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Topic: Your preference: The psychological approach vs the paranormal approach.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 11:39AM)
As mentalism is more intimate and interactive than magic, performers tend to give longer explanations regarding the premise of the effect. These explanations often cover justifications for using props or methods etc. So when setting the premise, which broader approach do you take?

Psychology: saying that you will use body language, eye movement, facial expressions, their personality etc. to predict or find out their choices

or

Paranormal: claiming that you will use astrology, palmistry, crystal ball, your psychic ability etc. to achieve the effect?

Please mention which approach do you take more often and why. Personally, I would pick pseudo-psychology for the sole reason that it is convincing.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 24, 2014 11:48AM)
Neither: Demonstrate phenomena with no overt claims, allowing the audience to make up their minds for themselves. I chose that route because after always opening my shows with a "I am not a psychic" disclaimer I realized it doesn't matter, there will always be people in the audience who swear that I am one, so now I present it at the start as "Some people say this is all psychology, some people say it's psychic... I leave it up to you to determine what you believe you are seeing tonight."
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 11:55AM)
Chaz93, if you leave it up to them, there is a chance they may dismiss it as a trick.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 11:57AM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Chaz93, if you leave it up to them, there is a chance they may dismiss it as a trick. [/quote]
i would say its nearly always defined by the performance, rather than what you claim...

people think derren is for real, dr hoy opened with "i'm a fake!" and had believers come up to him afterwards...and a thousand other variants...

for, its all framed around the imagination...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 12:06PM)
Neither is more inherently believable. It all depends on the performer, his persona and whether his claimed abilities are consistent with the effects he demonstrates.

If you do a search I think you'll find we've had a least a dozen conversations on this topic.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 12:33PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Neither is more inherently believable. It all depends on the performer, his persona and whether his claimed abilities are consistent with the effects he demonstrates.

If you do a search I think you'll find we've had a least a dozen conversations on this topic. [/quote]

HOLY MOLLY, did Bob Cassidy just respond to my thread :O

Okay guys, I would like to rephrase my question: Patter aside, what would you prefer your spectator thinking about your performance? That what you did was supernatural or super-scientific? OR As long as they are amazed, you do not care how they think you accomplished your effect?

and Why, (This why being subjective) as I would love to get personal opinions from pros around here.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Jul 24, 2014 12:34PM)
The two P's (Psychic and Psychologist) do not exhaust the available perspectives or personas available to Performance Mentalism.

Since my terminal degree is in Communication Studies (Northwestern), in performances I talk very briefly about communication, and the possibilities of mind-to-mind communication that may largely bypass the traditional five senses. One may, of course, assert that I take a "psychological" approach. But the scientific study of psychology only began in fairly recent history, while the study of human communication (intra-personal, interpersonal, and public) has been around since before Plato, and includes many themes of inquiry beyond what psychologists focus on. So there is no reason to privilege the language of the more recent discipline. And there is no reason to limit one's options for a persona to psychic or psychologist. Performers in this generation may pioneer a range of persona options.

Nevertheless, following Richard Osterlind and others, I make no explicit claims of any kind of extraordinary powers. Let the people decide; they will anyway.

George Hunter
"Mentalist Subordinaire"
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 12:43PM)
I want those who think it's all psychological to keep thinking that.

I want those who think it's paranormal to continue to think that.

I want those who think its both to believe that.

But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.)
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 12:52PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, George Hunter wrote:
The two P's (Psychic and Psychologist) do not exhaust the available perspectives or personas available to Performance Mentalism.

Since my terminal degree is in Communication Studies (Northwestern), in performances I talk very briefly about communication, and the possibilities of mind-to-mind communication that may largely bypass the traditional five senses. One may, of course, assert that I take a "psychological" approach. But the scientific study of psychology only began in fairly recent history, while the study of human communication (intra-personal, interpersonal, and public) has been around since before Plato, and includes many themes of inquiry beyond what psychologists focus on. So there is no reason to privilege the language of the more recent discipline. And there is no reason to limit one's options for a persona to psychic or psychologist. Performers in this generation may pioneer a range of persona options.

Nevertheless, following Richard Osterlind and others, I make no explicit claims of any kind of extraordinary powers. Let the people decide; they will anyway.

George Hunter
"Mentalist Subordinaire" [/quote]

I take media studies (Middlesex University in Dubai) and I used a mentalism routine to demonstrate influence through words in one of my advertising presentations. I agree with you that the word psychology would not do the approach justice. I attribute my effects to a keen interest in Social interaction.

I also find the replies by other performers very fascinating, I will actually try to do an effect without explicitly attributing it to pseudo-science or paranormal phenomenon and see what people think. I will also respond here sharing my results.
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 12:59PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:

But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.) [/quote]

That's the bottom line, isn't it?

Derren has the strongest disclaimer one can have and people still don't know what to make of him. But can you doubt his ability to entertain.

Bob claims to read minds, and he does. And, more importantly, he is highly entertaining.

Personally, I don't care for the pseudo-psycho-NLP-body language approach. How could anyone pick up a name or a thought from watching eyes flutter or body language. Ridiculous.

But, in the end, who cares. If you can engage your audience and they enjoy the performance, it really doesn't matter.

Best wishes,


Scott
p.s. I'm spending entirely too much time here. Have to finish writing a chapter. Later!
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 01:08PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:

Derren has the strongest disclaimer one can have and people still don't know what to make of him. But can you doubt his ability to entertain.

[/quote]

But it is clear that he is taking the pseudo-science approach to his effects and thus he dresses, presents and writes his patter accordingly.

I understand the "Let them think what they want" idea but your patter does need to come from seudo-science or paranormal approach even if you do not make explicit claims.

For example closing your eyes and putting two fingers on your temple and attempting to concentrate does show that your approach is paranormal to an extent whereas looking intently at their handwritten list to find the one word they are thinking of does have a pseudo-science approach to it.

I am not asking which is better than the other, I am just asking which presentation do you take?

And why?
Because you are comfortable with it? OR Because it suits your personality? and so on.

I am not looking for a conclusive answer to which approach is better, I am just looking for your opinions in order to broaden my own horizons.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 01:14PM)
I don't really take either approach. I simply say that I'm a mind reader. (That can be interpreted either as a psychological OR psychic claim.) I'm simply able to tell people what they are thinking when they project their thoughts in a certain way.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 01:17PM)
Bob, The me from 7 years ago would consider you a paranormal mind-reader. I believe your style hints more towards psychic than psychological but that's just how I would see it. It is pretty Badass to say "I am a mind reader" and then go ahead and read minds. Solid.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 01:18PM)
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer.
Message: Posted by: DrTodd (Jul 24, 2014 01:31PM)
I go for the philosophical approach :-)
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 01:36PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer. [/quote]

I disagree.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/three-four-americans-believe-paranormal.aspx

And there are many HIGHLY intelligent people who believe in the possibility of extrasensory communication.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 01:41PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, DrTodd wrote:
I go for the philosophical approach :-) [/quote]

Interesting, is it because you are comfortable with it? Or it makes you stand out? Or suits your personality?
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 01:45PM)
On the issue of believability (?) I would say that if one is performing for friends/family they are more likely to digest that it is psychological. However, in professional settings both premises seem to be equally believable/unbelievable. I would personally pick one that I am really comfortable with and enjoy doing.
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 01:50PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer. [/quote]

Have to disagree, also. What would lead you to believe that there is a nexus between intelligence and belief?

The examples which illustrate the absurdity of beliefs; including those of intelligent, highly educated, professional people is too numerous to list.

Insert list here:___________________________

BTW, personally I prefer the genuinely reading minds bit. I am comfortable with this and it suits my personality.

Best wishes,


Scott
Message: Posted by: roblane (Jul 24, 2014 02:17PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
On the issue of believability (?) I would say that if one is performing for friends/family they are more likely to digest that it is psychological. However, in professional settings both premises seem to be equally believable/unbelievable. I would personally pick one that I am really comfortable with and enjoy doing. [/quote]

As a hobbyist I have to agree with that statement. Personally I've found on numerous occasion that a friend has assumed that I'm using body language/tells because that's how I've presented something else before. I see that as a compliment..
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 24, 2014 02:19PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Chaz93, if you leave it up to them, there is a chance they may dismiss it as a trick. [/quote]


Hasn't happened yet.
Message: Posted by: Chaz93 (Jul 24, 2014 02:20PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
I want those who think it's all psychological to keep thinking that.

I want those who think it's paranormal to continue to think that.

I want those who think its both to believe that.

But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.) [/quote]


Bob is a mind reader, as he got into my head and said exactly what my thoughts on the matter are. Freaky.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 02:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Scott Soloff wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm going to go against the grain here, and say that I think the psychological approach is inherently more believable to intelligent audiences. But, I'm not trying to imply that one is inherently more entertaining than the other. That comes down to the performer. [/quote]

Have to disagree, also. What would lead you to believe that there is a nexus between intelligence and belief?

The examples which illustrate the absurdity of beliefs; including those of intelligent, highly educated, professional people is too numerous to list.

Insert list here:___________________________

BTW, personally I prefer the genuinely reading minds bit. I am comfortable with this and it suits my personality.

Best wishes,


Scott [/quote]

I suspect that those mentalists who believe that the ESP approach is inherently less believable to intelligent audience are themselves skeptics of psychic claims (whether they've actually studied the research or not), and assume that those who believe otherwise must, therefore, be less intelligent.

As you've pointed out, Scott, that simply isn't so.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 02:31PM)
I have experimented with both in all kinds of ways, and have ended up not feeling comfortable with either...taking feedback on board and thinking long and hard about it - though both have interesting plots available, neither really suit me...so I've gone a different route that also lets me use some family history too as jumping off points...

if I had to pick one though, definitely the more paranormal and psychic side of things, I think it can be easily explained on what level you are operating on, without the use of a traditional disclaimer, and is a far more interesting plot/story arc...

there are always exceptions, however I find the psychological side of things to be either too mundane (oh? anyone can do this if they study the right techniques? I know that psychology papers are written up because that's how the whole process works - unless he's saying he knows some kind of different psychology from everyone else, if so, how? and why is he selling tickets to a show if he can do all this? why not for some huge corporation instead?) - I know there's answers to those questions, just not always very sound ones...

as for the psychic side, there's the same kinds of questions (why hasn't he won the lottery? why is he selling tickets? why is he wearing my pants - where AM i? where's my jewelry gone? why doesn't he save lives and predict air crashes and so on?) - there's answers to those questions too, and for me anyway, the answers are more solid and reasonable (can't predict the lottery because its a machine, can't see into the future in that kind of detail unfortunately - let me show you the difference between predicting a machine's behaviour vs a person's) and so on...

i think both can be done extremely well, and embarrasingly badly - and by the power of google if you tell me you are using a certain psychological technique and you do something unthinkably amazing with it, I will try and look it up...i'll even trust in wikipedia if I have too...

plus, if you've performed at a party or similar, you will (sooner rather than later) have people talk to you about the subject matter you bring up... psychology is a pretty popular degree after all, and there's plenty of people interested in the occult, the paranormal and other related themes...

so if you don't know much about jung, freud, and all the rest of it - you're gonna look a little odd (if you don't already)...just like if you don't know what a witch's ladder is and you're talking about the occult and paganism kind of things - it'll knock your credibility...

saying that, I love both when its done well, and it always, always boils back down to character, persona, credibility, consistency...all of it helps create what we want people to experience...that's how I see it anyway...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 02:36PM)
On the psychic side, Iain, questions like "Why hasn't he won the lottery?" only come up when the performer has been way too broad in his/her claims.

All I claim to be able to do, for example, is to send and receive thoughts when they are projected in a certain manner. I don't see how that would benefit me in the lottery.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 02:43PM)
Yeah I know bob...

but a lot of people do the fork bending, then a which hand, then a PK thing...its like a psychic buffet!
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 02:49PM)
These are interesting takes...
http://www.theguardian.com/culture/tvandradioblog/2009/sep/11/derren-brown-lottery-trick?commentpage=2

http://sabotagetimes.com/reportage/dont-believe-in-derren-brown/
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 02:49PM)
Again, that goes back to my assertion that the more abilities one claims, the less believable he will be.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 02:50PM)
Indeedy sir... you could almost write it out like an equation...

the cassidy equation would be a great title for a book!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 02:59PM)
I think the same rule holds true even if your claims are purely psychological. I'd have a hard time believing that any one individual was an expert in NLP, hypnosis, body language, subliminal perception, psychological persuasion, etc. And it's even harder to believe when the claim(s) is made by someone who is barely old enough to have graduated high school.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 03:02PM)
For me, the psychological angle can sound a bit creepy when you think about it...

"i can make you do what I want by influencing you without you knowing it...i can control your mind..."

sounds a bit...well...

whereas saying "with your permission only, and under these conditions, I can read your mind"

the subtext feels different to me...but as I say, I am biased towards the psychic side...
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 03:04PM)
Additionally, the psychological approach requires a certain gravitas and appearance of being highly educated and experienced that isn't quite conveyed by teens in tee shirts and jeans table hopping or working street shows.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 03:39PM)
Agreed that one would need to look the part for psychological premise especially if there is emphasis put on "science".
But similarly, one has to invest equally in trying to look the part for the paranormal premise.


The reasons why every teen picking up Banachek's Psy series cannot become Derren Brown are:
1) You need to pick up cordina before anything else.
2) You need to look the age of a guy who could have earned a BA in Psychology to say the least
3) It is likely that your audience knows more about psychology than you and using lingo to throw them off can be counter-active
4) Derren Brown has taken theatrics before he came on the telly or the stage. He knows how to be convincing without even doing a trick. He is smooth.

The reason why every teen picking up any book cannot become Uri Geller (or equivalent) are:
1) Because you are more likely to start showing effects to your family and friends who wont believe you got super powers over night
2) Because you have to put on a convincing act, without being influenced by the movie-psychics. It is way harder than you think.
3) I cannot think of more as of now.


Anyway, what I derive is:

Whichever be your premise the following are a must:
1) Look the part, know what you are talking about at least more than the audience.
2) Be convincing without the tricks (with patter etc. in front of a mirror)
3) Practice the hell out of your work
4) Do not demean your audience: "oooh I know more about body language than you" or "ooooh I have super powers you don't have" are equally obnoxious.


P.S. I have derived most of this from thoroughly reading this thread. I really would like to thank everyone who participated so far.

If we could focus on the beauty of each premise, it would be lovely.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 03:41PM)
We can't write your thesis for you!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 03:42PM)
I think that if pinned down and forced to answer honestly, more people would believe in psychology and directly observable and provable aspects to the human condition than metaphysics. I respectfully stand by my previous statement. Even many (if not most) people who "believe" in god actually do not.

Let me make an analogy. Lots of people have jobs, and bosses. They know that they need to be good employees, in order to not get fired or demoted. So, they abide by the rules, and try to make the best impression they can, ESPECIALLY when the boss is around.

Now, consider this same person, who also claims to believe in god. In many mainstream faiths, god sets out the rules to live by, and to do otherwise will condemn you to an eternity of hell.

This person, if he REALLY believed in god in the same way he believes in his directly observable boss at work, would never sin. To do so under the ever watchful eye of a supreme being would be far, far more terrifying than showing up late for work.

People's claimed beliefs in the supernatural are tenuous. Their actions in life portray this, and their behavior tends to more reliably reflect that which they can directly observe and experience. Sure, lots of people claim to believe in psychic phenomena. I assert that deep down, they know it's BS, but enjoy the fantasy of it all.

I suspect that this post will annoy some people here. It was not my intention, and apologies if I've offended anyone. I'm just being honest about what I believe.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 03:43PM)
The focus should be more on the entertainment, above all else...

"But similarly, one has to invest equally in trying to look the part for the paranormal premise." how do you think someone should look? isn't it more interesting and 'real' that all kinds of people like all kinds of stuff, and sometimes that "stuff" is a bit of a surprise when you learn that aspect of the person's nature...

if you like the paranormal, you don't have to have a pentagram or a crystal ball...avoid all cliches...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 03:45PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I think that if pinned down and forced to answer honestly, more people would believe in psychology and directly observable and provable aspects to the human condition than metaphysics.[/quote]

do you have any proof of this, ben?
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 03:47PM)
The data is a little out of date, but a quick google around gives us this..
http://www.livescience.com/16748-americans-beliefs-paranormal-infographic.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/09/us.religion.less.christian/

not the be all and end all obviously...
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 03:50PM)
I do not. I am simply stating an opinion, and using my own frame of reference and observations about people.

Here's another viewpoint. As a semi-intelligent person, I do not claim to know for certain that psychic phenomena do not exist, despite my leanings toward skepticism. If someone were to come around claiming to be the real thing, then obviously that would be one of the most important revelations in human history about the true nature of existence. I would wonder why this person is "doing a show" rather than submitting him or herself to science for the betterment of mankind. If I were a genuine psychic, it's most certainly what I would do.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 03:56PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
The data is a little out of date, but a quick google around gives us this..
http://www.livescience.com/16748-americans-beliefs-paranormal-infographic.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/wayoflife/03/09/us.religion.less.christian/

not the be all and end all obviously... [/quote]

As per my previous post, claiming to believe in something, and ACTUALLY believing in it are two different things. If I walk up to someone on the street and ask them, "Do you believe in psychics?", their answer may very well be "yes." But if that same person were to be approached by a supposed psychic (even a famous one with a stellar reputation) and told to abandon their wives or quit their jobs, I bet their faith would quickly disappear.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 04:03PM)
Yeah of course, entirely your opinion, that's all we have in these kinds of discussions an forums...

i think its about "position of power", Milgram and so on... if you trust enough in "a thing" enough, and it incrementally asks you to do more and more stuff because that thing is wise/special/whatever - there's a good chance you will do it...

the thing is, you wouldn't go straight out and ask for the big stuff (like leaving your wife) - its built up over time, that's the reality of any interaction...whether its sales, friendships, whatever else...

just like you can go in and ask for a huge, huge favour, knowing that someone might turn their nose up at it, so you knock down that ask to something smaller, and therefore its seen as more acceptable,(and its actually what you wanted in the first place, its just you manipulate the situation so it seems you've listened, compromised and are now asking for much, much less)...

i think though, that using an extreme example doesn't get us anywhere in the discussion - because when do these extremes happen in reality? I've never had a psychic walk/float up to me and demand I hand over huge amounts of cash, leave someone, or anything else...those extremes never really happen...its always bait and wait...
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:13PM)
IAIN, I'm not sure if I'm following your point entirely, but the examples you give do not appear to be based on having faith or belief in something that is not directly observable, or within the realm of direct experience for the average person.

My point is that people are more likely to truly believe in things that they know to be true from their own empirical frame of reference. They way most people live their lives proves this. If it were true that most people REALLY believed in psychics, then most people would be just as comfortable taking their advice for major life decisions as they would be taking their doctors' advice on what medications to take, or when to get open heart surgery.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 04:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
My point is that people are more likely to truly believe in things that they know to be true from their own empirical frame of reference. They way most people live their lives proves this. If it were true that most people REALLY believed in psychics, then most people would be just as comfortable taking their advice for major life decisions as they would be taking their doctors' advice on what medications to take, or when to get open heart surgery. [/quote]

you think people DON'T do this?! really?! a quick google will reveal all...i agree though, its all about people's own personal frame of reference...

as a small example, look at how many psychic advice phone lines there are...look at how popular people on shows like Oprah are that say that they are mediums...there is a good percentage of people who do want advice and guidance on how to live their life...
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 04:27PM)
As I previously mentioned, the purpose of starting the thread was not to give a conclusive answer to which one is better but to just view each side's reasons for using their premise.

I can safely say that people who use the science premise do so because of their belief in it being more convincing. And I am on that side though I do understand the paranormal side's arguments. But to me it is more About convincing myself than others, I cannot take my act seriously if I am claiming to be a supernatural mind reader. Therefore I am more comfortable in pseudo-science presentation.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:29PM)
Oh no, I know that SOME people do this. But not "most" people. As a percentage of the general population, the number of people who rely on the advice of psychics for major life decisions is minuscule.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:32PM)
And if, as some assert, "most people" REALLY believed in psychics, then most people would probably feel compelled to ALWAYS consult with a psychic before doing much of anything important. Obviously, this is not the case.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 04:36PM)
Guys can we focus on Bob Cassidy's approach? He says he can read thoughts when projected in a certain way. Which is an amazing way to make the scope limited and believable no one will challenge him for lottery or ask him how to make life decisions because his "powers" are as he claims limited to thoughts projected in certain ways.

I think science mentalists should learn from it too and not claim to be all too powerful with their NLP, and body language reading.

I loved what he said about the less claims you make the more believable you are.

and that really applied to both ends of the spectrum.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 04:38PM)
I've not got any more up to date stats to make any of those claims, personally speaking... some/most/a few - all pretty wooly distinctions aren't they....certainly agree that more than half the western population would not consult a psychic over major life events... but just a look through facebook pages of alledged psychic-mediums offering life-coaching, advice on major problems, all kinds of things, quite a lot of them have a whole load of active likers/followers...

i dunno who said "most people" REALLY believed in psychics though (as you said)...no one in this thread from what I can see...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 04:39PM)
IbiMania - why don't you share more of your own personal thoughts on the subject matter?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 04:42PM)
That's kind of a meaningless assertion. I don't see anyplace where it was stated that most people really believe in "psychics." (which, of course, is entirely different from asserting that a large percentage of people- approximately 41%- accept the possiblity of ESP- including, as I said, many highly intelligent people.)

And it hardly follows that the acceptance of the possiblity of ESP would lead anyone to want to consult a psychic before doing anything important, given that most self-professed psychics aren't.

But here's my intuitive impression of your position- you probably feel that parapsychology is a pseudoscience, and that anyone who accepts its validity must, therefore, be less than intelligent. Close?

And note that parapsychology has nothing to do with metaphysics.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:48PM)
IAIN, my statements are in direct response to the original question as to whether or not one approach is inherently more believable than the other.

So, I suppose, the psychic approach would be inherently more believable to people who really believe in psychics. And I'm asserting that there is a huge disparity between the number who CLAIM to believe (lots of people) and those who ACTUALLY believe (very few people, IMO).
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 04:51PM)
You seem to be conflating the word "psychic" with thought reading, astrology, tarot, and everything else that the public imagines when they hear the word psychic. Those who accept paranormal claims hardly accept them all equally.

See the Gallup poll referenced earlier.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:53PM)
Bob, I never said that intelligent people don't accept the possibility of ESP, but they sure as hell are more likely to be predisposed to "believe" in things that are within their "physical, observable universe" frame of reference.

You're correct that I am a skeptic, but would LOVE for anything supernatural to be true. At that point, it would no longer be supernatural!
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 04:56PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
IbiMania - why don't you share more of your own personal thoughts on the subject matter? [/quote]

I personally think that more than the audience it is the performer's self confidence that matters. If a performer thinks he can pull off the psychological approach then he should do that, if he doesn't have confidence in the psychic approach, he will not be able to woo a crowd full of believers.

For me, it is easier to pull off the psychlogical premise and it hasn't failed me before. But it is because of my skepticism towards psychic phenomenon that I will not be able to take myself seriously if I were trying to pull that premise off.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 04:58PM)
I also reject that a a Gallup poll is evidence to the contrary. All it shows is that when asked, a certain percentage of people will say that they believe in psychic phenomena. My opinion is that even those who are inclined to answer in the affirmative don't fully comprehend the true meaning of "belief."
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:02PM)
You're missing my point entirely. You stated earlier that intelligent audiences are more likely to accept psychological presentations, the implication being that those who accept a thought reading premise must, therefore, be less intelligent.

And that is clearly NOT the case.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:03PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
So, I suppose, the psychic approach would be inherently more believable to people who really believe in psychics. And I'm asserting that there is a huge disparity between the number who CLAIM to believe (lots of people) and those who ACTUALLY believe (very few people, IMO). [/quote]

sorry ben, but I find this funny! someone who is skeptical, and pro-science (i am too), yet you are making statements that are based on zero evidence...you're lucky slim king isn't here, or it would just explode!

its your opinion that very few people ACTUALLY believe, yet that's an entirely personal judgement you're making...doesn't mean its true, just that its true FOR YOU (and possibly other like minded people) - but we can't start divvying up percentages and making judgement calls on stats that don't exist...

we can deal in evidence, and no more or less...personal opinion on how we break down that information is not needed (nor wanted)...

with that said - I love chan canasta, I think he has a beautiful line when asked how he did something "quite simply really, I MADE you choose it...". that's a great D.R. line right there during an interview on BBCs Parkinson in the 70s...

he even coined his own term didn't he "psychomagic"...and the outrage he caused in the 60s, turning off everyone's tv set at once...with thousands ringing up the bbc complaining that they'd be billing them for the cost of a new tv (amongst other things)...

when people are convinced, no matter what the subject matter, if they believe fully...look at orson welles and war of the worlds, that was a great piece of mentalism in some ways...even how people misremember events, whether they were real or not...
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/did-the-war-of-the-worlds-radio-broadcast-really-cause-1453582944
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:05PM)
What makes this so clear to you? It sounds like an assumption to me. I think that an intelligent audience can enjoy your show, even though deep down they realize they are indulging in a fantasy.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:08PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
So, I suppose, the psychic approach would be inherently more believable to people who really believe in psychics. And I'm asserting that there is a huge disparity between the number who CLAIM to believe (lots of people) and those who ACTUALLY believe (very few people, IMO). [/quote]

sorry ben, but I find this funny! someone who is skeptical, and pro-science (i am too), yet you are making statements that are based on zero evidence...you're lucky slim king isn't here, or it would just explode!

its your opinion that very few people ACTUALLY believe, yet that's an entirely personal judgement you're making...doesn't mean its true, just that its true FOR YOU (and possibly other like minded people) - but we can't start divvying up percentages and making judgement calls on stats that don't exist...

we can deal in evidence, and no more or less...personal opinion on how we break down that information is not needed (nor wanted)...

with that said - I love chan canasta, I think he has a beautiful line when asked how he did something "quite simply really, I MADE you choose it...". that's a great D.R. line right there during an interview on BBCs Parkinson in the 70s...

he even coined his own term didn't he "psychomagic"...and the outrage he caused in the 60s, turning off everyone's tv set at once...with thousands ringing up the bbc complaining that they'd be billing them for the cost of a new tv (amongst other things)...

when people are convinced, no matter what the subject matter, if they believe fully...look at orson welles and war of the worlds, that was a great piece of mentalism in some ways...even how people misremember events, whether they were real or not...
http://paleofuture.gizmodo.com/did-the-war-of-the-worlds-radio-broadcast-really-cause-1453582944 [/quote]

The moment someone says that they find it "funny" that I am expressing my well considered opinion, which was stated as such, it makes me realize that we can probably no longer have meaningful discourse on this topic. It's too bad that you feel the need to ridicule my position just because I disagree with you.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:09PM)
Also, Gallup polls are viable in terms of research...more so than opinion!
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/Three-Four-Americans-Believe-Paranormal.aspx
as an example (thought the data is old)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/4483/Americans-Belief-Psychic-Paranormal-Phenomena-Over-Last-Decade.aspx
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:10PM)
Again you miss my point. Your implication was that those who accept a paranormal premise are somehow less intelligent than those who don't. And, as I said, that is clearly not the case. What makes that clear to me? The fact that I know many highly intelligent people who accept that the scientific case for psi has been made, but that we simply haven't yet figured out its precise mechanism.

That, and my own experience. It's amazing how many people who say they don't accept psi, nonetheless believe in such things as luck, hunches and intuition.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:12PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
The moment someone says that they find it "funny" that I am expressing my well considered opinion, which was stated as such, it makes me realize that we can probably no longer have meaningful discourse on this topic. It's too bad that you feel the need to ridicule my position just because I disagree with you. [/quote]

then you're doing the discussion a diservice... and c'mon - do you really think its NOT 'funny' that someone who is a skeptic, and pro-science is making claims without any evidence to back it up?!

we are exchanging opinions, nothing more..don't be so protective...
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:16PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
Also, Gallup polls are viable in terms of research...more so than opinion!
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/Three-Four-Americans-Believe-Paranormal.aspx
as an example (thought the data is old)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/4483/Americans-Belief-Psychic-Paranormal-Phenomena-Over-Last-Decade.aspx [/quote]

Ben's criteria for belief is that people actually go to psychics and believe in there power enough to get help from them.

his evidence would be that a majority does not consult psychics so they do not believe in psychics. (I find this a bit flawed because people can believe in ESP and other limited paranormal experiences without becoming worshippers)

Your criteria of belief is someone say "yes I believe in the paranormal" in a poll. (I think people who would say they believe in psychic experience are in fact likely to be convinced by a good performance).

So on this matter, I will side with IAIN.

However, I will continue to use psychological premise just because I am more comfortable that way.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:16PM)
Take tarot reading, you can take a psychologically driven approach to it, I mean Jung even wrote a book on it..you could go for the traditional "vibes" and reader style approach too...both work, both are believable/viable if done well...

when you then consider the dali tarot and the book on it, dr hoy's book on it...there's a few other alternative ways to those two standard approaches...
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:17PM)
I made no claims, I stated opinions. And I stand by them (as I should, and so should you). I see no reason to change my views, as I haven't observed any compelling reason to do so. Even Bob's intelligent friends who believe in genuine psychic phenomena probably wouldn't stake their life on it. And I don't doubt that they are intelligent. I do doubt that their belief runs as deep as is being assumed.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:19PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
Take tarot reading, you can take a psychologically driven approach to it, I mean Jung even wrote a book on it..you could go for the traditional "vibes" and reader style approach too...both work, both are believable/viable if done well...

when you then consider the dali tarot and the book on it, dr hoy's book on it...there's a few other alternative ways to those two standard approaches... [/quote]

Whenever I go back to Banachek's ESP sign trick (performance) (reference: Psi series, vol 1) I find it interesting that it can be taken scientifically as well as paranormally.

He mentions the experiment with ESP and how the signs were created for a study, then withot claiming to use any science demonstrates ESP.

Nothing says "Think whatever you want" better than that.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:21PM)
Ben, The belief does not need to be "Staking-life-deep" for an audience to enjoy or be convinced of an act.
There are a lot of children who believe criss angel can really levitate, however I do not see anyone suggesting him as an eco-friendly replacement for private jets.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:22PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Again you miss my point. Your implication was that those who accept a paranormal premise are somehow less intelligent than those who don't. And, as I said, that is clearly not the case. What makes that clear to me? The fact that I know many highly intelligent people who accept that the scientific case for psi has been made, but that we simply haven't yet figured out its precise mechanism.

That, and my own experience. It's amazing how many people who say they don't accept psi, nonetheless believe in such things as luck, hunches and intuition. [/quote]

Bob, you may have missed my point as well. I am saying that intelligent audiences are far more likely to be skeptical than not. What are they MORE INCLINED to believe when they see a performance of a claimed psychic? That it is real, or a form of entertainment? I suspect the latter.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:26PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:

Your criteria of belief is someone say "yes I believe in the paranormal" in a poll. (I think people who would say they believe in psychic experience are in fact likely to be convinced by a good performance).
[/quote]

its a bit more involved than that to be honest...

i am athiest, with interests (and have studied work on) existentialism and zen buddhism...my mum's side of the family tree were east end (london) tarot and tea leaf readers...i am a huge fan of Neil Neil deGrasse Tyson, but not of Hitchens or Dawkins, but am of Hawking...Studied Jung, am a fan of Miroslav Holub's poetry (who was also an immunologist and wrote poems about such things)... personally speaking, I believe that what people think is psychic, is more often than not, an overactive imagination, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Also, that people tend to allow their own biases to kick in, and enable them to paint in very broad brushstrokes. You, me, everyone. I think the imagination is absolutely beautiful and terrifying in the same breath. It amazes and confounds me in equal measure. That's why I'm so fascinated by it. I am more than happy to say "i dunno" to the whole psychic thing, I know there's some evidence to support some of it. I do not like the sneering from either side of the fence (which happens quite a lot). There are bad and con-artist style psychics, but not all of them. There is zero evidence to support that. I am keen on evidence and reality (as much as I am the imagination).

"when I look at these three tarot cards, I use my imagination to create a story, I tell you this story and you interpret it in your own reality...i can't give advice, I am just telling the story to you. No more, no less."

as I said before, both of the two major styles can be very entertaining, but always at the root of it all, its about ther person themselves... if they're dry as a bone personality wise...game over...
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:29PM)
I can agree with everything in the above post.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:29PM)
In my experience, it breaks down pretty much like this (keep in mind that all I claim is that I read minds, I don't claim that it's either psychic OR psychologically based):

About 25% think it's psychic.
About 40% think it's all psychology
About 20% think its both, with possibly some trickery mixed in.
The remaining 15% think it's all BS.

The breakdown seems to have nothing to do with their intelligence or lack of it. I've had PhD's proclaim that I'm psychic, and high school drop outs who think I'm just a trickster.

But nearly all of them have found it entertaining.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:36PM)
What I am deriving from all this is:
1) don't judge your audience.
2) Be bothered about entertaining not how they perceive you.

Am I doing this right?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:39PM)
Basically, yes. But if ALL of those who watch you conclude that it's just tricks, then you're doing something wrong. You may be entertaining, but you wouldn't be doing mentalism.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:41PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
In my experience, it breaks down pretty much like this (keep in mind that all I claim is that I read minds, I don't claim that it's either psychic OR psychologically based):

About 25% think it's psychic.
About 40% think it's all psychology
About 20% think its both, with possibly some trickery mixed in.
The remaining 15% think it's all BS.

The breakdown seems to have nothing to do with their intelligence or lack of it. I've had PhD's proclaim that I'm psychic, and high school drop outs who think I'm just a trickster.

But nearly all of them have found it entertaining. [/quote]

The fact that you cite 40% of your audience believes it's psychological, vs 25% of your audience believing it's "psychic", without you trying to push for one belief vs the other, is precisely the point I am trying to make. What are they more likely to believe, when left to their own devices? Your own breakdown supports what I've been trying to communicate (albeit, unsuccessfully).
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 05:44PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
In my experience, it breaks down pretty much like this (keep in mind that all I claim is that I read minds, I don't claim that it's either psychic OR psychologically based):

About 25% think it's psychic.
About 40% think it's all psychology
About 20% think its both, with possibly some trickery mixed in.
The remaining 15% think it's all BS.

The breakdown seems to have nothing to do with their intelligence or lack of it. I've had PhD's proclaim that I'm psychic, and high school drop outs who think I'm just a trickster.

But nearly all of them have found it entertaining. [/quote]

I have a different estimate to Bob. I think 90% of people unless they hail from California think it is a trick and only 10 percent think it is for real. Of course I have always had a cynical mind. The ones who come up to you afterwards chattering about their dreams are among the 10 percent.

Another estimate is that of Jon Tremaine a noted British mentalist who stated that a third believe, a third don't believe and a third are not sure. And he said "It is the controversy that keeps you working". Mind you, he didn't take into account people from California.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:44PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Basically, yes. But if ALL of those who watch you conclude that it's just tricks, then you're doing something wrong. You may be entertaining, but you wouldn't be doing mentalism. [/quote]

Thankfully, that has never happened though I just cannot convince my Dad for some reason. haha.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:46PM)
I don't think any of us could convince our families.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:47PM)
@Ben - its come across that you consider the stats provided (the gallup and bob's own) that the percentages are not significant in any way, despite them being (roughly) 1 in 4 people...but statistically speaking, it is...say you were at a big dining table, 12 people...three of those are gonna be believers, mixed in with a few who are open minded to the idea of believing in "something"...so now we're talking near to half of the 12 being very interested in psychic presentations...

that's what its felt like to me at least...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:50PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Marmen wrote:
Another estimate is that of Jon Tremaine a noted British mentalist who stated that a third believe, a third don't believe and a third are not sure. And he said "It is the controversy that keeps you working". Mind you, he didn't take into account people from California. [/quote]

and the evidence will certainly indicate very similar thinking...
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/Three-Four-Americans-Believe-Paranormal.aspx
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:51PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Marmen wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
In my experience, it breaks down pretty much like this (keep in mind that all I claim is that I read minds, I don't claim that it's either psychic OR psychologically based):

About 25% think it's psychic.
About 40% think it's all psychology
About 20% think its both, with possibly some trickery mixed in.
The remaining 15% think it's all BS.

The breakdown seems to have nothing to do with their intelligence or lack of it. I've had PhD's proclaim that I'm psychic, and high school drop outs who think I'm just a trickster.

But nearly all of them have found it entertaining. [/quote]

I have a different estimate to Bob. I think 90% of people unless they hail from California think it is a trick and only 10 percent think it is for real. Of course I have always had a cynical mind. The ones who come up to you afterwards chattering about their dreams are among the 10 percent.

Another estimate is that of Jon Tremaine a noted British mentalist who stated that a third believe, a third don't believe and a third are not sure. And he said "It is the controversy that keeps you working". Mind you, he didn't take into account people from California. [/quote]

My guess is that you are close to spot on. I'm sure nearly 100% of Bob's audiences are mystefied and entertained, however. I like the fact that an audience can just experience and enjoy the enigma on its own merits. I personally want to encourage an "I don't know" response in the face of an apparently convincing demonstration, as long as it makes an impactful and intellectually provocative impression.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 05:52PM)
I just realised that this has sort of become "Psych" vs "The mentalist". Both are lovely TV series.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 05:54PM)
It may well be a geographical thing. I still remember seeing Jon Tremaine getting rousing cheers and almost a standing ovation in a London night club of long ago with his excellent mental act. He always played it for real without any magic tricks and like Bob and others looks down on "mental magic". Anyway the act went over extremely well although I have no idea if people believed it was real or not. Perhaps they did.

However, a few years later I saw him work in Northern England where the populace are a trifle more down to earth. He did EXACTLY THE SAME ACT as he did in London but the response was completely different. Fairly lukewarm in fact. I heard people afterwards say, "Who does he think he is? Trying to tell us he can read minds" and "What a load of old cobblers! There is no such thing as mindreading" and "This is an insult to the intelligence trying to tell people he can read minds"

This happened in Blackpool. The populace don't believe in anything there. I would love to know what they think about Derren Brown nowadays!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 05:57PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
@Ben - its come across that you consider the stats provided (the gallup and bob's own) that the percentages are not significant in any way, despite them being (roughly) 1 in 4 people...but statistically speaking, it is...say you were at a big dining table, 12 people...three of those are gonna be believers, mixed in with a few who are open minded to the idea of believing in "something"...so now we're talking near to half of the 12 being very interested in psychic presentations...

that's what its felt like to me at least... [/quote]

I think what's happening here is that I have a poor ability to express in writing what I am trying to say, as I suffer from impatience when thumbing characters on my iPhone to quickly respond to posts, when instead I'd be better off sitting down with you and having an actual conversation.

Let me put it this way, regarding Gallup polls. If a street interviewer with a microphone walks up to someone in the street and asks, "do you believe in ghosts?", a certain percentage of people will say that they do. Of that percentage of people, a much smaller percentage ACTUALLY believe in ghosts, in the sense that they know for sure that ghosts are real. It's casual belief, not profound belief. What they really mean is that they do not know, whether they realize it or not.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 05:57PM)
Derren in blackpool...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOdYgEDSm7E
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 24, 2014 05:57PM)
Marmen-

When Tremaine gave his estimate, very few mentalists used a purely psychological presentation. Hence the breakdown into thirds.
Message: Posted by: Mike Ince (Jul 24, 2014 05:58PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
As I previously mentioned, the purpose of starting the thread was not to give a conclusive answer to which one is better but to just view each side's reasons for using their premise.

I can safely say that people who use the science premise do so because of their belief in it being more convincing... [/quote]

When I perform (at this moment I'm on sabbatical if not retired) I prefer to imply psychological phenomena. In my personal life I don't believe in psychics or fortunetellers, so my choice not to present myself as one has little to do with believable presentations - I know I could find and entertain audiences who believe in ESP, psychic visions, etc. and validate their beliefs by appearing to be a psychic or mystic. I may even win a few skeptics over. I'm an actor; I could do it as easily as Benny Hinn does (though he doesn't do it for entertainment). But there's already enough confusion in the world. I just want to entertain. The audiences I've had in DFW don't understand psychic entertainment the way we do. Too many understand it as validation of real abilities that could possibly give them the answers they're looking for. If you believe in psychic abilities and want others to believe in them (even though you use deception to have a successful show), a psychic or mystical character makes sense. It's not for me. Why would I want to even accidentally lead thirsty people to a well that I think is dry? I'm not saying most psychic entertainers intend to hornswoggle audiences in a damaging way.

I also don't believe a performer could use only psychological techniques to accomplish what I can in a show, so implying super (yet not supernatural) powers could also lead to harmful reliance on psychological tools that aren't trustworthy. I think it would cause less harm. It isn't that I disbelieve in the supernatural. I do believe in the supernatural and my show ain't it. After doing Q&A several times, I had to stop. It was the strongest effect yet it felt too real to people. That's dangerous ground, I think.

I want participants to enjoy the show, believe for a half-hour or so, then step back into reality once it's over. Some of them are going to believe my demonstrations are legit regardless what I say. If they do, I would rather they lean more on psychological explanations than on mystical ones. That's because I'd rather people visited a psychologist than a fortuneteller. (I get the entertainment angle on palm-reading and such, but I don't believe in harmless palm-reading or divination. I know that's offensive to some readers but that's my opinion). My reasons are my reasons. You have to pay attention to your own conscience and follow it.

For the record, I love watching psychic entertainers and mindreaders who are clearly out to give the audience a good time. I know it isn't real, maybe the audience doesn't. Who knows? Who cares? We're having a good time. We're laughing and bewildered. It's fantastic. I can watch and love it but can't adopt that kind of persona without my OCD bothering me. I struggle with scrupulosity which at times is paralyzing.

I have faith that the rough roads beneath our feet will smooth over as we live according to principle, making our life journeys easier. That's the reason for my chosen persona. It sits better with my conscience, which gives me an energetic, playful confidence that I need to give my best performance.

Thanks for posting this thread, and for reading. Once I start writing I get too lazy to stop.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 06:00PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
Let me put it this way, regarding Gallup polls. If a street interviewer with a microphone walks up to someone in the street and asks, "do you believe in ghosts?", a certain percentage of people will say that they do. Of that percentage of people, a much smaller percentage ACTUALLY believe in ghosts, in the sense that they know for sure that ghosts are real. [/quote]

but HOW do you know this?! what evidence is there? if none, and its just your opinion, fair enough...but for me, you can't put your own caveats on data to suit your own world view...otherwise anything can be dismissed that I don't agree with by me saying "yeah? well...they're just saying that...they're not being honest"...

to quote the big lebowski "yeah? well..that's just...like...your opinion, man..."

btw - I am an officially ordained dudeist priest...
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 24, 2014 06:03PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Mike Ince wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
As I previously mentioned, the purpose of starting the thread was not to give a conclusive answer to which one is better but to just view each side's reasons for using their premise.

I can safely say that people who use the science premise do so because of their belief in it being more convincing... [/quote]

When I perform (at this moment I'm on sabbatical if not retired) I prefer to imply psychological phenomena. In my personal life I don't believe in psychics or fortunetellers, so my choice not to present myself as one has little to do with believable presentations - I know I could find and entertain audiences who believe in ESP, psychic visions, etc. and validate their beliefs by appearing to be a psychic or mystic. I may even win a few skeptics over. I'm an actor; I could do it as easily as Benny Hinn does (though he doesn't do it for entertainment). But there's already enough confusion in the world. I just want to entertain. The audiences I've had in DFW don't understand psychic entertainment the way we do. Too many understand it as validation of real abilities that could possibly give them the answers they're looking for. If you believe in psychic abilities and want others to believe in them (even though you use deception to have a successful show), a psychic or mystical character makes sense. It's not for me. Why would I want to even accidentally lead thirsty people to a well that I think is dry? I'm not saying most psychic entertainers intend to hornswoggle audiences in a damaging way.

I also don't believe a performer could use only psychological techniques to accomplish what I can in a show, so implying super (yet not supernatural) powers could also lead to harmful reliance on psychological tools that aren't trustworthy. I think it would cause less harm. It isn't that I disbelieve in the supernatural. I do believe in the supernatural and my show ain't it. After doing Q&A several times, I had to stop. It was the strongest effect yet it felt too real to people. That's dangerous ground, I think.

I want participants to enjoy the show, believe for a half-hour or so, then step back into reality once it's over. Some of them are going to believe my demonstrations are legit regardless what I say. If they do, I would rather they lean more on psychological explanations than on mystical ones. That's because I'd rather people visited a psychologist than a fortuneteller. (I get the entertainment angle on palm-reading and such, but I don't believe in harmless palm-reading or divination. I know that's offensive to some readers but that's my opinion). My reasons are my reasons. You have to pay attention to your own conscience and follow it.

For the record, I love watching psychic entertainers and mindreaders who are clearly out to give the audience a good time. I know it isn't real, maybe the audience doesn't. Who knows? Who cares? We're having a good time. We're laughing and bewildered. It's fantastic. I can watch and love it but can't adopt that kind of persona without my OCD bothering me. I struggle with scrupulosity which at times is paralyzing.

I have faith that the rough roads beneath our feet will smooth over as we live according to principle, making our life journeys easier. That's the reason for my chosen persona. It sits better with my conscience, which gives me an energetic, playful confidence that I need to give my best performance.

Thanks for posting this thread, and for reading. Once I start writing I get too lazy to stop. [/quote]

This was a good read, thanks for the insight. This is the sort of thing I started this thread for.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 06:05PM)
It was stated as my opinion, though I strongly suspect that I am correct. My evidence comes from my observations of how people actually conduct their lives according to the beliefs they genuinely deem to be the most reliable.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 06:08PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Marmen wrote:
Another estimate is that of Jon Tremaine a noted British mentalist who stated that a third believe, a third don't believe and a third are not sure. And he said "It is the controversy that keeps you working". Mind you, he didn't take into account people from California. [/quote]

and the evidence will certainly indicate very similar thinking...
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16915/Three-Four-Americans-Believe-Paranormal.aspx [/quote]

I have done thousands upon thousands of psychic readings so I know a large segment of the population believe in this kind of thing. However, it is a different matter when you see some chap on a stage who is obviously a showman. As a matter of fact believers in psychic stuff can spot a fake on stage faster than greased lightning. They do know the difference you know. And another thing that has to be taken into account is obvious clues like a mentalist performing on a bill with other magicians. I bet not a single layman at the magic castle believes any mentalist who performs there is the real thing. Oh, sorry......I forgot.............the Magic Castle is in California. Forget everything I just said.

Another thing that mitigates against belief is the popularity of mentalists. When the public see a mentalist on every street corner it does stretch credibility a bit that they ALL have strange powers.

But I don't like the psychological approach either. The only one who got away with that quite splendidly was Chan Canasta. With other mentalists people will argue if he has powers or not or more likely will think he hasn't and that he is some sort of magician. People aren't daft you know. However, Chan Canasta was the only mentalist (and I am not even sure if you could really call him a mentalist) who everyone TOOK FOR GRANTED that he was the real thing and was everything he claimed to be. Nobody even considered the possibility he was using trickery. The most they could say was that he had a fantastic memory or perhaps they fell for the psychology nonsense.

But Canasta was an exception. I don't think anybody else comes close. If you are going to do this stuff go full out and play it as if you are the real thing or play it as if you are a magician and this is just another trick. Both ways will work and be just as entertaining. The first has a better sub text I suppose.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 24, 2014 06:09PM)
@ben -Could that be confirmation bias?
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 06:12PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
Derren in blackpool...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOdYgEDSm7E [/quote]

Don't believe everything you see on television!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 06:32PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, IAIN wrote:
@ben -Could that be confirmation bias? [/quote]

Of course it could! I don't believe anyone is immune from this, myself included.
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 07:59PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
Even many (if not most) people who "believe" in god actually do not.

Let me make an analogy. Lots of people have jobs, and bosses. They know that they need to be good employees, in order to not get fired or demoted. So, they abide by the rules, and try to make the best impression they can, ESPECIALLY when the boss is around.

Now, consider this same person, who also claims to believe in god. In many mainstream faiths, god sets out the rules to live by, and to do otherwise will condemn you to an eternity of hell.

This person, if he REALLY believed in god in the same way he believes in his directly observable boss at work, would never sin. To do so under the ever watchful eye of a supreme being would be far, far more terrifying than showing up late for work.

People's claimed beliefs in the supernatural are tenuous. Their actions in life portray this, and their behavior tends to more reliably reflect that which they can directly observe and experience. Sure, lots of people claim to believe in psychic phenomena. I assert that deep down, they know it's BS, but enjoy the fantasy of it all.

I suspect that this post will annoy some people here. It was not my intention, and apologies if I've offended anyone. I'm just being honest about what I believe. [/quote]

Ben,

Of course you're free to believe what you want. But I believe that you are conflating some issues here.

It is certainly possible for a person to believe in God and simultaneously break the rules. People have been known to act against their own best interest.

Similarly, those who believe in ESP and psychic phenomena would not necessarily seek the counsel of such people. And even if they did, and they believed what they were told, they still may not listen. That's not lack of belief, that's human nature. Did you ever do anything that you knew was wrong and did it anyway?

I also don't think that someone gifted with psychic abilities would volunteer to be a lab rat for the betterment of humankind. I sure as s@#* wouldn't.

I just deleted an entire paragraph because I don't have a polite way to say what I think. The ideas that you put forth are very rational. But they suggest either a lack of worldly experience (youth?) or insufficient critical thinking skills.

Dude, I'm sorry. Like I said, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I hope the mods delete my post.

Best wishes,


Scott
p.s. I think that we have entirely too much time on our hands!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 09:15PM)
I know that I am entitled to my opinion. Please don't make assumptions about my age or range of experience in life just because we do not agree. I'm not threatened by your opinions, and you shouldn't be threatened by mine. Frankly, I'm surprised by the general reactionary tone in response to me expressing my views, which only come from a place of absolute sincerity.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Jul 24, 2014 09:47PM)
Sorry Ben, but believing someone who says that they speak "from a place of ABSOLUTE sincerity" (emphasis added) requires more of a stretch than to believe that they are psychics or psychologists!

Most human behavior is driven by multiple motives, some conscious and some subconscious. Everyone has needs and agendas. We sometimes do things we do not want to do, and fail to do things we want to do, and sometimes act in contrast to what we believe, including those of us who believe in God. At times, each of us is a mystery to himself.

Admittedly, sincerity is important in its absence. Fred Allen, the radio comedian, once observed that "You can take all of the sincerity in Hollywood and stuff it in a gnat's navel, and leave enough room fort two caraway seeds and an agent's heart!" Out life together is, of course, better when we are essentially sincere. But none of us is likely to achieve "absolute" sincerity in this life. (In any case, performing as a mentalist with a chosen persona involves a suspension of sincere self-presentation while performing.)

George
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 24, 2014 09:57PM)
This is too intellectual for me. I am off to the little darlings section where they know how to talk just like children. They talk just as much nonsense as they do here but at least I can understand it.
Message: Posted by: Waters (Jul 24, 2014 10:12PM)
Ben,

You make a good point about the separation between how people act and what they believe. A proper theological understanding of Christianity asserts that no one is capable of doing so, thus it cannot be the basis of one's approval from God. Not offended, just clarifying.

I think people who may privately assert (on a survey) that they believe in the possibility of PSI are indignant if questioned in public. I cannot claim this is true, but merely offering a possible explanation of seemingly inconsistent messages. This type of occurrence has explained many an unexpected political outcome.

Best Regards,

Sean
Message: Posted by: Scott Soloff (Jul 24, 2014 10:24PM)
[quote]On Jul 24, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
I know that I am entitled to my opinion. Please don't make assumptions about my age or range of experience in life just because we do not agree. I'm not threatened by your opinions, and you shouldn't be threatened by mine. Frankly, I'm surprised by the general reactionary tone in response to me expressing my views, which only come from a place of absolute sincerity. [/quote]

My bad. I apologize.

Best wishes,


Scott
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 24, 2014 11:02PM)
If I may, I would like to try one last time to clarify my point, which evidently I haven't made very well.

In response to the question of whether one approach to mentalism is inherently more believable than the other (psychic vs psychological), I attempted to give my reasons for thinking that the psychological approach is so.

In all of the stats provided by those who posted, the raw percentages indicated that while some report that they believe, a greater number do not. I also stated, as an OPINION, that among those who claim to believe, that I suspect that many do not, in the strictest sense of the word. To me, "belief" implies something that comes close to absolutely knowing something to be true. It's different from simply being open minded to a possibility.

I strongly suspect that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, but cannot say that I believe in it, because I can't know if I'm right.

So, even if I disregard my own opinions (maybe "opinions" isn't the right word - I mean "things I suspect are true, even though I might be wrong), the statistics suggest that more people don't believe that psychics are real. And since I'm part of that majority, I'd much rather present my mentalism in a way that is in consonance with the beliefs my audiences come to the table with, as well as my own.

I'm really, really sorry if I've ruffled any feathers, and mean no disrespect to anyone. I accept that I could be completely wrong, but I can only draw from my own observations and frame of reference. I also don't think that it would be healthy if we all agreed on everything.

Much respect to all who have made great points in this thread. Let's all try to learn from each other. Hopefully we've all at least given each other some good food for thought.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 12:44AM)
Ben-

I disagree with your implicit statement that most "intelligent" people don't accept the possibility of psi. And I use the word "psi" here to separate it from the umbrella term "psychic," which means different things to different people. For example, while I believe that psi has been proven by normal scientific standards, yet perhaps not by the "extraordinary" standard demanded by skeptics, I don't believe in ghosts, or the many "oracles" that are typically associated with psychics by the lay public.

(Close to ninety percent of Americans also believe in God. Are you saying that they are lying or that they just aren't intelligent?

http://www.gallup.com/poll/147887/americans-continue-believe-god.aspx )

I also question your conclusion that most people who say they believe in psi, for example, don't really mean it. It could just as easily be argued that many people who accept it are likely to say they are skeptical of it if asked, especially if they feel that they'll be perceived as less than intelligent if they state their honest belief.

A LOT of people believe in things that they wouldn't necessarily want to admit in public.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 02:29AM)
At this point, I will say there is no way we can conclude which side is more believable. However, I see a pattern in many posters here, that is personal belief and your thoughts on if audience can believe your claims actually affecting your choice of premise.
Message: Posted by: MatCult (Jul 25, 2014 04:21AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, Ben Blau wrote:
The statistics suggest that more people don't believe that psychics are real. And since I'm part of that majority, I'd much rather present my mentalism in a way that is in consonance with the beliefs my audiences come to the table with, as well as my own.[/quote]
Seems reasonable to me. I'm not sure why anyone is trying to convert/convince/change Ben's mind on this.

I think referring to "intelligent audiences" has made the issue emotive for some participants in the debate. However, there are studies that suggest that levels of belief in various pseudo-sciences (ESP, alternative therapies) drop as levels of education increase - that is to say fewer college graduates believe in these things than high school graduates.

So that would seem to support some of the things that Ben was discussing (unless I'm misrepresenting him - in which case - sorry Ben!)
Message: Posted by: MatCult (Jul 25, 2014 04:25AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, MatCult wrote:
However, there are studies that suggest that levels of belief in various pseudo-sciences (ESP, alternative therapies) drop as levels of education increase - that is to say fewer college graduates believe in these things than high school graduates.[/quote]

For clarity's sake I want to point out that even in the college graduate group mentioned above, significant proportions of them believed in ESP/alternative therapies. So I'm certainly not saying the level of belief drops to zero - just that there is some evidence of it being reduced.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 25, 2014 04:43AM)
Personally, I didn't see it as anyone trying to change ben's mind...just trying to align the logic of someone who is sceptical and pro-science, (so wanting to deal in evidence and data and so on), yet also saying that it is his belief that those who answered the gallup polls, some of them didn't answer completely honestly...which may or may not be true! So it was that lack of evidence (it is no more than an opinion) which didn't make sense to me, and made his whole argument seem at odds with itself...

data is data, we can perhaps add a +/-3% as a variable, but no more than that...

so I found ben's view a juxtaposition of sorts...but definitely wasn't trying to get him to agree with how I see the psychic vs psychological...
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Jul 25, 2014 04:46AM)
I am a big fan of Eugene burger, and love having provocative opening questions to ask people "ever had a psychic experience? Do you believe in it?"

and instantly you get feedback from everyone at a table, and therefore instant insight into how they see lots of things...plus it lets you adapt or twist what you do with different people...ive found it a useful question...
Message: Posted by: MatCult (Jul 25, 2014 05:17AM)
[quote]On Jul 25, 2014, IAIN wrote:
I am a big fan of Eugene burger, and love having provocative opening questions to ask people "ever had a psychic experience? Do you believe in it?"

and instantly you get feedback from everyone at a table, and therefore instant insight into how they see lots of things...plus it lets you adapt or twist what you do with different people...ive found it a useful question... [/quote]

LIKE

In a lovely moment of synchronicity, I just this minute emailed you about something completely different.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 08:13AM)
Neither the psychological nor the paranormal approaches are more inherently believable. The believability comes from the performer's conviction and the consistency between his premise and his demonstrations.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 25, 2014 08:29AM)
I can assure you all from personal experience that intelligent people galore believe in psychic stuff. I have done many, many psychic readings for money since I am a very wicked person and have found that most of my clients are pretty intelligent. It isn't so much how intelligent the person is as to whether they believe in this stuff or not but what kind of person they are. For example, it is rare to get engineers coming for readings. Or doctors. Or dentists. Or lawyers. Or accountants. They think more logically and scientifically. Something to do with all that right brain-left brain stuff which is beyond my own brain.

However, I get plenty of writers, nurses and others coming for readings. Business men galore. Yep. I was quite surprised when I first started to find that hard headed businessmen come for readings all the time. And plenty of police officers too although I am sure they don't tell their colleagues. They are not coming to investigate the wickedness of the psychic-they are coming to find out answers to their problems.

The groups of people I described in my last paragraph are just as intelligent as the people in the first paragraph. Possibly they have more imagination. So my conclusion is that LOTS of people believe in psychic reality. However, it is a different thing when you see some chap on a stage pattering in a very polished manner in a show business setting. In those cases I think most people in the audience are wordly enough to know they are seeing trickery at work. A few won't but there are always a few daft people around. Oddly enough, I find that people who are metaphysically inclined see through it faster than anyone else.

Most mentalists disagree with me on this but I think they are in a state of self delusion where this is concerned. Just because a few silly people come up to them afterwards and chatter about their dreams makes them believe that everyone is daft enough to go along with it. People might suspend their disbelief for a little while but when that while passes they know in their hearts that they have seen a load of show business guff.

I would love to see a mentalist give out one of those awful evaluation forms that marketing types chatter about to every member of the audience. Not to find out if the punters thought you were good or not but just to include the question "do you think what you saw tonight was (1) Genuine phenomena (2) Pure psychology (3) A magic trick.?" I bet the results would shock a few of you.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 08:38AM)
That's exactly how I came up with the percentages I gave earlier.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 25, 2014 08:50AM)
You must have done some shows in California!
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 09:09AM)
To be fair, yes I have. Many of them.

I go where the best audiences are.:eek:
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 25, 2014 09:53AM)
Guys I am not from the states, can you let me in on this joke about audiences from California?
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 25, 2014 10:05AM)
Some refer to LA as "lala land." Since the sixties, California has supposedly been a magnet for New Age types, alternative religions, etc.

The fact is, though, that the audiences there are as hip and intelligent as can be found anywhere. If not more so.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jul 26, 2014 06:59PM)
Not long ago I was beginning to think that this section of the Café had become a moribund area, unable to provide anything much of any interest. We unfortunately in recent times seem to have lost a lot of good regular posters (such as Greg Acre)... along with some of the annoying characters... who despite their annoyingness... were none the less, 'colourful'.

But this thread has been an interesting read.

I especially thought Mike Ince voiced his position and thoughts in a very well reasoned way.

For me though, as a performer (who isn't a mentalist) the following really seemed to hit… if not 'the' at least 'a'... nail on the head… [quote]I want those who think it's all psychological to keep thinking that. I want those who think it's paranormal to continue to think that. I want those who think its both to believe that. But, most of all, regardless of what they believe or don't believe, I want everyone to be entertained and mystified. (And maybe even argue among themselves about what they just saw.)[/quote]

And… [quote]Neither the psychological nor the paranormal approaches are more inherently believable. The believability comes from the performer's conviction and the consistency between his premise and his demonstrations.[/quote]

What I like about these comments (from Bob) is that they are as succinct as they are inclusive and I find that to be a very convincing philosophy and position to adopt. We are after all (or... 'you are after all', if, as a non mentalist I'm not considered part of the club) primarily entertainers.
Message: Posted by: Marmen (Jul 27, 2014 07:12AM)
Sealegs. The colourful, annoying characters haven't completely gone away. I know one of them who is still here. However, this does bring up a point. A performer SHOULD be a colourful character! That is why I can't bear watching magicians. They bore the crap out of me. And mentalists are even worse. They are the most colourless personalities in showbusiness. When I see entertainers on stage I don't want them to have the personality of a bank manager. Without some sort of colourful personality they may as well not be doing it. Alas most of them have the personalities of dial tones.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Jul 27, 2014 07:29AM)
If highly intelligent people choose to BELIEVE in gods, messiahs, pantheons of deities, alien cover ups, conspiracy theories, intangible realities and such.... why on earth would we think intelligent people could not BELIEVE in PSI....

By the way I am saying BELIEVE doesn't mean they suddenly fundamentally ACCEPT 100% IN ITS EXISTENCE - they have somewhere a hope, a space, a power to suspend disbelief to entertain the possibility and see what happens.

One basic thing all humans have is magical thinking and the power to regress under stress to ancient defence mechanisms.... then everything can be believable.

In the end, I am unsure why anyone in their premise wants to define their source of effects to much - the target audience will create their own explanations... we can help create a frame... but by giving to clear an explanation, you can create a challenge situation right off the bat.

IMHO
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 27, 2014 07:47AM)
Dr. Spektor, I think we did conclude earlier in the thread that it is more about performer's beliefs than the audience's belief that lead to his preference in choosing a pretense.

1) If a performer thinks that his act as a psychological guru is convincing and/or entertaining, he will go for it.

2) If a performer thinks that his act as a mindreader/psychic is more convincing and/or entertaining, he will go for it.

And as long as these opinions exist, these two broad approaches will remain

It is important that the performer picks what he believes is more convincing in order for him to be confident.

And above all, this is something I think we all agree with (correct me if I am wrong) it is more about entertaining than it is about making the audience believe.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Jul 27, 2014 08:56AM)
You concluded, I didn't.

People who become 100% in their conclusions is usually wrong.

2 premises.... and a performer who can only choose one or the other - kind of reductionistic and destroys a lot of potential.

Also, some posts above seem to be supporting an alternative approach I was speaking to.

Having performed for 2000 muslims one time, since I see you are from Dubai - tell me, if you wanted to believe you are psychic or supernatural... tell me how that would go? I was told by the organizing committee many of their fears of me performing any sort of magic, mentalism, or anything - so I adjusted everything slightly understanding the audience despite my own stance - went over well. best part was I did my usual effects and at the end got an ovation and told my words were in line with the Prophet. This was with Imams and many s scholars. Note I am not a muslim nor share those beliefs. But I respect theirs. My own inner confidence does not come from either of the artificially reduced stances you propose

How about read up on basic performance theory, our Max. entertainment, educational theory and such.

Whatever, I forgot why I don't post in Penny. Conclude away - I'm concluded with this thread. Sorry for sharing.
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 27, 2014 09:38AM)
Dr. Spektor,
I believe you are taking unnecessary offense. I did not say you concluded, I merely mentioned that we did meaning a bunch of us. And I did not mean 100% fixed conclusion. it is more of an agree to disagree situation. I mentioned this because you happened to repeat a point mentioned earlier.

What I find ironic is, for a person who takes offense and gets defensive so easily to a point of leaving a discussion, you make quite offensive remarks yourself.


"How about read up on basic performance theory, our Max. entertainment, educational theory and such"

Assuming the person on the other side is ignorant is pretty easy.

However this wont stop me from agreeing with you where I find you to be right and that is about the muslim example, yes it would not go down very well to make psychic claims there.

And I also admit me trying to fit it into 2 factors was not very wise because there are other factors like laws, marketing, unique selling point etc. that can affect ones choice. However on this thread the 2 cases I mention seem to be the likely case.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Jul 27, 2014 10:27AM)
In his July 27 post, Dr. Spector engaged in some interesting assertions (or assumptions) that I have some reason to doubt.

1. If people believe in ANY transcendent reality, the belief is obviously rooted in stress-induced regression to an ancient defense mechanism. Really?

2. All belief in any and every alleged transcendent reality (apparently) can glibly be placed in the same category. So believing in Karma or the God of Abraham is the same as believing in leprechauns or Big Foot?

3. While belief in about anything is a reversion to ancient superstition, skepticism (apparently) is a much more rational, scientific, enlightened, modern worldview.

This third assumption is often challenged, today, from the perspective of our emerging post-modern future. Post-Modern thinkers view the European Enlightenment as a closed-system ideology that substantially failed; most-modern people are enormously more open to Mystery, etc.

This assumption can also be challenged from some knowledge of the past. Serious skepticism has been around at least since the pre-Socratic Sophists in ancient Greece. Gorgias, for instance, reportedly contended that "Nothing exits," or if Reality does exist, humans are not capable of understanding it, much less communicating it. THAT is serious skepticism! More broadly, I have read that there were skeptics in every ancient culture for which we have records. It is possible, I suppose, to then suggest that skepticism (and cynicism) today may involve reversion to an ancient orientation. Furthermore, I have met many skeptics whose view seemed to be at least partly rooted in stress or some other emotional force within them; the population of cold, detached, unemotional, objective, unbiased skeptics represent a very small, scattered, (and endangered) tribe--at most. HOWEVER, like Gorgias of old, some of them speak with authority on anything and everything, and credulous people seem to believe them!

George
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 27, 2014 10:31AM)
Well said, George.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 27, 2014 10:35AM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, Marmen wrote:
Sealegs. The colourful, annoying characters haven't completely gone away. I know one of them who is still here. However, this does bring up a point. A performer SHOULD be a colourful character! That is why I can't bear watching magicians. They bore the crap out of me. And mentalists are even worse. They are the most colourless personalities in showbusiness. When I see entertainers on stage I don't want them to have the personality of a bank manager. Without some sort of colourful personality they may as well not be doing it. Alas most of them have the personalities of dial tones. [/quote]

Sadly, I have to agree with you. But there are notable exceptions.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Jul 27, 2014 01:05PM)
You read in more than I type. These are all interpretations and quite stretched ones.
Point 1 I never said the ay you put.

Second point, I never said that either.

Where did I say point 3?

Ah who cares. And you Bob, well put? My point was - and this went with an earlier point you made - entertainment comes first - those who need to believe in being something to buy into selling to others for realism often are the ones who seem to want to sell their powers as "real" for purposes beyond entertainment. I notice whenever someone has commented negatively on me or my posts, you always pile on. Fascinating. Maybe its just coincidence.

You can scoff and laugh at what I wrote - however, your posts clearly seem to be showing your own arrogance and elitism... I pointed out some thoughts, got attacked and showed that since you all decided its one way - heck, my opinions should be ignored... and you all talk about this way or that where my point was there is flex. You then start to twist my typed words to make me sound reductionistic. What I said is we all believe is something - we all do... that is about it. And those beliefs, whatever they are, are often intensified under stress.

I don't recall getting into the skeptic debate either - and I won't bother as clearly my words will be attacked. They also believe in something. Maybe not what you believe though... but sometimes you find out many things about people under stress you wouldn't suspect.

How you twisted all your comments below demonstrates why most people think the penny posters are a bunch of arrogant blowhards who constantly pontificate about their views as the only views, define mentalism narrowly and so on.

So whatever, - take the time to read my posts and perhaps look at your own cognitive frames for interpreting them before posting. Or maybe ask a question to ask me to elaborate if something is unclear? Nah, that would be too civil.

Good luck all.



[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, George Hunter wrote:
In his July 27 post, Dr. Spector engaged in some interesting assertions (or assumptions) that I have some reason to doubt.

1. If people believe in ANY transcendent reality, the belief is obviously rooted in stress-induced regression to an ancient defense mechanism. Really?

2. All belief in any and every alleged transcendent reality (apparently) can glibly be placed in the same category. So believing in Karma or the God of Abraham is the same as believing in leprechauns or Big Foot?

3. While belief in about anything is a reversion to ancient superstition, skepticism (apparently) is a much more rational, scientific, enlightened, modern worldview.

This third assumption is often challenged, today, from the perspective of our emerging post-modern future. Post-Modern thinkers view the European Enlightenment as a closed-system ideology that substantially failed; most-modern people are enormously more open to Mystery, etc.

This assumption can also be challenged from some knowledge of the past. Serious skepticism has been around at least since the pre-Socratic Sophists in ancient Greece. Gorgias, for instance, reportedly contended that "Nothing exits," or if Reality does exist, humans are not capable of understanding it, much less communicating it. THAT is serious skepticism! More broadly, I have read that there were skeptics in every ancient culture for which we have records. It is possible, I suppose, to then suggest that skepticism (and cynicism) today may involve reversion to an ancient orientation. Furthermore, I have met many skeptics whose view seemed to be at least partly rooted in stress or some other emotional force within them; the population of cold, detached, unemotional, objective, unbiased skeptics represent a very small, scattered, (and endangered) tribe--at most. HOWEVER, like Gorgias of old, some of them speak with authority on anything and everything, and credulous people seem to believe them!

George [/quote]
Message: Posted by: sandsjr (Jul 27, 2014 01:15PM)
Marmen, I like the dial tone line. (I've never heard that one)

Here's a scary thought... some of the younger guys here are saying, "Huh?"
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Jul 27, 2014 01:18PM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, IbiMania wrote:
Dr. Spektor,
I believe you are taking unnecessary offense. I did not say you concluded, I merely mentioned that we did meaning a bunch of us. And I did not mean 100% fixed conclusion. it is more of an agree to disagree situation. I mentioned this because you happened to repeat a point mentioned earlier.

What I find ironic is, for a person who takes offense and gets defensive so easily to a point of leaving a discussion, you make quite offensive remarks yourself.


"How about read up on basic performance theory, our Max. entertainment, educational theory and such"

Assuming the person on the other side is ignorant is pretty easy.

However this wont stop me from agreeing with you where I find you to be right and that is about the muslim example, yes it would not go down very well to make psychic claims there.

And I also admit me trying to fit it into 2 factors was not very wise because there are other factors like laws, marketing, unique selling point etc. that can affect ones choice. However on this thread the 2 cases I mention seem to be the likely case. [/quote]

Well, then I apologize if I overreacted.

As an imperfect person, like most humans I know, it seemed from my limited POV thus:

I posted, and you said we on the thread already concluded X then instead of discussion around what I raised, reiterated from your concluded points the 2 views again. To me, this seemed pretty clear dismissal of comments. Maybe it was the words you chose, but their arrangement felt quite dismissive.

I raised these theories and concepts, because I'm drawing on social constructivism, the golden triangle, cognitive frameworks, etc. as if you know those, I would expect there was some basis to my meagre attempts at saying there may be more to this than the 2 options.

I am imperfect and I apologize if I misunderstood - but based on your comments, I gave the example of that performance I did taking into account the audience as a major factor than getting into an explanation for what effects they would experience being psychological or psychic. It was the audience that had me choose to adopt more psychological / physiological approach and deal with faith and values outside the direct effects - but I could buy into that... I also can inner script myself other premises depending on audience. I'm not saying everyone should do that - some people create a character they want consistent 24/7... I don't need to so I don't bother.

So, my apologies again if I overreacted. I think watching some posters lord it over others and twist words maybe had an effect of me becoming like the monsters I used to fight or falling into the abyss I gaze on.

So peace my colleague - and beware Oxymandiases that lurk around here.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 27, 2014 02:35PM)
Should that be Oxymandi? :eek:

Where do you seeing me "piling on." I just liked what George had to say. No reflection at all on you. His points about ancient skepticism were well put, IMO. Sorry if you interpret my simple opinion as "piling on."


Are you just in a bad mood today, maybe?
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Jul 27, 2014 02:49PM)
Perhaps = but he ripped into my comments and expanded it - your comment was general enough to encompass the entire message which to me was way whoop

Yeah, bad mood - death in family and all that. Should be elsewhere. Guess I will head there.

My apologies.....
Message: Posted by: IbiMania (Jul 27, 2014 02:56PM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, Dr Spektor wrote:

Well, then I apologize if I overreacted.

As an imperfect person, like most humans I know, it seemed from my limited POV thus:

I posted, and you said we on the thread already concluded X then instead of discussion around what I raised, reiterated from your concluded points the 2 views again. To me, this seemed pretty clear dismissal of comments. Maybe it was the words you chose, but their arrangement felt quite dismissive.

I raised these theories and concepts, because I'm drawing on social constructivism, the golden triangle, cognitive frameworks, etc. as if you know those, I would expect there was some basis to my meagre attempts at saying there may be more to this than the 2 options.

I am imperfect and I apologize if I misunderstood - but based on your comments, I gave the example of that performance I did taking into account the audience as a major factor than getting into an explanation for what effects they would experience being psychological or psychic. It was the audience that had me choose to adopt more psychological / physiological approach and deal with faith and values outside the direct effects - but I could buy into that... I also can inner script myself other premises depending on audience. I'm not saying everyone should do that - some people create a character they want consistent 24/7... I don't need to so I don't bother.

So, my apologies again if I overreacted. I think watching some posters lord it over others and twist words maybe had an effect of me becoming like the monsters I used to fight or falling into the abyss I gaze on.

So peace my colleague - and beware Oxymandiases that lurk around here. [/quote]

I am sorry for the mistakes on my part. I mentioned the conclusion because I thought you were bringing back the skeptic vs. intelligent debate and found some repetition in your point which was already posted by someone earlier. I failed to notice the new point you were contributing and that's on me: My bad.

As I later mentioned, I think your point about other factors influencing the pretense is good and I can actually relate to it since it is illegal to use the superpower pretense in 90% regions I have visited including the one I am currently living in.

Thanks a lot for posting.
and you have a really cool site.
After True detective season one, I bet the interest around it must have increased.
Message: Posted by: mastermindreader (Jul 27, 2014 03:12PM)
[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, Dr Spektor wrote:
Perhaps = but he ripped into my comments and expanded it - your comment was general enough to encompass the entire message which to me was way whoop

Yeah, bad mood - death in family and all that. Should be elsewhere. Guess I will head there.

My apologies..... [/quote]

My deepest condolences. Sorry to hear about that.

Be well.

Bob
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Jul 27, 2014 08:12PM)
Spector:

My deep condolences, also.

I was reflecting from what you said, and seemed to assume, and two of my three points ended with a question. I was also offering some contrasting perspectives. If you experienced all, or any, of that as a personal attack, I am sorry.

Of course, your priority time is now with your loved ones. For the time being, please forget about us! Then, in good time, we will be eager to welcome you back to the forums.

George
Message: Posted by: reese (Jul 27, 2014 08:23PM)
Dr. S. My heartfelt wishes for a smooth passage for your loved one and hopes that your own suffering will sometime be alleviated. My very best to you & your own. Tim F.



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