If I Were the Last Person on Earth
Then magic would cease to exist.
If there’s no one around to witness a magic trick, then there is no magic.
I know how my tricks are done, so if I stood in a room and went through the motions, no magic would occur. It takes a human brain to interpret what’s happening to perceive the magic and, as an inevitable result, clap and cry ‘Goodness gracious he’s good’.
It’s a bit like the old ‘If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ If we extrapolate the example I just gave with magic, then the answer here, just like before, is no – sound requires ears and a brain to interpret it.
What Does Your Brain Do When it Sees a Magic Trick?
We perceive magic tricks as something ‘supernatural’ occurring because our brain doesn’t know how something happened, so it fills in the blanks and just makes up what it thinks happened.
Even though we know something must have happened for a magical effect to take place, our initial reaction is instinctive as our brains look for a rational explanation to what we just saw.
Here’s an example that you have probably experienced before: when you glance at a clock and that second seems to last a bit longer than the ones after it. That’s your brain ‘filling in’ what it wasn’t able to process as your eyes darted from where they were looking over to the clock.
Babies Are Lucky
For a baby, everything is magic. Let’s take playing peek-a-boo as an example.
Babies’ brains don’t go the extra mile like our developed, adult ones do. They don’t think ‘although I’m not currently able to see my mum, I know that human hands are opaque and are thus able to obscure my ability to visually perceive her face.’
They don’t know that second bit, so all that goes through their mind is ‘she’s gone, she’s gone, christ, she’s gone.’ Magic!
You Witness Magic Tricks Every Day
Although we live in a time where we can find the explanation to pretty much anything we want within a few seconds, we’re still deceived by things all the time. We’re just so used to this happening that we don’t consciously process it.
Take a television, for example. A television is essentially a magic trick. Dots of light are flashed onto a flat surface faster than the human eye can see, giving the illusion of movement.
It literally deceives our eyes into interpreting something that isn’t really happening. Most of us aren’t aware of how the technical stuff works in the background; we see the result. And it’s the same with magic.