(Close Window)
Topic: Penn & Teller VS Mentalism
Message: Posted by: sbays (Sep 8, 2016 07:40PM)
We all know that Penn is no fan of Mentalism. In fact he goes out of his way to disparage it every chance he gets. He does not seem to be able to delineate between psychic fraudsters and our art.

That being said ... I do find it very amusing that it is Mentalism that seems to "fool" them an awful lot.

Just an observation. ;)
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Sep 8, 2016 08:10PM)
Many magicians grow up to be Mentalists.

Many Mentalists grow up to be Real Readers.

Not a path everyone follows--as Penn & Teller prove--but, I'm guessing, it's a fairly common evolution.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Sep 8, 2016 08:48PM)
From what I have read, Penn disparages and debunks a lot of practices, including chiropractic and acupuncture.

George
Message: Posted by: Yogi2x4 (Sep 8, 2016 09:20PM)
They had a show I can't name here. Debunking commonly accepted practices was their thing. The generalizations of the concepts they faced drove me away from the show, but they had some interesting episodes.

The level of research in their investigations was respectable, which makes me wonder what his angle is regarding mentalism.

I haven't heard anything about this, including his opinions.
Message: Posted by: Ray Chelt (Sep 9, 2016 01:31AM)
I have a feeling that their main objection is when they feel Mentalists are portraying the existence of "powers"...at least that's what I've got from the few times I've seen them interact with mentalists.
Message: Posted by: starstruck (Sep 9, 2016 04:52AM)
I think it's not that he hates mentalism, he just doesn't like the supernatural claims that often come with mentalism, and would rather put it in the same basket with magic.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Sep 9, 2016 09:15AM)
Mr. Penn appears to be a garden-variety devotee of philosophical materialism, which assumes (with doctrinaire confidence) that NOTHING exists, or occurs, beyond or transcending the material world. So (say) premonition, clairvoyance, or telepathy could not possibly occur. ( In addition, of course, to anything psychic or mystic.)

George
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 9, 2016 10:44AM)
They have repeatedly said they don't believe in the supernatural and they are, as far as I can tell, firmly in Randi's camp that any sort of supernatural claim is tantamount to fraud and is a horrible thing to do.

It's been a couple years since I've seen their show, because I haven't been back to Vegas since I discovered New Orleans, but they do a book test that's pretty good. It's actually 3, with a prediction ending. The presentation I remember was that basically that this is something a psychic might use to prove their have psychic powers, which was a lie. They also touched on the idea that people who claimed to use psychological techniques but weren't, were lying just as much. They also said it was crude to dig into people's personal lives and talk about possibly painful memories, and they felt it was manipulative. So they use joke books.

I've never seen a video of them performing this one, though. I've only seen it in person.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 9, 2016 06:57PM)
[quote]On Sep 9, 2016, starstruck wrote:
I think it's not that he hates mentalism, he just doesn't like the supernatural claims that often come with mentalism, and would rather put it in the same basket with magic. [/quote]

Penn - "We were trying to think if there's ever been a mentalist doing a mentalist act that was sincerely funny and sincerely good - you may be the first ever."
https://youtu.be/ZqeKBwHhGEo?t=1193
Penn - "You did something really amazing - you did mentalism without being a sleezeball"
https://youtu.be/ZqeKBwHhGEo?t=2171

Yeah, I think he hates it.
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Sep 9, 2016 07:03PM)
Does what he likes or dislikes really matter?
Message: Posted by: Tim Cavendish (Sep 9, 2016 07:59PM)
[quote]On Sep 9, 2016, George Hunter wrote:
Does what he likes or dislikes really matter? [/quote]
Yes.

Companies spend millions and millions of dollars on celebrity endorsements to influence people to buy their goods.

If there were no effect, they wouldn't spend that money.

So, yes.

Prominent people's likes and dislikes strongly influence the public's likes and dislikes.
Message: Posted by: John C (Sep 9, 2016 08:17PM)
Perfect simple premise for a show,

Companies spend millions and millions of dollars on celebrity endorsements to influence people to buy their goods. (leave it at that)

-----continue with-----

Here are some examples of why they work, .... Sir could you assist me for a few moments?

Blah blah blah.....
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 9, 2016 08:18PM)
[quote]On Sep 9, 2016, George Hunter wrote:
Does what he likes or dislikes really matter? [/quote]

Quite right. Although, it was intriguing to me that he, as a respected peer in the field, should be notable for his dislike of what is essentially a subset of magic - a field for which he otherwise has a broad, clear and evident passion.
I found his reasoning explained here (spoiler - Teller talks!):
https://youtu.be/sQm3ZjZRpdo?t=101
And, independently, this is the crux of the discussion here:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=625193&forum=15
Message: Posted by: Necromancer (Sep 12, 2016 08:15AM)
They were extremely kind to The Evasons on a recent Fool Us episode, and effusive in their praise. I'd say they showed real respect for mentalism performed skillfully (without claims).
Message: Posted by: George Hunter (Sep 12, 2016 08:50AM)
They were kind to the Evasons. Penn is typically kind, gracious, and affirming of performers (including mentalists) when they are engaging person-to-person and Penn is on-camera.

However, when the other performer is not around and Penn is off camera, the Debunker-wannabe may show up.

George
Message: Posted by: vivekdesai (Sep 13, 2016 08:11AM)
I had the chance to meet them when I went to watch their show in Vegas a couple months back,and from what I understand,it's not mentalism itself that he dislikes,its just when people use those principles and claim to have supernatural powers.
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 13, 2016 10:26AM)
I could care less about Penns opinion which I feel is very misguided. But much like religion, Penns opinion will not change anybodys mind.
Message: Posted by: hashtagmagic (Sep 13, 2016 03:10PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2016, vivekdesai wrote:
I had the chance to meet them when I went to watch their show in Vegas a couple months back,and from what I understand,it's not mentalism itself that he dislikes,its just when people use those principles and claim to have supernatural powers. [/quote]

The ethics behind this is a really interesting topic to me. I personally am far more annoyed with mentalists who pose as psychology experts. It gives the impression that psychologists know what they're doing. Research wise, the field is in complete shambles.
Message: Posted by: E.E. (Sep 13, 2016 03:15PM)
Penn can say/think whatever he wants, but Psychic entertainment is a very profitable business.
No one wants to see a fake psychic.
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 13, 2016 04:01PM)
I never thought that Penn means something in mentalism. Why should we listen to his opinion?
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 13, 2016 05:23PM)
He doesn't and we don't.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 13, 2016 05:31PM)
Weird.. I think he does and I do

... but then I will listen to anyone who seems to be a great performer, successful, and knowledgable. I've been a fan of his since I bought House of Mystery. Is he a "mentalist"...? I don't think that matters based on the context here. However, he likely knows more about mentalism than many around here (including me).
Message: Posted by: E.E. (Sep 13, 2016 05:36PM)
I will listen to whatever Teller says :eek:
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 13, 2016 05:54PM)
I believe we should take some time to consider any informed opinion - not because we will or should agree to it, but because we will likely be richer for understanding it and the reasoning behind it - indeed, especially if we disagree. As it happens, Penn is held by many in high regard, and has a very public forum to be heard in. If I disagree with what he or anyone says then I want to hold a stronger position of rebuttal and that doesn't come from flatly dismissing him because 'who cares?'
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 13, 2016 06:00PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2016, E.E. wrote:
I will listen to whatever Teller says :eek: [/quote]

Then you should definitely watch this!
https://youtu.be/sQm3ZjZRpdo

I've not seen any interviews with him, so when I started to watch this video I thought him holding a microphone was conscious irony!
Message: Posted by: E.E. (Sep 13, 2016 06:11PM)
Yeah I was half joking/half being serious with my comment. Teller is really, really a knowledgeable man. And his voice is just supreme.
No need to say he's the creative mind of the team... Penn acknowledges it all the time!
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 13, 2016 06:22PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2016, Dr Spektor wrote:
Weird.. I think he does and I do

... but then I will listen to anyone who seems to be a great performer, successful, and knowledgable. I've been a fan of his since I bought House of Mystery. Is he a "mentalist"...? I don't think that matters based on the context here. However, he likely knows more about mentalism than many around here (including me). [/quote]
Do you think that the point of view about mentalism of some well-known, successful, good fire-eater will be useful?
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 13, 2016 07:25PM)
Could be. Depends on what he/she says and the context. For example, safety considerations if I wanted to demonstrate pyrokinesis. Who knows? Decide after you hear the POV, not before.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 13, 2016 08:01PM)
[quote]On Sep 13, 2016, Dr Spektor wrote:
Could be. Depends on what he/she says and the context. For example, safety considerations if I wanted to demonstrate pyrokinesis. Who knows? Decide after you hear the POV, not before. [/quote]

Perhaps Twisted Mentat is asking, based on your previous comment, if you consider Penn's opinion on Mentalism of value simply as a result of him being a 'well-known, successful, good fire-eater'. However I would note Dr Spektor also said 'knowledgeable' and I would add 'informed'. Of course, how much stock we put in someone's opinion is ultimately coloured by how highly we regard them, and for many Penn is a respected peer in the field. For the layman he is perhaps an apparent voice of authority and reason.

As it happens, the logic Penn has in this case is a view held to a greater or lesser extent by others, and so is evidently of inherent interest. A discussion on this is here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=625193&forum=15
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 14, 2016 04:17AM)
I have great regard for Teller. I don't believe Penn has much interest in or understanding of the art of mentalism. From my understanding he has a very shallow 'magician' point of view. It is simply not interesting. All opinions are not equal. On the topic of mentalism, Penns words hold little weight, especially to those who do know and care about the art.
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 14, 2016 06:42AM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, AttnPls wrote:
I have great regard for Teller. I don't believe Penn has much interest in or understanding of the art of mentalism. From my understanding he has a very shallow 'magician' point of view. It is simply not interesting. All opinions are not equal. On the topic of mentalism, Penns words hold little weight, especially to those who do know and care about the art. [/quote]
That's what I wanted to say, you read my mind.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 14, 2016 06:49AM)
BTW, I made one error as I was rushing through and I was referring to Teller (who wrote the book of mystery as per my post) not Penn.

To Err is Human. Hence why SKYNET is coming for us.

However, I still stand by never not listening to a source of feedback - I might reject all they say in the end, but whatever.

Penn is an interesting source of information - he is not like teller who has tons of knowledge in the field of mentalism and other area.... and he is no longer a "lay" person so cannot comment on how regular folks might react to things - but he has enough knowledge to know workings of fundamentals which may ruin the fun for him. At the same time, I would agree with one comment - many mentalists can have really boring presentations as they focus on their effects versus the overall. Now, you might say Jay Sankey is not a mentalist but he is of the same opinion about how some mentalism is long and boring presentations.... I still love Boris Pokus.... would I listen to Jay and consider his words? Yes I would.

The fire eater - as mentioned, if he has performance chops etc, I might learn some audience management skills, working with hazardous material, dealing with legalities, busking, whatever... do not turn thy nose away from a potential new source of cool info.
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 14, 2016 08:27AM)
I do not think Penn source of information about how to perform mentalism. To get this information, you need to perform mentalism. Penn never performed mentalism, he performed mental magic tricks.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 14, 2016 08:43AM)
Well, when I do certain stage shows, I have engaged a director who knows nothing about the methods of mentalism, and has not performed them himself or herself. However, I am asking them to tighten my scripts, make my words more clear and powerful, keep the proper pacing and hills and valleys, etc. I hate going through the process but need to get that feedback.

This is not a mutually exclusive type of argument BTW, I'm just saying, as I do seek feedback from mentalists for other aspects of my endeavours.

It all depends on what you are trying to seek out.
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 14, 2016 09:42AM)
Penn's view is very similar to the views of ordinary magician who has never read serious books on mentalism and never performed in this genre. I do not see the connection between his viewpoint and director.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 14, 2016 10:44AM)
You were talking about performance - this to me gets to the old blends of presentation / method / effect and all that jazz. If Penn states mentalism presentations are often boring, I would want to get to more specifics and clarity about it because its too ambiguous a statement. Penn is still a performer - and lets say he gives you a bunch of showmanship tips.

I am not stating at all I agree with anything Penn states - just saying it never hurts to reflect on what he is saying. for example, if it did turn out it was more about magic-style presentations with flash and over-the-top issues... yeah, I would likely not give it heed. However, if he was stating he has noticed there is often a drag or dead action zones for certain intros, presentations of an effect, etc. I would want to get more info on that.

BTW, what is an ordinary magician? Is there an ordinary mentalist then too? Oh well.

This is for you, TM: "It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 14, 2016 11:01AM)
But Penn also has a very strong personal philosophy which I feel has not allowed him to understand mentalism. For instance, I believe there is potential real therapeutic value in a Tarot card readings. I imagine that Penn would potentially dismiss all readers and readings as fraud. Our art lives in that blurry line between reality and fantasy. I do not believe that Penn is familiar with the territory. I have never heard him say anything useful about the art. I have heard him state a number of opinions about mentalism that are, to my mind, juvenile.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 14, 2016 11:18AM)
Ah, see here is the issue that I think crops up..... are Readers mentalists, psychics, psychic entertainers, etc. One definition is that readings for therapeutic value is not mentalism. Mentalism is a branch of entertainment. It gets murky. I have never seen a clean definition of what a mentalist is. Hence, part of our back and forth here was that I thought we were talking about non-reader mentalists (if that is a term). So, its Penn vs. a certain approach to mentalism but not all mentalism then... as in your definition, reading is part of mentalism? Its an interesting area because reading to me can be pure entertainment, therapeutic, both or neither.... to me, reading is its own field in some ways, as is hypnosis. Yet I know we weave in suggestions and add in reading tech to enhance mentalism routines....

Anyway, thanks for the clarification. I was mostly referring to Penn as a showman and stage and TV etc. performer likely has great knowledge and value for working certain venues, scripting etc. not in regards to readings.

(Exit stage 4th dimension)
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 14, 2016 01:24PM)
Feelings about the nature of readings was only an example. My work is very much entertainment, yet I feel strongly that my approach to material and audiences comes from the world of readers and psychics and mediums.

Its where we come from. Its a mindset. Readings can be pure entertainment and a good mentalist could probably put together a set with no 'tricks'.

I think good mentalists work WITH people where magicians perform AT them. Mentalists use real techniques combined with theater and showmanship. Otherwise you have mind magic.

In terms of entertainment, most magicians bore me to tears because they have no connection to the audience or to their material at all. I feel like I'm watching an actor reading a script as opposed to a human being creating something for people to appreciate. Sure Penn has a certain sense of theatricality much like a good juggler knows how to please an audience, but I would prefer to work with a theater stage director any day because they know how to touch an audience emotionally.

For me, Penn is an entertaining guy to watch, but I doubt he could ever offer much insight into my art. I don't think he understands it at all.
Message: Posted by: Stevious (Sep 14, 2016 01:28PM)
Penn seems to accept mentalism presented in a funny, light-hearted, ridiculing way. If you are funny, not serious, then you prove that you can do the same kind of magic which is e.g. presented by Brown, Banachek, Suchard, therefore proving that you don't need any psychological skills or effort to achieve the same miracles (it is even slightly debunking other performers).

I'm curious what Penn thinks of Richard Osterlind's style, he probably dislikes D.Brown's theatre performances which I loved, as they created a feeling of real magic for me and many others. Brown and Banachek openly admit using magic techniques, which is what I like, a mixture of magic and psychology.

I would support Penn's view in a way that mentalists should be a little bit more honest in interviews, but not necessarily when performing.
Message: Posted by: WitchDocChris (Sep 14, 2016 01:37PM)
I would think Brown's performances are right up Penn's alley considering he outright states that he has no powers and is mixing magic and showmanship with genuine psychology. Brown's often pretty honest about what he's doing with his stage shows.
Message: Posted by: Nestor D (Sep 14, 2016 02:32PM)
Did you know that he had a sťance with Teller, with bi***t work ? :)

So many peoples saying what Penn does, did, knows and likes. We are all familiar with his personna but I doubt that we know much of the man.
Message: Posted by: Twisted Mentat (Sep 14, 2016 03:30PM)
Seance was held in a light and funny way? Lol.
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 14, 2016 03:36PM)
We know what Penn has told us and the world. I do not think there is any hidden subtext, what you see is most likely what you get.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 14, 2016 07:20PM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, WitchDocChris wrote:
I would think Brown's performances are right up Penn's alley considering he outright states that he has no powers and is mixing magic and showmanship with genuine psychology. Brown's often pretty honest about what he's doing with his stage shows. [/quote]

Oh, I am absolutely sure they agree with him on everything... ;)
https://youtu.be/jdhBI-Pu-1c?t=29
Message: Posted by: AttnPls (Sep 14, 2016 10:01PM)
Interesting clip where Penn explains his approach to magic as "tricks and swindles". This is the exact opposite of how I approach my work.
Message: Posted by: Nerdy Wizard (Sep 15, 2016 02:52AM)
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, solarpk wrote:
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, WitchDocChris wrote:
I would think Brown's performances are right up Penn's alley considering he outright states that he has no powers and is mixing magic and showmanship with genuine psychology. Brown's often pretty honest about what he's doing with his stage shows. [/quote]

Oh, I am absolutely sure they agree with him on everything... ;)
https://youtu.be/jdhBI-Pu-1c?t=29 [/quote]

See I'd like to think they've said this in jest otherwise they're just contradicting themselves on a video that was posted earlier.
https://youtu.be/sQm3ZjZRpdo?t=1m40s

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy watching Derren but you can't say you agree with him on everything on one video and then say that people who claim psychological mastery are wrong to do so on another.

Or am I just expecting too much?
Message: Posted by: DrRob (Sep 15, 2016 04:14PM)
[quote]On Sep 9, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
Many magicians grow up to be Mentalists.

Many Mentalists grow up to be Real Readers.

Not a path everyone follows--as Penn & Teller prove--but, I'm guessing, it's a fairly common evolution. [/quote]


Funny you should write this as Ive started on the path to real reading over the last week.
I like it becomes it (to me) can have such a strong and lasting effect on the spectator/sitter.

Dr Rob
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Sep 15, 2016 05:20PM)
I have been reading [I]Devil May Care[/I] and [I]Metaph-Oracle[/I] by Iain Dunford recently. These works do not so much set out a prescribed path to readings so much as provide blank map paper and a few examples of charting a course that is neither Psychic nor Psychological.

For most people, I think, neither the psychic nor the psychological premises are real--neither the star charts nor the ink blots. Stories, archetypes, symbols, imagery, and so much else can be real.

The analogue in magic tricks is an effect like the rice jar suspension. It may seem counter-intuitive and amazing, but it is a real phenomenon.

[youtube]3ywYfO1-aqQ[/youtube]
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 16, 2016 03:37PM)
[quote]On Sep 15, 2016, Nerdy Wizard wrote:
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, solarpk wrote:
[quote]On Sep 14, 2016, WitchDocChris wrote:
I would think Brown's performances are right up Penn's alley considering he outright states that he has no powers and is mixing magic and showmanship with genuine psychology. Brown's often pretty honest about what he's doing with his stage shows. [/quote]

Oh, I am absolutely sure they agree with him on everything... ;)
https://youtu.be/jdhBI-Pu-1c?t=29 [/quote]

See I'd like to think they've said this in jest otherwise they're just contradicting themselves on a video that was posted earlier.
https://youtu.be/sQm3ZjZRpdo?t=1m40s

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy watching Derren but you can't say you agree with him on everything on one video and then say that people who claim psychological mastery are wrong to do so on another.

Or am I just expecting too much? [/quote]

Derren: "I am often dishonest in my techniques, but always honest about my dishonesty."
Seemingly that's enough for Penn, i.e. an admission that it is not real. However, for me Derren still harnesses an ambiguity as to where 'ability' ends and 'tricks' begin. Indeed, a blanket disclaimer doesn't really seem in the spirit of disclosure that Penn alludes to.
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Sep 16, 2016 05:04PM)
"I am a charlatan" said a great one.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 16, 2016 08:40PM)
Incidentally, I happened upon 'the ethics of mentalism' in The art of mentalism by Bob Cassidy.

It's certainly interesting to have his perspective, whereby he concludes that it is more a question of motivation, and the distinction here between magician / mentalist is moot.
Message: Posted by: E.E. (Sep 16, 2016 09:45PM)
[quote]On Sep 16, 2016, solarpk wrote:
and the distinction here between magician / mentalist is moot. [/quote]

No, not again! :eek:
Message: Posted by: Alan Wheeler (Sep 17, 2016 08:24AM)
Mystery performers have many different and distinct motivations, premises, claims, approaches...bizarre and mental, theatrical and real...

I'm not sure that Bob means that having different motivations renders any distinctions "moot" (merely academic with no practical application).
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 17, 2016 04:28PM)
[quote]On Sep 17, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
Mystery performers have many different and distinct motivations, premises, claims, approaches...bizarre and mental, theatrical and real...

I'm not sure that Bob means that having different motivations renders any distinctions "moot" (merely academic with no practical application). [/quote]

"There are many individuals, particularly magicians, who believe that mentalism is wrong because it fosters a false world view. But, if you think about it, so does the magician who claims that "the hand is quicker than the eye." It is not, and to create the idea that it is also engenders a false view of reality."..."The ethical question really goes to the individual's underlying motivation." B. Cassidy

It is more that in this context there is surely no reason to differentiate between mentalist and magician since both construct a false image of reality in the same context of entertainment. The question of motivation then provides a mechanism for distinguishing between, say, entertainer and fraudulent psychic.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 17, 2016 04:31PM)
Cassidy also says:

"To say that [mentalism] creates a false world view is to state conclusively that paranormal avenues of communication simply do not exist or, at least, that the performer is creating a false impression about his own abilities."..."...until there is positive evidence that the paranormal phenomena imitated by mentalists do not exist, the claim that the psychic entertainer creates a false world view is unsupportable."

I think this is interesting because an extrapolation would be that magicians are worse offenders than mentalists because it is seemingly more likely that some form of psychic ability exists, all be it as yet not understood by science, whereas very few people continue to claim to have genuine magical powers. However, this falls foul of being unable to reject the null hypothesis in either case and is likely to be a controversial and largely unhelpful position.
Message: Posted by: solarpk (Sep 18, 2016 07:29PM)
Of course, regardless, you can tell people the truth, but without a strong alternative explanation many will believe what they want anyway.
https://youtu.be/z8wvVAkoJTY?t=433
Message: Posted by: Stevious (Sep 20, 2016 08:09AM)
[quote]On Sep 18, 2016, solarpk wrote:
Of course, regardless, you can tell people the truth, but without a strong alternative explanation many will believe what they want anyway.
https://youtu.be/z8wvVAkoJTY?t=433 [/quote]

In this video Clare's point of view is perfectly understandable for me. I like to delude myself that top mentalists have indeed some mysterious psychological skills. Maybe they have? If you duplicate drawings for hundreds of times you might have some sort of intuition, similarly expierienced cold readers will be able to guess more about you.

When I cannot explain magic/mental trick, and I have no desire of performing it myself, I just leave it that way, as - magic/mystery.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Aug 17, 2017 03:06AM)
Folie a Deux
Message: Posted by: Djin (Aug 18, 2017 07:47AM)
Penn is also a vociferous atheist. He seems to take positions to the effect of "I don't believe in anything beyond the proven physical world, so no one else should either." I think that he lumps all belief in anything other than cold hard science into the realm of superstition.

Frankly, everyone has a right to their own beliefs. That includes sceptics just as much as it includes the religious faithful. That said, I find it just as annoying to be preached at by the likes of Penn and Randi as I do to have door to door pitches for my soul from the various denominations that roam the bible belt (I live in the South, it's just part of life.) In fact I find the aggressive atheists to be more pushy in general. (I always give the Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists a few moments of my time as a common courtesy. Just because I'm not going to convert is no reason to be rude.) When you say thanks but no thanks to them, they generally politely move on. Tell an "evangelical athiest" anything other than what he thinks he knows is true and he's loudly and relentlessly calling you an idiot.

I do think that Penn (and Randi before him) are bad for mentalism. I think that the well pitched and widely distributed anti mentalism message erodes the public's willingness to suspend disbelief for the few moments it takes to enjoy a show. Likewise, the public becomes less willing to open up to the help that a reader may bring them.

Mentalists create effects... and the audience experiences magic. The feeling within a person who experiences a well performed mentalist's effect is nothing short of truly magical. By crapping on mentalism, magicians are making the world a less magical place.
Message: Posted by: miistermagico (Aug 18, 2017 09:50PM)
How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community?
Message: Posted by: PhilDean (Aug 21, 2017 10:47PM)
[quote]On Aug 18, 2017, Djin wrote:
Penn is also a vociferous atheist. He seems to take positions to the effect of "I don't believe in anything beyond the proven physical world, so no one else should either." I think that he lumps all belief in anything other than cold hard science into the realm of superstition.

Frankly, everyone has a right to their own beliefs. That includes sceptics just as much as it includes the religious faithful. That said, I find it just as annoying to be preached at by the likes of Penn and Randi as I do to have door to door pitches for my soul from the various denominations that roam the bible belt (I live in the South, it's just part of life.) In fact I find the aggressive atheists to be more pushy in general. (I always give the Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists a few moments of my time as a common courtesy. Just because I'm not going to convert is no reason to be rude.) When you say thanks but no thanks to them, they generally politely move on. Tell an "evangelical athiest" anything other than what he thinks he knows is true and he's loudly and relentlessly calling you an idiot.

I do think that Penn (and Randi before him) are bad for mentalism. I think that the well pitched and widely distributed anti mentalism message erodes the public's willingness to suspend disbelief for the few moments it takes to enjoy a show. Likewise, the public becomes less willing to open up to the help that a reader may bring them.

Mentalists create effects... and the audience experiences magic. The feeling within a person who experiences a well performed mentalist's effect is nothing short of truly magical. By crapping on mentalism, magicians are making the world a less magical place. [/quote]

That's a misconception. If you bother to watch any of his Q and A's (especially recent ones) you'll see he actually dislikes proselytising of any sort, and that he has great respect for many Christians and people of faith. He talks about the BS show they did, where they expected nasty reactions on certain subjects from Christians and instead he got nothing but lovely messages from them which changed his opinion on the whole matter. So while he personally doesn't believe, he has no problem with those who do and doesn't expect them to 'be like he is'.

Also, I don't think anyone is 'bad' for mentalism, whether it be Randi or Penn or anyone. The kind of people who worry about others negative opinions are the ones who most likely fail. I know this from experience. I've worked in many forms of entertainment (still do) and have had older performers tell me all sorts of negative things about my acts, included the dreaded 'you're never gonna make it'. If I'd listened to them, or worried about changing what I do and how that works without valid reason to (spoiler : a negative opinion isn't always a valid reason) I'd probably still be working in call centers. So if you want to be a reader - *** the skeptics. Just go do it and do it the way you want to do it. If you want to be a thought reader, same deal. It's all about you, not other people.

Rant over haha!
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Aug 22, 2017 01:09AM)
I wouldn't say Penn isn't a fan of mentalism. There were many mentalism performances that he loved (being fooled or not). I think he isn't a fan of charlatans and, as we all know, we have much more of those in mentalism than in magic. That is what I think may give the impression that he's not a fan of mentalism (which I don't think is the case).

[quote]On Sep 8, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
Many magicians grow up to be Mentalists.

Many Mentalists grow up to be Real Readers.

Not a path everyone follows--as Penn & Teller prove--but, I'm guessing, it's a fairly common evolution. [/quote]

This comment in particular called my attention, as my interests grew in that precise direction. In my case it's not a "path" actually, as I didn't "became" the other categories. Today I do magic for kids and mentalism/readings for adults. I think it's pretentious to call it "evolution" though, specially because the pure mentalist with no ground in magic will most likely not have as many tools/solutions compared to a performer who was a magician before turning into a mentalist. I often find even famous intelligent mentalists relying to things much less simple and restrictive than some magician tools (e.g. I've seem a situation where several prepared cards that couldn't be handled by participant could be replaced by a single mercury fold and no further preparation). Plus, we change based on how our criteria change. My reasons for going in that direction can be completely different from the reasons of those who happened to follow the same path. Not to mention that we also have the other way around (mentalists starting to incorporate "magic" to what they do).
Message: Posted by: Sven Rygh (Aug 22, 2017 02:56AM)
[quote]On Sep 12, 2016, Necromancer wrote:
They were extremely kind to The Evasons on a recent Fool Us episode, and effusive in their praise. I'd say they showed real respect for mentalism performed skillfully (without claims). [/quote]

They also treated Nick Einhorn, who fooled them badly with his chair test btw, very well, - and with great respect
Message: Posted by: SJINIF (Aug 25, 2017 05:32PM)
I suspect that Penn believes, as a few others do, that there is an inherent dishonesty in claiming psychic powers when performing mentalism routines. Being followers of James Randi, one has to suspect that Penn has an ingrained penchant for debunking what he believes or interprets to be abusive behavior by performers. Moreover, some (not performers of our art, per sť, but charlatans) have preyed on the innocent and often even hurt their victims emotionally, not to mention financially, delving into private and tender issues in their subjects' private lives. Is it not more challenging and entertaining to admit one can't read minds and perform an effect that may lead the audience to think otherwise? I suspect the diverging opinions, approaches and styles are what make our art so varied and entertaining.
Message: Posted by: RiBo (Aug 25, 2017 05:57PM)
[quote] I suspect that Penn believes, as a few others do, that there is an inherent dishonesty in claiming psychic powers when performing mentalism routines. [/quote]

One of the recent documentaries - perhaps the one on Randi called "An Honest Liar?" - highlighted the relationship between Penn and Randi.

This is an interesting subject to me. Objectively, all magicians are liars. It's what magicians do - tell you one thing, do another, and amaze through some sort of subterfuge. And strictly speaking, that's probably a fairly concise description of mentalists as well. So why the differentiation? Why should a Mentalist give a disclaimer while a magician has no such expectation?

I have to think it goes back to performers that claim real powers and use said powers to dupe people. "Psychics" who claim they can communicate with the dead is a perfect example, preying upon their "clients" emotions and making money while doing so. But magicians have historically done the same sort of thing as well. Why the double standard? The Mentalist as a performer isn't inherently evil nor dishonest, at least no more than a magician.
Message: Posted by: jstreiff (Aug 26, 2017 10:25AM)
Those who are new here might want to search the existing postings on this topic. It is not an exaggeration to say it has been discussed in hundreds of posts. It is a common discussion that has been going on for decades. And it is something every newcomer to mentalism must answer for themselves. The one thing that seems crystal clear from all that has been written and said is that there is no one 'right' answer.
Message: Posted by: Djin (Aug 26, 2017 11:05AM)
[quote]On Aug 18, 2017, miistermagico wrote:
How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community? [/quote]

One of the best readers of humans I've ever known wasn't a performer, though he could have been. He had grown up in and around his family's bar. He'd grown up watching and listening. He could spot sincerity or its absence, he could read the most subtle of signs. Had he been inclined to read palms, gaze into a ball or to cast cards he could have convincingly peered "into the minds" of his audience. His educational bona fides included a high school diploma from a rural public school, but I recognise his expertise as being on par with or in places ahead of any accredited professor.

Wisdom is where you find it.
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Aug 26, 2017 01:31PM)
[quote]On Aug 18, 2017, miistermagico wrote:
How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community? [/quote]

So far there isn't an official way to measure it.

Think like this: Hypnosis will NEVER be accepted scientifically because the scientific method tells us that an action under the same circunstancies must produce the same results. People have different minds so, even if hypnosis works with different people in different ways, it's already not scientifically accepted for having different circunstancies. Yet, if people see you hipnotize a lot of people at the same time and you've been doing it for 30 years... they will easily accept that you're an expert/master at it.

This is something we can take advantage off, particularly for marketing. So answering your question, how to be recognized for what you do will only be answered based on what you know and what you're able to do.

Furthermore, there are people who are post-graduated and are not that good in what they do. They just wanted the written recognition and that is apparent when they are put to test... think about it.

In the end, actions speaks louder and I agree with Djin: Wisdom is where you find it.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (Aug 26, 2017 04:21PM)
Certain types of hypnosis have been studied scientifically, and there are researchers who believe there is some validity to what it does.

I would argue that most "stage hypnosis," however, isn't that type of hypnosis (although there are some subjects that indeed "go under").
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Aug 26, 2017 05:24PM)
[quote]On Aug 26, 2017, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
Certain types of hypnosis have been studied scientifically, and there are researchers who believe there is some validity to what it does.

I would argue that most "stage hypnosis," however, isn't that type of hypnosis (although there are some subjects that indeed "go under"). [/quote]

Absolutely agreed. That was just to illustrate.
Psychic powers also have been scientifically studied and also had researchers who believed it as real (even though it was not, Banachek being the most apparent example to come to mind).

In the end, in our case, being called/acknowledged/recognized as an expert/master will depend exclusively on our knowledge/experience/capabilities. But as we can see in the academic area, written recognition doesn't mean that someone really earn/deserve it. Personally, I think it has more positive than negative aspects.
Message: Posted by: jstreiff (Aug 27, 2017 09:03AM)
Sorry Banacheck is a very poor example and not illustrative of the general case in psi research. The broader base of psi research demonstrates effects attributable to psi at statistical levels exceeding six Sigma. The effects are as well demonstrated as effects in the social sciences and exceeding the significance of some biopharma research. See: http://noetic.org/research/psi-research
Message: Posted by: Max Hazy (Aug 27, 2017 12:47PM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2017, jstreiff wrote:
Sorry Banacheck is a very poor example and not illustrative of the general case in psi research. [/quote]

You completely missed the point. I wasn't trying to illustrate the general case in psi research. The Banachek example was focused on the "belief" not on the research. I was illustrating that you don't have to have a written diploma claiming that you're an expert to actually be recognized as an expert in our case. The same goes for other situations, not just being an "expert". Check my second post in this page and hopefully you'll understand.
Message: Posted by: Djin (Aug 27, 2017 02:46PM)
Jstreiff, that is a great link. I just skimmed it and bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for posting that.
Message: Posted by: Stunninger (Aug 27, 2017 03:18PM)
[quote]On Aug 27, 2017, Djin wrote:
Jstreiff, that is a great link. I just skimmed it and bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for posting that. [/quote]

+1. I've often wondered if there is any credible research demonstrating psi phenomena really exist. Apparently there is.