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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Penn & Teller VS Mentalism (36 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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miistermagico
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How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community?
PhilDean
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Quote:
On Aug 18, 2017, Djin wrote:
Penn is also a vociferous atheist. He seems to take positions to the effect of "I don't believe in anything beyond the proven physical world, so no one else should either." I think that he lumps all belief in anything other than cold hard science into the realm of superstition.

Frankly, everyone has a right to their own beliefs. That includes sceptics just as much as it includes the religious faithful. That said, I find it just as annoying to be preached at by the likes of Penn and Randi as I do to have door to door pitches for my soul from the various denominations that roam the bible belt (I live in the South, it's just part of life.) In fact I find the aggressive atheists to be more pushy in general. (I always give the Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists a few moments of my time as a common courtesy. Just because I'm not going to convert is no reason to be rude.) When you say thanks but no thanks to them, they generally politely move on. Tell an "evangelical athiest" anything other than what he thinks he knows is true and he's loudly and relentlessly calling you an idiot.

I do think that Penn (and Randi before him) are bad for mentalism. I think that the well pitched and widely distributed anti mentalism message erodes the public's willingness to suspend disbelief for the few moments it takes to enjoy a show. Likewise, the public becomes less willing to open up to the help that a reader may bring them.

Mentalists create effects... and the audience experiences magic. The feeling within a person who experiences a well performed mentalist's effect is nothing short of truly magical. By crapping on mentalism, magicians are making the world a less magical place.


That's a misconception. If you bother to watch any of his Q and A's (especially recent ones) you'll see he actually dislikes proselytising of any sort, and that he has great respect for many Christians and people of faith. He talks about the BS show they did, where they expected nasty reactions on certain subjects from Christians and instead he got nothing but lovely messages from them which changed his opinion on the whole matter. So while he personally doesn't believe, he has no problem with those who do and doesn't expect them to 'be like he is'.

Also, I don't think anyone is 'bad' for mentalism, whether it be Randi or Penn or anyone. The kind of people who worry about others negative opinions are the ones who most likely fail. I know this from experience. I've worked in many forms of entertainment (still do) and have had older performers tell me all sorts of negative things about my acts, included the dreaded 'you're never gonna make it'. If I'd listened to them, or worried about changing what I do and how that works without valid reason to (spoiler : a negative opinion isn't always a valid reason) I'd probably still be working in call centers. So if you want to be a reader - *** the skeptics. Just go do it and do it the way you want to do it. If you want to be a thought reader, same deal. It's all about you, not other people.

Rant over haha!
Max Hazy
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I wouldn't say Penn isn't a fan of mentalism. There were many mentalism performances that he loved (being fooled or not). I think he isn't a fan of charlatans and, as we all know, we have much more of those in mentalism than in magic. That is what I think may give the impression that he's not a fan of mentalism (which I don't think is the case).

Quote:
On Sep 8, 2016, Alan Wheeler wrote:
Many magicians grow up to be Mentalists.

Many Mentalists grow up to be Real Readers.

Not a path everyone follows--as Penn & Teller prove--but, I'm guessing, it's a fairly common evolution.


This comment in particular called my attention, as my interests grew in that precise direction. In my case it's not a "path" actually, as I didn't "became" the other categories. Today I do magic for kids and mentalism/readings for adults. I think it's pretentious to call it "evolution" though, specially because the pure mentalist with no ground in magic will most likely not have as many tools/solutions compared to a performer who was a magician before turning into a mentalist. I often find even famous intelligent mentalists relying to things much less simple and restrictive than some magician tools (e.g. I've seem a situation where several prepared cards that couldn't be handled by participant could be replaced by a single mercury fold and no further preparation). Plus, we change based on how our criteria change. My reasons for going in that direction can be completely different from the reasons of those who happened to follow the same path. Not to mention that we also have the other way around (mentalists starting to incorporate "magic" to what they do).
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Sven Rygh
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On Sep 12, 2016, Necromancer wrote:
They were extremely kind to The Evasons on a recent Fool Us episode, and effusive in their praise. I'd say they showed real respect for mentalism performed skillfully (without claims).


They also treated Nick Einhorn, who fooled them badly with his chair test btw, very well, - and with great respect
SJINIF
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I suspect that Penn believes, as a few others do, that there is an inherent dishonesty in claiming psychic powers when performing mentalism routines. Being followers of James Randi, one has to suspect that Penn has an ingrained penchant for debunking what he believes or interprets to be abusive behavior by performers. Moreover, some (not performers of our art, per sé, but charlatans) have preyed on the innocent and often even hurt their victims emotionally, not to mention financially, delving into private and tender issues in their subjects' private lives. Is it not more challenging and entertaining to admit one can't read minds and perform an effect that may lead the audience to think otherwise? I suspect the diverging opinions, approaches and styles are what make our art so varied and entertaining.
RiBo
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I suspect that Penn believes, as a few others do, that there is an inherent dishonesty in claiming psychic powers when performing mentalism routines.


One of the recent documentaries - perhaps the one on Randi called "An Honest Liar?" - highlighted the relationship between Penn and Randi.

This is an interesting subject to me. Objectively, all magicians are liars. It's what magicians do - tell you one thing, do another, and amaze through some sort of subterfuge. And strictly speaking, that's probably a fairly concise description of mentalists as well. So why the differentiation? Why should a Mentalist give a disclaimer while a magician has no such expectation?

I have to think it goes back to performers that claim real powers and use said powers to dupe people. "Psychics" who claim they can communicate with the dead is a perfect example, preying upon their "clients" emotions and making money while doing so. But magicians have historically done the same sort of thing as well. Why the double standard? The Mentalist as a performer isn't inherently evil nor dishonest, at least no more than a magician.
jstreiff
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Those who are new here might want to search the existing postings on this topic. It is not an exaggeration to say it has been discussed in hundreds of posts. It is a common discussion that has been going on for decades. And it is something every newcomer to mentalism must answer for themselves. The one thing that seems crystal clear from all that has been written and said is that there is no one 'right' answer.
John
Djin
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On Aug 18, 2017, miistermagico wrote:
How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community?


One of the best readers of humans I've ever known wasn't a performer, though he could have been. He had grown up in and around his family's bar. He'd grown up watching and listening. He could spot sincerity or its absence, he could read the most subtle of signs. Had he been inclined to read palms, gaze into a ball or to cast cards he could have convincingly peered "into the minds" of his audience. His educational bona fides included a high school diploma from a rural public school, but I recognise his expertise as being on par with or in places ahead of any accredited professor.

Wisdom is where you find it.
Max Hazy
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On Aug 18, 2017, miistermagico wrote:
How does a reader become an expert in human behavior? Is this reader's expertise recognized in their profession by other professionals and their peers? Have they been tested, supported or even validated by the scientific community?


So far there isn't an official way to measure it.

Think like this: Hypnosis will NEVER be accepted scientifically because the scientific method tells us that an action under the same circunstancies must produce the same results. People have different minds so, even if hypnosis works with different people in different ways, it's already not scientifically accepted for having different circunstancies. Yet, if people see you hipnotize a lot of people at the same time and you've been doing it for 30 years... they will easily accept that you're an expert/master at it.

This is something we can take advantage off, particularly for marketing. So answering your question, how to be recognized for what you do will only be answered based on what you know and what you're able to do.

Furthermore, there are people who are post-graduated and are not that good in what they do. They just wanted the written recognition and that is apparent when they are put to test... think about it.

In the end, actions speaks louder and I agree with Djin: Wisdom is where you find it.
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
Philemon Vanderbeck
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Certain types of hypnosis have been studied scientifically, and there are researchers who believe there is some validity to what it does.

I would argue that most "stage hypnosis," however, isn't that type of hypnosis (although there are some subjects that indeed "go under").
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
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Max Hazy
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Quote:
On Aug 26, 2017, Philemon Vanderbeck wrote:
Certain types of hypnosis have been studied scientifically, and there are researchers who believe there is some validity to what it does.

I would argue that most "stage hypnosis," however, isn't that type of hypnosis (although there are some subjects that indeed "go under").


Absolutely agreed. That was just to illustrate.
Psychic powers also have been scientifically studied and also had researchers who believed it as real (even though it was not, Banachek being the most apparent example to come to mind).

In the end, in our case, being called/acknowledged/recognized as an expert/master will depend exclusively on our knowledge/experience/capabilities. But as we can see in the academic area, written recognition doesn't mean that someone really earn/deserve it. Personally, I think it has more positive than negative aspects.
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
jstreiff
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Sorry Banacheck is a very poor example and not illustrative of the general case in psi research. The broader base of psi research demonstrates effects attributable to psi at statistical levels exceeding six Sigma. The effects are as well demonstrated as effects in the social sciences and exceeding the significance of some biopharma research. See: http://noetic.org/research/psi-research
John
Max Hazy
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On Aug 27, 2017, jstreiff wrote:
Sorry Banacheck is a very poor example and not illustrative of the general case in psi research.


You completely missed the point. I wasn't trying to illustrate the general case in psi research. The Banachek example was focused on the "belief" not on the research. I was illustrating that you don't have to have a written diploma claiming that you're an expert to actually be recognized as an expert in our case. The same goes for other situations, not just being an "expert". Check my second post in this page and hopefully you'll understand.
"Your method is in my opinion the very best way to do Q&A"
Millard Longman

"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
Jan Forster


Arcane Grimoires Vol 1- http://www.maxhazy.com/arcane-grimoires/apocryphal-reach/

Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
Djin
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Jstreiff, that is a great link. I just skimmed it and bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for posting that.
Stunninger
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On Aug 27, 2017, Djin wrote:
Jstreiff, that is a great link. I just skimmed it and bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks for posting that.


+1. I've often wondered if there is any credible research demonstrating psi phenomena really exist. Apparently there is.
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