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IAIN
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Why can't we focus on the danger and ego of readings?

I feel that if you think your readings can change lives, then that's a big problem...

I know you're going to give us examples and it'll be in part confirmation bias...

Readings can be fun, interesting, thought provoking, silly, and many other things... All without that natural position of power that many seem to enjoy...
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Max Hazy
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See? I knew it!! I knew there has to be something good about readings!

I'm not saying that we can't focus on the negative parts of readings... I'm simply pointing that it's all we've been doing here lately, isn't it? The rational part in me cannot conceive a one sided coin... no, a coin must have two sides regardless of what side we're looking at. Don't worry, I won't give examples regarding readings that would be in part confirmation bias.

About you "feeling" that if I think readings can change people's lives then that's a problem... it looks to me like we have some preconceptions regarding readings. For instance... if I change the word "readings" for "advice"... what happens? The sentence would be that "advice can change people's lives", which is something I believe to be as true as the sentence regarding readings... and I bet you would say that the context changes... because of the perceived authority thanks to what can happen surrounding readings (such as trickery)... yet, what about someone having more authority for any other reason (such as expertise) giving advice? And even THEN, an expert could give bad advice... isn't it? I lost count of how many specialized doctors have made terrible mistakes... airplane pilots... the list goes. So... giving advice is dangerous? Who should and shouldn't give advice? What about friends? Then I guess I must be a terrible friend... because I give advice all the time, both on things I know and things I don't know about when giving "opinions" on what I would do. I must be a terrible friend doing something so dangerous constantly... yet I can't say my advice sucks, because people constantly come back for more. My mother on the other hand... despite being so proud of me and loving me so much, so much... have given me bad advice more times than I can count... even though she had the best for me in mind. See where I'm going? It's all subjective... the intention of the reader, the intention of the person being read, THE DISCLAIMERS, the expectation, the subject itself, the context... all of that matters to weight a reading for the good side... or bad side.

We should be careful about the negative side of readings... but not become alienated by them, that's what I want to say. Readings can be as complex or as simple as we make it. In the end what matters is an old west trilogy: the intention, the context and the results. That's why I think David Thiel nailed it in his post. With few words he addresses relevant things without over explaining others:

Quote:
The line I draw is done like this. When the person comes to me I tell them that I am going to share impressions with them...and that these impressions may or may not be meaningful to them...but that these are the impressions I get when they come for a reading. They are free to do whatever they want with the things I am about to reveal. Then I share my honest impressions with them.
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2019, IAIN wrote:
I feel that if you think your readings can change lives, then that's a big problem...


I wouldn't say that I've changed a life, but rather that I 'nudged' it in a more positive direction.
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IAIN
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Your mum sounds like a lot of magicians who want to also give readings...

No, I'm sure your mum does her best. And she's not a pretend mum, and you two have your own relationship. And if she's been in your life for a long period of time, then you know her track record on advice giving. Even when we try our best and think we are giving good advice, the person who receives that advice may think otherwise and never say anything...
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Max Hazy
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A single point in my post addressed: the one about my mother's advice. Fair points though... and from them, I'm sure you got what I mean about the subjectivity of it all.
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IAIN
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I picked it cos its the most important part...

Your views on advice from friends and family... Its massively different from that of a reader...

Whether they like it or not traditional readers are in a seat of power that is different from friends and family... And the interactions, beliefs and track history of giving good or bad advise is different too..

When mentalists also offer readings they can also be seen in a seat of power...

I can tell you a lot about asthma cos I was born with it, but if I give advice it's from my experience and from my asthmatic life... But I'm still not an ears nose and throat specialist and I wouldn't know if you need steroids or allergy meds...
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2019, Bill Cushman wrote:
Red Devil, thanks for your thorough analysis. As I'm sure you realize my intent wasn't a review of the pros and cons of what was taught on the disks. We seem on the same page with S.C.R.E.W.E.D, yet, with respect, I feel you missed one of my main points. It is the psychological manipulation that is explicitly taught on Sibyl that I find most objectionable. S.C.R.E.W.E.D. was just the most obvious example (even its title, especially in the context of what is taught and promoted in the effect, is problematic for me).


Bill, I think I got it.

The question it makes me ask though is: Isn't ALL reading a form of psychological manipulation (of varied degrees)? I ask this to point the larger question of why most other reading systems advertised/taught in the last 100 years don't elicit similar concerns that Sibyl does. For instance, why does Bev's excellent Palm book get a pass even when we know that palm reading can lead to similar abuses? We have all heard the story of the person who goes to a palm reader and is told by some fool he will die at a young age. He then lives in fear his whole 80 years of life...Is the only difference the degree in which Sibyl openly explores the more negative side of life?

In a purely philosophical tone (meaning, not challenging Bill or anyone else, but instead I think this conversation is interesting and worthwhile), aren't we inconsistent if we attack one reading system and not another if our ultimate critique is the risk of psychological manipulation? To illustrate, it could be argued by some that those who believe fortunetelling is "of the Devil" and avoid it like the plague are the most consistent. Is it not the rest of us who are compromising or drawing arbitrary lines who have the problem?

Another way of posing this discussion would be: As long as the reading system book/DVD doesn't overtly point to discussions that are distasteful to me as the consumer, is it okay to exist?

As far as implementation, is it true that even if a reader "tries" not to come at it from an authority angle or actually goes to the lengths of claiming they have NO powers whatsoever, that many querents will give you the cred anyways. (Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm? This is not a critique to you whatsoever; I am just curious if you have a solid way to articulate an "out" to this that would hold water.)

I can't find a way out of this logically. If we wish to conduct readings in any form, are we left with three optional paradigms?

1. All reading activity is psychological manipulation, even entertainment-based reading, and should be avoided because of its potential for harm.
2. All reading activity is psychological manipulation, but the kind I perform isn't that bad or dangerous and is worth the risk (for entertainment, for positive effects, etc.)
3. Most forms of readings are psychological manipulation, but mine is not. I am curious if anyone here can claim #3 and can logically back it up.

Ultimately, Bill's approach is the most consistent. If you state that people should never imply that their abilities are real, you avoid "most" problems with sitters and you know you have never lied. Of course, there are some forms of reading (i mentioned EE earlier who would apply here) that are entirely consistent with not lying or claiming false powers. But again, don't the sitters in these systems still often believe there is more power to it than is being advertised by the reader? Doesn't that still bring the problem of possible manipulation that leads to harm?

This has been an interesting thought exercise for me, so I hope everyone takes these comments and questions in the exploratory way they are meant. I respect all views on this here, even if they are different than mine.
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Max Hazy
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Your views on advice from friends and family... Its massively different from that of a reader...

Whether they like it or not traditional readers are in a seat of power that is different from friends and family... And the interactions, beliefs and track history of giving good or bad advise is different too..

When mentalists also offer readings they can also be seen in a seat of power...


Yep. That's precisely part of my point. What you refer to as "seat of power" I refer as "authority", but we're in the same route here.

Readings, advice... esoteric readings and scientific readings (such as rorschach)... expertise or not in the subject... how much is known in advance... etc. It all weights in several aspects... good / bad... moral / immoral.

Max
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"Max has pushed some less known and seldom used principles a huge step forward"
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Arcane Grimoires Vol 2- http://www.maxhazy.com/Codex-Mentis/
IAIN
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I'm off to bed now, but I think the easiest way is if you PM me 3 playing cards of your choice via any means you wish and then pose a question and then I'll reply later on...
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Max Hazy
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RedDevil, you bring interesting things to the table. I wouldn't say readings are "psychological manipulation" though... what I believe is that in any reading ritual, there are tons of "cognitive biases" at play. Here's some of them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias#List

And what I believe to be at the heart of the matter here is how those cognitive biases coming from readings are used. I believe they CAN and SHOULD be used for good.

In practice though, the most common thing I notice in readings is that people seeking help more often than not already have their own answers... they just can't see it, or don't want to see ir or fail to see it. And the reader, in his position of "power / authority" can make them see the obvious. Of course readings are not just that, but this is essentially what I noticed in my experience.

I do have a very specific way of doing readings though... for instance, the way I conduct my Tarot reading is very similar to a Rorschach test... with a little "traditional" flavor... so you won't see me answering questions like "when will I die?", which is exactly what I'm against in readings.
"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/
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RedDevil - "3. Most forms of readings are psychological manipulation, but mine is not. I am curious if anyone here can claim #3 and can logically back it up."

While not agreeing with the appropriateness of "psychological manipulation" and only guessing at what you mean,
I have several books on "legitimate divination" systems and moral stance. Boring for most and useless if you wish to make money doing a lot of readings.
My last "soothing" took 11 hours. And no manipulation involved, psychological or otherwise.

If I stop a process when I catch the seeker in a deliberate lie, is that manipulation? Controlling, yes, but as the process stops there is no manipulation.

I am reading all of this with interest as I may start doing readings - simply because most people are afraid to make any decision
without knowing in advance who to blame. "Tell what I know $20. Promise never to tell - $50"
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Quote:
On Apr 9, 2019, Max Hazy wrote:
I have no problems with pretending to have real powers, but I have my own disclaimers. It's all subjective.

I see a lot of focus on negativity coming from readings. What about positive results? Do someone here think nothing positive can come from readings? I'm not saying that's actually the case... but if it happens to be... by all means, don't do it. Imo... readings can change people's life for better... or worse. It's up to the reader.

Max


I think part of the perspective that maybe is getting missed is that audience actually wants to experience and encounter real powers. They are willing to believe in you. I think we underestimate the power of the human psyche to want to experience such things. Once you bypass whatever defenses there are, I think what one encounters is profound surrendering to the moment and sure positive and negative things may occur but is it up to the reader though? I think the meaning lies in the listener. The audience have many ways to interpret and connect the dots as they please to or willing to and the most of the positivity and negativity comes from audience associations and not necessarily from the reader.
IAIN
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I think if you have to "bypass defenses" then that shows the problem (in my book)...
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IAIN
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If mentalism is carpentry then understanding readings and using elements of it is upholstery...

Both work independently but can also be combined. If you are both skilled as a carpenter and an upholsteror, then your value increases...

How's that for a terrible metaphor...
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IAIN
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Redevil quote
"(Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm?"

My pre-amble contains a few points.

I ask if they've had readings before
How do they feel about them
Is it a regular thing they do
What the oracle is

If I feel like they are a true believer, and by how they talk about it I feel as though I do not agree with certain aspects of their experience (by that if I'm running a risk of reinforcing a certain belief or behaviour I feel is limiting or damaging), then I will politely refuse and explain why.

I find that really easy to do and say. I'm not mocking them or being rude, they've explained their experience and opinion, I am too.

Human being first, everything else is secondary. No pressure to "perform".

Then I explain how I do it. All of it. Story telling, MY interpretation of the things I see, and I will walk them through it afterwards too. Sometimes I explain my rules before I give the reading. But story telling, vocabulary, if it's tarot then it's like 3 cells from a film reel.

Or its 3 pieces of art in a gallery. And I point out that if you took two people to the same gallery and they both picked out 3 pieces of art they liked and talk about why, they could both pick the same pieces and describe them differently.

So all readings are psychological. No matter what. That's how they truly work. This intuition well that people think the answers come from are just a mix of your unconscious experiences and how you personally see things, and how they come out of your month is how you consciously process them via the vocabulary you own.

Then the person you've read for, they then reinterpret what you've said and naturally seek a pattern or a way to relate to it. If they are sceptical then they will actively pick it apart instead at times.

Name any three books that have been important to you in your life and read the synopsis at the back. Link that to the next and compare them. Then take that information and read the the third, do the same. Pull out some metaphors and overall meaning of each book. That's a reading too.

I don't want power or to be seen as important. I want to share and talk over things in an interesting way. I want to listen to feedback and be told I'm way off if I am. Because there's no power there's no problem, no threat. It's a conversation over something unusual and potentially unique.

Sometimes it's good to have a silly non serious conversation even if the topic is serious.
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Quote:
On Apr 10, 2019, IAIN wrote:
Redevil quote
"(Iain, could you elaborate on how you feel you conduct readings but avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm?"

My pre-amble contains a few points.

I ask if they've had readings before
How do they feel about them
Is it a regular thing they do
What the oracle is

If I feel like they are a true believer, and by how they talk about it I feel as though I do not agree with certain aspects of their experience (by that if I'm running a risk of reinforcing a certain belief or behaviour I feel is limiting or damaging), then I will politely refuse and explain why.

I find that really easy to do and say. I'm not mocking them or being rude, they've explained their experience and opinion, I am too.

Human being first, everything else is secondary. No pressure to "perform".

Then I explain how I do it. All of it. Story telling, MY interpretation of the things I see, and I will walk them through it afterwards too. Sometimes I explain my rules before I give the reading. But story telling, vocabulary, if it's tarot then it's like 3 cells from a film reel.

Or its 3 pieces of art in a gallery. And I point out that if you took two people to the same gallery and they both picked out 3 pieces of art they liked and talk about why, they could both pick the same pieces and describe them differently.

So all readings are psychological. No matter what. That's how they truly work. This intuition well that people think the answers come from are just a mix of your unconscious experiences and how you personally see things, and how they come out of your month is how you consciously process them via the vocabulary you own.

Then the person you've read for, they then reinterpret what you've said and naturally seek a pattern or a way to relate to it. If they are sceptical then they will actively pick it apart instead at times.

Name any three books that have been important to you in your life and read the synopsis at the back. Link that to the next and compare them. Then take that information and read the the third, do the same. Pull out some metaphors and overall meaning of each book. That's a reading too.

I don't want power or to be seen as important. I want to share and talk over things in an interesting way. I want to listen to feedback and be told I'm way off if I am. Because there's no power there's no problem, no threat. It's a conversation over something unusual and potentially unique.

Sometimes it's good to have a silly non serious conversation even if the topic is serious.


Iain, this is wonderful. This post takes Dr. Bill's "What to do" (Don't claim any special powers) and expands on "How to do it".
IAIN
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I didn't always quite see it this way, but...

I've always found it sad and scary if people feel like they've not changed much in their thinking over any period of time... And if we don't change, to use metaphors...

Stagnate, smell bad, fester...

You can't do what I advocate if your delivery is that of a stage-like psychic, but I don't feel that delivery represents me or how I view what mentalism and readings are... And in the uk you just need to look at the divide on how the public react to people like Derek acorah...

Plus, I like being able to sleep at night... And naps.

Readings without that psychic edge and dressing can be just as interesting and unusual and unique... It just looks and feels differently that's all.

People are free to choose. I have outside interests, experiences and education in a few fields now I'm getting on a bit. I care about the impact our words have on others. And of course, I think my viewpoint is brilliant! Hahaha but I also challenge, test and discuss it with various people that I respect and are smarter than me.

Stoic practices are also very important to me too. So that is a continuous process of adaptive and conscious change too.
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Thanks for the illustration, Iain. This whole conversation has been very valuable and I wouldn’t have had it had you not quoted Bill’s.

I have dabbled with readings for years, but I have always struggled on how to do them without getting an icky feeling or violating my Christian roots (which can mean a 1000 different things depending on whom you ask, but I know what it means to me). I am not psychic, but I like the tour guide approach of using an oracle or metaphorical riddle to allow a sitter to apply to themselves.
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RedDevil, same
funsway
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Musing on the theme, "avoid manipulation, power, or any potential of harm"

I recall a discovery/hint from three different cultures during my exploration in divination systems around the world back in the early days of Internet
when an idea could be posted on a virtual bulletin board and get insightful answers form unexpected places. A reading of sorts, I guess.

The idea is to use a pre-read, lIke Iain's question set above. A physical object helps, but you just want to get the seeker talking.

My favorite is a chunk of rock with several flat surfaces. Have the seeker look at the texture, veins, patters, flaws, etc. of each side
while thinking about the problem or situation that brought them to you.

You will always discover information valuable for choice of oracle/approach and clues as to hidden beliefs/bias or expectations.
The best part is that you can stop the process or assign some homework before proceeding.

You also develop essential trust by not "telling them what to do" and being interested in their experience and perceptions.

This approach is also consistent with two other views:

1) never use a phase/term in a presentiment that did not come out of their mouth first.
2) continue the probing process until you stripped away all lies and pretenses.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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