It’s All Part Of The Magic

If you were a magician – by definition, someone able to control natural forces by calling upon the supernatural – what would you do? Visit the home of an acquaintance who had wronged you and make it rain in their bedroom? Control events in such a way as to ensure financial prosperity for you and yours? Protect your home from intrusion? Or would you make a playing card disappear and reappear in someone’s pocket?

This is part of what is referred to in professional wrestling as “kayfabe”. The suspension of disbelief, as it may more commonly be described. When we see an illusionist perform tricks on stage, we may think to ourselves “I’m sure they are doing well for themselves financially, but if I could do all this stuff I’d use it to make money without ever having to leave the house”. A reasonable response, but it misses the point.

In reality, we know there is a trick there, something we are missing which explains all the actions of the illusionist in a way which makes everything clear. They are no more controlling dark forces than we are causing rain when we turn on the shower. The key point in all of this is that we don’t care – it’s about the show. Just as wrestlers are not actually beating each other to a pulp, but the appearance of such feats is interesting enough.

It is curmudgeonly to look at the acts of an illusionist and tell everyone else that what they are doing is not magic. It assumes that everyone else is being tricked and only you are in on the magician’s secret. In actual fact, everyone else knows that it is a trick, but they suspend disbelief because it makes things more interesting.