Question: ADHD seems counterproductive to magic- be the creation of magic or performance?
Answer: Attention, the mechanism that allows magic to work is selective & scarce as it is, with or without ADHD. The Monkey Business Test, an experiment created by Daniel Simmons attests to this. In this experiment observers are asked to count the number of times a beach ball is passed between players wearing 2 sets of uniforms. If you watched the Monkey Business experiment for the first time you would miss the man in the gorilla suit walking behind the players as they passed the ball.
The scarcity of attention is more apparent in DMV & policing. Car wrecks involving pedestrians, motorbikes and bicyclists happen because of attention and expectation scarcity. Attention is the most valuable commodity in the marketplace today. Companies spend billions of dollars every year trying to capture the attention of potential customers and clients.
Attention is scarce even for the neurotypical.
A magician with ADHD may find some strength in the spontaneity of the condition. Neurodivergent people can be some of the most creative and less risk adverse. Magic can be a great way for the ADHD performer to come to terms with the condition.
While performance of any genre requires concentration, all performers can borrow from the world of theatre & acting -being present in the moment – is a better mindset than focus and can help mask focal poverty. Being present in the moment is a mindset that can be an advantage to anyone with or without ADHD. Again – attention is fleeting no matter who you are.
Question: Because attention is scarce – those with short attention span – including ADHD are weak minded?
Answer: No. Sometime in the mid 1970’s there was a high profile police incident in New Jersey were police were in pursuit of a suspect. While they were focused on the chase, they ran past some fellow police officers in a different precinct being assault. No assistance was given between the two precincts and many of the police that were involved in the pursuit, but didn’t assist against the assault were put in the hot seat. Well trained individuals had selective attention on the pursuit they missed the assault. Not only is attention scarce, its selective. The human brain is incapable of multi-tasking. Anyone who tells you they can multitask is lying to you. It can’t be done. This is why driving and talking on the phone is equivalent to driving intoxicated.
Attention selectiveness and scarcity is no indication of intelligence or higher cognitive executive functions. The problem with the ADHD brain is that it can be hyper fixated on one thing that other tasks and details are left out – very similar to the police chase incident that inspired the Monkey Business Test.