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I-it vs I-you is the most basic dichotomy I’ve found in my years of dichotomy hunting to fuel 2x2s. HT @mtraven for introducing me to it.
Magic and illusion often seem to depend on hacking it/you processing dispositions
Material reality has a lot of detail but very little meaning

Social reality has a lot of meaning but very little detail

Humans want significance: both detail and meaning at once, to feel present and alive. This can be hacked for profit or insight.
Significance is meaningful detail. Example: “sell the sizzle, not the steak” creates significance out of a material detail (sizzle as I-it) and social meaning (sizzle as socially constructed meaningfulness of food culture eg barbecue)
A tell of an inexperienced liar is putting in too much or too little material detail relative to the meaning of what is being said. A significance glitch.
Magic tricks often work because we badly *want* to believe that objects have intentions minds and mysterious agency (meaningful I-you characteristics we want in humans to relate to) but the trick often exploits basic banal I-it physics/geometry that’s a letdown when revealed
I think “magicians never tell” because they are far more afraid of loss of faith in meaningfulness than in their tricks getting shared. I’ve never once not been disappointed at learning how a trick works.
Experimental science is the opposite of magic. Bizarre I-it details with no social narrative attached. Like a mentos and soda experiment. Bizarre and fun but not like a magic trick because there are no significant expectations being subverted.
Our null hypothesis for I-it things is ”nothing much”

Our null hypothesis for I-you things is “change caused by living striving”

Objects doing something rather than nothing is surprising in a science way

People doing nothing rather than something is surprising in a magic way
Example of latter: a mark picking the card the conjurer wants, due to highly effective suggestion modes... that’s humans acting deterministically like objects
Try this dumb “magic” trick. Spell out a number of words ending in o-p while a friend pronounces them:

c o p cop
t o p top
m o p mop

After 6-7 such prompts, suddenly ask them: “what do you do at a green traffic light?”

~100% of people will say “stop”
Conditioning structure here is transparent but most tricks with more hidden mechanics seem to rely on similar object-like predictability of human attention trajectory. You work it like an I-it to get an I-thou payoff yourself (people being impressed at a cheap trick)
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