"There no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it." Man Ray 1948
That is what I'm exactly feeling when it comes to magic. With all the things around us claiming to be new methods, apparently a lot of them could be traced back from all those old books some even dating more than a hundred years ago.
Maybe there are new things but I would say (not all might agree) there had been little progress in a sense that new methods are being created but the effects remain the same. Although some methods cast a new dimension to the effects, the effects are still the same. I know magicians would say that magic could be summarized into eight basic effects namely:
I would actually like to add animation to these effects but I think they put it under levitation. I think it is common in all art forms that it has a a basic effect like in painting it's effect should be visual appeal whether good or bad. Magic's Eight effects are just presented in different manners.
I'm not saying that new methods are inferior to older methods,some are even too good. Take for example the classic Twisting the Aces. The Vernon method is still being used until now and it is very convincing and maybe one of the best. A newer version The Asher Twist is actually very good in terms that it is clean and really surprising even to magicians.
Another good improvement is Entity. It is based on the haunted deck effect wherein a chosen card moves out of a spread deck on a table. In the usual Haunted deck effect a magician must be careful in a certain aspect but in the newer version you could actually involve more audience participation.
Anyway I'm not saying that we shouldn't create new tricks based on old methods, what I'm saying is that if we could improve the old effect with a better method it would be more interesting and thus it could give a little more progress than what was it before.