Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Project 365 (347/365): On Skeptics

.:347/365: On Skeptics:.

Skeptics aren’t necessarily hecklers, but you can spot them a mile away. These are the people who look at a mentalist and assume that trickery is involved. Which is pretty funny half the time when you realize that mentalists are pretty forthcoming about revealing to everyone that they utilize psychological gambits and other similar methods to achieve their results. Or they just do exactly what they claim to say, consequences be damned.

Skeptics look at magic with a certain air of disdain. While not all of them will challenge a magician onstage, you can just tell they’re rolling their eyes at a performer because the whole thing feels beneath them and an insult to their intelligence that someone could so much as pretend to have magic powers when everybody knows that simply isn’t the case.

Seriously. You call the biggest magic effects “illusions.” Shouldn’t that clue everyone in that none of it is real, to begin with? These things shouldn’t be a big deal, but lo and behold, they are.

In terms of being a skeptic, I can say that I fit the bill in certain cases. I’m exceedingly sceptical about people who claim to have special powers, or people who tell you that they can send messages to you from your dead friends, or worst of all, can cure your cancer with a touch of their hand. Under normal circumstances, all of these things are nice, and may just provide, assuming a lack of actual power, a genuinely beneficial albeit placebo effect. It’s when you charge exorbitant sums of money to basically pretend to do something but in reality do nothing with your audience fully believing otherwise where it raises my ire.

And as such, scepticism in healthy doses is certainly a healthy thing. You can’t say that it’s all bad, because really, for magicians, skeptics only become problematic once they step into your act. Prior to that, well, they’re a necessity against all the nutjobs out there and the idiots who’d fall for them.

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