The Implications

If one's development really must travel full circle, what are the ramifications this realization brings with it? It surely shows the folly of books like Learn Magic in Five Easy Lessons and declarations like "Don't bother me with the thought processes. Just give me the results of a person who has studied the subject for a long time. That's all I need." A short cut to the best is unquestionably an appealing thought, but to achieve mastery you can't avoid the essential steps of learning.

All those videos, books, audiotapes and advertisements that promise quick and professional results—every one of them is inherendy fraudulent. They can at best deliver something that has a superficial and likely imperfect appearance of professional results. Even when masterworks are described by them, one can't absorb mastery like a sponge. The entire notion is nonsense.

Eventually, too much of this type of thing could be damaging to magic. Wait a generation or two and very few will know anything other than the hollowness of instant achievement. It is like the hot-house tomatoes being raised in many places today. They are big, red, gleaming, beautiful to look at, and they grow very fast! But they're like red balloons full of water, with no taste. Just like hollow mastery, if we embrace this new agriculture of speed and superficial appearance, eventually no one will know how good a tomato can taste when it is given the proper time to mature.

The love of speed does offer advantages. Regrettably, the disadvantages are not always as apparent. Fortunately, though, in an increasing number of activities it is being realized that speed generally does have its price. It would be better if more magicians recognized this fact as well.

This brings us to an interesting point. Often beginners are advised by experienced magicians to do magic the simple way. Such advice certainly conforms to the experience those performers have gained over time, and one could attempt to start that way, following their seasoned advice. Perhaps doing this might even work, but I'm not optimistic about the possibility. Can a beginner do magic in the simple way that long experience teaches? Ironically, doing magic the simple way is actually very hard. It is impossible to pass along the necessary maturation process, from the beginner's simplicity to more roundabout and complex methods, until one can approach simplicity again, armed this time with extensive experience. Only after going through the circle can one do magic the simple way on the much higher level the masters speak of.

Things change as you get older, and the way in which a seasoned professional works should not be emulated by someone just starting. If you do, you will skip a learning step, a step that could eventually bring you to higher levels, levels that you probably can't obtain by going straight to the ways and methods of dyed-in-the-wool magicians.

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