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RCP
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On Oct 21, 2017, Godzilla wrote:
That RCP fella, 'DOES KNOW', Jack ! Smile


actually it was Jill I knew Smile nice to see you posting again Godzilla
Amirá
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Personally, I define Mentalism as:

"Mystery Performance in which the entertainer exhibits special mind abilities in a realistic and credible manner"

That simple definition covers both the natural demonstration (rapid calculations, body language, etc) and the more supernatural ones. I came form the school of thought of Bob, in which credibility is essential to the practice of Mentalism. For that same reason the difference between a Mental Magician and a Mentalist in our understanding is fundamental.
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funsway
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I like that definition, Amira, but don't the demonstrations of the proclaimed Mentalist and the Conjuror doing a mind-based effect both fit?
There may be fundamental differences for you, but what about the audience? They will see a demonstration of "special mind abilities" in both cases.

What makes a performer "credible" in the minds of a spectator or chance observer?
Promising to do something seemingly impossible and then delivering on the promise leads to credibility.

On re-read, "how can any such demonstration be "realistic?" Artificial and contrived setting. Special condition. Predictions. Metal bending.
Certainly, any presentation can be framed for the need of special conditions, but how is that "realistic?"
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Amirá
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Quote:
On Oct 22, 2017, funsway wrote:
I like that definition, Amira, but don't the demonstrations of the proclaimed Mentalist and the Conjuror doing a mind-based effect both fit?
There may be fundamental differences for you, but what about the audience? They will see a demonstration of "special mind abilities" in both cases.

What makes a performer "credible" in the minds of a spectator or chance observer?
Promising to do something seemingly impossible and then delivering on the promise leads to credibility.

On re-read, "how can any such demonstration be "realistic?" Artificial and contrived setting. Special condition. Predictions. Metal bending.
Certainly, any presentation can be framed for the need of special conditions, but how is that "realistic?"


If a "conjuror" creates a credible demonstration of mind abilities, in my definition he is also a Mentalist. Several of our heroes in Mentalism also did Magic effects, but I can model from them the understanding of observing both Magic and Mentalism using a solid subtext of what they were doing. Sadly most of the time in Magic that subtext is not observed, but we can defend that important aspect to Mentalism.

Recently I release a book in Spanish about my conceptions in Mentalism and one of the essays was called "A Magician cant be Mentalist" and touches the notion that the same as a soccer player and a basketball player, a Magician entering to the world of Mentalism needs to understand the core differences of this allied mystery practices. If that doesn't happen, we will still see "Mentalists" doing the classic Magician cliches that puts the act in the realm of fantasy, theatre and suspension of disbelief that Mentalism doesn't reach, or touch with sparks of doubt.

From the audience perspective (and I have proven this ideas for years while working with a Magician friend in a Magic and Mentalism show), they understand the differences, and they are not subtle.
A Magician invites the audience to a new reality (suspension of disbelief) based in illusion and fantasy.
A Mentalist invites the audience to open their perception to the shared reality ("activation of belief"). I am doing what I am saying. I am not an actor playing the role of a psychic. I am a Psychic who is offering entertainment.


Regarding credibility, the more incredible your acts are, the less credible. For that reason if a path of "credibility" is taken, the inner study of subtext and congruence is very important. I need to constantly ask "How I am doing what I say I am doing from the audience perspective?"
Maybe I am watching their thoughts in ambiguous manners, or I am manipulating energy to bend metal, etc....

This is a long topic, but intriguing and fascinating to those interested in touching new areas in our craft. All this is not about constructing belief about "PSI phenomena", but to elicit mystery using those themes, and I have found that Mentalism nowadays has the advantage to be credible because people wants to believe in the expansion of our consciousness, of the non-dualistic paradigms or reality and all those interesting aspects of human existence.
Pablo
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funsway
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Very nice response and clarification, Amira.

In support of you last paragraph, my experience is that every person has some personal memory/story/connection with an event that most would consider "other than normal" as to mental abilities.
Often they are reluctant to share these experience, but the come to see a Mentalist with an expectation of their experience being validated in some way.
Thus, it may not matter if they suspect trickery is involved in a demonstration. Most people's daily life is filled with deception in many forms.

I remember the phrase for somewhere - "plausible impossibility." People do seem more ready to accept such more on the mental side than the physical.
Is this because folks year to be more than they are right now? or, that they sense others are and they do not wish to be left behind?
Another view is that all technology stifles imagination and creativity. Observing another person challenge the impossible is a substitute for personal imagination/creativity.
Playing with "mental enhancement" is more credible than changing physical laws - less fearful at any rate.

Children used to dream of flying. Now they dream of reading a professor's mind so that they can avoid having to study. Smile
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Martin Pulman
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Without mystery, mentalism is finished.

And the mystery is being lost at a frightening rate.
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On Oct 23, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
Without mystery, mentalism is finished.

And the mystery is being lost at a frightening rate.


Not sure that I fully agree with that. It is and always has been up to the performer to create the mystery. Sure the level of exposure these days by cretins is at an all time high -but I still use many effects that have been "exposed"many times and I still get the desired results. The flip side of your comment is that there are a lot of performers as of late who almost seem apologetic and somewhat embarrassed to call themselves mind readers. They call themselves illusionists or the like, and what this does is condition their audience or interviewer to accept that there is no mystery, its all tricks. That is a BIG part of the problem and one of the main reasons to the decline.
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On Oct 23, 2017, innercirclewannabe wrote:
Quote:
On Oct 23, 2017, Martin Pulman wrote:
Without mystery, mentalism is finished.

And the mystery is being lost at a frightening rate.


Not sure that I fully agree with that.


I'm not sure I agree with that too, but not for the same reason. Sometimes I raise credibility exposing other techniques that has nothing to do with the method or trickery. For instance, I have done a which hand divination with 6 participants and I was pointing out real body language stuff but this had nothing to do with the method, it's simply to teach people some stuff and also raise the credibility of the act. Since people was "knowing how it was done", I don't think there were mystery there, but it was entertaining. For instance, people usually laugh a lot when I spot a liar trying to trick me swapping hand.

I hope this example illustrates my point. Mystery is not always necessary, particularly if you want to build credibility in the psychological approach. On the other hand, if this was referring to exposure, I agree 100%. Mentalism's having raised popularity might be beneficial on one hand and dangerous on the other hand.
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I've always thought that you mentalists saw mentalism as being; 'The creation of a suspension of disbelief for mind based illusions and effects where the intention is to have that disbelief extend beyond the theatrical setting in which it is performed.'

Feel free to use that as a definition if you feel you need one or if it helps. Smile
Neal Austin

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That would be a magician doing "mentalism". Nobody paying to see a mentalist wants to see "the illusion of a mentalist."

If I received promo at my agencies stating that, it would go in the round file right away.
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I like the phrase "round file".... Smile
Sealegs
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Mindpro; How can the definition I gave relate to a magician doing "mentalism"? (I would use the term mental magic as magicians don't perform mentalism but, "mentalism" is what you wrote)

To me the definition I gave is the antithesis of that..... and it is so specifically because magicians don't look to have the suspension of disbelief that they create live in people's lives beyond the theatrical setting in which they perform. They might want the mystery to endure but not the suspension of the disbelief. It's a mystery to me how you can derive this from the definition I offered.

I'd be interested to know the thinking behind thi comment in your post.

I'd also be interested to know why you say... " Nobody paying to see a mentalist wants to see the illusion of a mentalist." .... because while as a sentence it 's fine and I agree with it, I don't understand how this comment stems from the definition I offered when nothing to the effect of the performer creating the illusion of being a mentalist is mentioned or suggested within it?
Neal Austin

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Sure. It's really quite simply as Osterlind, Cassidy and others have said - no one whats to see a fake-mentalist. When someone is doing the "illusion" of a mentalist it is a fake mentalist or in most cases a magician doing mentalism (and audiences can detect this a mile away). Not sure why the confusion. Hope this better clarifies.
funsway
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Why is it that 65 years ago Ormand McGill could combine conjuring and mentalism in a show, get rave reviews and world wide bookings.
with no one apparently confused or "off-put" by his demonstrations of the "Mystic Arts." Yet, today there is implication that an audience can't handle the combination,
or that performers can't. He did eventually separate the two parts of the show with the Mentalism demonstrations coming last - something he considered to be a natural
progression of astonishment for the audience. Is there a different expectation of audiences today? Appreciation?
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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Sealegs
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I'm afraid it doesn't clarify anything at all.

You have merely stated the same thing again. As I said, as a sentience I agree with it. I have no issue with it or difficulty understanding it. I am happy to say the same thing along with Osterlind and Cassidy. Someone endeavouring to create the illusion of a mentalist when they aren't one doesn't create mentalism. So presumably we agree on that.

So with that out of the way.... What I still don't understand and what you haven't clarified is how you derive this as a response to the definition I offered. Your comment that my definition describes a magician doing "mentalism" just doesn't make any sense to me as the definition is the antithesis of what a magician does and intends with their performance of lets call them otherworldly effects.

There is however, implicit in the definition I gave, the notion that mentalism uses methods.

These methods play a part in creating a suspension of disbelief that is intended to live beyond the theatrical setting of the performance. Implicit in this is that this suspension of disbelief takes the form of an actual belief. (Or maybe some form of quasi-belief) Those that fail in this objective, but hold it as their intention, as far as this definition is concerned, fail as a mentalist. That doesn't automatically make them magicians anymore than it makes them ventriloquists. It makes them bad mentalists.

Magicians do, and set out to do, something different. They create a suspension of disbelieve within the theatrical setting with no intention of it extending beyond this setting. When they do this successfully it isn't mentalism, this is mental magic.

So I'd still be interested to know how you derived your response from the definition I offered.
Neal Austin

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RCP
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It was defined a hundred years ago, by those that created it, all the greats before have understood what it was (is).......why do you any of you think you know better?
Mindpro
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On Oct 26, 2017, Sealegs wrote:
I'm afraid it doesn't clarify anything at all.

You have merely stated the same thing again. As I said, as a sentience I agree with it. I have no issue with it or difficulty understanding it. I am happy to say the same thing along with Osterlind and Cassidy. Someone endeavouring to create the illusion of a mentalist when they aren't one doesn't create mentalism. So presumably we agree on that.

So with that out of the way.... What I still don't understand and what you haven't clarified is how you derive this as a response to the definition I offered.



You stated "...suspension of disbelief for mind based illusions..."

This is what I was referring to. "Illusions" says fake, unreal, pretend, pseudo, deceit, etc. - Magic!

As I referred to the round file, any time we receive anything that says "Psychological Illusionist", "Mind Magic", "Magic of the Mind" "the illusion of...", Mind To Mind Illusions" or anything similar, as I said immediately into the round file it goes. Don't even get me started on the word Parlour!

I operate from an industry perspective not a personal perspective, a magician's perspective or an artistic perspective. That is not how people operate or respond to purchasing/booking mentalism. I deal with many buyers a week and I know what they think, feel, perceive and believe. So while everyone is entitled to their own PERSONAL beliefs and perceptions, in the real world for performance selling, marketing and bookings from an industry perspective, it may be quite different than your personal opinions. This is also the difference between a hobbyist or enthusiast and commercial operations.
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Maybe we don't know what this hundred year old definition is? You haven't offered it up anywhere in any of your posts in the thread so far.

I've read all through the thread and can't see that anyone has suggested that they know better than anyone else other than, perhaps ironically, in your own last post. Those posting in the thread, including myself, appear to be simply offering up their thoughts on the subject at hand and seeing what those reading and participating in the thread think of their contribution.

So don't be a tease... tell us what the century old definition that can't be bettered is. Then we can wrap this thread up and end this interesting and engaging exchange of ideas and thoughts.
Neal Austin

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RCP
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The Nelsonian School of thinking regarding Mentalism. Don't wait for the penguin video. Go back one generation to Alexander, the most successful performer monetarily, of the day. Do your own research instead of tearing down what you don't understand.

"Mentalism is a commercial-mercenary. If you wish. It functions only for
profit.”
Martin Pulman
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Quote:
On Oct 26, 2017, RCP wrote:
The Nelsonian School of thinking regarding Mentalism. Don't wait for the penguin video. Go back one generation to Alexander, the most successful performer monetarily, of the day. Do your own research instead of tearing down what you don't understand.

"Mentalism is a commercial-mercenary. If you wish. It functions only for
profit.”

But what's the hundred-year-old definition?
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