The danger of "Justification"

"Whats the justification to tear the paper?"
"Whats the justification to use playing cards?"
"Whats the justification to use that bag?"

Classic question that you might have, right? 

It is good theatre to proactively study each action that you create during your performances so it becomes natural, as the great Konstantin Stanilavski said:

We need to strive to realism in Mentalism so, as our Papa Theo said: " What Would a Real Mind Reader Do?" can be applied in here also in terms of natural actions, but the danger of "justification" lays in the idea that we need to explicitly explain everything.

"In here I have a piece of paper, I will ask you to write the name..."


We tend to rationalize everything, thinking that in explaining we are creating a more effective moment. Most of the time, is the complete opposite!

As you can read in the Stanilavski quote, it is "inner justification", which can also be understood as "subtext", associated not just to the rational aspects but also to the emotional. 

Thats because I prefer to use the concept of "Motivation" to observe my actions and overall communicative messages during performance, searching for the natural, for the casual.

In using the concept "Motivation", you are allowing both aspects of human behaviour (emotional and rational) to be part of the actions. As you read in the first quote from the great Dale Carnegie, our human nature is more emotional than rational (Humberto Maturana has interesting profound ideas about this that you can study).

Another danger of "justification" is not just the "over-justification" that it could happen but also the confusion with "guilt"

"Whats the justification to tear the paper?"
"Whats the justification to use playing cards?"
"Whats the justification to use that bag?"

Those same questions from the beginning really comes from guilt, not from a lack of justification. We feel guilt because the tearing process is where we execute a secret technique, or because we might think that people will associate our performance with magic tricks, or because we dont find a natural motivation to use a bag during performance.

For example, our "Incognito Bag"  at Arkanosophy is a normal looking fabric bag, like the ones that you use to keep things around you house, or the one that you use to buy groceries, that has inherent communicative messages. It doesnt look like a "magic prop" BUT if we over-justify the use of the bag we will place too much direct attention to it, which will be detrimental to the experience. In this area you can also study the work from my mentor Kenton Knepper and his "Secrets of Indirection" 

Each object that you use in performance has inherent meanings that you dont need to over-justify. A piece of paper is something natural to everyone and if you provide with a natural motivation to let people write their thought, your dont need to feel any type of guilt. Playing Cards are objects used by Psychic Readers, Poker Players, Gamblers, Card Collectionists, Memory Experts and everyday people who love to play games. Again, you dont need to over-justify.

So with all this I invite you to re-evaluate your "justifications". You dont need to explain everything explicitly. Let communication flow and be a contribution towards the mystery experience of your audience, not the contrary (which a lot of times happens sadly).
Find "natural motivations" and not just "justifications".

As the great Howard Thurston (even quoted by Dale Carnegie in his famous book): 

You can fool the eyes and minds of the audience, 
but you cannot fool their hearts. 

Mystify minds but also move hearts with your performances with the correct use of Motivation!


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