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Mike Ince
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What about those performers who want to alter the belief system of the audience, but only for the duration of the performance? Can they perform anything worthy of the title "pure mentalism?"

I don't refer to palm readers as mentalists because I make a distinction between performing within and without a theatrical context. If you want to call them mentalists, okay, but it's important to me to make the distinction between a theatrical mentalist and one who moves past the proscenium to guide the affairs of others (for a heck of a lot of profit. You're right, MentalAlex. It's so much more commercial). I know this has all been covered on recent threads about ethics.

Why do I squirm when people hint that John Edwards is a mentalist? I don't want to be classified under the same umbrella. If that's what "pure mentalism" means, I'll pass. Don't misunderstand; I want to be just as convincing, if only for the duration of my performance. As an actor, I always want to be convincing, whether on stage or film. I don't worry about people assuming I'm Stanley after they see me in "A Streetcar Named Desire." I do worry about vulnerable people who leave my mentalism performances assuming I have special supernatural powers that they too can learn. Perhaps they can learn such abilities (improbable), but not from me, and seeing my show won't help them get any closer to those ablilites, if they can even be learned.

People like to believe in what they're seeing, and that's what I want, too. However, I don't want them to go home investing in a false belief system, and I don't' think I'm alone in that concern. Still, I like to think that when I reveal personal details about others' lives, I'm safely practicing "pure mentalism" (without being meddlesome). In my opinion, it's very commercial. Still, it's Edwards whom Oprah loves (the big fat shuteye! Smile)

"Magic is illusion as art. Mentalism is belief system as art." Beautifully stated. In my case, it's an illusion I'm asking them to believe, and they agree to... for the duration of the performance.
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
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Mik,e I gotta say I wish that I had said or wrote.
"Mentalism is belief system as art."

My ideas on the other things you offered might differ but I do like that line.

Well defined in my opinion.


“I can make Satan’s devils dance like fine gentlemen across the stage of reality”.
Mike Ince
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I like the definition. Belief is what separates magic and mentalism. Bob Cassidy convinced me of that.

As for disagreement, I've made up my mind not to be worried about those who disagree, but about those who don't care. I know you're not one of those, Jim.

The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
Bertrand Thornley
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[quote]On 2009-05-16 12:15, mastermindreader wrote:
Just going through my old writings and came across the following. It is from my notes for the original draft of what was later to become the "The Art of Mentalism."

It struck me as being particularly relevant to the present thread.

Those of you who have been around a while will be familiar with most of what follows. But those who are just starting out in mentalism might want to give it some serious consideration before you decide to walk out in front of a paying audience.

While a bit of it is dated, I think the basic concepts are as important today as they were when I wrote about them thirty-one years ago.

I think there was very little that was dated. Thank you so much for that. As a novice its information density, if you will, made it the perfect and cogent summary of what I never want to forget about mentalism, and some of it could also be applied to magic for more profound conjuring.

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." Tom Robbins

Personal Revelation: I'm not a hippopotamus
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Profile of MentalAlex
Mike, ultimately it is all performance art, so you may do whatever you wish, there is no right answer. Corinda put it best, "If they clap I leave it in, if they don't I cut it out!" This is simply the way _I_ perceive the art as being. We must all forge our own paths.

And Mr. Callahan, I would like to say that you were instrumental in my coming up with that phrase, you and Uri Gellar. In learning to respect your art form, coming from a state of dislike initially as a skeptic, I came to realize that what you were doing, in essence, was creating an alternate belief system for people to contemplate and revel in, which they LOVE, as it gives them a sense of wonder about the world they live in.

It's like Santa. You don't have to believe that Santa is really really real to have fun at Christmas time. And even if you do believe, does it really hurt anyone?

We mentalists, as artists, construct a belief system around ourselves and our abilities, and this belief system is our object of art, not our effects, or even our stage presentations. It is the world that we build that ultimately defines us as artists.
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