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"You gotta blow peoples' minds" -- Justin Willman

Tuesday March 23, 2021

I’ve added magician Justin Willman, host and executive producer of Magic for Humans to my INTJ list:

Magic for Humans (Netflix) is a really well-produced show. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth checking out.

Here’s an interview:

I was thrown off a bit when Justin called the Google audience a “smart room.” At first I thought he was talking about smart technology, but then I realized—this is stage terminology. Calling the room a “(whatever) room” is a way to label the traits and needs of the audience, to help magicians learn more about their craft.

Some quotes that stood out to me:

“I can intersperse myself in different groups of humans, and find out that…we’re all human.” (Experimentalist-theoretician; summarizing; explaining)

“People think they want to know how magic works, but really they don’t. How it works is never as amazing as what the trick was in the first place, so it’s never going to make you feel good. Somebody just wanting to know how a trick works is never enough to make me want to tell them.” (Letting you in on the meta-secret)

“Basically the job of a magician is to do impossible things that challenge the nature of the universe. And I think some magicians buy into that perception a little too much. These days that turns people off a little bit. I’m not a wizard. I don’t have special powers. If I did, I would not be doing magic for a living!” (Meta-perspective on quality)

“Some people love magic for the right reasons: They love to experience wonder. They don’t want to know how it works. In this day and age, we know how everything works. We can Google anything and the answer is never really far away. Magic is a break from that where you get to enjoy mystery. And then there’s the people who watch the trick but don’t want to enjoy it because they want to figure it out and they feel like I’m challenging their intelligence, which I’m not doing. Those people are hell-bent on not enjoying magic and probably not enjoying their lives either.” (Right/wrong qualitative reasoning about people and their choices, mixed with background, theory, and probabilistic intuition and prediction)

Justin is really good example of an INTJ working in entertainment. I think I’ve mentioned before that this can be a risky field for INTJs, drawing as it does on our inferior function, Se.

What of Se? Well, extroversion, improvisation, performance orientation, audience pressure, and important sensory details are key elements of the entertainer’s working day, and that can be really exhausting to INTJs. The INTJ’s opposite type, the ESFP, is a Se-dominant type, and typically better suited to long-form use of Se. Still, those elements tend to call to us…“wouldn’t it be cool if…” … “that would really blow peoples’ minds…” so you never know when you’ll spot an INTJ in those entertainer’s shoes.

The magician archetype is also a really helpful one for INTJs in general. I’m glad to have become acquainted with INTJs around the world who have done the magician archetype proud, in lots of interesting, life-changing, and non-literal ways as well.

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