Steffan Soule ’79: Value-based magic
In 10th grade at Lakeside, Steffan Soule ’79 started three major projects: a service project where every person had to serve the school in some way (clean the chapel, plant a garden, do something to improve the campus); a lecture series challenging faculty members to give talks on something that mattered to them (unemployment, death, Zen, love); and magic.
He earned academic credit for his independent magic project in his senior year and worked at a magic shop (between Second and Third streets, on Seneca) in exchange for full access to every magic book the shop carried.
Soule now works as a professional magician, touring schools and producing tutorials on ideas that matter to him: environmentalism, water conservation, bullying. In his shows, he says, magic gets students to see things in new ways — and new vision can turn into new behaviors. It gets people excited about good ideas. His value-based work brought him to start the Golden Rule Project, with which he has toured for seven years, using magic to inspire people to treat others the way they, themselves, want to be treated.
I turned down the titles ‘anti-bullying’ or ‘anti-this’ or ‘anti- that’ because magic is not anti-anything. The Golden Rule is a positive statement. As a magician, you could go with a positive statement: practice this, and bullying will disappear.