of being the custodian of the treasury. In this case the treasury contains the entertainment value of magic. The magician, akin to the bank custodian, has NO right over the treasury per se. Simply because they do not own it (If they did, then it would change the issue). After all, we wouldn’t want the bank custodian to run away with our money, would we?

Thus, the above three points more-or-less summarise the opposition to the exposure of magical secrets.

While there is definitely very less or no support to the exposure of magical secrets, let us try to analyse if ANY good can come out of an exposure of magical secrets.

Why do magicians expose the secrets of legerdemain? Are there some exposures that are “acceptable,” while others are not? Are there any hidden or evident advantages that emanate from said exposure?

The answers to these questions, and more… in the next post!

Nakul