We Remember The Magic Caf We Remember
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Psychokinetic silverware - coping with reactions (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5 [Next]
brownbomber
View Profile
Regular user
Edinburgh
156 Posts

Profile of brownbomber
I recently tried out what I've been learning from Banachek's PK Silverware video on a very good friend of mine who's now pretty used to my 'mentalism'. Nothing however, could have prepared me for her totally shocked reaction! I've never seen anything like it, for most of the rest of the day she was totally stunned and obviously had a hard time reconciling what she'd seen with its obvious impossibility.

My question to other spoonbenders out there is how to explain one's 'powers' in a situation like that without going down the rather unethical 'psychic' route? With most mentalism nowadays there are lots of pyschological explanations that are reasonably plausible to explain away magick - but I'm finding this one tricky to resolve.

bb Smile
Allen Gittelson
View Profile
Regular user
San Francisco
145 Posts

Profile of Allen Gittelson
bb,

I don't know you or your character, but I know my own. Here's how I handle it. I explain that I create the illusion of what it would be like if myself and others did have psychic/magical powers. I use my magic to help express the message that people are the magicians of their own lives. If they approach their lives, desires, and interests with intention, then they can create the magic that is their own life and create what they want. That is, they can make their imagination into their reality. My performance of mentalism and magic is an illustration of that, though it is theatrically enhanced.

Yes, metal bending can elicit profound responses. I'll cite one example from my personal experience. I was performing some spoon bending at a restaurant for some close friends. When I was done, and I reached around to get something from my jacket pocket, I caught a glimpse of the group sitting at the table just to my right. I didn't even know that they were watching. They were all staring with their mouths open totally awestruck. They had obviously seen the spoons bending and were staring in disbelief and astonishment (or whatever exactly was going on in their heads). I wish I could hear what they had to say about the experience later.

In thoughts,
Allen
Bambaladam
View Profile
Special user
636 Posts

Profile of Bambaladam
This problem is present for any strong mental effect.

But it is also, in a sense, why we do what we do, right?

If you really want to make your friend feel better, just tell her you used "trick forks"... Smile

/bamba
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
Brownbomber,
Interesting that you say the "unethical psychic route" when the "pyschological explanations that are reasonably plausible to explain away magicke " to which you allude are just as big a lie. Why is one lie more or less ethical than another?

Best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
brownbomber
View Profile
Regular user
Edinburgh
156 Posts

Profile of brownbomber
[quote]On 2002-05-05 20:11, Trinity wrote:
Brownbomber,
Interesting that you say the "unethical psychic route" when the "pyschological explanations that are reasonably plausible to explain away magicke " to which you allude are just as big a lie. Why is one lie more or less ethical than another?


I take your point, Tony - Banachek himself discusses presentation of one's abilities in ch.22 of Psychological Subtleties and this is all very well for most mentalism like mindreading (we do, after all, all use to some extent non-verbal communication, psychological forces and other related skills) but it seems to be pushing it a little when someone's sees you bend a fork with your mind. Maybe it's just a question of style, I love doing this stuff and experiencing at first hand the astonishment that it creates, but at the same time, am deeply uncomfortable about downright lies as to what's going on (especially to people I know!)...

bb

Smile
fordkross
View Profile
Loyal user
209 Posts

Profile of fordkross
[quote]On 2002-05-06 02:52, brownbomber wrote:
Quote:
On 2002-05-05 20:11, Trinity wrote:
Brownbomber,
Interesting that you say the "unethical psychic route" when the "pyschological explanations that are reasonably plausible to explain away magicke " to which you allude are just as big a lie. Why is one lie more or less ethical than another?


I take your point, Tony - Banachek himself discusses presentation of one's abilities in ch.22 of Psychological Subtleties and this is all very well for most mentalism like mindreading (we do, after all, all use to some extent non-verbal communication, psychological forces and other related skills) but it seems to be pushing it a little when someone's sees you bend a fork with your mind. Maybe it's just a question of style, I love doing this stuff and experiencing at first hand the astonishment that it creates, but at the same time, am deeply uncomfortable about downright lies as to what's going on (especially to people I know!)...

bb
I'm always amazed when some one who has chosen a life of deception is bothered by lying. If what you're doing is entertainment, all you owe your performance is a good performance. I'm assuming, you're not asking people to join your church or take courses to learn how tp focus their energy so they could bend cutlery as well, you have nothing to feel guilty about. As Trinity said, any explanation short of exposure is a lie. So pick your favorite
and go with it. When my close friends ask if my abilities are real, I reply, as real as anyone's
If deception still bothers your conscience, as Tony Shiel's said trypaint by numbers
from
Ford
Ford has a better idea

Smile
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
Brownbomber,

I know what you mean. Some effects are so strong that many laymen will attribute it to something either occult or psychic. We have to be ready for that.
I agree with Ford, pick your favorite and go with it. If your effect doesn't fit the personna, then change the effect or leave it out.

I recommend Cassidy's Principia Mentalia, Vol 1, pp. 4-10 for further thoughts on the subject of magic and mentalism and their harmony/disharmony.

Best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
davekilpatrick
View Profile
Loyal user
Syracuse, NY
292 Posts

Profile of davekilpatrick
[quote]On 2002-05-06 06:18, fordkross wrote:

I'm always amazed when some one who has chosen a life of deception is bothered by lying. If what you're doing is entertainment, all you owe your performance is a good performance.
. . . As Trinity said, any explanation short of exposure is a lie. So pick your favorite
and go with it.

I respectfully disagree. I consider myself an honest person. But when I don my magician/mentalist mode, I lie like heck. But that is expected because any adult knows that magic is based upon an entertaining illusion—a positive, socially constructive deception. No one thinks I have any special powers to really dematerialize coins (i.e., make a coin vanish) or any other traditional magic trick. But there is a belief in our culture in ESP and related "powers." If I "lie" about some psychological explanation, I don't create the impression I have "powers." I'm suggesting the trick is of a psychological nature, when it is not (for the purposes of misdirection). No one is left with the idea I am something I'm not.

Context is a big issue here, and I disagree with the idea that magician's should not feel uncomfortable about "lying." Let's take a poll of our wives, family members, co-workers, the IRS, etc. and I'll bet they'll more likely agree with me than with the view that magicians have a blank check on lying. The blank check, I believe, only should exist in the context of carrying out an effect.

My point: Context is everything. In the context of performing a magic effect, "lying" and "deception" are expected. Indeed, everyone acknowledges that such is the VERY NATURE of magical entertainment. However, using deception that involves "powers" you possess that transcend the entertainment context now takes us out of bounds. Much like an off duty police officer speeding to an appointment, he has no more right to speed off the job as anyone else.

I am totally aware that my opinion is not necessarily favorable to many mentalists. However, I do mentalism and entertain people who know I am using illusion, and they gasp, scream, and react in incredible ways. I don't need to carry on a 24/7 "lie" to get that entertainment value I'm seeking. Yes, I'm misdirecting them during the routine. But they KNOW there is deception—they have no clue at what level that deception resides.

My question is this: if 1) we do not require "psychic powers," (with no dislaimer) as an explanation or form of misdirection to carry out a mental effect and 2) we can get the same level of entertainment value out of mentalism when the audience knows this is a form of illusion, then can someone explain to me the motivation for making people believe you're psychic? If it's not necessary, what motivates people to project that? Sure, you can use the "psychic" angle in actual performance in the context of a discaimer (i.e., disclaim at the beginning and then act the role of psychic throughout). No problem there. But what is the psychological motivation to keep up the lie 24/7? Please help me with this.

By the way, I respect other opinions than mine. I'm only giving my perspective. I'm not suggesting those with the alternative opinion are ethically corrupt people! I'm only raising the issue because we magicians are allowed by society to deceive others without them questioning our character. Yet we must be careful not to misuse that trust in carrying the deception beyond the context we've been granted.
Also, Ford, this may be picky, but I wouldn't say that by being a magician/mentalist that I've chosen "a life of deception." I've chosen a profession which allows me to use socially desirable deception in the proper context, just as a police officer can drive at exorbidant speeds on the job to catch criminals, and we support this as citizens.
Millard123
View Profile
Regular user
Millard Longman
173 Posts

Profile of Millard123
Rare indeed is the person that does not live a lie 24/7. I know of no one that does not lie to his wife/lover, boss/employees, friends/audiences, or himself.

Just my experience in living on this planet for 58 years.

Of course I never lie.

Millard Longman
Millard Longman

See all my products at:
www.mevproshop.com
davekilpatrick
View Profile
Loyal user
Syracuse, NY
292 Posts

Profile of davekilpatrick
Millard,

You are correct if you are referring to a practice of occasionally using a casual bit of verbal/social misdirection (i.e., lie) to get onself out of a tricky situation (in general–I'm not talking magic here). That is one thing. But a more thoroughgoing misrepresention of one's entire persona is a totally different phenomenon. I don't think most people "live" that kind of lie.
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
Dave,
Perhaps I missed something in Ford's and Brownbomber's posts, but no one ever said that we need to live a lie 24/7. I was simply referring to performance.

Now if someone who claims to be psychic bilks people out of thousands, then yes, that's unethical.

But onstage in the context of entertainment, all I am saying is that to claim that you are using psycological or subconscious reasons for the things that you are doing to work when you are actually using a swami gimmick is a lie just as if you were claiming psychic powers. To me, if one is unethical, then so is the other ....a lie is a lie is a lie.

You said,
"If I "lie" about some psychological explanation, I don't create the impression I have "powers." "
Yes you do, Dave (perhaps I should say 'one" does). I suggest that if you (or anyone) lies about using psychology to achieve the desired result in an effect, then the audience will believe that you are using psychology when you are not.
Same as if you were claiming psychic powers to achieve the effect. You are using trickery.
To claim anything else is a lie....psychology or psychic, a lie.

So again I ask, what makes one lie more ethical than another?

Best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
Oh yes, forgive the extra post, but there is one point I wanted to make.


Dave mentioned, "But that is expected because any adult knows that magic is based upon an entertaining illusion—a positive, socially constructive deception. No one thinks I have any special powers to really dematerialize coins (i.e., make a coin vanish) or any other traditional magic trick. But there is a belief in our culture in ESP and related "powers."

I suggest that as soon as the audience knows that one's mentalism is illusion just like a magic trick, one's mentalism will be relegated to kids parties, right after Bozo the Clown.

Best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
davekilpatrick
View Profile
Loyal user
Syracuse, NY
292 Posts

Profile of davekilpatrick
Tony,

Here's where I (respectfully) disagree. I have only in the last few year been getting into mentalism to a greater degree, but have included mentalism into may magic act for the last two decades. The reactions I got from the mentalism portion of the performance was so often greater than the regular magic, which was one of the driving forces behind my adding more of it to my show. My point is that I have always presented mental tricks as illusion and this has never diminished its impact. My question above has still not been answered: If mentalism with a disclaimer is so extremely powerful (as I have discovered personally and other mentalists who use disclaimers can tell you as well), then why do people feel there is a "need" to avoid letting people know it is an illusion.

You are correct Tony, in catching my fuzzy thinking about "powers" psychological or psychic. That distinction may be a bit artificial in some people's minds, and I therefore stand corrected. However, there is a belief out there in a whole realm of psychic powers. When we perform mentalism, our demonstrations are so powerful that it is difficult to conclude anything other than genuine psychic powers. Even if you chalk it up to a "psychological" trick, people still recognize it as such—a trick, but of a psychological nature, not a visual trick.

My goal is not to try to offend anyone or make a nuisance of myself. Only to help we mentalists consider where we feel comfortable drawing certain lines. Where I feel comfortable drawing the lines will differ from another mentalist. But without discussions such as these, it is easy to go along our merry way without necessarily considering the broader implications of our decisions.

With regard to the 24/7 comment. If people think I have psychic powers based upon my demonstrations, and I've used no disclaimer, then I'm creating a round the clock perception of myself to others: They do not think I'm a mental magician, they think I'm a psychic with no trickery involved. Because that is the impression of myself I've given them, then they always carry that impression of me 24/7. That was my point. If I give a disclaimer, then the audience and I part ways and they perceive me as an outstanding entertainer who can do some very amazing mental illusions that defy explanation. They know that I can't really read minds, so when the show is over, I'm not "living a lie."

Back to the psychological thing. If I use a disclaimer, then I can comfortably use any ruse—psychic or psychological to accomplish the routine. The point is that the disclaimer is not "I'm not using psychic powers, I'm really using psychological ploys." The disclaimer is that I am using illusion (however you want to explain that), so you are free to use whatever patter line you wish. The whole concept of a disclaimer in magic or mentalism is that during the disclaimer you are telling the truth, while during the show you will not be.

Once again, I would like people's perspectives on the need to project a psychic persona without any disclaimer. Tony, you've begun to address this with your concern that mentalism would be reduced to birthday party magic. I would suggest doing mental tricks with a disclaimer (as I have for over 20 years) and you will quickly say good bye to that concern. Also, other mentalists use disclaimers as well, and they are not birthday party magicians! In case you think you would "weaken" the effect, let me assure you that when I present mentalism, particulary to large crowds, I get reactions that some people want further assurance that I really can't read minds. That's not birthday party magic. They're floored by what they have seen.

In summary, we are entertainers. The entertainment value is just as strong, I believe, with a disclaimer as without. Why then the desire to leave people with the impression we are not using illusion?

(Boy, my posts are WAY too long),
saglaser
View Profile
Loyal user
Champaign, IL
248 Posts

Profile of saglaser
Marc Salem and Derrin Brown are both proof that mentalism does not need to be presented as true psychic powers to avoid being relegated to the realm of kiddie magic.

There is, I maintain, a profound difference between lieing about the reality of a mentalism effect and lieing in the performance of a magic effect. It lies in the power to alter the obervers basic beliefs about the structure of reality.

I don't care how amazing a card trick will be, nobody will ever believe that it's the result of real magic unless they already have a firm belief in such things. Psychic phenomina is an entirely different kettle of fish. While there are many devoted believers, and many equally devoted disbelievers, there are a huge number of people in the middle, able to be swayed to one side or the other based on the evidence of their experience.

To sway these people into belief that a trick is true psychic power is to set them up as potential victims of scams. It merely prepares them to fall for those con artists who use mentalism not to entertain but to cheat people out of their money.

Lie about a zig-zag or metapmorphosis all you want. Almost everybody will know it's a trick and entertainment (and those who won't will already be avoiding your show, if not marching out front, picketing the performance of one who's sold their soul to the devil). Lie about metal bending or a swami-gimmick effect and a lot of people will be willing to reach into their wallets to support phone psychics and talkers-to-the-dearly-departed.

Hardly equivalent n my book.

Where do you draw the line? That's something we each have to decide for ourselves. But we cannot ignore the true potential repercussions of our decisions.

Steve
Bambaladam
View Profile
Special user
636 Posts

Profile of Bambaladam
Well... I think... there are a lot of different aspects to this.

I think spoonbending is easy. You can be honest and say you do it "the same way Uri Geller does it", and then urge people not to buy his self help books.

The real mess is with Q&A of any kind., whether it be close up billet work or massive crowd readings or whatever. In this case, I really do feel the only "explanation" is exposure.

Maybe the Kreskin book (where he explains how someone could be a "fake" Kreskin) is a good example of how to do it. I mean deal with moral issues.

There are two fundamental points to be made tho:

* It is very possible mentalist effects are less entertaining when presented as "tricks"

* Taking money for talking to people or pretending to help them is quite certainly "wrong", but is it "wrong" to take money to entertain them under identical conditions, i.e. pretending to be the real deal?

Ian Rowland has said he isn't so sure the public wants to be protected from "psychics" (or something similar, pls forgive me if I'm misquoting or anything), and I'm getting to believe him in a way.

Anyway, I think the whole issue arises when you perform something strong and SCARE people. Until then it is hard to worry about it, and after then, we probably worry more than they do. Face it, people adapt well to most things. If I was presented with unreputable evidence that palm reading really was scientific, it would shake me about some, but a week later my main priority would still be getting laid.

I think, because we spend so much time thinking about this stuff, we sometimes overestimate the impact we have on people. Then again, that could just be me being a crappy performer. But I think essentially, if we perform a little mental experiment and divide people into a) those who cannot be saved, and b) those who don't need saving, we'll find that a includes people who actually need professional help, and as long as we aren't pretending to provide that, we're morally ok, and b is just a bunch of people who in the worst of circumstances saw us perform and weren't very impressed, in the best of circumstances had a good night and then get on with their lives.

I hope this post doesn't come across as nonsense.

I feel these are important issues too. I just worry sometimes we care more than those "not in the know", and maybe it's causing US more trouble than anyone else.

/bamba
Tony Razzano
View Profile
Inner circle
South River, NJ
1601 Posts

Profile of Tony Razzano
saglaser wrote:
>>Marc Salem and Derrin Brown are both proof that mentalism does not need to be presented as true psychic powers to avoid being relegated to the realm of kiddie magic.<<

I think, saglaser, that you misconstrue what I said. I never said that one has to play the psychic personna to preform effective mentalism. All I said was that one who portrays the person who achieves these things by psychological means is lieing just as much as one who claims to be psychic. I am simply pointing out the double standar/hypocracy in that.
Also, I never said that unless one plays the psychic that one will be relegated to Kiddie magic. What I DID say was that if we present our mentalist effects, or if the public perceives them to be magic tricks...again as magic tricks, then get ready for the Blue and Gold dinner.
So, saglaser, you might be arguing things that I did not say.

I understand your points about setting people up for being scammed, but if the performer stops at performing and goes no further, then where is the scam? If the public goes to a fake psychic, you can't blame the performer Adults are responsible for their own actions.

Others who have responded seem to think that I play the psychic and that I don't use a disclaimer. Again, an assumption that you don't know to be true.
I won't comment on my act and personna anyway, so you'll have to pay the admission if you want to find out ;-).

But MY act and personna is not the point. I was simply pointing out ...well, as I said above.

Dave makes a valid point when he says that he did a mentalism set in his magic act and it did not play as magic...and I think that's the key..it didn't play as magic. Once anything we do plays as a magic trick,
its over. The adults will leave the kids in the room and go into the bar.

By the way, Dave, I certainly didn't take offense to your postings and I don't consider you a nuisance...just the opposite. I thought your posts were interesting and thought provoking.

Although we disagree on this point, we disagree respectfully and as gentlemen.
I think the entrie thread is excellent!
Regardless of each of our opinions, it made us revisit our thinking a bit. And that's how we grow as performers.
Brownbomer, thanks for starting such a thought provoking therad.
Best regards,
Tony Razzano
Best regards,
<BR>Tony Razzano, Past President, PEA
Winner of the PEA"s Bascom Jones and Bob Haines Awards
saglaser
View Profile
Loyal user
Champaign, IL
248 Posts

Profile of saglaser
Your'e right, Tony...

It appears that I did do a bit of reductio ad absurdum with your post. I didn't mean for it to come off that way and I apologise. But I'll stand by the distinctions I made and will add another -- one more germane to what you actually posted. You write:

> All I said was that one who portrays the
>person who achieves these things by psychological
>means is lieing just as much as one who claims
> to be psychic.

That's quite true, in most cases at any rate. But it's also beside the point. It seems to me that the critical issue isn't whether we're using a lie or not, it's what the repercussions of that lie are likely to be.

If I say that I'm accomplishing the effect by means of controlling a third apprentice demon, second class, who I captured in a mayonnaise jar on a night I caught him raiding my liquor cabinet, I am lying through my teeth and the result will be a few giggles, if the audience is feeling appropriately charitable. Nobody would believe the lie, nor would they be expected to.

If I say I'm using psychology, I may be lieing or may be telling a half truth or may even be being honest, depending upon the effect. But even in the case of it being an outright lie, I am not promoting the belief in anything that doesn't exist. There IS such a thing as psychology, however much pundits may debate the details.

But when I claim to be using real psychic powers, then I may well be promoting the belief in a supernatural that does not exist (I will not go so far as to claim it does not, but the evidence for it remains mighty skimpy). There is a massive qualitative difference between misleading an audience about the powers of psychology and about the existence of psychic powers. The latter has the potential to do far greater damage.

And while the entertainer who claims psychic power certainly does not have the same level of guilt as the pseudopsychic who bilks the gullible, that entertainer does have some degree of responsibility for helping to make the victim gullible.

Now, to confuse matters more, Bambaladam wrote:

> Taking money for talking to people or pretending
> to help them is quite certainly "wrong", but
> is it "wrong" to take money to entertain them
> under identical conditions, i.e. pretending
> to be the real deal?

Again, we all have to make our own moral decisions here. Personally, my feeling is that, as entertainers, what we are selling is the entertainment, not psychic phenomina, so as long as no harm is done, whatever entertains is fair game. Of course, making sure no harm is done is the tricky part, as my previous reservations show.

However, what makes this question so interesting is the first part, "Taking money for talking to people or pretending to help them is quite certainly 'wrong...'"

You see, the key word here is "pretending." because there is every indication that "psychic counselors" can help people, just as much as a psychologist can, if they are so inclined and have the training and talent.

Consider: There are untold numbers of licensed psychologists and psychiatrists practicing based on theories which have absolutely no scientific validation. There are Fruedians, Jungians, and a gazillion more, and the basis of their therapy has no more of a scientifically proven basis than tarot cards, astrology or palm reading. And yet, many of these psychiatrists and psychologists DO help their patients. The help seems to have more to do with the therapist than with the theory used.

Similarly, I have no doubt that there are many many "honest" psychic readers who do their clients as much good as psychologists do. Does the cold reading become a psychological placebo in the same way fill-in-the-blankian psychological theory does? Probably.

But it sure makes quick-and-easy judgements difficult, doesn't it?
davekilpatrick
View Profile
Loyal user
Syracuse, NY
292 Posts

Profile of davekilpatrick
Steve,
Thanks for your posts. I was feeling a little alone there. By the way, I have a Ph.D. in psychology, and teach psychology for the State University of New York (Cortland campus). You are 100% right that many counselors and psychiatrists use approaches that have the same scientific validation as Tarot card reading and palm reading. The sad part is that there are many scientifically validated approaches that don't get used in those cases. Okay, I'm officially off topic.

Tony,
I apologize that I read some things into your comments that were not there. You remind me of my roommate from college who is now a professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles). He carefully chose is words, and I used to do a hatchet job of interpreting them. Anyway, I'm sorry if I misrepresented any comments of yours.

Maybe we could focus our discussion on the bit about entertainment value. I don't need to repeat my opinion on this, as I have already done so ad nausem.

One last thing. Steve, how did you get italics in your text? That's REAL magic.
saglaser
View Profile
Loyal user
Champaign, IL
248 Posts

Profile of saglaser
Howdy, Dave!

This is my second attempt to answer your question about the italics. Unfortunately, even when I click the option to disable the codes, the codes still worked. Meaning things still turned into italics rather than displaying the codes themselves. So this time, I'm gonna cheat and we'll see how that works. Wherever you see a * below, eliminate it when actually typing the codes. I'm including it only to (I hope) stop the code from working

Basically, you use the same codes used in HTML only encasing them in square brackets [] rather than angle brackets <>. Thus, if I want to put the word "italics" in italics, I'd type [*i]italics[*/i] (without the *, remember). Similarly, the code [*b]would turn bold face on and [*/b] would turn it off.

Okay, I'll post this and see if the code actually shows up this time Smile

Steve
A l a i n B e ll o n
View Profile
Veteran user
301 Posts

Profile of A l a i n B e ll o n
Some thoughts that might be relevant...

There are many ways to produce astonishment and many forms of astonishment. One can marvel at the ability of the worlds leading juggler or at the mind-reading of a given performer. In both cases there may be astonishment, but in the first case it's the kind of marvel that says "how skilled is that person"; the latter case being the one that says "there is some special quality that person has".

When astonishment becomes of the magical kind, it requires this special quality. A quality that cannot be acquired by practice of skill alone, as opposed to in the case of the juggler. It's the kind of astonishment that makes us feel that there is something more.

A performer may choose to explain that "quality" as a psychic power or as a psychological ability, but in order for the effect to be magically astonishing, it requires the effect to be beyond what practice of human skills alone can create.

(Of course this is all from the audience's point of view. I am just talking about audience's preceived notions.)

In my opinion, when a perfomer attains that level of magical astonishment, it does not make much difference if the "magic" is psychic of psychological, because it is perceived as magic. Period. If I as a performer have my audiences see my effects as the natural progression of some psychological notions, then there will be no magical astonishment. Even if they perceive the effects as some incredibly skilled application of psychology, I will not be able to get past admiration of a skill. Just like the juggler. And as much as I like jugglers, they do not produce magical astonishment, the awe they create is one of a different kind. (They can, of course, create poetic magic, but that's a different topic)

So even if we use a psychological premise, once we get to magical astonishment, we are making a "magical" claim. A claim about a quality that exists, either in people or ourselves, that psychology does not provide an explanation for.

As a final point, making a psychic or pseudo-psychological claim seems to me just about the same in terms of deception. Perhaps the second one being more dangerous, as it empowers a false notion through the authority of science.

As for myself, I do not portray miself as psychic and have chosen to provide my audiences with a disclaimer, but it is just personal choice, and its value might be purely self-therapeutic.

-Alain Bellon
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Psychokinetic silverware - coping with reactions (0 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2022 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.11 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL