"From the magician’s, or the phenomenologist’s, perspective, that which we call imagination is from the first an attribute of the senses themselves; imagination is not a separate mental faculty (as we so often assume) but is rather the way the senses themselves have of throwing themselves beyond what is immediately given, in order to make tentative contact with the other sides of things that we do not sense directly, with the hidden or invisible aspects of the sensible. And yet such sensory anticipations and projections are not arbitrary; they regularly respond to suggestions offered by the sensible itself. The magician, for instance, may make the magic palpable for the audience by following the invisible coin’s journey with the focus of his own eyes, and by imaginatively "feeling" the coin depart from the one hand and arrive in the palm of the other; the audience’s senses, responding to subtle shifts in the magician’s body as well as to the coin, will then find the effect irresistible. In other words, it is when the magician lets himself be captured by the magic that his audience will be most willing to join him.
Of course, there are those few who simply will not see any magic, either at a performance or in the world at large; armored with countless explanations and analyses, they “see” only how the trick must have been accomplished. Commonly, they will claim to have “caught sight of the wires,” or to have seen me clandestinely “throw the coin into the other hand” although I myself have done no such thing. Encouraged by a cultural discourse that disdains the unpredictable and puts a premium on detached objectivity, such persons attempt to halt the participation of their senses in the phenomenon. Yet they can do so only by imaginatively projecting other phenomena (wires, or threads, or mirrors), or by looking away.
In truth, since the act of perception is always open-ended and unfinished, we are never wholly locked into any particular instance of participation. As the spectator can turn away from the magician’s magic, we are always somewhat free to break our participation with any particular phenomenon. It is thus that, caught up in contemplation of a blade of grass, I may nevertheless shift my attention to the grove of trees nearby, or my focus may suddenly be usurped by a fly that lands upon my nose. Similarly, we may readily break our fascination with a television commercial in order to notice how it plays upon our emotions and our desires. But we suspend this participation only on behalf of other participations already going on - with the other persons in the room, with the hard and uncomfortable chair on which we sit, with our own thoughts and analyses. We always retain the ability to alter or suspend any particular instance of participation. Yet we can never suspend the flux of participation itself.”
— David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous