Mentalist as a Facilitator
A facilitator by definition is one who assists or aids others in completing a task; he helps ease others into and through the mission. Facilitation is really the art of leadership in-group communication, and the facilitator is the one who takes the leadership role.
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A mentalist is a performer who uses trickery and deception to create the illusion of having paranormal or supernatural powers. Mentalists rely on their subjects' selective thinking.
If you put these two thoughts together, you have a performer who will assist and guide an audience to their selective thinking. The mentalist communicates to his audience what he wants them to believe and then helps ease them into the mission or task. The effect he is creating is the mission and the action a spectator will take is the task.
I believe that there is a relationship between the Mentalist and his audience that should take place right from the “get go”. The Mentalist must come out and first put the audience at ease and then walk them down the garden path. He must get their “attention” and hold on to it for dear life as he cruises through the emotional trips he is about to take them on. This is what a facilitator does at meetings, conferences and so on (he is there to make sure the event meeting, etc. runs smoothly, all participants understand what is to take place, they know what they are in for and what will be happening on the fundamental presentation). The Mentalist/facilitator guides the spectator/audience down the primrose lane and set them up for the revelation of the mental effect.
The Mentalist opens the audiences’ selective thinking by assisting them in understanding what is going to happen, what will happen and what just did happen, all along assisting and guiding them through the illusion of the paranormal.
The Mentalist just like a facilitator must convey to his audience that he is empowering them, in this case with Extra Sensory Potential and they are the key to the achievements that will occur at the presentation.
Mentalism is just now making a come back from the early days in the late 1800s –early 1900s and then a brief rebirth in the 1980s (thanks to Max Maven,) and today it is strongly becoming the “now day” form of magic (I apologize for saying magic in this Mentalism article). This sudden but strong interest in Mentalism is due to people like Max Maven, Richard Osterlind, Banacek, Kenton, Docc Hilford and all the rest who are furthering this art form today. However, as Mentalists we must never forget that lay people, for the most part, do not understand what “Mentalism” is and/or what a Mentalist really does! Mentalism is not a common word amongst the lay people. Therefore, in explaining our art at the beginning of the presentation, the Mentalist must not forget this information, and like the facilitator, the Mentalist needs to use words that lay people understand (ESP, Paranormal, Clairvoyance, Psychometry, Psycho-kinesis, etc.).
I strongly feel that the Mentalist must set the groundwork or understanding of what will take place at this event (role of facilitator) by explaining that, what they will see and experience is Paranormal, etc. (see above), not mentalism. As an example, explain that you are not psychic and it is next to impossible to extract information from one’s brain (this is the set-up). Next, tell them you are actually conducting demonstrations. These are demonstrations in the paranormal (etc.) and unlike art forms; some of these demonstrations may not result in a 100 % success rate. However, in scientific demonstrations a 50 % or better is an acceptable result. After all, the subjects (audience) have a great deal of control over the outcome (again a ruse).
The Mentalist should always remember that what is meant by mentalism between other Mentalists is not what the lay people perceive. The Mentalist must communicate (like the facilitator) to his audience what is to take place, guide them through the journey and help them understand the information he, the Mentalist is giving.
This is why I say a Mentalist is like a facilitator for his audience.
Dio Benederi tu y
Massimo, Massimo Il Potenza Della Mente!