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 Post subject: Musings on mentalism wanted
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 10:56 pm 
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Joined: 20 Feb 2008
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Some of the best posts on this site are courtesy of the talented mentalists who appear to have deeply studied their craft and then practiced it well. My take is that mentalists appear to read minds by using long standing techniques of magic.
Yet, a thought has been banging around inside of my brain for a few weeks and that is mentalists in North America sometimes must walk a careful line when in the presence of evangelical/fundamentalist spectators (whoa,never saw that word in that word before!). I was skimming a Christian site for research and the person wrote,
'I’ve had a situation where my sister was so perturbed after a book test that she honestly felt I was using spirits to divine the answer - it took quite a bit of convincing to correct her . So by implication, as a Christian, I have to be more careful in explaining my effects"
Now folks I have had do the same teaching world religions in school systems which allow fanatics to challenge everything. I'm still working this out, but I wonder if mentalists have to resist the challenge of having people believe they can really read minds? I know this is vague. ron0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 6:23 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 21 Feb 2007
Posts: 1581
Location: Your mind
It depends on the geographical situation of the performer.

This is a hard question to awnser since it's pretty much answered by your own ethics, if you feel you can handle doing this then do it, if you don't want to do so it's your thing.

Personally I don't like claiming powers, because it's me and my persona, I prefer to fall in the psychology side of mentalism instead of the dark mysterious side of the things.

I will let that marinate in my head and I will post again I have some issue with time.

max.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:13 am 
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I think of it this way... You can say you have no special powers and people can also confirm that you have no special powers, but some people may choose to believe otherwise and see you as a psychic.

Back when Uri's popularity was at his height, people were disproving his abilities, but yet there were people who still believed he possessed powers.

If a person has beliefs that have been instilled in them since they were a little kid, you aren't going to change those beliefs in your performance. You can say you are a master of psychology, and even give pseudo explanations, but people will perceive you as how they want to perceive you based on their own beliefs.

I have seen people perform magic for church events, and most people were fine with it. A mentalist should not claim to have psychic abilities. By claiming this you are already lying to your audience before you even perform and that is really no way to start out.

I think that the only reason one would claim psychic abilities is because they think it would increase their ticket sales or add to their character. It probably would add to your sales, but it doesn't make it right.


But in the end, I think most people are deceiving their audiences either way. Very few should claim they are using psychology to perform their mentalists feats because very few know enough about psychology to make that claim. Derren Brown, Paul Brooks and others who have actually studied psychology are the exceptions. If you haven't had schooling in psychology, then you are in no position to claim you are some psychological master. So either way, if you claim psychic abilities or psychological abilities, you are lying to your audience. It comes down to which one you are able to pull off better.


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 Post subject: You're right..I'll have to get back to this
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:21 am 
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Thanks Blitz ..I am similar..I need to slow down to really think this through. Lumas, superb job. I especially appreciate the psychology angle..it shows how deeply you've studied this. It's just too heavy a week, but I am now mentally chewing on your idea of "deceiving the audiences."
Actually, you hit the nail on the head. As in vent, one wiggles one's right hand to draw attention from the left. The creation of a mystical powers persona thus can put one on a slippery slope. Thanks again for helping me narrow down my musings. ron0


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:31 am 
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Well, the first thing that should be considered (if you're a christian) is that the Bible speaks of 'magic' as being a sin.

Some say this means only the real practice of it, to really have contact with spirits, etc......

Others will say the scriptures simply said 'magic' and therefore includes all forms of it, both the real practice of it and the entertainment aspect of it.

Of my understanding, the reason the entertainment of it is called into question by some christians is (among other things) that it could lead people to believing in the reality of magic and that they may get involved in the supposed real thing (like psychics, etc....).


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 Post subject: Been thinking..
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:08 am 
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Sneak, I get up at four every morning to plug into shortwave radio newscasts; read an on line newspaper, and work on training a four month old labradog, and think of yesterday's posts.
I agree with you..it would be foolish to argue exposure to an idea or substance would hardly ever draw one into different circumstances.
Yet, I also like the Jesuit idea of weighing each idea on a scale and then crafting one's decision on it. Yes,I know that's dreamland ; that it's resulted in some of our most worst world leaders; and that it's really an academic ideal.
Yet, I made by living as a newsman by relating stories about things that went wrong.
In summary, the temptation for a mentalist to claim extra-sensory powers would be tantalizing.
Of course, this temptation exists in almost every other field such as business reporting; religion, teaching and medicine.
The bottom line is that one must create with integrity and respect for the beliefs of others. ron0


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 Post subject: One View
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:18 am 
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OK...so does God exist? If not, it hardly matters what a non-existant God allegedly disapproves of. If God does exist, would He forbid us to do what can not be done..to practice an art that does not exist? Do YOU routinely warn YOUR children to not fly under the power lines when their wings are wet? Probably not, as your children do not have wings, and do not fly. So, if God exists, and does forbid magic, it must be the real magic which is some Satanic craft, or some as yet undiscovered science. What we magicians do is NOT real magic, so it is NOT forbidden by God. What we do is PRETEND...the same thing done by actors who pretend to be Abe Lincoln, or Luke Skywalker. Is such acting/pretending forbidden by God...because it is a form of lieing? If so, then devout Christians had better stop: reading fiction books, watching tv shows that are not documetaries, watching movies, voting (politicians are the biggest liars of all), etc. Tell people that you make no claim to paranormal power, or demonic possession, or such, but that you are an entertainer who promises to mystify them by whatever means you can. Then, joke that "no commandments are broken in the perfomance of this show". If that does not settle the fears, and people insist upon suggesting that you are in league with Satan, take them quietly aside, and tell them:"Don't tell everyone...or I may have to curse you." Then laugh, to show that you are joking.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:12 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 1394
Location: Newmarket, ON, Canada
Ok so back on topic... I will make sure I never claim to have any abilities that I do not have. I'd prefer the audience know that pure trickery is involved in each of the effects I perform. Sometimes I'll even outright say "these skills are not psychic" to get them to realize that. But I agree with blizt, it depends on your geographical situation. At some places you'll need to explain yourself while at others, you won't. If I were still challenged by a passionate christian who was sure I was psychic or contacting spirits, I'd have to try and convince them otherwise. Not sure how I'd do so because I've never run into such a person.
And Mensan, your joke lines are a highly irresponsible thing to do in a show. You could anger even the non-passionate christians by saying 'no commandments are broken in this show' and you will definitely anger them if you tell them to quiet down or you'll put a curse on them. That is quite possibly the worst solution I've ever heard to such a problem. Especially if you are trying to impress a group right after, or trying to get repeat bookings. You wouldn't do/get either of those by saying those two lines.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:22 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 01 Oct 2006
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
The existance of God is irrelevant. You just need to judge your audience and watch what you say. If you feel a certain audience are in need of a disclaimer, give one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 11:38 am 
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born to perform.

Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 1394
Location: Newmarket, ON, Canada
revelation77 wrote:
The existance of God is irrelevant. You just need to judge your audience and watch what you say. If you feel a certain audience are in need of a disclaimer, give one.


100% agree with you rev.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:48 pm 
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You really have to look at the author's original intent when you read the Bible. The Bible does not say magic as we know it is wrong - its clearly talking about sorcery, etc. i.e. decieving the public by claiming to be supernatural. We are magicians. We do not deceive, we entertain. (although, actually, trickery is a natural part of the job :wink: )


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 7:48 pm 
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And I think most magicians will agree with me on this one: I despise it when people claim to have supernatural powers when they clearly do not.


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