In short, reality as an Art is about real magic.
That might take some explaining.
Reality as an Art is an accidental book on magic. That is, it started out in 2008 as an interdisciplinary study of psychology, science, history, anthropology, but as I played with the ideas became clear that it wasn’t just some stale academic thing, but something that demanded to be experienced and shared. And when I shared it, people called those experiences magical. They eventually convinced me.
The sharing has continued for the past decade, as thousands of artists and entertainers have used this magical set of tools to spread excitement, wonder, and joy, around the world.
But it goes deeper.
The book begins with the premise that we create something that looks and feels like magic by bending how we are perceiving the world in a given moment. This allows for some incredible phenomena to take place.
With The Invisible Rope for example, you aren’t just making it look like someone is falling over because of a rope, you are creating a the perception of a real rope out of the same machinery of your mind and body that dreams everyday reality into being (and dreams at night). People can feel it go around their waist, feel the tug, you can even tie their hands or do other things you would with an ordinary rope.
But something like an invisible rope isn’t magical in itself. It could be just weird, it could even be scary. For something to be experienced as magical, people need to have a certain relationship to what is happening, and be in the right space to experience the impossible as something that is positive and exciting. So the book alternates between principles and demonstrations of those principles in practice, showing how we can reliably create just the right conditions for the seemingly impossible.
It goes deeper still…
What if the whole history of magic-as-a-trick is from a misunderstanding in the course of European history and colonialism? We explore a what-if about whether magic has its origins in the long human tradition of practices which bend perception.
While there is no way to prove something of the past, it not only seems very plausible, but certainly speaks to possibilities in the present. This means authentic and engaging frames for art and performance, but also much more: Challenging assumptions about magic could even unlock a deeper study into our minds and bodies that has been in a blind spot for centuries.
It all comes together
Weaving together these threads, some amazing things become possible. For example, with The Skull, you can learn how to put a fear into an object, that suddenly becomes so heavy that it can’t be held anymore. You achieve this based on bending the perception of reality, but doing it in the spirit of authentically treating magic as real. And it has its effect because we also learn how to create a space in which people want that to happen, and then are rewarded with an experience that shows them a truth about the power of their own mind.
The same is possible with the other demonstrations in the book, and more–because it is not the steps that make magic happen, but the principles and relationship which can be applied to any demonstration or any art. You get the tools to build your own masterpiece.
Some people will love the idea of re-imagining our relationship to magic and even calling something “real magic.” Others will not. That’s fine, because the result is something that is authentic and magical and about experience above all else, so the philosophers and dictionary aficionados can fight out the rest.
New Edition, New Stuff
Because of how they came into being, I began using these methods with scientists, psychologists, and doctors, and eventually working with some of the top artists and entertainers in the world.
This material has now been time-tested for over a decade by myself and hundreds or even thousands of others, and some us use the material daily. In this version of the book I have added about 50-60 pages worth of content based on the experience of myself and others over the years.
It’s also been really hard to find a copy since the first runs sold out instantly in 2014-2015. I’ve gotten a lot of requests, seen people hunting on forums, and of course plenty of bootleg copies floating around. This time I’m making it easier to find, easier to afford, and more valuable than just what is between the pages.
I’ve also taken some things out. If you read/heard about this book elsewhere, be sure to read the summary and list of demonstrations to make sure you know what is in this version.
For anyone who bought an older version I’ll discount you a new one, and for anyone who buys from me, I will give you extra content I’ve collected over the years, like variations, video clips, and all sorts of other tidbits that can’t translate well into text.
The bottom line is that I want to support the people who have supported me. If we’re inspired by the same things, I think of you as one of my people, and I want to help my people spread some much-needed joy in the world.