Principles: The Three Laws of Perception®

In this second part on The Magic of Creating we will explore my Three Laws of Perception®. I had already written this essay but decided to rewrite it together with my good friend Tom Meseroll, the Martial Magician. He brought the physics of perception into the mix. As a result the Laws are even more inescapable than before. So fasten your seatbelts because, paraphrasing Niels Bohr -the famous phycisist-, if you are not shocked by what you are about to read, you didn’t get it :-)!

“At the quantum level, all of reality is but a probability. These probabilities become truths depending on the perspective of the observer. Perspective therefore determines reality, and it is your focus, that determines your perspective. The will controls your ability to focus. Thus by developing the will, you can control your reality.”

Nicholas Thompson

from ‘Magus: Master of Martial Magic,

Book 1, The Magician’s Primer’

Magicians change reality at will. Somehow they have gained knowledge not only about how to manipulate our psychological reality and perception but also about how to transform our physical reality. On stage they appear to have the power to control natural forces and to create a seemingly supernatural reality. We can see this in all magical effects from illusions to mentalism to sleight of hand.

It is important for Magicians and Laymen alike to realize, that this ‘supernatural’ reality might not be that far beyond our everyday reality. The magical reality on stage does in fact coincide with our reality off stage for a very large part. Theatrical magic portrays the way reality actually works on a level that is invisible for the eyes but is rapidly being uncovered by Quantum Physicists. Examples in Quantum Electrodynamics (Q.E.D.) theory and experiments are not too far off from some of the possibilities being explored by the magician on stage today, including, teleportation, invisibility, and levitation. If we take, what we believe to be, our reality apart and break it down to the level of atoms, and then we take those atoms apart, we would end up with quarks. If we would go on and delve into the makings of a quark, we would, in the end, discover that there is no such thing as solid matter. Even at the Atomic level if you were to magnify the nucleus of an atom to the size of a basketball, the nearest particle, an electron would be the size of the head of a pin, five miles away. The majority of matter is actually nothing but emptiness. How can matter be solid if all there is at the atomic level is mostly empty space? What is in the vast abyss of void within the atom? There is only energy. And this energy can take any shape we want, and the possibilities of how to direct this energy are infinite.

Without going into the complex science behind the quantum theory in this article, the protagonist Nicholas Thompson points out in “The Magus”: “The probability of the existence of matter is determined when the act of observation collapses the ethereal wave function into solid form. Reality as we know it is actually only a probability; a wave pattern, like a spinning wand, until the mind of the observer freezes the wand causing the reality of the object to materialize at a single point.” It is the act of observation that determines the reality we experience. Look around you: everything you see started with an idea; a mere image in the mind of one person. And now, it has materialized to tangible reality. In fact the invisible energy of the idea has condensed to a slower and thicker form of energy! When a magician produces a coin he is only mirroring how we actually create our reality. Two-hundred years ago radio, television and the World Wide Web would have been perceived as impossibilities yet they have materialized. Take the element of time out of the equation and the materialization of radio, television and the Internet is sheer magic! Once we start to perceive things in our minds eye and stay focused on them, we start to materialize this reality, however impossible it may seem at the time we created the idea. We shape our reality by our perception. Not only on a psychological level but also at a physical level.

Let’s look at the psychological and physical levels first. Then we will zoom in on the part the magician plays in opening us to master the art of creating.

George Parker’s Three Laws of Perception®

The Psychology and Physics of Attention

“Everything that receives attention starts to grow; it starts to live and evolve.” A simple line with big consequences. Once you start to experiment with the power of your attention you will discover that you can instantly create the reality you experience by shifting your focus to something else. You maybe absorbed with what you read right now. But if you looked outside and start to concentrate on the traffic and the environmental problems related with it you will see that your reality start to change and you might start to feel a little depressed. But if you looked at the traffic and you would pick out a beautiful car and started to fantasize about a road trip you might experience a feeling of excitement. Focus means concentrated attention. On a psychological level we select data and we connect those data in a very personal way until we have created an image that makes sense to us. If we select a different set of data and/or connect those bits in a different way we would create a different reality.

But attention isn’t just a psychological phenomenon. If you take a look around you you will see hundreds of objects. And everyone of those objects started as an idea. By putting energy in the idea it eventually materialized to the object you see right now. Once you understand that attention equals energy you will start to see that the world around you is nothing more than thoughts that have materialized into something we call ‘solid matter’ but is in fact also nothing more than energy, be it in a more condensed form. The act of focusing attention is actually the act of concentrating energy. The longer you are able to focus the more likely you will create the reality you wish for. There are two basic reasons why the reality we experience doesn’t always look like the reality we dream of: we get either lost in time or in space. If we get lost in time we stop focusing on the reality we want to create because it takes longer than we expected. We might still have a clear vision in our mind’s eye of what we want to create but we loose patience, get bored or shift our focus for some other reason before this reality has had a chance to manifest itself. If we get lost in space we loose track of what we wanted to create altogether. We get distracted by other ideas and changing circumstances. In other words: we loose focus. And once we loose focus the energy disperses and we have to start all over again. As a result, we get stuck in the old reality we created accepting things as they are. Chances are we even forget we are the creator of this situation, thereby avoiding responsibility for it and turning away from our creative powers. The longer we avoid using them the weaker they will grow. But the more we use our innate creative powers consciously the stronger they will grow. Imagine: creating the reality you really want will actually reinforce your creative skills! What a great way to train!

To help you understand how focus affects our reality and how we can get lost in the reality we created we will explain the The Three Laws of Perception®:

1.Focus creates your Reality

2.Perspective creates your Focus

3.You will and you can change your Perspective

Of course they are interrelated but for purpose of clarity we will explain them separately.

1.Focus creates your Reality

Focus is concentrated attention. Attention is energy. On a psychological level it becomes clear that we are not capable of perceiving all of our reality. At least not on a conscious level. If you would hand out the same newspaper to fifty different people and interview them about what they have read you would discover that they had read, for at least 30% a different newspaper. Not only because they selected different articles and details but also because they interpreted the parts they read in a different way. All day long we deal with data by making selections and connecting the dots in our own specific way (interpretation). And we call the image we build up as a result of that process ‘reality’. But in fact it is one of the infinite possibilities of reality. We could have selected different data and we could have connected the same bits and pieces in a different way (or a combination of both). This is why in the same family, team or organization people will have different images of the same fact, situation or event. Because much of the logic behind our selections takes place on a subconscious and unconscious level we sometimes end up with a reality we don’t like. To be able to fix that we need to dig deeper. The Second Law of Perception will help us out there.

On the level of quantum-physics the first Law of Perception is even more true. Quantum physics teaches us that reality is, on a subatomic level, pure energy. There are infinite possibilities of what reality is, and becomes based on the perspective of the observer. And the act of observation creates the one ‘you’ that you are now, at this moment, consciously or not, out of those infinite possibilities of you and your reality. In Quantum Physics there are infinite possibilities known as probability functions, which create an infinite opportunity for multiple realities, known as ‘multiple universes’. BUT remember, all you need to be concerned with is that there are infinite possibilities for your reality and regardless of multiple universes, or not, you are living in one reality, and this is the one you must learn to control and influence.

2.Perspective creates your Focus

To be able to create the reality we want we need to become aware of how we select data and why we interpret those data in a certain way. We need to learn about the things that guide our attention causing our reality to manifest itself the way it does. The second law states that our point of view not only determines our focus but it actually creates our focus. Perspective is determined by our point of view. This could be a physical point of view but also a psychological point of view. Suppose you are standing behind a big tree. The reality you see is a big chunk of wood. But if you want to change your reality and see what is behind the tree you need to change your perspective by just stepping aside. While this is easy to understand and achieve on a physical level it’s very hard to do the same thing on a psychological level. We tend to get stuck in the so called ABC-trap. ABC represents the three levels in which we grow more attached to our own point of view.

A= Assumptions

B= Beliefs

C= Conviction (or Paradigm)

Beliefs are assumptions you seldom question. Convictions (or paradigms) are assumptions you never question again.

Being confronted with new data, we make assumptions about how they are connected. For example, when we enter a restaurant we assume they will serve a steak. When we find out this is the case our assumptions turn into beliefs. We grow more attached to the thought: ‘restaurant>steak’. When it’s just an assumption and the restaurant owner tells you: “Sorry no steaks here, only cheesecake and wine” you might be surprised for a moment but you will get over it pretty easily. But when your assumptions have evolved into beliefs because of multiple experiences that confirm your assumptions and the restaurant owner tells you the same thing you might be quite upset. Now because of the first law, chances are that most any assumption will turn into a belief. And you create experiences that fit your initial assumptions. And because of the same law it’s not surprising that beliefs turn into convictions or paradigms. Once you are interested in salsa-dancing you will look at reality from that perspective and create a reality in which salsa-dancing is a big part. You will discover new friends that are into it, places you can go to enjoy it, books, movies, newspaper articles about it and what not.

The beauty of this ABC mechanism is that it creates balance. You create a world that contains exactly what you need and there aren’t many surprises. The ugly side of the ABC mechanism is that you can get trapped in your past. Because of the creative power of our thoughts on either A, B, or C-level we tend to repeat our past over and over again. We focused on a reality we wanted to create and once it has materialized it starts to influence our way of thinking. Before we know it we’re stuck in this loop and as a result of that we forget the fact that this reality is just one of the infinite possible ones. And this leads to the third law and ultimately the role of the magician.

3.You will and you can change your perspective

We will change our perspective because we are confronted with changes outside of us. Society changes, administrations change, the weather changes and even the cells in our body renew themselves. We need to adapt to those changes by changing our perspective and choose thoughts that better fit the situation. I call this kind of change reactive change. The other kind, that I call creative change moves from inside out. You can change your perspective (and the related assumptions, beliefs and paradigms) at will. And when you change perspective you will, according to the second law, change your focus. And according to the first law this will result in changing you will change your reality.

Now bear in mind that reactive and creative consist of the same letters! Only the order is different. This is also true for the reactive process and the creative process. The ingredients we have to deal with in shaping our reality are the same for all of us. The reactive mind however isn’t aware that it is creating reality. It’s convinced there’s just one possible reality and it starts from there. It deals with reality as if reality consisted of pure and single facts. The creative mind is fully aware that reality consists of infinite possibilities. Starting from there it discovers that it has to decide upon which reality it wants to manifest. By creating a vision the creative mind starts to determine it’s perspective and focus. On a psychological level the creative mind starts to select the right data and ignore irrelevant data; it uncovers data that were invisible before and it even starts to create new knowledge that was non-existent before.

Although the difference between the letters in the words ‘reactive’ and ‘creative’ is just one position it has huge consequences when you shift from the reactive perspective to the creative perspective. The reactive mind tends to create a world in which it feels helpless, limited and a victim of the circumstances. The creative mind tends to be excited and feel an everlasting urge to explore, experiment and play. Because of the challenges we encounter, the pain they cause and the way we manifest our reality it’s sometimes very hard to shift from a reactive perspective to a creative perspective. Or, if we are already very much leading our lives from a creative perspective, to hang on to it if we are confronted with difficulties.

The Magician

And this is where the Magician comes into play. The Magician/Magus knows we are already creating our lives. We simply cannot ‘not-create’. The moment we start to think and act we will influence our reality. But he also knows we tend to get distracted and disperse our energy and we sometimes get so attached to the reality we created we can’t get out of it anymore, even if the current situations screams for change. The Magus helps us to refocus and helps us to feel more comfortable in periods of transition (that by definition never feel easy or comfortable). Using all kinds of means like stories, illusion, herbs that will change your level of consciousness, song, dance, silence he creates rituals (‘rites of passage’) to help you to your next level. If you’re stuck he throws you off track turning your world upside down and inside out. If you’re feeling miserable because of the change you’re going through he will comfort you. If your attention is caught by insignificant or irrelevant subjects he will shock you so you will stay awake.

His magic can open your mind and make you question your reality again. Turning the world upside down and inside out he creates ecstasy (derived from Latin: ex-stase; being next or beyond yourself) so you can have a fresh look at yourself from the outside in. This ecstatic experience will create new ideas, deep emotions and affect your subconscious mind. The more you will open yourself to new dimensions and new possible realities the more your perspective will shift. The more intense a magic ritual or act was for you, the longer you will feel the effect. And once your perception starts to change, your reality will change as well.

An example of the ability for the belief, even briefly, in magic, to change the reality of the individual can be seen in the eyes of children with terminal cancer watching a magician perform not ‘tricks’, but magical wonders at their bedside in the hospital. The true placebo effect takes place on occasion, where the changes in the perception of the reality of the children actually assists in the healing process. Even if it is only a small belief, or just entertainment for the child, the mind is the observation tool that causes our reality to exist, and as we all know, the mind is a very powerful tool. It can change the perception of reality in the child’s mind and therefore potentially change the reality of the child. This is why belief in the ability to change and create reality is of such vast importance in today’s world of magical possibilities. It has the potential at least, of making the biggest difference in the lives of others. Just a little belief in the possibility of magic can potentially make a difference in the reality that these small terminally ill children see and perceive.

But it is not just the children who can benefit from the realization that reality can be changed, and that magic is a stepping stone towards that belief. It is for everyone. The more the magician realizes that the stronger and more magical their performance, the more they realize the likelihood that the impact may in fact change someone’s true reality in the future.

Performance Magic reminds the observer of the wonder of the universe and makes the mind wonder about what it accepts as real. It begins to question reality and by asking new questions it will come up with new answers and ideas. In a world full of opinions and convictions we badly need magicians to open our minds and teach us about change and the way we can make that happen.

The question remains: do you believe this to be true? If you do it will rock your world and deeply change your attitude towards the world you live in. If you don’t you will create a reality in which all of this doesn’t exist. And that’s still an act of creation. Ponder that!

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