Today I bemoan the passing of the age when magicians can be trusted to keep the secrets of magic.
In the Philippines, like in many places around the globe, the mysterious world of magic is now an open city. Just about anybody can enter it, unchallenged. Magic secrets can be had cheaply, sometimes even for free. The practice is even more rampant in the virtual world of the Internet than in stalls at some malls.
Magic books used to devote at least a page admonishing readers (especially beginners) not to reveal the secrets contained in the pages of that book.
Not anymore. Books today gloss over the part where they are supposed to caution readers against revealing the secrets of magic.
I don’t know if there are any lectures held at some magic clubs around the world where attendees get exhortations on the need to go back to a basic magician’s discipline, namely, keeping magic secrets. Everybody knows this is a requisite of the practice of the art. Yet curiously, nobody thinks it’s that important anymore.
Thus we see a fad going in the opposite direction of secrecy. We see the rising number of lesser-known, so-called magic innovators/creators who are in a rush to share their underdeveloped, not-fully tested innovations to the brotherhood. Their legions are growing by the day, and their junks are piling up to the sky.
Gone are the days when keeping magic secrets inviolable is a badge of honor. Today, being a tattletale is cool. Snitches, whether masked or nude, have followers who adore them at their footstools. Indeed, keeping secrets is a lost discipline, an art approaching anachronism in this modern world.
YouTube has made keeping secrets difficult. It has charmed 12-year-old kids into thinking it’s the medium to quick popularity.
The Masked Magician has made magic secrets unimportant. He squeezed money from magic secrets by revealing them, instead of keeping them concealed so he could perform and entertain with it. A twisted logic, if you asked me.
Magicians who create tricks which are variations of variations of past masters’ creations sell their so-called innovations as instant downloads for curiosity seekers to feast on. Their underground masterpieces (which stayed underground for only a day) are shabbily shown as a hodgepodge of moves as transparent as a smoker’s lungs under an X-ray.
Yes, the snitches are singing magic secrets louder than the canaries inside the body loads. Lecturers choose to trade secrets rather than perform magic for the masses. And YouTube artists get a high collecting secrets from download sites they can reveal online.
That leaves the real performers, like you an I, mopping the mess they leave behind and continuing to love and to nurture the art by keeping its secrets.
We ought to get a medal for zealously guarding the secrets of magic.