Are you watching closely?
Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”
You want to be fooled. I think we all know this to be true sometimes, that we do not really want to believe what is going on in front of us to be real. We know that it isn’t but we believe it, and we let it convince us, because we want to be amazed and we want to have the experience. We know it isn’t so, but rather than trying to figure out how they did it, we accept that they fooled us and we enjoy that they did. This quote from the opening scene of “The Prestige” invokes this feeling in me, and for some reason, the other day, I started thinking about this movie one night before I went to sleep.
I think, that we do not just do this, with magic tricks, but sometimes in life as well. We see something, and we know that it is wrong or at least not entirely right, but instead of investigating and finding out, we accept what we see to be justified, to be correct, because we want to stay out of it, we want to be fooled into thinking that it is none of our business, even if, perhaps, it is. Society tells us to keep our noses to ourselves, but what if doing so, means that someone is getting hurt. What if us being fooled, means someone gets hurt?
And what about telling lies? Everybody lies, several studies have shown that we lie several times a day. Small lies, white lies, insignificant lies. We lie about that trip we had years back, we lie about our performance, our salary or we lie when we say someone’s clothes look nice when really we think its ugly. We lie when we say someone has a great singing voice when really we just wanted them to stop. And we believe these lies, because we want to be fooled. We don’t want to think that these people would hurt us. They wouldn’t say I have a great voice, just to make me happy, right? She wouldn’t say I am handsome if I’m really not, right? But the truth is, we lie, and we all do it, and we all do it, all the time, to everyone.
When you go to see a magic show, you expect to be fooled, so you do nothing when something inexplicable happens. You know it is impossible, but you enjoy being tricked. You expect it. When you travel to another country to expect to see new things, and so even when you see or hear something you think is wrong, you brush it off as just “that is what people do here”. And when you speak to your best friend, whatever they say to you, you think “they wouldn’t lie to me, or they wouldn’t say that just to make me happy”.
In some cases. it is okay to not bother. Let things go for being what you see it to be. But i think we need to consider that there are situations where we need to act, to do something to improve on what we see or to save what we think needs saving. Don’t accept being fooled, seek the truth. Ask the questions you want to ask, find the information you need and take action. Sometimes I want to be fooled, too. And sometimes I want to do something to find out what I really saw, and if it was something bad, I want to find a way to make it good.