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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » Pygmalion Effects: Reality as an Art by Aaron Alexander (26 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Your Thinking Cap
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I received my book last Thursday, and decided to take the time to share my thoughts about it.

To most, Aaron Alexander is an unknown name. To the select group who have taken the plunge and purchased Pygmalion Effects, he is a name that will never be forgotten.

Aaron offers a unique perspective in that he developed his material independent of the magic and mentalism communities. Instead of drawing upon sleight of hand, he drew upon his research of ritual experience. The results allow for stunning miracles to happen.

Imagine... pushing someone without touching them. Doing everything you could do with a rope... with an invisible rope. Conducting a surreal surgery that syncs up the movements of the participant with yours.

These effects are not pipe dreams: they are but a mere snapshot of what is possible with Aaron's original processes. Contrary to any assumptions you might have made, these effects are 100 percent reliable and I can attest to their effectiveness: I have already used Push and the Invisible Rope to great success.

Important to note is that the book offers much more than effects. The effects are but examples of the original mindset and principles that Aaron has developed masterfully to the level of an art. With it, the gateway to create thousands of effects is opened.

With PE, the performer does not perform for someone, but with someone; it's not about what control you can exert over a person, but the shift in reality that you can both experience together. And, a shift in reality is exactly what happens. PE is a fluid process that allows you to enter a space that has traditionally been inaccessible. In this space, the impossible can happen.

Not hypnosis. Not suggestion. Not sleight of hand. Pure, concentrated moments of impossibility.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough and hope that others enjoy it as thoroughly as I did.
Adam Hince
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I've been using Inivisble Rope and Push from PE in my stage shows recently and I can't highly recommend them enough. Such an amazing experience all around with both of these pieces. If you own the book, please please please try them out. If you do not own the book, I suggested that you do what you can to get your hands on one of the copies.

AH
Mental_Mike
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Loving this book! Push is amazing, but I find myself using psychic surgery the most. There's a couple effects I haven't tried, that I can't wait to use. Using these effects, you will not fail unless the spectator is working against you (happened with a family member once). This is one of those books that I hope stays fairly limited.
Highly Recommended!
eric6
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Yes this book is a marvel. Waiting for PE2 that will see the day more rapidly if enough people show interest if I understood well :
I'm in... Smile
lemonjug
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I'm definitely interested in PE2.

Anyone find a good alternative to the pewter skull Aaron uses in The Skull?

Ray
Your Thinking Cap
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I use a palm sized picture frame. Anything else works too.
lemonjug
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Thanks for the tip.
piyuyu
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I have finally got my PE.

Just wanna thank Aaron for his great customer service!!
Such a humble and nice gentleman.

Looking forward to reading this and all his future releases.
guitarmagic
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Superlative work . . . absolutely rocks the house!!! Aaron is unstoppable in delivering powerfully creative breakthrough performance pieces, methods and techniques. THANKS Aaaon!!!
Why is it that on one side of the world a person looks at a picture of the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks so real." At the same time on the other side of the world a person looks at the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks like a picture."
Magic.Maddy
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This looks SO good. I love magic they can feel. There's no denying that the people in the video genuinely FELT magic. I will be saving up for this one. It will be my next big purchase (if it's still available by the time that happens!)

Good work Aaron! It's very different and new stuff here. Congratulations! Smile


Hopefully some full reviews will come in soon enough! I want to hear about the other effects.
Bill Cushman
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I count myself fortunate to have seen PE and PE2 as it developed. I wrote the intro to Bridge so I may be biased but everything I wrote about Aaron and his work there pertains to PE as well.

Pygmalion Effects is a superb collection of exceptionally hard hitting effects/experiences, much of it propless (other than your participants whose bodies become your "working materials") and all of it open to a wide variety of presentations. Even if you know exactly what is going on the majority of the effects retain their full impact and power. This is rare and is attracting attention among many of the stars of mentalism.
cpbartak
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For those working with this book, a construct that you can use to give the Invisible Rope presentation more meaning is the idea from Huna mysticism of Aka Cords.
Some people hear voices.. Some see invisible people.. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
Rolyan
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I've pre-ordered for his October run. Looking forward to delving deeper; in the meantime I'll look into Aka cords.
MatthewSims
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So many great things in this art, so little little money.

I've had this on my wish list since day one of talking to Aaron. I've had many great conversations with him. He introduced me to Bridge and allowed me to share my thoughts and ideas in Bridge Extended. At times it seems he is on the cutting edge of an entire new art form all together. It's not mentalism, it's not hypnosis.

I asked him one time what he considered what he did to be. His only explanation was that it was the closest thing to real magic he had ever found. I could not agree more.

Thank you Aaron for sharing your wonderful thoughts with us and helping us move forward with progress.

Your friend,
Matthew
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It is with some trepidation that I give my thoughts on Pygmalion Effects. Because the majority may accuse me of being an insider hyping a product, while only a scant few know who I am. I can only say that I brought any suspect thoughts about my motivation on myself mainly because I chose to remain relatively silent in the community due to my own constructs. I'm slowly breaking silence because I believe in Aaron and his way of thinking and believe such work elevates the art and deserves more attention I'll attempt to be as up front and honest as I can

Off the bat I will say I payed for the first version of Pygmalion Effects I received. A large book that has since been broken down into 2? Upon meeting Aaron (for a second time) he surprised me with an updated version. Being extraordinarily generous, he gave me the revised book 1 Reality as an Art of the series. Thank you Aaron, that was exceptionally kind of you. Aaron is constantly updating and revising his work for clarity and ease of reading. So this will be an inside look of his Pygmalion Effects book 1 Reality as an Art. I'd like to say I'd like to keep the information within the book(s) to myself, but that wouldn't be fair to Aaron.

The way I write about the book may make it appear as though it is a stuffy academic text book when in reality I found it to be written with warmth, humor and humanity making it very enjoyable read. While I don't have a way with words the way Aaron does, I hope I don't do a disservice by undermining or misrepresenting the contents within.

Having realized the following synopsis is rather lengthy, I've decided to post it in 2 parts. The following will cover part one of the book, with a follow up post at a later date, will cover the second half, or part 2, of the same book. I guess the following is not really a review as it is a brief look at the contents to help people decide if the book is for them.

To begin we have a lovely introduction from a professor of psychology. She says that while Aaron emphasizes that his book is about "an art and not a science," his work will be of interest to scientists in how it provokes us to think about ideas in perception, wellness and healing. I know this will raise a few eyebrows among magicians. All I can say is think along the lines of the work of neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, or just pick up the book and explore before passing judgement. Aaron's lectures before neuroscientists seems to be gaining interest in their profession. In the end good things can come from this.

The book explains why he chose the title Pygmalion Effects and what it means to him. Reading this I can see he is quite passionate about his work and can see it build and continue on throughout the book. Very touching Aaron.
He also lays out his expectations on what a book on "real magic" would include or bring to the table for the reader and practitioner. With his criteria set forth methods for accomplishing such lofty goals are layered through out the book to ensure the reader has a full understanding of the contents and ideas and is able to achieve success in performance. Upon reading the book I believe he accomplishes his goals quite admirably.
Aaron asks us to eschew the contrivances and preconceived constructs some of us hold, to embrace a new mindset; to create space for an experience to happen instead of compartmentalizing it into one box or another, undermining the experience.
The first part of the book talks about the basics of his method to create something unique. Aaron uses an example situation that encompasses an experience almost all of us has had to emphasize the points he makes. The strange twist to this example situation made the surrealist in me smile. Later in the book Aaron reveals several building blocks to achieve more pragmatic results. But first, two demonstrations are explored that create a magic experience from the basic elements discussed thus far, and boy are they good. You have seen them in Aaron's videos. Yes, you can do this too. All methods discussed are quick reliable and very workable, so the emphasis is focusing on creating experience.
As another way of sharing the ideas, Aaron explores a hypothetical history as a thought experiment.. When I read this I immediately thought about Burger and Neale's 'Magic and Meaning'; (it's just the way my mind went). Aaron allows the reader to reconsider constructs and mindsets that limit certain possibilities in modern (western) thinking. I found this to be a very interesting premise, prior to reading Aaron's work I had an interest in the works of V.S. Ramachandran and can see parallels between the two. He discusses the way people conceive of such things and the very real potential for something more. My opinion this is what the essence of a good performance of real magic can be. A shift towards deeper thinking and unique outlook on the art challenging our own mindset.
Well, that covers part one of the first book in a nut shell. My writing style makes it seem as though the book jumps from one topic to another when in reality it has a foundation, sets basics and uses examples, to aid understanding, and builds upon established criteria. An ulterior motive of my wordiness is to cause readers of this review to say "!@#$ it, I'm not reading all that" and pass over the book. Ha ha. Indeed my machinations are not purely altruistic. (Aaron knows I'm joking). For those still here and interested a look at part two will come at a later date. And I promise I'll throw in a post here or there so as not to be a complete stranger.

I'll finish by attempting to answer who is this book for? Well I could say if you enjoy the writings of Cassidy, Neale, Burger for their scholarly perspective or the works of Finley, Jermay, or Parker for their style of effects, then you will find this informative and fascinating. I believe this would tie in wonderfully with Anthony Jacquin's work on the Imagination Model. If you're well read you may find Aaron's thinking to be consistent with the thoughts of others tying concepts together. I can almost guarantee you will find something that will make you go 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that'; and that will open new doors for you to explore. If you're coming in from a fresh background then you're in for a wonderful ride. In the end the book is about connecting, experiences and creating real magic.
Just want to close by publicly saying Thank you Aaron for allowing me an inside view to your work, for your wonderful perspective and way of connecting. Your friendship means a lot. Keep creating, never stop exploring and always strive for the exquisite. You have a bright future. I'll be watching.
Rolyan
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Having read that I'm looking forward to receiving it even more. I'm hoping it won't be long now until the postman rings twice . Nice review and I look forward to part 2.
Hallucination
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Thank you Rolyan

One of the problems of writing a review is where to shine the light. I want the reader to have enough information to make a judgement call but I don't want to ruin any surprises. I find that one of the joys of reading a good book is discovering things for myself. Pygmalion Effects does have lots of things to discover, and think about and inspire.
If you're anything like myself you'll love reading this book. I'd like to read your view on it when you do read it. In the meantime enjoy the discovery.

Jim
hashtagmagic
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Quote:
On Oct 8, 2014, Hallucination wrote:
It is with some trepidation that I give my thoughts on Pygmalion Effects. Because the majority may accuse me of being an insider hyping a product, while only a scant few know who I am. I can only say that I brought any suspect thoughts about my motivation on myself mainly because I chose to remain relatively silent in the community due to my own constructs. I'm slowly breaking silence because I believe in Aaron and his way of thinking and believe such work elevates the art and deserves more attention I'll attempt to be as up front and honest as I can

Off the bat I will say I payed for the first version of Pygmalion Effects I received. A large book that has since been broken down into 2? Upon meeting Aaron (for a second time) he surprised me with an updated version. Being extraordinarily generous, he gave me the revised book 1 Reality as an Art of the series. Thank you Aaron, that was exceptionally kind of you. Aaron is constantly updating and revising his work for clarity and ease of reading. So this will be an inside look of his Pygmalion Effects book 1 Reality as an Art. I'd like to say I'd like to keep the information within the book(s) to myself, but that wouldn't be fair to Aaron.

The way I write about the book may make it appear as though it is a stuffy academic text book when in reality I found it to be written with warmth, humor and humanity making it very enjoyable read. While I don't have a way with words the way Aaron does, I hope I don't do a disservice by undermining or misrepresenting the contents within.

Having realized the following synopsis is rather lengthy, I've decided to post it in 2 parts. The following will cover part one of the book, with a follow up post at a later date, will cover the second half, or part 2, of the same book. I guess the following is not really a review as it is a brief look at the contents to help people decide if the book is for them.

To begin we have a lovely introduction from a professor of psychology. She says that while Aaron emphasizes that his book is about "an art and not a science," his work will be of interest to scientists in how it provokes us to think about ideas in perception, wellness and healing. I know this will raise a few eyebrows among magicians. All I can say is think along the lines of the work of neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran, or just pick up the book and explore before passing judgement. Aaron's lectures before neuroscientists seems to be gaining interest in their profession. In the end good things can come from this.

The book explains why he chose the title Pygmalion Effects and what it means to him. Reading this I can see he is quite passionate about his work and can see it build and continue on throughout the book. Very touching Aaron.
He also lays out his expectations on what a book on "real magic" would include or bring to the table for the reader and practitioner. With his criteria set forth methods for accomplishing such lofty goals are layered through out the book to ensure the reader has a full understanding of the contents and ideas and is able to achieve success in performance. Upon reading the book I believe he accomplishes his goals quite admirably.
Aaron asks us to eschew the contrivances and preconceived constructs some of us hold, to embrace a new mindset; to create space for an experience to happen instead of compartmentalizing it into one box or another, undermining the experience.
The first part of the book talks about the basics of his method to create something unique. Aaron uses an example situation that encompasses an experience almost all of us has had to emphasize the points he makes. The strange twist to this example situation made the surrealist in me smile. Later in the book Aaron reveals several building blocks to achieve more pragmatic results. But first, two demonstrations are explored that create a magic experience from the basic elements discussed thus far, and boy are they good. You have seen them in Aaron's videos. Yes, you can do this too. All methods discussed are quick reliable and very workable, so the emphasis is focusing on creating experience.
As another way of sharing the ideas, Aaron explores a hypothetical history as a thought experiment.. When I read this I immediately thought about Burger and Neale's 'Magic and Meaning'; (it's just the way my mind went). Aaron allows the reader to reconsider constructs and mindsets that limit certain possibilities in modern (western) thinking. I found this to be a very interesting premise, prior to reading Aaron's work I had an interest in the works of V.S. Ramachandran and can see parallels between the two. He discusses the way people conceive of such things and the very real potential for something more. My opinion this is what the essence of a good performance of real magic can be. A shift towards deeper thinking and unique outlook on the art challenging our own mindset.
Well, that covers part one of the first book in a nut shell. My writing style makes it seem as though the book jumps from one topic to another when in reality it has a foundation, sets basics and uses examples, to aid understanding, and builds upon established criteria. An ulterior motive of my wordiness is to cause readers of this review to say "!@#$ it, I'm not reading all that" and pass over the book. Ha ha. Indeed my machinations are not purely altruistic. (Aaron knows I'm joking). For those still here and interested a look at part two will come at a later date. And I promise I'll throw in a post here or there so as not to be a complete stranger.

I'll finish by attempting to answer who is this book for? Well I could say if you enjoy the writings of Cassidy, Neale, Burger for their scholarly perspective or the works of Finley, Jermay, or Parker for their style of effects, then you will find this informative and fascinating. I believe this would tie in wonderfully with Anthony Jacquin's work on the Imagination Model. If you're well read you may find Aaron's thinking to be consistent with the thoughts of others tying concepts together. I can almost guarantee you will find something that will make you go 'Oh, I hadn't thought of that'; and that will open new doors for you to explore. If you're coming in from a fresh background then you're in for a wonderful ride. In the end the book is about connecting, experiences and creating real magic.
Just want to close by publicly saying Thank you Aaron for allowing me an inside view to your work, for your wonderful perspective and way of connecting. Your friendship means a lot. Keep creating, never stop exploring and always strive for the exquisite. You have a bright future. I'll be watching.


TLDR: My review is unbiased. Aaron gave me a free book.
aalexander
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Quote:
On Oct 10, 2014, hashtagmagic wrote:
TLDR: My review is unbiased. Aaron gave me a free book.

Sorry to butt in, this is just a perfect moment to explain how I try to operate:

To be clear, nobody got a free copy. Case in point: he probably doesn't know it, but "Hallucination" was the first person to buy a copy of PE (Alpha) back when it was a 430 page behemoth. I did not know him prior that, there were no reviews and, as I come from a different background, not a single performer anywhere knew who I was. I'm not sure, but I think he saw a clip from an old lecture and emailed me. After spending a year or so fixing up that version, I made sure that anyone that took a chance with the older copy would also get the polished book that I had originally set out to write.

Complete disclosure now: Of the final version, I gave only 2 copies out for no money, both from the first small run. One was for a huge stack of high-quality material, the other was a very special case. There were no review copies, no advertising or promotion, or anything but the work speaking for itself through the people who own it. Otherwise, in 2012 I sent copies of the older book to a panel of about 10 experts in various fields (including Bill, as he implied) for detailed comments and advice that would not be shared with anyone but me.

All of that said, nobody has to take a blind chance on my material. Anyone who is considering getting a copy can see an unlisted private page with full details and honest unpublished reviews, and I openly answer all questions (not the ones in my signature). It should always be honest and transparent, just not public.

tl;dr: When you spend a good fraction of your years on a particular project, you handle its fruits with a certain care and integrity - both on and off of the written page. I'm no exception. I hope everyone with any of my work will expect the same level of accountability that "Hallucination" was talking about.

-Aaron.
jaymeswhite1219
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I think I am going to buy Bridge and once I read that I am going to get Pygmalion.
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