Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hocus Pocus

Harry Houdini, David Copperfield, even Penn & Teller… all great illusionists. They became famous for getting you to see what they wanted you to see. Optical illusions and slight of hand are tricks of the trade in the art of mental deception. Though pulling out a little white rabbit is amazing, magicians aren’t the only ones with hat tricks. It would seem that we all have a cape and top hat in the closet.

Every day we freelance illusionists, wave our wands and create magic. As we channel our inner Merlin, we cast images and ideas for those we know and interact with. We speak in tones not our own, as we say what we want them to hear. Coupled with a proper body placement, we weave a magical tapestry and create the mystical art known as “perception”.

You see perception is as up for interpretation as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Perception is the ultimate magic. We say and do things to get our audience captivated. We turn their attention away from what we’re truly doing, and get them to only follow what we want them to. We get them to perceive us in the light we choose, and only see the scarf…not the string.

If we are all practicing in perception, and “perception is reality”, then what and who is “real”? Over time we have found out how the lady gets sawed in half, or where the rabbit really comes from, even how that pigeon gets in his pocket, but do we take the time to see the strings in our own lives? How many of us have people slipping that 5th Ace past us right now? And if we could…would we choose to see it?

Magic was once seen as a dark energy and only practiced by those of corrupted spirit, now it is viewed as entertainment. We have become so accustomed to being deceived that we welcome and embrace it…we even expect it. Often we take what we see and hear and tell ourselves it’s what we “know”, that it’s real. We sometimes even take it a step further and act upon our interpretation. Then we get home and try juggling knives, swallowing fire or sawing a sibling in half…and learn what’s “real”…either in court or an emergency room. Like we tell children, we as adults need not try this at home.

This “moment” is just pulling back the curtain a little and allowing you to see the wires. Who and what we perceive may be real to us. We may even swear that we can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste it, and in the end it’s nothing more than magic, an illusion, not real. We need to be able to appreciate, but not get completely caught up in it. As exciting as it looks, and as real as it may seem…

Sometimes we need to remember that it’s just a show before we go diving head first into a glass of water.

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