Originally posted by James in Toronto:
I once heard a juggler say, to an an audience loaded with magicians, (a benefit) that magicians can pretend to have skill, but jugglers have to have actual skill.
I found that amusing. It's true, too.
Well...no. It's not true. Magicians who know what they are doing have skills that jugglers do not understand. A juggler's skill is obvious while the magician's is covert, hidden.
The magician's skill resides in his ability to create an illusion of skill or ability or the power to alter Nature's processes. This is no less a skill (and in many ways far more difficult and time consuming to develop) than a juggler who can practice, by himself, in a room without people present. A magician who creates illusions in the minds of his audiences needs people to practice on.
For example - Dunninger's skill was not in his ability to steal billets when no one was looking, but in his ability to manipulate his audience's minds so that they believed he could read minds.
Maurice Fogel did the same thing with a simple billet switch and a strong presentation.
I believe the skills of the experienced magician are of a higher order than someone who exhibits a highly developed manual dexterity.