“Pick a card any card…” Well, that’s what you think! Many of the most impressive and convincing card tricks in magic involve a “forced card.” A forced card is card that the magician has already determined you to choose. You think you are choosing a card, any card, freely and randomly out of the deck, and sometimes you may even be asked if you want to change your mind, but through an arsenal of covert sleight of hand techniques, the performer has already bound you to a particular card. The card you think you have freely chosen has actually been forced upon you and is already known by the magician before you even choose it.

It is similar to what appears as our seemingly daily choices. It seems to us like we are choosing, but in actuality, we are getting a forced card. Nature is the performer, and while it deals a determined deck of cards, it easily misdirects us with just a sleight of hand convincing us to believe in a sense of self, a sense of “I” in which yet gives rise to another illusion, the illusion of independence, which in turn then compels us to believe we are free to choose and are independent of the performer.

We take so much delight in believing in the illusion of having control, being able to choose, having free-will, that we fail to realize, that the magician, nature, is an expert, and has controlled the whole performance and determined our every choice in it. But we enjoy the entertainment, it comforts us, makes us happy, so we just go along with it, knowing in the back of our minds, that it is just a trick, and not magic. It’s a forced card.