Equivoqué

I’ve gotta hand it to you, believing in the magic of you is no mere trick. Indeed, it requires strong will and trust in a higher power (i.e. God). Your lack of trust doesn’t result in a forced hand, but if you choose the route of pure certainty, you’re asking for a forced hand.
What does this have to do with equivoqué you may ask? Well, the magician’s choice (i.e. you) often participate in your own kind of mentalism. Before we get any further, equivoqué is, “an expression capable of having more than one meaning; a pun.” Essentially, this trade of magic is all about the perception of choice. If you don’t choose to embrace uncertainty, you’ll fall prey to your own sleight of hand.

Manson introduces his Law of Avoidance (which I find ironic as an intellectual antithesis to the law of attraction). His law states this, “The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it.” Pretty straightforward, right? Wrong. See, the human ability to deny soul power is exponential. It’s almost as infinite as our souls. The narratives of who we are don’t easily come undone.

That’s where rescripting comes in. Covey’s own notions of scripting, which he theorizes stem from our vulnerabilities: dependence on others; need for acceptance and love; sense of importance and worth; and feeling that we matter. If you’re self-aware enough, you’ll learn that you don’t know everything about who you are, despite how you feel. Our denial of truth is all too common when we conflate fleeting fact with objective, permanent truth.

“Until we change how we view ourselves, what we believe we are and are not, we cannot overcome our avoidance and anxiety.” -Mark Manson

While researching the magician’s choice, I found a rather interesting research article where several psychologists studied sleight of hand and participants’ sense of agency. Most of magic is about perception, and the magician’s choice is all about perceiving one option while the mentalist uses wordplay to manipulate his or her desired outcome. In other words, when you-the mentalist-force certainty into your life, you’re pushing other outcomes away. The irony lies in the fact that you thought you were making the choice in the first place.

As Olson, Amlani, Raz, and Rensink (2015) note,

“Present studies demonstrate that people can be influenced by external forces yet feel their choice is free….Forcing may also shed light on the nature of higher-level cognition, such as the ability of humans to account for the decisions they have made. Especially in our first study, participants that were influenced often created confabulations that had little to do with the actual constraints on their behavior.”

You might be totally unaware of the forced hand you made for yourself in choosing to reject uncertainty. There’s nothing wrong with feeling certainty. If you never question the actions inspired by your values, how can you be certain you’re picking the right card? Manson highlights the importance of questioning your motives. This sort of self-evaluation increases your self-awareness. The more aware of self that you are, the closer you’re getting to practicing the unseen arts.

“We tend to regard our choices as outward reflections of inner values. In those we elect, in those we marry, in our purchase choices and dietary decisions, we believe that our choices define us and express us. Our instincts tells us that we are good at “endgaming” our decisions, that our choices matter and our preferences sway the outcomes in meaningful ways. But a growing mass of empirical evidence on the cognitive processes behind decision-making suggests otherwise. Despite what our instincts would have us believe, the cognitive calculus behind even simple decisions is murky at best—and subject to external influence. We are not nearly as free in our choices as we think we are, or as precise at weighing the outcomes after the fact”
(Stone, 2012).


Olson, J., Amlani, A., Raz, A., & Rensink, R. (2015). Influencing choice without awareness. Consciousness And Cognition37, 225-236. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2015.01.004

Stone, A. (2012). Use the Force: How magicians can control your decisions. Discover. Retrieved from http://discovermagazine.com/2012/sep/10-use-the-force-magicians-control-your-decisions

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