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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The November 2011 entrée: Bob Cassidy » » The Ethics of Mentalism » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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mastermindreader
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This is a natural spin off from the other topic on this forum regarding magicians, mind readers and mentalists. It's adapted from my book "The Art of Mentalism" and reflects my views regarding the ethical implications of mentalism.

THE ETHICS OF MENTALISM

There are many individuals, particularly magicians, who believe that mentalism is wrong because it fosters a false world view. But, if you think about it, so does the magician who claims that "the hand is quicker than the eye." It is not, and to create the idea that it is also engenders a false view of reality.

Even so, the critics are essentially correct in their awareness that the techniques of the mentalist can be used to achieve dubious ends. With that in mind, I think that it is very important to realize that mentalism has only one primary purpose- to entertain. It should not be used to the financial or personal detriment of the public. While the critics will argue that any false presentation of reality has the capacity of creating personal detriment in the observer, that is only so if the performer induces reliance on his representations.

Effective mentalism requires the suspension of disbelief-the creation of the idea that what the audience is seeing might be real. To say that this creates a false world view is to state conclusively that paranormal avenues of communication simply do not exist or, at least, that the performer is creating a false impression about his own abilities.

As to the actual existence of psychic phenomena, some would argue that there is no hard-core scientific data in its support. On the other hand, it can be argued that the non-existence, to date, of a repeatable experiment supporting the hypothesis simply indicates that E.S.P. studies are beyond the scope of the traditional methods of the "hard" sciences.

Simply put, until there is positive evidence that the paranormal phenomena imitated by mentalists do NOT exist, the claim that the psychic entertainer creates a false world view is unsupportable.

As to the criticism that a mentalist at least creates a false impression regarding his own abilities-so does every magician who ever presented a pseudo gambling expose designed to create the impression that he possesses far greater technical skills than he actually has; so does every individual who dresses or presents himself in such a way to create the idea that he is something he is not.

Everyone, from car dealers to members of the clergy, is, to some extent, in the business of illusion. The ethical question really goes to the individual's underlying motivation. The ethical mentalist has only one primary motive-to skillfully entertain his audiences by bringing them into a world where they can temporarily forget the pressures of day-to-day reality without creating a false reliance on his own alleged abilities.

His secondary motive is to be remunerated for his efforts and, if he has successfully entertained, he is well entitled to his compensation.


Good thoughts,

Bob
BenjaminMan
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Do you think that some mentalists prefer mentalism to magic because it makes them feel greater?
Could there be a connection to pride?
Have you struggled at all with that?

Thanks,

-Benjamin
Lord Of The Horses
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BenjaminMan,

May I ask you if you are a blood relative of Sigmund Freud?
Then you'll rise right before my eyes, on wings that fill the sky, like a phoenix rising!
BenjaminMan
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I'm just asking if he sees a connection.
I'm not saying he's prideful,
he hasn't struck me as very prideful at all.
mastermindreader
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Do you think there are people who are attracted to magic because it makes them feel greater?

There are people like that in all of the performing arts. Most of them don't get very far.

I don't "struggle" with that at all. I'm a mentalist simply because that's what I'm good at. I wouldn't make a very good magician, I don't think.

Bob
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Hmmm...
I think Banachek mentioned similar feelings regarding magic.

Hope you didn't take my post the wrong way.
I was just curious.

Thank you.
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Mentioning pride and Banachek and MAGICIAN in the same sentence.... hmmm, what Freud would say? Smile
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mastermindreader
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Just curious, what does this conversation have to do with the ethics of mentalism?
BenjaminMan
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I don't think I mentioned them in the same sentence. That was as a separate issue.

The reason I brought pride up is because it seems to me like SOME people, in fact a fair number of people in the
mentalism community, (NOT Bob,) have been implying that mentalism is greater than magic and much more difficult to perform.
I really don't see how noticing this is wrong.
Lord Of The Horses
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:42, mastermindreader wrote:
Just curious, what does this conversation have to do with the ethics of mentalism?


Opps... You did beat me to it, Bob.

That's what I was adding in my previous post, but I couldn't because you posted before I completed the editing. Smile
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BenjaminMan
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UGG,
sorry,
I should have posted this under the magician, mental magic post,
I was reading through this and thought of something from the other post,
wasn't paying much attention.

Although I suppose pride could be considered an ethical issue for performers.
Lord Of The Horses
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:46, BenjaminMan wrote:
Although I suppose pride could be considered an ethical issue for performers.

Yes, and being "stuck-up" or, better yet, not being able to update one's own view on how Nature could covertly operate, could be considered another ethical issue for pseudo-skeptic performers.
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Mindpro
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:34, Lord Of The Horses wrote:
BenjaminMan,

May I ask you if you are a blood relative of Sigmund Freud?


Or Thomas Cooper or Eshla?


"The reason I brought pride up is because it seems to me like SOME people, in fact a fair number of people in the
mentalism community, (NOT Bob,) have been implying that mentalism is greater than magic and much more difficult to perform.
I really don't see how noticing this is wrong."

I think this may be more just your interpretation of it, rather than the reality.

May I ask how old you are?
BenjaminMan
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I'm sure you are older than me,
and that I am immature and stupid.


-Benjamin
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On 2011-11-21 17:44, BenjaminMan wrote:
The reason I brought pride up is because it seems to me like SOME people, in fact a fair number of people in the
mentalism community, (NOT Bob,) have been implying that mentalism is greater than magic and much more difficult to perform.


Sorry, I haven't seen that happening much at all. Of course there are both mentalists AND magicians who will argue that theirs is the "greater" art. But, like I said in another thread paraphrasing Theodore Sturgeon, 95% of "magicians" and "mentalists" do crap acts anyway. Most performers I know in that other 5 percent get along just fine with each other and enjoy each others work.

But it seems to me that your concern has its roots in the ethical implications of claiming or implying paranormal powers. That really has nothing to do with the relative superiority of one art form over the other.

Good thoughts,

Bob
Lord Of The Horses
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Mindpro,

It seems that, after all, Bob is not the only mindreader here! You may be well right on your "Eshla" hypothesis.

Either him OR some avid Randi / Banachek / Csicop fanatic!
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mastermindreader
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No one is allowed to call themselves immature and stupid in my forum! (Wow- I guess I may be obsessed with power after all!)

You're supposed to say that about people you don't agree with - this is an online forum after all.

:eek:
BenjaminMan
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I do not recall coming in here claiming to have some deep psychological explanation as to why performers do what they do,
I merely asked a question that I believe I had a reason for asking.
It seems to me that the question was answered.
I'm not sure why things seem to be going on here the way they are,
or why you want to know my age.
Will we all benefit from you knowing my age?
Will ANYONE here benefit from knowing my age.
Or will you make some remark as to how immature I am(a thing which I already know.)

If you believe I am saying something wrong than why not correct me, and show me the
truth?
Why begin asking silly questions like,
"How old are you?"
mastermindreader
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Welcome to our world!
BenjaminMan
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Oh, So you think me asking about pride's relation to mentalism performances was
as silly as asking somebody's age in a disagreement?
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The November 2011 entrée: Bob Cassidy » » The Ethics of Mentalism » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes)
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