the big con i: 3 card man

the set-up

the truth is that we have not properly understood power

everything you need to become a master magician is here now. so. what's holding you back. time? it's true that time is the only real opponent of the magician, that the magician's survival depends on achieving ever greater things in steadily diminishing periods of time. perhaps, but perhaps not. if it is not time that is holding you back, then maybe it's focus

the hook

"at the end of the day, this is a game of focus: attention is like a spotlight, and our job is to dance in the darkness"

- from Focus

the magician, to become a (better) magician, needs two things. time. and focus, or attention, an almost tangible form of energy (or so Rupert Sheldrake argues in The Sense of Being Stared At). the magician accumulates power by shifting their attention in a certain way, and moving their opponent's attention to specific things at certain points in the game, the goal being to obtain a set amount or a given kind of attention, which in this sense we will term power.

the basic mechanics of this game is much easier to describe in outline that it is either to actually undertake in practice or even apply to specific circumstances. certainly, when one is losing, it is against all natural impulses to stay in the game

"you wanna win the hand, you gotta stay in till the end"

- from House of Games

after all, it involves the magician investing energy and indeed seeming to lose it, at least at first, in order to grab their opponent's attention, then cause them to invest energy as well. this step can and should be repeated as often as needed to secure the magician's set amount or given kind of energy. it is only then that the magician takes what they need, by seemingly winning against all the odds.

"it's called a confidence game. Why, because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine."

- from House of Games

just like in a game of three card monte.

& that's how the magician became the first three card man

the tale, or roping the mark

"as far as I could see, people were always conning each other to get what they wanted. We even con ourselves. Pay attention to that, 'cause we're all conning ourselves in one way or another, just to get through life."

- from American Hustle

"the trick to not feeling cheated is to learn how to cheat."

- from The Brothers Bloom

"it seems to me that in the end, the perfect con is where each one involved gets just the thing they wanted"

- from The Brothers Bloom

but some of these self-righteous, these who claim they care about people will find all this unappealing, even 'evil'.

very well, let me put it to you this way - what if, in some alternate universe/reality, you have already achieved all that you dreamed of, and even more besides?

and what if the only thing standing between that you and this one, is this one? what if you are your own worst enemy, in a very literal sense?

perhaps, then, life is a con game after all. it is the game of conning your present self to do what is necessary to become the self that has obtained all that you presently desire, and more.

"I wanna show you something. This Rembrandt here? People come from all over the world to see this. It's a fake. People believe what they want to believe. 'Cause the guy who made this was so good, that it's real to everybody. Now, who's the Master,  the painter, or the forger?"

- from American Hustle

where's the red queen?

the wire

Western technological science is said to begin with Newton's laws, which consider nature to be static. Eg. Bodies at rest, stay at rest. Etc.

New science would begin from a basis recognizing nature as a dynamic, upon which basis must be determined the method wherewith motion is able to simulate rest. (Apparently various forms of confined motion, ie. cyclic)

Nature is perpetual motion.
But for the last, this is for the most part recognized and known. The only question is as to what has been omitted or passed by, by building on a faulty foundation, and what could be built by beginning with a new, and yet old, corner stone.

The previous description of the choice of center for the local planetary-sun system is an illustration of the equivalency of the static and the dynamic that arises from the relativity of motion. This formal equivalency allows some freedom in choosing what we will consider to be static and unmoving or to be dynamic. This sort of choice can also be made in various aspects of the human condition and experience. 

"A wise man once told me... there's only one rule in this world, a small question that drives all success. The more a man invests in that question, the more powerful that man will become: What's in it for me?"
- from Revolver

the shut-out

the trick is not to win a hand or two while losing dozens. this is what is called luck. rather, the challenge is to this into a long-term strategy for winning overall. this is what is called success.

hey, listen to me. yeah, you, listen up. you're going to be miserable your whole life, and get even more so every day. you'll wish you could reconsider, that you could choose not survival, but mastery

either this statement or the next is not true.

it's better not to fool oneself. the magician is a master con. a confidence trickster. but the magician doesn't play for peanuts, or big bucks for that matter. not if they're very good. the magician plays for energy, for time, for power. and the master magician plays for their very soul.

there is something archetypal and sublime about all this, the feeling that the magician has, through their esoteric efforts, fallen into a game that is eternal, a grand battle between two sides, neither of which is wrong. or right

"One thing I've learned.....in every game and con there's always an opponent, and there's always a victim. The trick is to know when you're the latter, so you can become the former."
- from Revolver

the magician is the outsider, even to humanity itself. this is the magician's edge - and also why they are inherently a con 

"grifters got an irresistible urge to beat a guy who's wise"

 - from The Grifters

Rejoice, magicians & embrace your fate! For you will never be normal, no matter how hard you try. You are not of the fallen. Even if you'd like to be.

"- what do you sell, anyway?
- self-confidence"

 - from The Grifters

the three card man only excels at one thing, but this he does exceptionally, and I mean exceptionally, well.

In near unanimity the ancients proposed that reality is composed of the four fundamental elements of fire, air, water and earth. The intermediate two were thought to originate from the interaction of the two primaries and to allow for the interaction of the diametrically opposed warm and dry, and cold and wet, by the appropriate permutation of qualities.

That air and earth were considered consequents of the interaction between fire and water is indicated by literal descriptions in texts, as well as suggested by the fact that the signs for air and earth are constructed from those for fire and water by the addition of a horizontal mid-line in their respective triangles.

Solomon's seal is a symbolic representation of the four elements with the opposition of fire and water most evident, yet joined by the more hidden consequents of air and earth. Depictions of Solomon's seal can be found where the symbol of Sol, of gold, accompanies the standard depiction by being placed in the central hexagon. The meaning of the alchemical symbol for the sun, as with all alchemical symbols and indeed all things, depends on the context. In the current case this symbol is found to exist in, between, and because of the creative polarity of fire and water and, as these two elements are considered to be the creators of all things, it may be said that the symbol for Sol in this case, and certainly in others, represent the sum of all created things: the One, the transcendental Unity, Perfection.

In a more mundane sense the symbol of Sol represents light, the relation between the sun and light being obvious. It is not surprising then that this quivering, active fluid of the ancients found similar expression in the old conception of the aether as the substrate for both light and all other things.

relate the fall to cumming such that the fall occurs if a man ejaculates

he moves by cumming. not in space or time, per se. but energetically and relative to the lines of others, their habits, energy levels, rising and falling with the seasons. 

Considering both fire and water more directly, we are told they are of two qualities each; respectively warm and dry, cold and wet. Fire is considered to be the agens or activity, water the patiens or matter. Taking their physical counter parts and the interactions between those two we can develop some idea of how the two fundamentals might work upon each other. 

Forgetting for now that light accompanies what we usually consider to be fire we find the most basic contingent of this element to be heat. Indeed this is shown by one of the qualities ascribed by the ancients to fire, which is in no way surprising. As a superlative heat sink, water may thus rightly be called cold. 

The action of heat and cold on water cause rarefaction and crystallization, states of varying solidity as the units of water individualize or collectivize. The boiling over may be said to cause the appearance of air, the freezing the appearance of earth. 

Here we now have some idea as to the two other qualities ascribed to fire and water. When the ancients thought of dryness it was the deserts and their sands that most prominently presented themselves. The primary quality of sand is its composition by distinct particles, and thus that distinction seems to be what the quality dry would refer to. Wetness would then be a corresponding lack of individuality.

(in other words:)

in exchanging energy with the spirits, the magician must seek to strike a strategic balance between personal power and mediumship, by which the magician receives useful information from the spirits. however, in order to obtain this, the magician parts with a portion of power, offering it to the spirits in exchange for seeing things that no human can otherwise see, knowing what cannot be conventionally known.

the balance is important, for what does it benefit a person to know everything that will happen all day long before it does, if they can't really do anything about it?

the sting

con koan: if fire is a card, and water is a card, where is the third card? *

(*: answer at the end:)