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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » First post... Mentalism and ethics (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

omniberg
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Houston, TX
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I have been lurking this forum for quite a while. I feel I might as well introduce myself and ask a simple yet extremely complex question. I suppose the reason I never posted was due to the fact I'd rather communicate to people in person rather than anonymously on the internet. I always hated texting and the how words can be misconstrued when one doesn't grasp the nuances and mannerisms behind the words. IBM meetings and associations are great but are mostly comprised of magicians and stage performers.

I wouldn't describe myself as a beginner magician or mentalist however I'd be happy to admit I have much more experience with stage illusions than mentalism. On the other hand, I took about 5 years off from any stage shows while attending college and traveling abroad. I studied psychology, interpersonal relationships, and international business while entrancing myself with various cultures. I did stand up comedy, started a business to help men "pick-up" women, and continued studying academic journals about jury selection, body language, and eye cues while entering law school. I an an avid reader and engulf myself with the "matrix" of interpersonal relationships daily.

When I first picked up mentalism and read through all the material it seemed so simple. Little did I know I started my journey into mentalism years before picking up a book on obtaining personal information on the spot ( not sure if I am allowed to name various ways). The thing is; I believe, without being egotistical, that one's acting ability and presentation is 99% of any effect when presenting a personal mental effect. My personality never changed at all when starting mentalism because I loved and still do enjoy studying psychology, body language, and interactions between people.

MY QUESTIONS:

Because I am so congruent with my real self by studying for 6 years in hopes of eventually becoming a top trial lawyer or even working with the FBI (undergrad) and basically branding myself as a psychological guru with women, when I perform a simple cold read and name revelation through "psychological means;" I mislead people into thinking I am the most amazing body reading expert in the world ( This really sounds egotistical but it's something that bothers me). I have many people that genuinely believe I can pull out letter by letter or cold read some image they drew by reading psychological signs. Don't get me wrong. If you have never delved into such things, it is possible but not anywhere foolproof as a __________ to get information. The bottom line is... I am making connections with people based on the fact they think I can pick up on cues which are ultimately impossible to pick up on. Even with years of studying, facials tics, eye movements, criminology, psychological perceptions, etc.... it doesn't compare to the techniques we use.

Am I preying on these people, even though I always explain it's "trickery" and "anyone can learn it through years of studying psychology" -------

I have people I consider friends believing I am either some expert in psychology or people that think I have some sort of " spiritual intuition" beyond this earth. (All ******** of course) I straight up tell them I am full of ******** and they argue with me. Without revealing how I can cold read someone ( by bsing ) and then reveal a name through some technique

How can I get this monkey off my back. Or am I forever to be known as the intuitive body reading expert until someone discovers I am some charlatan?

Btw this is not addressing corp performances, gigs, or anything of that matter but rather people you see regularly through bars etc... or close-up mentalism in a local city.


Regards
parmenion
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Sorry to hear you are a charlatan!
I hope you'll recovery soon.
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
<BR>Oscar Wilde experimentaliste <br>
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IAIN
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All I see is someone at odds with himself... feelings of pressure, worship and trying to constantly to live up to a label that you intially encouraged, and then felt that same label slowly wrap and contort around you...overwhelmed...

it comes across that you are bothered by ego, and are examining whether its becoming a thorn in your side, rather than a tool to help you overcome your inital (and probably long-forgotten shyness)...remember that kid? might be time to rediscover those fragments of self you left behind or changed - and instead of building over him, embrace him a little, the humility, the honesty, and to let go of past insecurities in a healthy way...

you obviously want to help people, and have focused on helping out those who you maybe even remind you of your 'past-self'...could it be that the newer you can sometimes act as a shield, an impressive wall that lets you interact and 'gain', yet still protect yourself just a little...when ultimately you are seeking true, humble, honest and positive connections between you and others...

maybe its time to put those tools away, to remove those labels kindly, and allow your true self to be seen again...but this time, you know you have grown, and its time to change just a little...we always travel a little further than we realise, and its only by looking back, examining the past that we come to terms with that...

what we believe to be true - is true in our own little world(s)...
I've asked to be banned
Jeff J.
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At least your humble...
Mindpro
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Sounds like you created what is now your own guilt. The first rule of performing is you have to beieve and commit to your abilities and performances. What is funny to me is many mentalists today take the psychological route you've taken because of the lack of guilt and commitment to being a psychic mentalist.

Call it magician's guilt or just plain guilt, you've created this scenario and it itself leads people to what they want to think, and that is ultimately what you've led them to think by the approach you are taking to what you are doing.

If you are not performing corporate or onstage, where do you use this? If you are not making a living doing this and are unconfortable with it and yourself, then stop doing it.

It's not the art, it seems to be you that you are having to come to terms with, it is the psychological methods and approach and yourself - being a lawyer (I'd be more concerned about that morally - sorry Bob Cassidy), the whole pick up girls thing seems shadier than the mentalism as well. Seems like there is a pattern here. At least mentalism is about entertainment. You seem to be more concerned about perception and legitimacy. Perhaps change your mentalism to something you can more easily reconcile such as memory work, personailty tests, readings (although some have the same concerns too), etc.
innercirclewannabe
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Do you not find it a paradox that you have a problem in how the public perceive your "abilities", but you have no problem in setting up a business to help men become "pick up artist"?
Tá sé ach cleas má dhéanann tú sé cuma mhaith ar cheann.
Simon (Ted) Edwards
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From what I can tell, being a pick-up artist is more about selfishly tricking people into helping you with your boasting rights, selfish sexual gratification and possibly increasing your self-esteem (although it probably has the opposite effect).

Anyone who is not a psychopath would probably feel guilt when behaving like this, so the good news is you're not an emotionally-devoid freak!

T.
Adam Fraise
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I have experienced many people criticising mentalists for exactly this sort of thing - eg doing a trick and claiming it is some deep psychological skill. But I don't recall hearing anyone worrying about it in themselves.
Dr Spektor
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Key: You are working with the people you are performing for to have ENTERTAINMENT AND WONDER. They KNOW you are being deceptive and they are trusting you to do it in a way that doesn't MANIPULATE THEM IN A NEGATIVE WAY. Then there is no guilt. You get guilt if you think you are doing something to someone without their consent, or on them instead of with them, and if you are trying to fool people what you are doing is really real.

IMHO
"They are lean and athirst!!!!"
mindshrink
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We are all actors,the world is a stage.........
cafeinst
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Omniberg,

I just did a book test from Penn and Teller's book "Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends" on a close friend 2 nights ago and my friend is convinced I'm psychic, even though I told my friend it is a trick. This seems to be the nature of mentalism - even though you tell the people that it's a trick, they still don't believe you. Or they don't want to believe you. This doesn't seem to be the case with non-mentalism magic.

Using my own powers of mentalism, it seems to me that you have a case of Jewish guilt. If I am correct, then the only way to cure this is to learn Torah. You can start here: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cd......t-32.htm

The upshot is that as long as you are telling people that you are doing just tricks and you are not for real, then you are OK. You can't control what they believe. But if you are playing it for real, you'll never get the monkey of your back.

PM me if you want.
Tom Jorgenson
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You may consider my way out. I've listed it here before, but don't know when or where:

"If it can be done, there's a way to do it. If you know the way, it is science, if you don't, it's magic."

Or, you can just tell a truth about what you do: "I use many methods to perceive truth. Some you can study and learn, which I have, and some are deep trade secrets we cannot reveal. Some do rely on subconscious apperception, but none of my methods are what you'd call 'psychic'".

I'd say stop 'BSing' and find the truth in what you do and stand behind that. That way, no guilt, no misleading. Have fun.
We dance an invisible dance to music they cannot hear.
omniberg
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Houston, TX
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Thank's for the variety of responses. As far as helping men with women, I didn't see any ethical issue in it. I believe it benefited guys far more than throwing money at some shrink just because they are naturally introverted. At the time I was engaged so sexual gratification was out of the way; I believe personal gratification of running a business and monetary gain would be the most "evil" and perhaps could be synonym with boosting self-esteem... is that freakish lol?

----------------------------------------------------

As far as what you said Tom, I think you hit the nail on the head. Preying on susceptible individuals is the last thing I want and try to avoid at all costs. I think throwing in "deep trade secrets" to the scattered few individuals that grasp on to some far fetched idea about you is the best you are going to get. As far as bs'ing I was referring to the methods of slowly revealing information in which you already know; thanks again. Yes, It was just playing with my head last night. Mostly, because of an encounter I had with someone while performing at a club. (Edit: To be more specific I believe I crossed the line outside of my boundaries, accidentally, and brought a guy to tears ) I am sure the alcohol played a role in this guilt association and most likely played a role on the person I was performing for. Anyways, I hope I didn't stir the pot; my posts in the future won't be so heavy. Case closed.

Regards
Scott Burton
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I do want to be "real" as much as I can. Thus why I connect "the power of the mind" with my own endurance challenges. For example, in a couple of weeks, I'm doing a 24-hour non-stop solo run around a 4.2 km loop to bring together the community to support a local charity. When I speak of motivation and achieving the (perceived to be) impossible, I speak from the heart and am 100% congruent with my personality and experiences. It feels best to be honest IMO. When I do mentalism for entertainment, I make no claims of the supernatural.
landmark
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within a triangle
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I think you're asking good questions. Ultimately you will have to frame your performance in the way that makes you feel most comfortable. No matter what others may think, I think that the stance of "frankly, what I am doing is bs, but entertaining bs," is a perfectly viable one. If you've followed the career of Derren Brown since the beginning of his fame, you'll see his stance has shifted several times.
Shrubsole
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I used to make a big deal about things like this and would go out of my way to say that what I did was not a special power. Now whilst I am still very much anti-charlatans, I don't see that it's my job to stop people thinking a whole range of things that they probably already thought long before meeting me.

Now I don't make a big deal of this imagined problem: I'm an entertainment; book me, I turn up and hopefully entertain. I'm not running a local meeting place for believers of anything. I provide no after show explanation: you watch, you think whatever you like.

I have found that you will not change anyone's mind who has already decided before the show what it is you do and how you do it. At least not with the extremists at either end of the spectrum. The Believers and the Sceptics.

If you come out of my show interested, intrigued and entertained then that's my job done.
Winner of the Dumbringer Award for total incompetence. (All years)
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