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The Master of Illusion

A Master of Illusion is a skilled magician. The moment we enter this life, we are in the flow of it. Measure it, mark it, but we can hardly defy it. We cannot even speed it up or slow it down. Or can we? Life and death. Space and time. Fate and chance. These are the forces of the Universe.

The difference between illusion and magick is that illusion is anything that seems to be something that it is not while magick is supernatural charm, spell, or any other method to dominate natural forces.

Most of us are convinced that we're coherent individuals who are continuous in time. There's just one problem with this sense of self – it can’t exist. Illusion is a magical discipline regarding the creation of powerful and very vivid illusions, able to stimulate and fool the five natural senses.

Not much is given about this discipline though it is presumed that, similar to psychics, it mainly involves distorting the senses through forced mental manipulations. It is suggested that Illusionists are able to conjure Illusions powerful enough to become corporeal.

Magick allows you to experience the impossible. It creates a conflict between the things you think can happen and the things that you experience. The true secret behind illusion magick lies in clever psychological techniques that exploit limitations in the way our brains work. Many of these limitations are very counter-intuitive which is why we can experience the magical wonder of the impossible.

The vanishing ball illusion for example. In this trick, a magician throws a ball in the air a couple of times and then makes it seem to disappear by pretending to throw it again when in fact it remains secretly concealed inside his hand.

What is surprising about this illusion is that most people – almost two-thirds – experience an illusory ball being tossed up in the air at the third throw, even though it never leaves the magician’s hand. We experience this “ghost ball” because we see what we believe is going to happen, rather than what has actually taken place. The illusion shows that people perceive things that they believe will happen in the future, even when this belief is completely unfounded.

I’ve long thought about these two words, reality, and illusion, Two, very powerful words. Two words, that are limited by your imagination. Two words, that are defined by your beliefs. It is best to explain what I mean by looking at the way children react to Magick vs the way adults react to Magick.

A child lives a life filled with illusions. Thoughts and ideas that are made up by their imagination. Something which they all have in abundance. An adult lives a life bound by the shackles of reality.

We all have rent to pay. We all have to pay bills and other costly expenses just to get by. Our lives are being played out casually while we forget to imagine and think up a life we truly feel we can be free in. Reality is fucking boring. But it’s a necessity.

Yet, I truly believe we can design a life we feel absolutely alive in. There is a problem. It is incredibly difficult, as an adult, to drop everything and pursue a passion that one would die for. Personal interests sometimes have to be sacrificed and once you start, you must continue. Not finish, but continue.

Let’s be honest, it is after all that we think about the most: ourselves. What we want to eat or do, how we feel, and whom we love. It is the essence of being. This self-hood generally feels like a continuous “me” sitting somewhere in our heads: a me that is the same today as yesterday.

Most people feel that they are coherent, integrated individuals with free will, making their choices and looking out through their eyes at the world around them. And that is just what self-hood seems to be – an illusion, a collection of conflicting messages and signals and thought processes.

Neuroscience tells us that our subjective sense of self must be a distributed experience, involving various bits of the brain. Although experiments have taught us much about the brain areas involved in creating it, how exactly it is conjured up still eludes us.

We do know that a sophisticated sense of self and others only comes to us gradually. Understanding that your thoughts are different from someone else and being able to reflect on your own thinking, that in itself is a higher-order skill.

Ain Soph Aur - Patrick Gaffiero

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