Philosophical Skepticism: Magic Tricks and an Invaluable Lesson

Growing up I performed magic shows. I was at birthday parties, libraries, weddings… you name it, and I was there pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Now it wasn’t always easy being the dorky magic kid but if given a do-over, I’d do it all again. Growing up performing magic left me with an invaluable lesson. I found that there’s always more than meets the eye. I had accidentally uncovered philosophical skepticism.

Skepticism Philosophy and Magic Tricks

Gain a Healthy Level of Skepticism

[Spoiler Alert] Sorry to break it to you but magic isn’t real. A magician only lets the audience see what they want them to see. A great magician directs the audience just as a maestro conducts a symphony.

On the stage, I would often call up volunteers. And I’d ask to “borrow” a $20 bill from the unlucky ones. But most of them – under the social pressure from hundreds of eyes – played along and forked over the bill.

I then crumpled up the $20 in my hand and closed it in a tight fist. I raised it majestically to eye level and my eyes followed it the entire way. The audience intently followed my gaze. After my previous illusion, they probably thought anything was possible. Maybe I would turn the $20 bill into a white dove.

One finger at a time, I open my clenched fist… but no dove flew out. My hand was empty the whole time. Knowing that I had an astute audience, I declared that the $20 bill jumped into my pocket. I reached my other hand deep into my pocket and pulled out the crumpled bill.

I then gave the $20 bill back to the volunteer and instructed her to hold it in a tight fist… “Don’t let me take your money this time.” Next, I reached for my wallet and pulled out another $20 bill. I crumpled it up tight in my fist. We were each holding a twenty in our hands.

“On three we’ll both open our hands… One… two… three!” The bill disappeared from my hand and she had both crumpled $20s in hers. The tables had turned… but to thank her for the help, I let her leave the stage as a richer person.

Now I wish I had the ability to multiply money but unfortunately, I don’t. At every stage of this performance, I made important maneuvers outside of the audience’s focus.

Folks want to believe the impossible is possible… but it isn’t. The world we live in has hard-set rules. Humans didn’t devise them and most definitely can’t change them. All we can do is try to understand them through physics – the physics we understand and have yet to learn.

Don’t fall prey to claims that reach beyond what’s possible. Bring your wits to the table. One solid object (the $20 bill) can’t pass through another solid object (my hand).

Take a closer look at the world. Peek behind the curtain and you’ll see how things really work. A healthy level of skepticism is one of the most valuable traits you can acquire.

With magic, it’s all fun and games but in the media and other areas of your life, don’t be fooled. Folks will keep your attention on their right hand while robbing you with their left. To succeed in life, it’s vital to keep skepticism philosophy in the forefront of your mind.

Invest your wealth and time mindfully,

Brian Kehm

P.S. One line that many Americans hear is that they should follow their dreams. But this is terrible advice. Here’s a unique breakdown of why you shouldn’t follow your dreams.

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