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Topic: When one is introduced to a psychic.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (May 2, 2005 02:15PM)
What do you do when introduced to a supposed real psychic and have to spend the evening in their company?
Several times I have been introduced to and spent time in the company of supposed real psychics, healers and new age people. My reaction is usually to remain polite at all times and not get into anything deep.

What do you guys do? I'm sure it must have happened. I'm on stand by for all the jokey answers but would appreciate some real one's with thought also.

H.W
Message: Posted by: hkwiles (May 2, 2005 02:37PM)
Hi HW,
I think we may vere off down the lines of a not too recent post!.
However, I have never been in the situation but it depends what you wish to achieve.
If it is just a social gathering, then unless he/or someone else brings the subject up I would treat it it simply as that.

Then again if he is performing then what do you want to do.

Do you just want to see how he operates?

Do you want to catch him out?

Given what you/we know, the latter should not be too difficult especially if you

wish to follow Mr Rowlands advice.Just make sure you are bigger than him!

Howard
Message: Posted by: jimtron (May 2, 2005 03:16PM)
Why not get into anything deep? Why not have a respectful discourse? Certainly you should be polite, but I don't see any reason to avoid discussing what psychics do.

I think dialogue between those with divergent views should be encouraged.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (May 2, 2005 03:49PM)
I suspect that what ever friend would have introduced me to themwould not appreciate any heated debate in their home. In one case I was introduced to a Reki Healer who happened to by my friends mother, so saying anything remotely against his mothers beliefs would not be good form in my opinion.

Kirk.
Message: Posted by: Osiris (May 2, 2005 03:52PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 16:16, jimtron wrote:
Why not get into anything deep? Why not have a respectful discourse? Certainly you should be polite, but I don't see any reason to avoid discussing what psychics do.

I think dialogue between those with divergent views should be encouraged.
[/quote]

Dialogue is fine, the problem is as I've stated elsewhere... very, very, VERY few magicians or anyone with a magic foundation, has even the least amount of remote respect for someone that believes themselves to be "Psychic"... the attitude and approach is very confrontational (or evolves to that level rather quick) and totally ruins everyone's night.

IF on the other hand, you can be open minded and not confrontational, there is absolutely no reason why the encounter can't be positive, friendly and productive.

I recently encountered an aspiring Reader who insisted upon doing card tricks and using an Invisible Deck as a means by which to prove his Psychic abilities in front of persons that know the market, work within the shut-eye aspects of the market and couldn't help but shrug... amazed by how stupid this magician assumed the believers to be. A classic mistake! Unfortunately, many a mage are in far too much denial to believe they could possibly be seen a fraud... after all, their tricks are exactly what are in all the books about how psychics do what they do...right?
Message: Posted by: shrink (May 2, 2005 04:37PM)
I used to actively seek out real psychics. In fact I was a member of a healing group that would meet up once a week. They were mostly riekie healers. I found they were great places to practice cold reading and watch stopping as they all believed you. A safe place to develop your mentalism. For me I found it a lot of fun keeping a straight face was the most difficult part. I found many of them were very insecure people who didn't have much going for them in life and the psychic element was a way to be special without any real effort or input.

On the other hand I did recieve a healing once that made me think that there is also something to it. Although 90% or more of them thought they were genuine the founder "talked" only to me about the fact he used cold reading..

Shrink
Message: Posted by: Juan D (May 2, 2005 04:48PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 15:15, Hypnotic Winter wrote:
What do you do when introduced to a supposed real psychic and have to spend the evening in their company?[/quote]

Do as Richard Webster suggests and nod your head.
;)
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (May 2, 2005 05:33PM)
I have friends that are psychics.

Usually, we talk about theater, movies, art, women, food, and of course, cards...
Message: Posted by: Jon Stetson (May 2, 2005 06:22PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 17:48, Juan D wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 15:15, Hypnotic Winter wrote:
What do you do when introduced to a supposed real psychic and have to spend the evening in their company?[/quote]

Do as Richard Webster suggests and nod your head.
;)
[/quote]

Juan,
Excellent advice! When in doubt W.W.W.D. (What would Webster do?)

However, If a person wants to perform mentalism, or be "known" as a mentalist, they will find themselves in this situation often.

The first step, in my opinion, is to figure out what YOU think about such matters.
If you are not comfortable in this situation, perhaps you should be performing magic. No disrespect, it's just somthing to think about.
Message: Posted by: J ack Galloway (May 2, 2005 06:24PM)
Enriqueenriquez,

I have musician friends and we talk of the same things.

We are all the same.

Jack


H.O.A.X
Message: Posted by: enriqueenriquez (May 2, 2005 06:26PM)
Exactly.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 3, 2005 01:34AM)
Here's a novel idea - how about just respecting them and their beliefs?

From past posts it's clear that there's a tendency of the sceptical brigade to also be dismissive of religion so what would you do if you met a catholic priest socially?

I've been a scepitic and when I look back at how I acted when I was sceptical do you know what I see? A pain in the derrier. Someone who didn't care about what people felt or experienced and someone who felt they knew everything there was to know about the paranormal.

Years later I have spoken with many people who have had wild experiences, I have also had a few myself and it all adds up to making me consider that there MIGHT be something in it. And for that I am joyful - that there may be things in the Universe that we will never understand or believe exist unless we personally experience them.
Message: Posted by: Nikodini (May 3, 2005 02:02AM)
I just politely excuse myself and leave.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 3, 2005 03:32AM)
That is an ill-informed, sad and somewhat ironic point of view.

Do you know that many mentalists proclaim powers or at the very least remain ambiguous on the matter? Or that many mentalists make a great deal of money from "psychic" readings?
Message: Posted by: Murfmind (May 3, 2005 06:14AM)
Reminds me of the cartoon where one mentalist met another mentalist and the first one says "Your're fine, how am I?" Murf
Message: Posted by: Osiris (May 3, 2005 08:13AM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-03 03:02, Nikodini wrote:
I just politely excuse myself and leave. [/quote]

Then why on earth are you around all these magicians?

[quote]
On 2005-05-03 04:32, bartlewizard wrote:
That is an ill-informed, sad and somewhat ironic point of view.

Do you know that many mentalists proclaim powers or at the very least remain ambiguous on the matter? Or that many mentalists make a great deal of money from "psychic" readings?
[/quote]

Look at his post Bartlewizard... you (WE ALL) know the answer to that. This is just someone that's read one or two books on the subject along with on-line forum bias about John Edward and the gang rather than an individual that's attempted at any level to get into the field and see what's what. This is soooo typical of today's magic buffs and it's not worth getting bent over. They're armchair experts and will NEVER amount to be anything other.

As I've said so many times here and at other forums, I find it amazing how I can have several very close friends who are major players in the Skeptic's world and yet, we NEVER get into arguments or debates. We have fun, we talk for hours on the phone discussing MAGIC and how to be an effective PERFORMER. We have, but only at limited areas, discusses a couple of investigative issues when it came to this or that individual or suspected operations. I'm just like them... get rid of the heartless crooks! But, I draw a line when it comes to the more common Reader. I believe some of what I've been saying the past decade or so is likewise gaining some ground when it comes to the antics of skeptics and recognizing that some of these people really are doing good in the world... I know I try to do such in my practice.

Psychics are people too... just treat them as such. Who knows, you might just learn something about yourself and your limited way of looking at the world...
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 3, 2005 11:50AM)
Osiris, I read a post of yours on another thread which was excellent. This is similarly so.

There are several grades of skeptic. There are the true skeptics who realise that having an open mind is part and parcel of what they do. I have met many, and shared many fascinating conversations about the nature of "it", whatever "it" may be.

Then there's the professional skeptic. They write books debunking performers and some even go so far as to show how some psychic performers do their routines - an act as ethically questionable as falsely claiming psychic powers I would think. These guys always seem to have a book to sell, a paper to publicise or something similar.

Then there are the "buffs" on here who, as you said, have read a few articles or a book but have no real personal experience - in fact their limited mindset wouldn't allow them to go out and experience anything anyway. They think of Rowland as a God and they absolutely know that there is no such thing as the paranormal. What the **** such people are doing in a Mentalism board I don't know. I go so far as to say it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a Mentalist if you have no belief in the paranormal - you can be a fake Mentalist but who wants to be one of those?
Message: Posted by: Greg Owen (May 3, 2005 12:24PM)
"I go so far as to say it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a Mentalist if you have no belief in the paranormal - you can be a fake Mentalist but who wants to be one of those?"

Hmm...

Not sure I understand this. I would understand it if, in our performances, we created the possibility for psi to happen. But generally that is not our modus operandi. Usually its all 'rigged' and the outcomes are steadfast known in advance.

So what does being a real or 'fake' mentalist mean then? I'm not trying to be argumentative here. You have made excellent points and I'm just trying to understand this one.

- Greg Owen
Message: Posted by: bobser (May 3, 2005 01:10PM)
Nikodini, you need a hard kick up the proverbial 'jacksie'.
I'm with Jack Galloway, Enriqe and Bartle on this. I might know more about tricks than they do, but that's all I've got, me and my tricks. talk about a sham reality.
Surely guys like us should be the last ones to excuse ourselves and leave!

Bobser.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 3, 2005 01:52PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-03 13:24, Greg Owen wrote:

Not sure I understand this. I would understand it if, in our performances, we created the possibility for psi to happen. But generally that is not our modus operandi. Usually its all 'rigged' and the outcomes are steadfast known in advance.

So what does being a real or 'fake' mentalist mean then? I'm not trying to be argumentative here. You have made excellent points and I'm just trying to understand this one.

- Greg Owen
[/quote]

Basically, to be truly successful AND congruent you need to believe in what you are telling your audiences you are doing - regardless of the "how".

One way to do this is the Chan Canasta route - tell them exactly what you are doing but couched in vague enough terms and presented entertainingly enough that you get away with it. Derren Brown has taken this a few steps further but I personally think his current TV shows miss out on the entertainment aspect and he's become a tad preachy as well. I also think in the main it's a weaker presentation - like telling kids there's no Santa you are kind of taking the edge and the mystery away.

Another way is, as hinted at in some of Bob Cassidy's works most recently and also in some of the truly great classics, is to become someone who truly believes in what they are doing. I don't necessarily mean that you believe in every fruit n nit case that comes along but your acting and presentation become so much better. I started readinsg many moons ago and had the mentality that it was all fake. Most clients were more than happy with what I delivered but I felt something was missing. So I treated it seriously - I learnt supposedly real palmistry and studied the tarot and based my readings on that and my whole "performance" is so much better because I am doing what I really say I am doing. The same thing applies to Mentalism. Before you p**k that b**l*t REALLY try to read the person's mind, really visualise yourself picking something up from them. Many hypnosis texts also advocate believing that you have a power emananating from your fingertips. These things truly help and truly work and I personally believe are important and integral points to being a Mentalist.
Message: Posted by: Osiris (May 3, 2005 04:53PM)
Aaa. sounds like Cassidy's dissertation on the Baker Billet Switch!

Truth is, anyone that's actually worked the grind of doing the Psychic gig in fairs, bookstores, etc. for more than a couple of years, discovers that they really don't need the cheats. Intuitively we "know" what the questions are nine times out of ten, when it comes to a "real" sitter (vs. some magic shmuck trying to fulfilling the guidance of Lord Rowland). It's very, very rare that I ever have to stoop to trickery when dealing with a client in a Reading. Those that I do have to "trip up" (typically, to get them to relax a bit)are classical skeptics that typically walk away believing I was real... imagine that...

Truth is, if Magic were such a superior "entertainment" form and not viewed by the lay public as the bigger hustle, the dope doing card tricks at those corporate mixers I work, would be asked to stay overtime instead of I... If people actually "respected" magicians as much as they think of themselves... well, once again, the guy that plays warm-up act for cake & ice cream would be generating far more cash for his 20 minutes of pain and glory than I get for chatting with someone about their kids, the dog, the wayward spouse, etc. In other words, the public votes with its cash and its time and really don't want a heck of a lot to do with most of the aspiring (and opinionated) magic world. I've even seen a few young bucks tossed out of parties because they started doing CT and Spoon Bending to "prove" the psychic a fraud... NOW THAT'S PROFESSIONALISM!

[b]"Belief"[/b] is an intrigal part of Magic on the whole. I learned that from Shamada 25 years ago just discussing magic over drinks @ the Castle. Now in defense of the Skeptic who presents solid Mentalism (like Banachek)... he comes from a place of "belief" and yet allows room for other people to believe as they will. He's not a shmuck trying to prove a point... he's already proven it in several ways. Rick Maue words the term as "Theatrical Belief" and we've had several conversations on this issue. I fully endorse where Rick is coming from and see its value. In truth, when I'm doing A SHOW I elicit the same thing from folks... you have to! Mentalism is dependent upon that investment of belief if it is to be 100% effective. Those that sell it short and present it as a "Magic Trick" are only selling themselves short and the advantages they would otherwise know.

Even when I did Illusions I shot for realism and believability... I wanted to transform the "tricks" into miracles. My imepetus for this came from Richardi and in my belief he's one of maybe two "real" magicians I've encountered on stage in the whole of my four and half decades on earth. The other was Norm Neilson.

You can know the techniques but until you can use them in a way that makes them not appear to be there, you aren't remotely close to being a "real" magician, let alone a mind reader.

But hey... I could be wrong...
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (May 3, 2005 09:50PM)
I was introduced to a tarot reader once.

I married her.

My circle of friends includes metaphysical types of every cut.

Steve
Message: Posted by: Juan D (May 4, 2005 08:34AM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 19:22, Jon Stetson wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 17:48, Juan D wrote:
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 15:15, Hypnotic Winter wrote:
What do you do when introduced to a supposed real psychic and have to spend the evening in their company?[/quote]

Do as Richard Webster suggests and nod your head.
;)
[/quote]

Juan,
Excellent advice! When in doubt W.W.W.D. (What would Webster do?)

However, If a person wants to perform mentalism, or be "known" as a mentalist, they will find themselves in this situation often.

The first step, in my opinion, is to figure out what YOU think about such matters.
If you are not comfortable in this situation, perhaps you should be performing magic. No disrespect, it's just somthing to think about.

[/quote]

That's exactly what I think.
I believe it will depend on your character.
If you want to play the lines about being real and having psychic powers, just nod your head in approval.
If you don't believe and don't claim any psychic abilities, just nod your head in approval and respect what your new psychic friend claims.

I'm really not sure if I translated it well, but In my country we use to say something along the lines of "Your rights go only as far as to where the rights of the others begin". (Sorry if I ended up with something non-sense, it sounds cool in spanish anyway)
Message: Posted by: Osiris (May 4, 2005 10:36AM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-03 22:50, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:
I was introduced to a tarot reader once.

I married her.

My circle of friends includes metaphysical types of every cut.

Steve
[/quote]

Every cut or cult?... wasn't certain if that was a type-o or not Steven..
Message: Posted by: El Mystico (May 10, 2005 06:51AM)
Say, "You're very well; how am I?"
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 14, 2005 09:46AM)
I have no trouble spending time with tarot card readers, Reiki masters, etc. Besides, there are good reasons that people go to see them - they feel better afterward. I know a Reiki master and the treatment feels goooooooooooooood. :)

As long as someone isn't fleecing people out of money that they can't spare, what's the harm? As long as people are enjoying the experience, it sounds good to me.

Reality - what a concept!
Message: Posted by: Father Photius (May 14, 2005 11:54AM)
Well what has worked for me, is the same thing when at a social gathering I run into a minister of another denomination, or some individual who is particularly "evangelistic" about their beliefs. I politely listen to their spiel and then say, "that's an interesting belief" , or "that is an interesting idea" and drop it at tht point. If they are looking for an argument they don't get one. Besides such arguments never lead anywhere productive.
Message: Posted by: Hypnotic Winter (May 14, 2005 08:58PM)
I think that all sorts of psychics and new age people will always be here, if you can assess there is no harm let them do what tehy do and believe what they believe.
Interestingly, one of my best friends is a wiccan and priestess of a coven of four, she doesn't think she's psychic or anything but often states how she loves nature and wicca, and I'm not about to disagree with her.

H.W
Message: Posted by: Xiqual (May 14, 2005 09:59PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-02 17:37, shrink wrote:
For me I found it a lot of fun keeping a straight face was the most difficult part. I found many of them were very insecure people who didn't have much going for them in life and the psychic element was a way to be special without any real effort or input.

Shrink
[/quote]
Hmmm... that description sounds like you actually. Just change "psychic element"
to "Magic Café".

I find shut eyes to be very nice people that will go out of their way to help others.
I enjoy their company and find it refreshing to be around people that at least have a bit of imagination.

Shrink and all the other "performers" here. If you are laughing at the people you perform for, you are a sad little person indeed.

In the words of Albert Einstien "There are two ways to live your life, as if nothing is amazing or as if everything is"
James
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 15, 2005 12:27AM)
Isn't it kind of a sick mentality to want to diss all psychics? It's like saying al Muslims are bad or all Catholics are bad or a particular race is all bad. Just because you do not share someone's belief, it does not mean that a) you are right and b) they deserve bad treatment.

I've met a great many psychics. Some, I would say, are deluded souls who, as Shrink suggests are looking for a way to cover their social inadequacies by appearing to be special. Others are warm, kind, sincere people who know their subject well and are experts at making people feel better. Finally some are outright con artists who rip off their clients and don't deliver the goods.

You know another group that fits the above profile almost exactly? Magicians!
Message: Posted by: Ian Rowland (May 29, 2005 06:50PM)
[quote]
On 2005-05-03 12:50, bartlewizard wrote:
They think of Rowland as a God and they absolutely know that there is no such thing as the paranormal.[/quote]
With polite respect, what we have here is one clear error and an implied mis-statement of my views. Taking them in order...

(1) There is nobody who thinks of me as a god of any kind, and that's as it should be, 'cos I ain't one.

(2) I have never stated any opinion to the effect that I know there is no such thing as the paranormal, nor have I ever advocated or supported such an absurd contention. There may or may not be paranormal abilities or forces - I don't know. All I know is that, to the best of my knowledge and awareness, there is as yet no good reason to credit anyone with paranormal abilities, in the sense that there is no empirical and evidential data for which the 'paranormal' hypothesis is either sufficient or necessary. This may change, in which case so will my opinion. I go where the evidence leads me, and I accept what the evidence tells me.
Message: Posted by: David Numen (May 29, 2005 10:06PM)
1) You take me to literally. Of course you aren't a God but it IS a familiar expression used when people worship a person or think very highly of them - and there ARE many people on this Café who think that way.

2) I didn't suggest YOU weren't willing to believe but there are several people on here who absolutely think they know better. Hence comments like avoiding slime and so forth.
Message: Posted by: discjockey (May 30, 2005 10:00AM)
The word "psychic" can have a few different effects on certain spectators. I prefer not to use it when performing simply because of the vast ambiguity. Bepending on how I'm performing, I'll either tell them that this will LOOK like mindreading, but its all just fun. Thank you Mr. Hilford. OR Not speaking very much adds a mystery element that I prefer as well.

I say, for being introduced as a psychic, do it Alfred Hitchcock style. He instilled more fear in people from the movie Psycho during the shower scene by only showing the blood in the shower as opposed to a graphic violent represenatation. Viewers were forced to guess what was going on and the fact of not knowing was ultimatly more scarry. So, if you don't tell your spectators, then they will figure it out for themselves, or take guesses. Either way I see it, you win.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (May 30, 2005 12:12PM)
Let me start off by saying that not knowing grace and tolerance at a friendly gathering is a shortcoming and a huge social "faux pas". Regardless of which side of the fence such a person is on, they should be avoided. I am reminded of the humorous recording "Religion and Politics".

Since this has turned into a discussion about the very subject of how non-psychics and psychics interact, and not a cordial gathering of niceities, I feel it is valid to state one's views on the matter.

When one becomes "psychic" they know that what they are undertaking has no scientific foundation of proof. It simply is what it is and one can not prove or disprove it. This is the strength and the weakness in it. It is to be lived but not proved.

That given, for one to deny that taking any belief on without provable, reproducable fact is above question is, simply, shortsided. Any belief so rooted is guaranteed to have detractors so rooted in their own belief as to think such believers are an unwanted element. Sadly, it is human nature.

So why is it that folks so grounded in human nature and so knowing of the future are so frustrated by human nature and so unaware of the future eventuality that they will run into someone who doesn't believe them? Quite honestly, why do true psychics care if some people do not believe them and do not care for what they do?

If anyone is deifying it is those who use phrases like "A God" "worship" "Lord" These are the words of those who deify. They just do it for a different reason.

Any psychic worth his salt will admit he has a huge hurdle to jump to garner any legitimacy due to the thieving, decieving "psychics" out there. Admit it and move on.
Message: Posted by: chicagoman (May 30, 2005 02:42PM)
Personally, I believe in things "un-provable" by today's science.

As a result, I find it helps me to perform magic and mentalism.

And having a "belief system" actually helps me to be tolerent with people with all sorts of beliefs (and non-beliefs) I guess because I'm open to things that are not provable or I can believe in things not believed in by everyone in the world.

I'm thankful for that ability.
Message: Posted by: Corona Smith (May 30, 2005 04:33PM)
In reference to the original question, wy not use your skills to be ten times more psychic than they are, then charge them for lessons :)
Message: Posted by: DrNorth (Sep 2, 2005 06:58PM)
Many magicians I have met or, have read works by, are believers in paranormal events. True most magicians are skeptics by nature but while, like Houdini, we can recreate most psychic events that doesn’t scientifically disprove them. We are not scientists we are magicians, I am sure some of us use the scientific method or are familiar with it, most of us are not.
I myself used to be a full-blown skeptic; it was fashionable as I was a magician. But the longer I explore the more I wonder, and isn’t that what magic is supposed to be about? Establishing a sense of wonder? If we refute all hope of real magic just because we can reproduce a given event shouldn’t we ask our selves why? What does it do save inflate our self-importance? I’d rather revel in the possibility of real magic and wonder and draw that feeling to my audience. Bring them along for a ride into fun and fantasy.
I can understanding debunking fraud when it’s intent is to harm, steal or take advantage, but why divorce all magic from peoples lives just so we can throw them a false illusion that they are sure is a “trick” any way.
So, to the point? I have become involved with a group of real psychics and witches and they are wonderful people and great friends and I don’t try to embellish my readings with gimmicks save interesting props o some cold reading techniques. OK maybe I have experimented with a haunted key or two but when I do magic for them, they know its magic when I do my readings as far as they know and who is to say they are wrong, it is real. Sometimes I amazed with my hits and “intuitions”.
I embrace “true” psychics and as long as they are not thieves or crooks I learn and also teach, and share.
Message: Posted by: jimtron (Sep 2, 2005 07:21PM)
[quote]I myself used to be a full-blown skeptic; it was fashionable as I was a magician. But the longer I explore the more I wonder, and isn’t that what magic is supposed to be about? Establishing a sense of wonder? If we refute all hope of real magic just because we can reproduce a given event shouldn’t we ask our selves why? What does it do save inflate our self-importance? I’d rather revel in the possibility of real magic and wonder and draw that feeling to my audience. Bring them along for a ride into fun and fantasy.
I can understanding debunking fraud when it’s intent is to harm, steal or take advantage, but why divorce all magic from peoples lives just so we can throw them a false illusion that they are sure is a “trick” any way. [/quote]

I'm a skeptic, and I hope to never lose a sense of wonder. I don't think skepticism and sense of wonder are mutually exclusive. If one reads Einstein or Hawkings, one will see that scientists like these had a profound sense of wonder about the world, and wouldn't have come up with the ideas they did without fertile, expansive imaginations and open minds. Carl Sagan was a well-known skeptic who had a considerable sense of wonder about our universe; he's someone that thought it was likely that there was intelligent life out there somewhere. On the other hand, it was important to him to distinguish between real visitors from outer space and imagined ones.

Whom is suggesting that people should "divorce all magic from people's lives?" That sounds appalling.

A common misconception about scientists and skeptics is that they don't believe in anything that can't be scientifically proven, or they only think things that can be proven or known are worthwhile. I don't believe that to be true at all.

I find magic in the world through visual art, music, nature, science, literature, human interaction, poetry, movies---I could go on and on. I don't believe in astrology, but I believe in astronomy, and when I look up at the sky (when I'm outside of a big city) I am awestruck. Anyone, skeptic or not, who doesn't see mystery and magic in our universe has their head in the sand, in my view.

We have a robot on Mars right now, beaming photos and videos back to earth. Scientists can and should have lofty, even outlandish ambitions; but in implementing them they need to be skeptical and realistic.