The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The Morality of Cold Readings? (54 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5~6~7~8~9~10 [Next]
Ravenspur
View Profile
New user
Granby, MA
84 Posts

Profile of Ravenspur
I've been interested in cold reading for years and just bought Phedon Bilek's Sibyl. It's good stuff. But as I learn it, I keep wondering,

How do readers morally justify doing readings of people?

It's somewhat more than entertainment, isn't it? What are the rules that make it right? What if something upsetting comes out?

I don't have any interest in passing judgment on the reasoning of others, just interested in informing my own thinking.
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17842 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Uh oh...
aligator
View Profile
Inner circle
Canada
2055 Posts

Profile of aligator
That's a very good and difficult question. The answer will be different for each reader and mentalist as each will or should have a line that will not be crossed. Anyone without any kind of line at all does indeed have morality issues imo.
Ravenspur
View Profile
New user
Granby, MA
84 Posts

Profile of Ravenspur
That bad, Iain?

Phedon's work doesn't seem anywhere near the line. I haven't seen Ian Rowland's stuff, though I have his book.

I'm a high school teacher with what would seem to be a natural audience, but I can't think of anyway doing a reading of a kid could be ethical. Even after school. Even with permission.

I'm trying to find where different people draw that line. Like I suggested, where others draw the line is up to them. Not for me to judge. I don't want to be the sleazy woman who does readings parties for people in my neck of the woods. I've heard she used to do obscene phone calls for money.
Philemon Vanderbeck
View Profile
Inner circle
Seattle, WA
4100 Posts

Profile of Philemon Vanderbeck
I used to do readings a lot for corporate parties. Because of the quick nature of the set-up, with no more than 5 minutes per person, the readings remain light and entertaining. If you're going to do longer personal readings (e.g., 1-hour sessions), you should first get some training as a therapist. Nothing is worse than a shut-eye causing irreparable damage because they feel that their oracle can do no wrong.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Mr. Woolery
View Profile
Inner circle
Fairbanks, AK
1635 Posts

Profile of Mr. Woolery
I suspect Iain's comment was because this particular can of worms gets opened every so often and can lead to some rather heated discussions.

His opinions of Sybil can be found here: https://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view......orum=303

I don't have that particular DVD, so cannot comment with any knowledge. I would like to pick it up, but don't have the spare funds at the moment.

On to your actual question, however:

First, I'll suggest you decide what exactly you mean by "cold reading." Do you mean tossing out one-size-fits-all lines and seeing what sticks? Do you mean tailoring your statistically likely lines to demographics? Do you mean using an oracle to give a source for the readings, whether overt or covert? I regard giving a reading to a stranger as a "cold" reading, while that's not what most people mean when using that term.

Second, in what context do you intend to use CR? If you like, you can use CR to spice up a routine and make it more personal. As in, when doing a card divination (use any standard method to p**k or f*rce the card so you know what it is), instead of saying "think of the color, it's red... now think of the suit..." you can say something that seems very personal to the participant, implying that by knowing the personality, you would know the card. "You are a serious minded person, so would normally pick a black card, but I get the sense that you are concentrating on other things right now, so I suspect today you are thinking of a red card. While there is a money matter in focus, you are not the sort who would really dwell on finances above people, so I am pretty sure you picked a heart. While your thoughts are with several people, you are not the kind who shares that sort of thing too openly, so you wouldn't bring them into this. That means a number card. I did mention that there's a money matter in focus, so I think you may have chosen either the 4 or the 8 of hearts, with my gut saying the 8." You take the divinatory meaning of the card and use it to guide you to a reading as you reveal it one piece at a time.

On the other hand, if your interest is in giving readings primarily, I'd suggest starting with an oracle that doesn't predict the future or give specific advice. Palmistry and numerology are good for that. Numerology is useful because it can further inform other oracles or systems. I find a certain expectation with cartomancy that I'm going to tell the future. With palms, I can say the future is only indicated in broad strokes, not in details.

The ethics are a very important thing to address. Like it or not, if you say things with confidence and they are (or seem) accurate, people will invest a certain amount of belief in what you say. If you are not comfortable with them putting stock in what you say to that degree, think carefully about how you will present the readings and where you will use them.

Personally, I have no problem calling myself a fortune teller. And yes, I know Mark Lewis says no real reader would ever call himself such a thing, but there we are.

My own ethical position is to tell people honestly what I do believe about my oracles. I believe that palmistry is inherently interesting as a system, regardless of whether one puts any credence in the system or not. I believe that tarot and playing cards are a useful tool for reframing personal narratives. I do read futures, at least in broad, and I emphasize that it no future is set in stone. There's no value in knowing about it if we can't change it.

Bravo on not wanting to be the creepy person. Most of the folks who I have met who read tarot or palms are earnest and well-meaning. But that doesn't mean none of them could be creepy, too. Coming to it from the perspective of someone interested in magic and mentalism means you are starting with the idea of entertaining people, which I think goes a long way toward avoiding the creepy aspect. I think it was John Riggs who once wrote about being booked for a palm reading gig and telling the booker that the event was large enough to really need two readers. The booker mentioned having also contacted another local reader and asking if he was any good. "I always leave them crying," was the boastful reply. But who wants to leave all the guests in tears? What is that about? I recall that Riggs prefers to leave them feeling happy. I like that approach better as well.

You will have to come to terms with your own choices about giving readings. I hope my own are useful food for thought.

-Patrick
Sudo Nimh
View Profile
Inner circle
1423 Posts

Profile of Sudo Nimh
Not running contrary to any opinion expressed here, but I think stock lines are a good thing to study.

Why?

Think of them as training wheels. There are a number of excellent resources for stock lines that aren't "one-size-fits-all lines". They simply help you to better convey certain things within a reading and are essentially the "lingo" and language of the business. After a while, you won't even need them anymore because you'll be saying things in your own words and specific to each situation.

You can also use them to spice up your effects (where appropriate) if you're not wanting to really delve too deeply into that whole world. All readers say things that are contained in stock lines. They've just finessed them.

As for the "morality' issue - it gets beat to death here. I don't care what others do nor is it my place to judge. I have better things to think about and my own shoes to walk in.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

Contact: talkwithsudo@gmail.com
Sudo Nimh
View Profile
Inner circle
1423 Posts

Profile of Sudo Nimh
I forgot to add: Phedon's Sibyl is a wonderful resource. Never mind the nit-pickers and go with what your gut and heart tells you. Trust your own instincts and don't let yourself get pulled in too many directions or you'll end up being a victim of "group think".

It sounds as though your heart is already in the right place. Just remember, that when you're giving readings, you're the one who's largely in control of the tone and direction they take. Steer the ship. If you do it right, you shouldn't encounter rough waters too often - if you don't want to.

I echo what Patrick said in his last line about coming to your own conclusions. If you want your readings to feel "fun and breezy" then make them so. It all comes down to you in the end.
Magic which awakens and nourishes the divine spirit in man encourages the growth of true humanity, in contrast to the materialistic outlook which binds man to the earth.

Contact: talkwithsudo@gmail.com
Senor Fabuloso
View Profile
Inner circle
1252 Posts

Profile of Senor Fabuloso
A game I often play with myself (yes I did say that) is to try guessing things about people using clues like dress, jewelry, hair style and other obvious and not so obvious "tells". Being able to tell people about themselves "cold" is the only way I try "reading" them. As an entertainer, it's not my job to analyze anybody or give them advise. That would be irresponsible in an entertainment context, for me.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Smoking Camel
View Profile
Special user
UK
992 Posts

Profile of Smoking Camel
I have 3 rules

1) Do no harm
2) The client needs to make their own decisions, not the cards
3) if you see a bus coming, tell them to get out the way. (This last one is like a stockbroker, telling someone don’t invest in that stock... sure they may be wrong sometimes)
I no longer smoke camel cigarettes.
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17842 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Some of my thoughts said by others...
"Just that you do the right thing. The rest doesn't matter. Cold or warm. Tired or well-rested. Despised or honoured." - Marcus Aurelius

“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius

What matters to an active man is to do the right thing; whether the right thing comes to pass should not bother him. —Goethe

“I met a man at a party. He said "I'm writing a novel" I said "Oh really? Neither am I.” ― Peter Cook
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17842 Posts

Profile of IAIN
And in general terms - a reading says much more about the reader than it ever will about the sitter...
Ravenspur
View Profile
New user
Granby, MA
84 Posts

Profile of Ravenspur
This is good feedback.

Phedon's stuff is what I would call kind. As you may know, he's nice, he's positive, and he's not delving into anything negative. I think it qualifies as CR. I don't know how much I'm supposed to say about his effects, so I won't say anything. I did read the threads about Sibyl before purchasing it.

What gave me pause: one time I had taken my daughter to dance and was waiting in the lobby. I was trying to study for grad school, but there was this guy who was giving this lady his sob story about his inability to get a job as a professor and his marital problems. It popped into my head, "This guy's a drunk." A little while later he left the lobby and reappeared 20 minutes later smelling of whiskey. What happens if something similar happens during a reading? My intuition is not usually that good, but it's a little disturbing to be correct like that.

With all of this said, I'm rank amateur, still trying to find my area to pursue. I've been working on some card tricks, but it's slow. Mentalism would build on some skills I already possess. Big difference between performing and having some skills, I know, but that's where I'm at.
WitchDocChris
View Profile
Inner circle
York, PA
2064 Posts

Profile of WitchDocChris
Might as well ask the morality of a hammer. It's a tool, it has no morality in and of itself.

Generally speaking I think it's wise to avoid saying anything that can cause legal trouble, or personal grief. Don't give advice you're not qualified to give (ie: medical, financial, grief counseling, etc). Keep it positive.

As for your "he's a drunk" thing - While I understand this is not a radical hypothesis, I believe our unconscious minds picks up on and processes a ton of information that never comes to our conscious mind. Every now and then, though, it will pop into your conscious mind - this is all 'intuition' is. The more you learn to trust those random blips, the more often they will occur.
Christopher
Witch Doctor

Psycho Seance book: https://tinyurl.com/y873bbr4
bevbevvybev
View Profile
Inner circle
UK
2562 Posts

Profile of bevbevvybev
Quote:
On Feb 27, 2019, IAIN wrote:
“I met a man at a party. He said "I'm writing a novel" I said "Oh really? Neither am I.” ― Peter Cook


Stop cold reading me!
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17842 Posts

Profile of IAIN
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful!
MrPoponi
View Profile
New user
Brazil
74 Posts

Profile of MrPoponi
Subject exhaustively discussed here.
Cold reading can be condemned by most magicians, so debating the morality of cold reading is like debating what is the true/best religion.
I, in particular, think that morality can´t be found in cold reading, but rather, as you use it.
If you want to use it, then let it be for the good of the sitter.
Then you will be satisfying your ego, while helping someone.
A Magic Cafe User
View Profile
New user
Princeton, NJ
61 Posts

Profile of A Magic Cafe User
Quote:
On Mar 1, 2019, IAIN wrote:
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful!


Agreed, however if someone genuinely thinks that you can help them with their problems and you feed them stock lines... that is bad. I personally think there nothing wrong with cold reading in the spirit of entertainment.

-A Magic Café User
- Just my humble opinion

The more you know, the more you know - Brainpop
IAIN
View Profile
Eternal Order
england
17842 Posts

Profile of IAIN
Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, A Magic Café User wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 1, 2019, IAIN wrote:
It's genuinely one of the few stock lines that can work and isn't harmful!


Agreed, however if someone genuinely thinks that you can help them with their problems and you feed them stock lines... that is bad. I personally think there nothing wrong with cold reading in the spirit of entertainment.

-A Magic Café User


In my opinion I feel that there is potential for stock lines to backfire. Sometimes massively. We can do harm when we try to do good. Or entertain.
Chris K
View Profile
Inner circle
2218 Posts

Profile of Chris K
Quote:
On Mar 5, 2019, IAIN wrote:
In my opinion I feel that there is potential for stock lines to backfire. Sometimes massively. We can do harm when we try to do good. Or entertain.


This concept, while simple in nature, is what causes so much of the debate on this topic (which you will all notice that I stay out of).

Yes, entertainment can do harm. Yes, giving readings, even just stock ones, can do harm. Driving to the grocery store can do harm. Everyone is going to have their own lines. I won't lie, I really only recently have come up with an approach to all this that leaves me completely at peace with myself.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The Morality of Cold Readings? (54 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2~3~4~5~6~7~8~9~10 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2019 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.17 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL