The Impossible and Other Things Magic Can Make Us Believe In

I’m a big fan of magic tricks.

I watch magicians like David Blaine preform their magic on stages in front of an audience. People from around the country buy tickets to see famous magicians do their magic on stage. These people come in knowing they are about to witness the magician’s best magic tricks.

It is because of this reason that I prefer watching magicians do street magic. David Blaine is famous for his street magic. He made a living off going up to random people in the streets and doing the tricks he’s been practicing since he was four. He had a whole show based off this idea.

I think the show (and David Blaine) gained popularity not because of the tricks he was doing (although, they did play a major role in the show). I think the show gained its momentum because of the real reactions of the real people when they saw Blaine’s magic. It’s not really about the trick itself, but it’s about the reaction and the wonderment that strikes the spectator when they see the magic happen.

David Blaine puts it best when he said, “Magic is not about having a puzzle to solve. It’s about creating a moment of awe and astonishment. And that can be a beautiful thing.”

Look up Blaine’s street magic. Pay attention to the people he comes up to. Pay attention to their reactions. Pay attention to the awe in their face. Pay attention to the spine-tickling wonderment that shakes through their body. That kind of stuff gives me goosebumps.

I think that every person wants to believe that there is a force, or a being, or energy, or power, or something that we cannot understand.

There is an inherit want, at least I believe, to have there be something out there beyond the authority of man.

I don’t believe too much in a higher power these days. It’s not because I don’t want there to be one. If there was one, then fantastic! That would mean that there is something else that can do with our lives rather than to live it. That would mean that we would exist in another space than in our fleshy, bloody bodies.

I would love there to be a phenomena that science can never hope to explain. This way, there would be something that would be out of the control of people. We could just have to let it be. It would be pure. It would be untouched. It would be unknown.

So back to magic.

When David Blaine approaches people on the street, the people are unaware of what is going to happen. People that show up to his shows wake up in the morning knowing that they are going to see magic that night. The people on the street would never have guessed David Blaine was going to walk up to them at any point of the day.

Anyways, Blaine starts his magic in front of the people on the street. He shuffles the 52 cards in ways could be a magic trick themselves. He talks in a calming voice. He says “look” about 30 times in four minutes. He keeps your attention to make sure you will have no explanation for his magic. David Blaine is unrelenting with his poetry.

When Blaine finally does his magic, and finds the your king of spades in a nearby orange, you can’t speak. You have your mouth open and all you can do is stare in disbelief. How the fuck did this motherfucker get this card in the orange? is all you can think to yourself.

A lot of people act like this on David Blaine’s show. They don’t know what to do. Some stay silent, some laugh, or some even cry. What else can they do? They have no explanation for the magic. Maybe the magic trick acts like proof of that explainable something that we call crave so much for. Here was a trick that was done in front of the spectator’s eyes, yet they cannot explain what just happened. They can speculate all they want, but no one can explain what David Blaine just did.

I think it’s awesome that the trope of magicians and not revealing their secrets exists. David Blaine gives zero insights on his tricks. He just stares at the spectators as to say yup, that was some magic you just saw. And the spectators have to continue on through the rest of their day; thinking about how maybe, just maybe, they witnessed real magic that day. That gives them faith.

It’s a powerful thing to give someone faith. That way they know of the unknown now and, in some weird, reverse kind of way, they don’t know what it is.

Their faith in their something  was strengthened with the help of 52 cards and an orange.

And I think that’s poetic in some way I can’t really put to words.

H.G. Salas

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