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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » "If you really posses psychic powers, then why aren't you a billionare?" (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Tantrik
Ah, yes. The old, "If you can read the future, why ain't you rich?" conundrum.

As soon as you try to answer this question in any way, you have lost the argument and made yourself look bad.

The problem with the question is that it makes a certain set of assumptions, including:

1) If you can see the future you can see everything that is going to happen in the future. (This goes along with the "Why didn't you predict ______?" question.)

2) You are only interested in money and the acquisition of money.

3) The person asking the questions is entitled to determine how natural law should work, rather than natural law determining how people, wanting to live in the real world, should think.

The person who has asked you such questions is living in a certain paradigm of how the universe and everything in it should work. If you attempt to answer the question you are trying to fit into his or her paradigm.

So rather than answer the question and fall into the logical trap they have (knowingly or unknowingly) set for you, I would turn it around.

If you're psychic, why ain't you rich?
Why would I want to be rich? Is that your only goal in life, to be rich? Don't you care about people, about art, about beauty, about health, about the spirit? Or is your only concern money?

Of course, depending upon the person, I might not word it in this way. But it gets the person (and any audience) out of thinking in the false paradigm of the way they think paranormal abilities should or do work.
Lee Darrow
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Profile of Lee Darrow
One way to deal with this is to note that, with SO many people trying to succeed, the weight of their combined and conflicting concentration is too great for anyone to overcome and influence to any great extent.

You could then go on into a cause and effect commentary, discussing the changes that even one, slight shift in variables might have and the dire consequences that could result of one actually taking advantage of such an ability.

"Yesterday, I drank a cup of green tea and prevented a war." - Chuang Tzu (IIRC).

Everything's connected and, because someone knows one facet of the possible future also means that they might understand the outcomes of their acting on it too directly.

Just some thoughts on the idea.

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
Steve Hoffman
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Profile of Steve Hoffman
How about performing as an entertainer -- mental magic, someone who performs illusions using information the way a regular magician creates illusions using physical objects?

This is approach Banachek takes, and I admire it.

Or take Osterlind's approach, discussed in his excellent DVD series. He does not disclaim psychic powers, but he does not CLAIM them either. He simply performs effects where he stresses the impossibility of what's about to happen, and then he makes it happen.

I don't think Blackstone claimed he could literally saw a woman in half and put her back together again. Although on stage he did it night after night, and it looked quite real, and the audience was thrilled. Nevertheless, his audience did not ask him why, if he could perform such miracles, he didn't use his powers to heal amputees.

I would analogize to mentalism and mental magic. Don't get in a situation where you're claiming psychic powers.

Steve Hoffman
Takoma Park MD
Scott Grimm
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"If you win big in the lottery once, they don't let you play anymore after that."

"If you can do these things, money can not get you anything that the development of these abilities won't."
Faith is at the heart of all magic.
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Profile of Anabelle
For some people I would answer "because It's an illusion what I've done, a mental illusion," for others I would just say "ethics" or "I am" like someone already said.

Anabelle Smile
Nir Dahan
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You can get some sense of what people think - vague mind reading, but the funny lottery machine is not human - it has no "mind" in that sense - obviously you can't read it...

if you use this line just make sure that all your effects are connected to predicting/reading/influencing what PEOPLE do and not just a headline prediction from a newspaper.

John LeBlanc
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On 2003-12-16 14:20, Steve Hoffman wrote:
How about performing as an entertainer -- mental magic, someone who performs illusions using information the way a regular magician creates illusions using physical objects?

This is approach Banachek takes, and I admire it.

I think it's admirable, too, not because I agree with it, but because I know that's the way Banachek is in real life. He's demonstrating integrity.

Or take Osterlind's approach, discussed in his excellent DVD series. He does not disclaim psychic powers, but he does not CLAIM them either. He simply performs effects where he stresses the impossibility of what's about to happen, and then he makes it happen.

This is the road I take. My experience tells me this: those who truly believe in paranormal stuff are unlikely to be persuaded by anything you do or say anyway. You can do a trick and then explain it and it will not stick.

For those who no more believe paranormal stuff than they do the idea that Elvis is still alive, nothing you do or say is going to persuade them otherwise.

Then there are the widest group: those for whom the jury is still out. They aren't convinced one way or another and they're not likely to be fully convinced one way or another, regardless anything you do or way.

Barry Stevens titled her book "Don't Push the River" -- and I think it's a swell thing to consider.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
Escamoteurettes, my blog.

"One thought fills immensity." -- William Blake
Chad Sanborn
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"who says I am not"?
"Actually I can only see events that have started and are too late to change. My mind makes connections and assumptions about current events and then sees there logical conclusion. that's how I record a prediction. As for the lottery, I have tried to see it but it is such a random, disconnected event, that its impossible to see until the drawing starts. But by then its too late to by a ticket."

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Profile of drwilson
When I was in Las Vegas, my psychic show included psychometry. When people would ask why I didn't use my psychic powers in a casino, I told them that I tried playing a slot machine in a casino once, but when I touched the handle, I felt a terrible sadness, so much desire for money and sorrow over loss, so much bitterness and hopelessness, that I just couldn't touch the thing for long. And everyone knows that if you do too well at the table games they run you out of there...

So now I just use the gift to help people...


Scott Xavier
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I read minds, I don't predict the future.
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Profile of Watercooler
I think John W. LeBlanc raises a good point that the answer may be to try and avoid the question in the first place with a careful presentation style.

If people detect that you are trying to hard to convince them of your 'powers' they might naturally resist the idea. Hold back, let the effects do the talking and allow the spectator to feel like the decision is theirs whether you have certain 'powers' or not.

Generally speaking I find people are more willing to buy into ideas like body language than mythical powers such as telepathy.
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Profile of Dr_Stephen_Midnight
My response...and it

"Whew...I wish it DID work that way, I really do; I wouldn't be entertaining for funds.
Mine is a 'wild' talent however, there's little or no control with precognition. I meditate, hoping to draw in visions, and I record what I see...that's it.
I really do hope someday to 'see' the numbers 6-12-22-25-33-46 + 21 and hear 'this Friday's Mega-Millions.'"

Dr. Lao: "Do you know what wisdom is?"
Mike: "No."
Dr. Lao: "Wise answer."
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Profile of freddyz
To echo the previous post, I've normally say one of two things.

"Belive me, I'm working on it."


"I'm good, but I'm not that good."

Another good tactic is to head them off at the pass. YOU bring the subject up as a matter of course early in demonstrations, with the caveat, "Now what I'm going to do is very hard to control. I wish I could--because frankly, I'd be rich. But let's see how I do now ..."

You're now in control of the situation, and if they harp on it, you can shrug and agree.
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Profile of DanielLove
I have a few stock phrases and responses to this, depending on the mood and character you are dealing with.
Maybe the best "all rounder" I've found is to use this as a springboard to perform an effect where you can then reveal a participants PIN number or Credit Card details - adding something like "well I'm still collection the information I need" and "the great thing is most people don't really believe, so it's all the more easy when I walk away with a head full of useful details"

So it's kind of good to make a light hearted "now I have your bank details I'm one step closer" kind of statement.

Another angle I've used (but it's probably because of my surname) is "well I've always spent too much time using this skill on the ladys and frankly I'm too knackered by the end of it all to focus on anything else"

or steal the participants wallet shortly after they say this saying something like "i'll tell you later" - then when the time comes to leave simply hand back the wallet and say "In answer to your question earlier, it's because I'm too honest."

There are so many differen types of people out there and one standard response is too limiting, the "cheeky lads" are going to respond well to the answer about sex and women, the professional buisnessmen tend to like a wallet steal or pin number revelation,
I think it's all about being adaptive to who and where you are performing - but then som much is.
Chad Sanborn
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If you are looking for a good answer go to a trusted professional. The Amazing Kreskin addresses this very issue on his website.
Its a great answer that we can all learn from and is close to one given here at the Café. You can actually learn a lot from his and others performers websites. (not just other magician/mentalists either)
Things like often asked questions and answers to how to handle the press and get publicity.

ps...look at articles and websites about notable psychics like Sylvia Browne. I am sure people have asked them similar questions and they probably address them with a great answer.
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Profile of Dr.Morton
Here is my piece of advice (for what it is worth).
1.Do not use simple stock phrases if you do not like to sound like a used car salesman.
2. In "The Compleat Principia Mentalia" Bob Cassidy introduces us to "Riding the web". It is a small treatese of how he explains how his powers work. Every serious mentalist who wants to appear genuine should devise a similar background for his work. If you claim to know the future then you will have to proove it, anytime, anywhere. If that is not possible, you should define your powers differently.
3. Sometimes saying nothing (and smile just a bit) is the best way of dealing with poeple. Let them do the work.
It is not enough to be without thoughts,
one should also be unable to express them.
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Profile of Osiris
On 2003-12-15 22:19, John W. LeBlanc wrote:
Lee Earle has written more than once about the dangers of things like headline predictions and such. 9/11 has become quite a sticking point for "future readers."

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX

Well, I did predict the 9/11 WTC events on live radio about 30 days prior to it happening. No, I wasn't 100% on the mark but the remarks that I made brought about a significant sense of parallel that many people noticed and for that reason, became a part and parcel of my resume'... even to the point of gaining some limited media attention.

Fortunately my habits as a Reader bring about some logical conclusions in the minds of my patrons, as to why I'm not another Howard Hughes -- I rarely charge more than $50.00 for the average session and too, if I'm doing "Healing Work" I only take barters e.g. gifts; typically tobacco, crystals, a nice home cooked meal, etc. This is very much in line to the way of the traditional Shaman or spiritual healer. It also sets up another logical excuse i.e. "Because I serve as a channel to the Divine I cannot profit by it less I will lose the gifts." This keeps my meek and humbled persona in check (yea, right!) and generates a greater sense of trust and respect for me by my clients as well as those they refer to me.

Long ago, in the early 80s, when I first started experimenting with Mentalism, I found myself in total shock and ill-prepared having folks corner me after my show and asking for Readings, Blessings, etc. People wanted me to become their guru and I certainly wasn't ready for such a role (looking back at it, I probably should have... I really would be a billionare by now... Read John Rigg's "Messiah Process" to see just how easy it would be.) Fortunately, I had learned prior to this, that I did not want to join the ranks of "religious" con artists, as was the traditions within my family. I just had far too much integrity for such dirty work. So I immeadiately ran back to the safety of my illusion show for another ten years, before coming back to this side of the craft, which I now love.
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Profile of owenscott
"Who says I'm not" ..........
Or for a shrink response "Thats right, how COME I am not a billionaire ???" all the times staring into their eyes and shaking your head YES.
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Profile of teejay
On 2003-12-15 13:32, drosenbe0813 wrote:
To get this thread back on a more serious nature,

Do we have to???
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