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Newsgroup Content / Attention

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Newsgroup Content / Attention
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 03:58:40 GMT

Alexander Mulligan wrote:
> In alt.magick, catherine yronwode wrote:
> > MDHJWH wrote:
> >>
> >> catherine yronwode  wrote
> >
> >> Vast Snip<..........
> >> >    repeatedly engage in mentalism acts.......
> >> Another vast snip<....
> >>
> >> I'm puzzled as to what an act of mentalism on a news goup 
> >> would be Cat.
> >>
> >> Ayn Marx
> >
> > Mentalism is a stage magic act -- called cold reading too, especially
> > when performed for individual clients -- in which the performer makes
> > a series of generalized and waffling statements, often according to a
> > script. Commonly, statements are made which are deliberately alarming
> > or frightening to the subject, in order to promote a feeling of
> > neediness and reliance on the mentalist. There is a deliberate
> > mingling of the present or future (waffling the time-frame). Negative
> > statements are then countered with vaguely positive generalities
> > (waffling the bad and the good). Example: "I see a dark cloud
> > surrounding you. Someone is jealous of what you have or what you will
> > soon be getting. But i also see you using this difficult time as a
> > learning experience. Within a year you will be in a far different
> > frame of mind than you are today." Etc. See lots more at
> >
> I see only the vaguest connection between the above paragraph, and the
> material below.

I tend to reason from the general to the particular. The connection is
one of semantics, relating the technical meaning of "mentalism acts"
to its use as a term in describing a certain type of newsgroup post. 

> > In the newsgroup, mentalism acts take the form of "I know what you
> > are thinking," followed by generalized guesses about the person whose
> > mind is supposedly being read.
> No. People read your posts and thus get a very good idea of what many
> of your beliefs are. Every single sentence/paragraph/concept you post
> is related to a belief that you hold. Or more than one of them.
I am not speaking of perception of a public persona; i am referring to
the specific guesses certain people make about another person's
thoughts at the time of posting.

> > Example: "Your fragile ego can't stand to
> > see a logical rebuttal of the beliefs that you hold dear because if
> > you were to admit that you are unsure of yourself, you might lose
> > faith in everything you have accomplished to date.
> That might be a "generalized guess". It might also be true. Depends on
> who it was addressed to, doesn't it?

Whether the claims made during any given cold reading are "true" or
not is not at issue. Cold reading works precisely because the
statements are generalized and might conceivably be true -- and in
fact, the best mentalism generalities are true of more than 70 percent
of the subjects in the demographic groups to which the client belongs. 

The fact that the generality "might be true" is a mere tautology and
not a commentary on the efficacy of mentalism.

> > But by clinging to
> > the past, you have become stuck in a cycle of self-justification and
> > delusion." Etc. Etc. Etc. Blah Blah Blah.

> It's only "Blah Blah Blah" if it isn't true.

No Bruce, it is "blah blah blah" because it is a SCRIPT. It is neither
mind reading nor perceptual insight into the mind of a newsgroup correspondent.

Do you know what i mean by a "script"?

Have you ever had a mentalism act performed upon you, either in a
stage magic or a psychic reading context?

There are hundreds of these scripts, Bruce. Cold readers catalogue
them according to the demographic groups they best suit. A good cold
reader is capable of improvising and jumping from one script to
another, letting feedback from the client indicate the best line to
follow. Cold readers are essentially improv actors. Stage mentalists
also perform close-up magic acts, particularly a move called the
center tear. 
> Calling it "Blah Blah Blah" doesn't make it so. Any more than calling
> someone with ideas that make you uncomfortable a "usenet mentalist"
> makes them one.

I called it "blah blah blah" because the piece of text i quoted was
from a SCRIPT. It was just yardage. Look -- here's more:

"You are an old soul and have been reincarnated many times, but have
many lessons yet to be learned. You have a tendency to soar to the
heavens emotionally, or plummet to the depths of despair. There is a
need for balance in your life at this time lest you sight of your goals."

And here is an example of how a basic script can be tailored to
differing  demographic groups:

With an unmarried younger woman: 
"I see a fine young man coming into your life over the next few
months. I feel that the door to marriage will be opened to you, but
will you enter? The decision must always rest with you, but I am very
optimistic about the outcome." 
With a middle-aged widow or divorcee: 
"I feel that you will not spend the rest of your life alone. Whether
you really want to marry again or not is entirely a matter for you to
decide. But I feel that the opportunity will present itself to you.
Perhaps you will have to give it more concentration when the time
comes. In the meantime, I should remain in an optimistic frame of mind
if I were you."

An actual cold reading is carefully built up from hundreds of
memorized and extemporized "blah blah blah" generalities of this type. 

> You seem to be trying to create a straw man in order to justify your
> your flight from ideas that displease you.

Right, and, "Your focus has been on your hurts from the past. But I'm
here today to help you shift that focus to your joy in the present and future."
> It's perfectly okay for Cat to analyze and criticize people here, but
> when someone does it to you, you have a cow and launch sneaky attacks
> like this, distorting logic to the max in order to accomplish it.

"Trust in your own intuition, Bruce, and then move forward with the
strength of your convictions. You have the ability to move mountains
when it's done with unselfish love and not at the expense of others."
> Why don't you just start calling me a "troll", Cat? Get it over with.

"I can feel that you are a very sensitive, warm, and intelligent
person. You are very spiritually evolved and not afraid to explore the unknown."

> If you work hard at discrediting me, you might be able to avoid the
> hard questions about *your* system of magick.
> But I wouldn't count on it.

"Everything that is happening to you at this time is a result of the
choices you have made in the past. Your future is being generated by
the choices you are making today. Accept people and events as they
occur. Do not struggle against the moment. Understand that the moment
is as it should be. You must relinquish the need to convince or
persuade others of your point of view. This will free up enormous
amounts of energy that you have previously been wasting. You must stop
defending your own point of view, for with no point to defend, there
can be no argument. Stop fighting and resisting and you will fully
experience the present."

Cordially (and "blah blah blah"),

cat yronwode

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