How do you get people to believe in magic?
When I met Richard Dawkins, it was the same thing – he was quite brilliant, very clever, had a great brain. I said, “You’ve got to go to the zoo, I’ll come with you.” And he said, “Well, I guess we’ll go to the zoo because the zoo’s got some lovely monkeys, so I guess we’ll see if we can’t do this.” So we went to the zoo and we saw a monkey in one of our enclosures – that was a big deal.
We went into the zoo, I said, “I’m going to put my hand into that hand. Do you get it? Did it feel nice, just a little? Does it feel any better?” And then we did that, and in a second, he said, “Yes, it feels good, very nice, Richard.”
He looked really happy that we had done this, because it was just one of those things. You can show people, by watching people do it that it happens to them – it’s a bit of a magic trick – and they’ll believe, “Yes, it does happen. It really does work.” It makes sense.
What do you think is the future of magic? Do you think someone’s going to figure it out?
I don’t know, I can’t say that I know, I can’t predict. But for me all that’s happened recently is they’ve made the magic tricks too easy. They make magic things easy, which is wrong for people’s brains.
It’s a sad comment on the state of science. They’re not able to figure out what’s magic because it’s too easy. They’ve told the magic tricks to be what’s easy, so that people will want to practice magic because it’s easy. We need to stop saying that if you do an activity that’s difficult, then it’s science.
Have magic tricks caused anybody to feel depressed or suicidal?
There have been suicides – there have been suicidal attempts, for instance. But again, it’s a matter of where it’s done, that’s where we could change it. We can change people’s attitudes, their view of what magic means.
When I was very young, magic was something that seemed very exciting for a child to do. All the magic toys were exciting: “I’m going to make this,” and the toy will turn into a ball of feathers
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