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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The October 2011 entrée: Alain Nu » » Belief & The Suspension Of Disbelief Essay » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mr. Woolery
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Kirk, I think you should look at any performing art from your own perspective. In other words, yes, this is a good angle FOR YOU. It would be a bad angle for me because that isn't my perspective and your life is not my life. I do well connecting with kids because I'm a parent and I love kids. I would not connect well with corporate executives because that isn't part of the life I lead. So that would also be a bad angle for me. What makes a performer interesting is always going to be his own perspective, what makes him unique and different. Otherwise, we may as well plug in a DVD of the same magic show by the same magician every time we want to see magic. Or we could just re-watch old tapes of Uri Gellar for the psychic thrill.

There's a fair amount of discussion in the Penny for your Thoughts forum about the increased power of a presentation when you actually do get some of your stuff wrong. The idea is that if you get 80% of your predictions/readings/telepathic hits correct, you can be more easily seen as the real deal than if you get 100% right, which may be too perfect and end up with folks deciding there has to be a trick to it. We can believe in 80% accurate psychic power, but not in 100%.

Alain, I think I know what you mean about the odd vibe of a person who is deeply religious and yet will not believe in the possibility of psychic phenomena. I'm Roman Catholic. I'm a convert and used to be a Southern Baptist. Without bashing anyone, I can say that the Baptists I know and knew were often more hostile toward the idea of psychic abilities than the Catholics I know. (Disclaimer, if you are not from Fairbanks Alaska, I probably don't know you and certainly am not trying to include you in this generalization - nothing negative is meant toward either of these groups at all.) It was actually before I converted when a non-practicing Catholic asked me why I have such a hard time believing in supernatural or paranormal abilities. He pointed out that since my own belief system is based on being able to communicate with a deity and that the scriptures I read include prophesy, angels, demons, healings, blessings, curses, and even consultations of the dead, that it seems rather odd for me to not accept that similar abilities and entities are quite likely all around me. I thought then and think now that he was pulling my chain, but he had a totally legitimate point. (And he's still a friend, over 20 years after that day.)

Anyway, this is the sort of conversation where I tend to ramble. It sparks thoughts and speculations that I normally don't try to put into words. I appreciate that and wish this board would stay open to conversation for longer than tomorrow.

Alain Nu
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Hi Kirk,

The following is the best "lens" for anyone to understand mentalism as a broad topic in and of itself:

The field of mentalism simply embodies any presented demonstration that refers in any way to "powers of the mind, hidden potentials, and scientific anomalies."

Obviously, because it is a "mystery art" (along with magicians, hypnotists, fortune tellers, sideshow artists, ghost hunters, seance mediums, etc), there can be an inclination for presentational cross-over to occur, but for the most part each separate mystery art discipline can hold its own without any need for the other.

So, no Kirk, you're not off-base at all, in fact yours is a perspective that many mentalists take. But you will need to broaden your perspective to accommodate everything that can be learned within the field should you decide to venture outwards from your current perception. Other broad topics might include ESP, NLP, law of attraction, anecdotal mysteries, mind matter interaction, quantum physics, synchronicity... and the list goes on.

Regardless, I'm happy to have had this time speaking with you on this level. I don't have conversations like this every day!

Patrick, you make a very good point. Once you know what angle you are taking with regards to the demonstration you are presenting, it's always good to then put it all in context of who you are and how it somehow integrates with your life personally.

With regard to the 80% vs 100% concept, my take is this. If you structure your performance like me, then there becomes a distinct chance that you'll hit 100% only every so often as mishaps will naturally occur. So I take all the hits I can get! On the occasion that I should fail, I try to remember the words of French theatrical movement philosopher Jacques Le Coq: "It's not whether you win or fail; it's that when you fail, you fail magnificently!"

Finally, I think your friend has a VERY legitimate point! Furthermore, I think you now have a great presentational hook in this for a future mentalism effect!

I've had a great time speaking with you as well. I'm sure we will stay in touch!

Harley Newman
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It's fair to recognize that LeCoq was talking about clowning, though "magnificent failure" certainly applies to some mentalists I've seen. He taught theatrical structures based in physical comedy (and tragedy), coming from the tradition of Commedia dell'Arte. There are other parts to the classical improvisational formulae. He was a brilliant teacher, who valued taking risks in performance.
“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus” -Mark Twain
Alain Nu
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On 2011-10-31 17:49, Harley Newman wrote:
It's fair to recognize that LeCoq was talking about clowning, though "magnificent failure" certainly applies to some mentalists I've seen.

you're so funny.

Hey great speaking to you the other day also! I have more "news", btw...

The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The October 2011 entrée: Alain Nu » » Belief & The Suspension Of Disbelief Essay » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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