Creating Belief


theory11 moderator
OK, so at the moment there's a lot of mentalism talk here on the boards, with Nyman's new effect coming out, Phantom has just been released, the SNC this week and with Halloween coming up. So I'd like to attack something you less experienced mentalists might be interested in, creating BELIEF in what you're doing.

This is a basic principle which can easily be applied to the start of any performance or demonstration. To allow this to really have any effect, you must have the proper understanding of your character and supposed abilities, alongside the relevant justifications. Assuming you have all this in place (if not, check out my book HERE) and you understand who you are and how you are usually perceived, this is a great way to install belief in your spectators.

This principle is in element a cross between the Definition = Creation idea and what I like to call the Sheep Concept.

It was Kenton Knepper's and Luke Jermay's works that introduced me to Definition = Creation, the concept is simply that in defining something, you're giving it the weight to be real in the spectator's minds.

The Sheep concept is what I've called the strange fact that people generally act like sheep. Not in the literal sense, (Baa!) but on a whole, people let the majority's thoughts influence their thoughts. Social convention, etc. If everyone else thinks and acts in a certain way, I should too.

The basic idea of creating belief through accepting belief (CBTAB) is that you will introduce your spectator to a belief that most other spectators have about you or your work. The way this should be delivered is in an off beat as if it is simply fact.

The easiest way to explain this is to illustrate the principle with a simple example.

"People often ask me after I do this if I have to make contact with the participant to read their thoughts. It's not essential, but sometimes it does make things a little easier."

A simple enough statement, it's played almost like a question and an answer. Using this kind of sentence structure can be very powerful on two counts; firstly, we can only answer questions when we have the answer. Secondly, the answer isn't just spoken, someone has to ask the question for it to be relevant.

You'll notice that I start with: "People often ask me." This is not only giving context, but also giving a lot of power to the question. This isn't something that has just been asked once or twice, it's asked often. Another way to create a similar effect is to say: "Most people ask."

After this little contextual 'power statement,' I move on and state this popular question in simple, direct terms.

"...After i do this If I have to make contact with the participant to read their thoughts."

This statement in it's self is extremely powerful for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it assumes that you have the ability to read thoughts; people apparently ask you this after you've read their thoughts and you hear it often, therefore you must read people's thoughts often.

Secondly, it puts a timing on the action of reading thoughts, like Banachek's 'witch doctor principle,' it gives the action of receiving the thought a physical action and its own moment in time. For all the spectator's know, you could be receiving the thought as they write it down or at any other time. You're taking the heat off the moment when the thought is written and placing it on the moment you touch them to apparently steal the thought. While this doesn't remove the action of the writing the name down from their mental timeline, it gives it a lot less importance. The importance is on the moment you touch them.

"It's not essential, but sometimes it does make things a little easier."

The final part to this sentence offers an answer to the question, thus showing your authority on the subject as mentioned. Also, this says much more. By saying that it's not essential for you to make contact doesn't necessarily contradict the witch doctor point, but can potentially strengthen it, there will still be a definitive position in the time line of the effect in which you will receive the thought, but this now allows you to turn this action from having to be a touch, to being able to be whatever you like, a strong stare directly through the eyes for instance.

Saying that " does make things a little easier," implies (or suggests) that it's not an easy task to do this, if it was easy to do, you wouldn't even mention this action that could make it less difficult to perform.

So there you go, a most basic use of the CBTAB principle, it shows you that every word you say really can be made to have impact and can help create a fantastic composite to enforce belief and strength in your claims and abilities as a performer! Shazam!
Dec 18, 2007
Northampton, MA - USA
I like it!

I often joke about how my English teachers failed horribly but 3 magicians taught me how to love words and how to use them; Harry Blackstone, Max Maven and Kenton Knepper.

"Allusion" is my favorite of all effects and just as this statement idea that Dee has shared, so too are the various things we allow to "leak" out through press releases, bio sheets, resume formats, etc. I've gone so far as to have family members tell tall tales about kin folk to visiting guests back stage. . . anything to create the "legend" and embellish the biggest, most important any of us should be concerned with -- Who We Are to Them -- the illusion that is ME.

If you were to look closely my only "claim" centers on the idea of Intuition and being a Reader yet, I have strong ties to the Occult and New Age thinking because of genuine family roots and my work with people like Louise Hay and Marianne Williamson not to mention article contributions to several Pagan & New Age based publications. People assume things, especially when you find yourself the unfortunate target of some wayward country preacher and how he incites his followers. . . while I got media attention because of it, I don't recommend anyone go chasing it.

My point is, we all have a decent sized arsenal available to us when it comes to creating validation to our claims or a matter of association (it works on more than lotta bowls . . . readers of Kenton's stuff will understand that). The "Law" of Association or "Implication" as it were, assigns to us a certain sense of reputation but we must be very careful, there is too much of a good thing (something I know from experience. . . my family is filled with strange and it is difficult to not "go there" when there is so much choice fruit. . . being closer related to Edgar Allen Poe than I am the love birds Robert & Elizabeth Berret Browning for an example; ties to film Director Tod Browning (Frankenstein, Freaks, etc.) and a few other peculiarities). But everyone has ties to people and family that can embellish their claim, albeit, indirectly and via "assumption" -- the Sheep concept Dee just mentioned.

Very interesting topic it should be interesting to see where it goes.
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