Art of Astonishment

One of my goals for this blog is to introduce more people to magic and the art of astonishment. Magic is such a powerful experience, and I want to educate my readers that magic is more than just magic tricks. Paul Harris is a magician I have long admired. His personality is a little wacky, but he has the art of astonishment figured out better than most. Paul has released his own magic effects, as well as produced other magician's products. You can visit his website at this link for more information.

The reason I brought up Paul Harris is he has written an essay that explains the moment of astonishment better than anything I've ever seen. His trilogy of books is called Art of Astonishment, and his essay is found in book one. I recommend everyone to check out these books, especially the first one. The following are a few snippets from his essay. It's a real eye opener for both magicians and non-magicians. As always I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think of Paul Harris' essay. Does it get you thinking differently about magic and the art of astonishment?

"Astonishment is our natural state of mind. The magic arena is a place of infinite possibilities. But just for a moment let's play the game of pushing the art into the wildest of edges."

The essay goes on asking the reader to imagine their first magical encounter. Harris explains that when most see a magic trick in their adult life they associate the experience with a child's state of mind. He goes on to say,

"You basically come into the world as a blank slate. No ideas about who you are or what anything is. You're just being. Then very quickly, we learn stuff. The names of ten thousand things, who we are, what we're supposed to be."

Harris explains that we organize all of this information into little boxes. This is where the magic trick comes in to play, because when you see magic performed well, your mind immediately races trying to put the appropriate information in it's logical boxes.

"But no box will hold it. At that moment of trying to box the unboxable your world-view breaks up. The boxes are gone. And what's left? Simply what was always there. Your natural state of mind. That's the moment of astonishment."

In all my years of researching and studying magic I have yet to find anyone explain astonishment better than that. Once again I encourage all of you to check out Paul Harris' books - Art of Astonishment. He has been a huge inspiration to me through my magical journeys.

So that's it for this post. Once again thank you for reading my blog. I hope that after reading this you have a different appreciation for magic and astonishment.

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Zac TenneboeComment