The Role of Imagination in Magic

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By Eric Walton

Eric Walton in Esoterica

This is the second in our ongoing series of Guest Blogger entries.

It is no secret that magic is an art-form based largely upon secrets—secret moves, secret apparatus, secret intentions. If the presentation of magic is to be successful, the magician must know something that the spectator does not and he must keep that something a secret for as long as he can.

But a secret isn’t the same as a lie.

A lie is the deliberate misrepresentation of the truth, perpetrated in order to gain some advantage, generally a malicious one. A lie is always told with the intent to deceive, whereas a secret is merely the concealment of the truth or some aspect of it and may or may not involve the will to mislead. I may have a secret tattoo of Genghis Khan on the sole of my foot, but you are unlikely to consider yourself deceived if I fail to disclose the fact when we first meet.

And while we magicians must sometimes resort to overt lying in order to present our tricks successfully, most of the deception on which we rely is not in the form of lies that we tell our audiences, but in the fabrications and confabulations that take place within the minds of the spectators themselves. The magician orchestrates a series of “experiential voids” which audience members consciously and unconsciously fill with their own expectations, assumptions and interpretations. Thus, audience members are not so much the victims of the magician’s deception, as they are both witting and unwitting accomplices in it. Continue reading

The Journey to A Buddha State of Mind

By Paula Boggs

This is the first in a series of guest blogger posts. We are honored that Paula has agreed to blog for Imagination Now.

Image by Randee S. Fox

I recently introduced my new CD A Buddha State of Mind to the world by hosting a release party at Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington. Though it may seem obvious, I really had to “imagine” creating a CD before taking the first steps in actually co-producing one. A big part of that was, of course, convincing myself that I could actually do it! Though I started writing music and playing guitar as a child, I stopped in my late 20s and really thought I’d moved on…too busy with other things. Many years later I was inspired to write again and play music but the journey from there to A Buddha State of Mind on iTunes was not obvious. I have a full-time job as a corporate executive and many competing demands on any given day. A songwriting coach encouraged me to keep writing and performing; a voice coach inspired me to work hard and along the way, over a period of years; I met amazing musicians who loved my music and, importantly, liked spending time with me. Patience, a measure of humility, a positive network of people who helped me dream big, a talented producer who “got” my music, a supportive work environment, and the crucial first step of a metaphysical space where “imagine” was possible were all crucial to my gaining confidence that I could make something artistic and enduring. I have learned a lot.

A Buddha State of Mind takes the listener on a journey that explores a range of human emotion and is genre-defying. In that sense, the CD journey mirrors my life’s emotional arc and the discomfort I often have with labels. And, the “journey” is not linear. The CD starts with its title track, a song with a wry sense of humor, and ends with the artsy rock song, “Original Sin.” As bookends, both songs reflect well my sense of the possible while exposing a vulnerability that, for some, and for me personally, has only come with age. Along the way, the listener meets songs reflecting imperfect love and stories of soulful and sometimes funny observation. The CD is bound by the lead vocals, melodies that stick and its musicianship. As one internet radio fan put it: “An enigmatic, original voice with great feeling, this artist’s best work is ahead of her. I hope she can find a place in an empty soulless music industry of today. A female Leonard Cohen? I think so and I mean that as a compliment.” For a habitual “control freak” like myself, learning to trust others to show up for a rehearsal, interpret my creations as I heard them in my head, perform them with passion, and accept that in some cases someone else had a better idea all enabled me to imagine an “end state” where music and performance joined in a CD ready for prime time.

Recording artist Paula Boggs recently launched her debut CD, A Buddha State of Mind. She leads the global law department of Starbucks Coffee Company, and serves on the boards of Johns Hopkins University and the American Red Cross. Paula’s approach to songwriting is featured in the book Imagination First.