August 12th, 2012 12:59am
|Normally when I'm craving Burger, it's all about the beef variety, amount of bacon, etc. However, lately it's been all about beard length, dramatic pauses and philosophical insight.
I am, of course, speaking of Mr. Eugene Burger. I just finished reading the Expanded edition of Magic and Meaning. It lives up to its name for sure. It takes you on a wonderful journey of religion, magic, history, philosophy, different types of magic, what they all mean, and so much more.
I will admit, however, that the journey of my interest was very much like a smiley face in its shape. The journey started high . . . then my interest dipped a little during some of the early middle chapters, but my interest piqued again completing my smile-shaped sojourn. Others will, likely, have a different shape of a journey. We each have our own interests, obviously.
If this book doesn't get you thinking about what magic means to you, you're dead. I've not read the "unexpanded" version, so I'm not sure what's new that you missed(?) in the first version. But I can definitely vouch for this version. Both Bob Neale and Eugene Burger delivery some serious food for thought in an effort to increase your appetite for understanding. The beauty is that the journey did not end on the last page of the book . . . only you can choose when that journey ends . . . Hopefully never. Just make sure that along the way, you read this book.
A little bit of a hit for having a few "dip-in-interest" chapters leaving us with a final verdict of a four star Gem.
Product info for Magic and Meaning Expanded
Author: Eugene Burger and Robert NealePublisher: Hermetic PressAverage Rating: (1)Retail Price: $40.00
In 1995, two celebrated philosophers of magic, Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale, wrote a book that examined the psychological, symbolic and spiritual roots of theatrical conjuring. The result was a work brimming with new ideas that set readers' heads spinning and revealed a way of thinking about performing magic that is at the same time ancient and revolutionary.
For years MAGIC AND MEANING has been out of print and much sought after. This new edition contains the original work in its entirety plus two added essays, one by each author, adding 34 pages in which they reflect and expand on the intended message of their writings.
MAGIC AND MEANING EXPANDED is not a book for the timid, the hidebound or the unimaginative. It is a book with the purpose of opening new vistas for the performance and presentation of Real Magic! It explores how magic does and always has permeated our lives - how magic serves profound needs for humanity - and how theatrical conjuring, as a part of the magical tradition, is something far less trivial than the average conjurer realizes.
MAGIC AND MEANING EXPANDED is a serious attempt to establish a philosophy of conjuring, one that motivates and vitalizes the performer of mysteries and his performances. Burger and Neale have distinct voices, which occasionally disagree, but they approach their topic from similar directions, ultimately arriving at a harmonious world-view of magic as both entertainment and something much more. Their views, opinions and arguments are genuinely revolutionary and insightful. They are also "inciteful"; that is, they are sure to raise heated debate in the conjuring community. Those hot debaters would do well, though, to read carefully, for the thoughts contained in this book are often complex and subtle. Robert E. Neale seasons this philosophical brew with seven tricks. These tricks and their novel presentations are used to illustrate his method of instilling magic with meaning. Of them Dr. Neale writes, "They may be upsetting to some. They should be upsetting to all."
Many magicians, amateur and professional alike, perform blind, with little or no understanding of the powerful emotional and symbolic elements that lie inherent but generally unused in their work. Employing a wide range of disciplines - including literature, anthropology, philosophy, religion, myth and film - Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale explore these important components that rest at the very soul of magic.
Pages 238 - Hardcover with Dust Jacket