The Wonder of Magic
Wonder: a feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
Great magic creates a sense of wonder and amazement, and often this is described as a “child like” wonder. I think often this is thought of as the wonder of not knowing, but I prefer to think of wonder as that experience of knowing fully that you know something and then having the opposite revealed to you. I believe, this is better thought of as a grown up sense of wonder. It’s an experience that abounds in the discovery of scientific phenomena, as well as the admiration of human achievement.
Even for children I believe this grown up wonder exists. Children have knowledge of the world. They know what is real, and what is imaginary or pretend. The skill in magic is in building on the assumptions of your audience so that they convince themselves. Then comes the moment that the magician twists away from what was assumed to be the case, leaving open a question of what is / isn’t real.
Magical: beautiful or delightful in a way that seems removed from everyday life.
Increasingly, I am thinking of myself less as someone who just performs magic, and more as someone who creates magical experiences (with magic as one of many techniques).
I could ramble on with superlatives about how that magical feeling should be described – amazing, remarkable, astounding, bewildering, staggering, breathtaking, etc… but none of them feel quite right. It’s a feeling, and so by definition will change for each individual.
One thing that I do believe is that a magical experience should be not of this world. It should connect with something outside of our everyday reality. For children this is a powerful experience that extends their knowledge of the world, grows their imagination and through my experiences helps to improve their critical thinking skills.
You can read more about the importance of imagination and how magic helps to develop it in my previous blog post.