Value of Secrets

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Value of Secrets

Postby Guest » January 2nd, 2005, 2:28 pm

I couldn't think of where else to put this, but I wanted to bounce the thoughts off of the distinguished Genii readers.

Recently in another forum I've been discussing the idea of the value of magic secrets. My premise is that in the magic community we feel we have become entitled to the secrets of magic. We swore the oath. We promised not to tell. But I've reflected on that idea. I wonder if magicians haven't become a little free and easy with our secrets. Do we ask for secrets that we don't need, like a sort of insider curiosity-seeker? Do we get a little too uptight when a magician won't share their secrets?

I think that as magicians we should be more willing to not know how something works. Likewise we should resist divulging secrets to other magticians a little unless they demonstrate a real interest. I feel that there is a relationship between the current ethics issues and the "entitlement" of secrets.

I'm not suggesting that someone should be controlling who gets to be a magician. But I do think that becoming a beginner magician doesn't automatically give one the keys to the store. There's a middle ground, where sharing amongst peers is based more on need than desire.

Any thoughts? I'm just trying to get a different perspective on the ideas.


Bill Palmer
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Re: Value of Secrets

Postby Bill Palmer » January 2nd, 2005, 3:09 pm

I believe in the military principle of "need to know."

Secrets should not be doled out on a wholesale basis. I don't think that the magic clubs should imply that membership conveys the rights to all the secrets. Some people seem to have inferred that from some source or another.

I'm not sure why.

During the 1970's, there was one fellow who used to troll the supermarkets in his part of Florida. He would walk up to unsuspecting passers-by and perform a trick for them -- kind of a geriatric precursor to David Blaine. Then he would say, "Did you like that? Wanna know how it's done? Join the SAM." Then he would give them a membership application form.

He had misinterpreted one of the SAM president's wish to expand the organization. Few of these folks stayed in magic more than a year.
Bill Palmer, MIMC


Re: Value of Secrets

Postby Guest » January 2nd, 2005, 4:43 pm

I don't share secrets freely nor have much curiosity about something I have no intention of ever doing. For instance, I have a friend who's an illusionist and he's often been surprised that I don't know how some of the classic illusions are done. But as I have no intention of ever doing illusions, why should I want to know the secrets? For me it's better to still be able to derive entertainment from them.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: Value of Secrets

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 2nd, 2005, 5:58 pm

Isn't it sufficient to have one thread on this topic going?
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