The Curse of Knowledge
This little blog post will help convey your magic teachings in an effective manner, whilst overcoming the assumption that everyone knows everything.
How many times have you uttered the words, or thought, “you probably know how that works, so I won’t bother with the details”. We have this assumption in the magic community that just because we know how something works, everyone else must.
Ah, they've probably watched that Aldo Colombini L&L video with the slightly hyped up audience from 2000, or hasn't everyone read all 8 volumes of Tarbell?
I’ve made this mistake on many occasions and still do it to this day when showing fellow magicians an effect. Normally, they say something like, “okay, show us how it’s done then”, to which a standard response might be “you’re joking right”?
As Angela Ahrendts states,
“Ask questions; don't make assumptions”.
Therefore, ask if they know how it is done and if not, do they want to? The only problem here is that of pride. Although some people might want to know how the effect is done, they will not want to speak up just in case people think that they are stupid, or they should know.
The chances are if one person is feeling this way, then others are too.
Normally, you can tell by the body language, if someone is totally flabbergasted (awesome word), then you can assume that they might not know how it works. However, if they are equally reserved then they might be in a state of shock or confusion, so it is quite difficult to accurately assess how that individual is feeling.
Oh, just to clarify, I am referring to magicians teaching other magicians effects, not laymen.
To give an example, when I was 12 years old, I learnt the Elmsley count. I sat in my bedroom for hours trying to perfect it, holding the cards by the long edge. As I got older and met other magicians, I saw different grips and movements for the same sleight, but I did not understand the exact mechanics.
Everyone assumed that I was proficient with the count, however, I was too shy to ask about their handling.
So, if you have a new version of a double lift or forcing a card, don’t assume that everyone knows how it operates. Take time and convey your knowledge slowly, only then will you begin to eradicate the curse of assumption.
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