Derren Brown on Magic – Free Ebook

let’s just confirm is there such a thing as magic let’s just be absolutely clear here is there such a thing what is magic it depends on what you mean I mean there’s an experience of magic and I think so it like the word hypnosis I think it’s a simile it’s a sort of an experience of something if you actually break it down then no clearly there’s nothing happening I don’t think that’s magic in that sense of you know wizardry but the experience of it is something we can identify as magic sorry I lost what does that mean the experience of it well in it looks like magic if somebody that yes yeah it looks like magic and smells like magic and sounds like magic and it’s being presented in a sort of a framework that’s theatrical and safe and secular so you kind of go yeah okay that’s that was a that was a magical trick but you know also not to stay up all night worrying about it too much because you know it’s just a trick and and you said that the people who were best suited to be your audience are people who were suggesting to suggest in it for certain for certain trick certain illusions people who is suggestible what is it to be suggestible about am i suggested or how what is a suggestible person what can one tell if was in the presence of a suggestible purse um you’re probably not and I think this is a trick this is a double double but it what what suggestibility is this sort of it’s a very ordinary everyday thing really it’s a kind of it’s a sort of emotional openness so people that emotionally quite easily lead normally sociable open again to use that word on me sort of people the opposite of people that maybe take a detached viewpoint and sort of observe and and have that kind of three or four steps back from life I’m I’m not very suggestible I imagine sure I know you’re like now but what happens so you you you’ll tell them something and they will very easily be led I mean yeah but if it happens it happens all the time we know even those of us that aren’t very suggestible we all have experiences where we are you might go and see a doctor and you sudden you’re in a relationship where you become very suggests when you have an authority figure since doctor said there’s a giant tumor raising at it you know if there was absolute nothing you would believe it because the doctors or more likely if a doctor gives you a placebo and says this fool this will work it’ll work something to pick up now if you’re if you’re naturally suggestible you are much more responsive to placebo but we all become a bit responsive to that sort of thing because suddenly we’re in that relationship that you know and we’d like that but doctors were like it with teachers but like it with a lot of authority figures and because of course when we were little and mum said don’t touch that it’s hot we didn’t I mean to question everything would be ridiculous and you become that figure in your ears you become that yeah medical authority Authority freak on you and you you play that role and you use the tricks to sort of make that like that well and is that is it frightening to you sometimes with what ease people you know that you could just get someone to you know do something absolutely extraordinary just by looking them in the eye and telling them it’s very important that you do this now it’s not that because that’s sort of what it tends to look like there’s the other fifty who said no way well no I just think I you never quite know of course what’s going on the other people’s the person said I used to do it and what I used to do a stage show if it knows his years ago when I was starting out and at the end I make myself invisible there’s quite service standard hoary hypnotist um so you know you might used to what you stop make your I would make us visible yeah how is that possible you can see not so alright so maybe I’ve got ten people on stage yeah they’re all very good subjects is one of the last things I do in the show and I would say when you open your eyes you have got to see me better to see everything else you are going to see me you’ll think I’ve left the stage but afterwards I wanted to do a Q&A afterwards and I’d get the same people I’d say what actually you know what actually happened on on the range of experience from one and we knew you were there we were just sort of playing along because you know we’re on stage through to a kind of what I sort of knew you were there like I just was very genuine reaction I was genuinely terrified that no one cause what I think back of noise because of course of course you were there and then the other end of the spectrum that was just floating and I have no icon do you when there was nobody there that was just floating in it we don’t where were you and it was sort of fairly evenly spread there was a dipper at this end of the spectrum and absolutely you know which are single thing floating others we’re playing long you never know because it looks the same and you never know whether those people at the end who are saying no that really well was floating are they just saying it because they want to be the best people in the group you know you’re never really never any but you’ll say there’s not there’s a Williams I mean if if we said you know this bottle is now going to fly around the room there would be a certain portion of the audits that would really want the bottle to fly rather because it will be fun it would be a different kind of evening normal school of life evening and they could tell their friends and or dessert there’s a predisposition that the bottle flies around if you saw me in half with one legs over their head over there and we want this to be possible right there’s an impulse in us because cuz that would be fun right yes exactly so I think it plays so do you know and there are plenty of people that respond very well to hypnosis on stage but in a one-on-one setting aren’t at all and others that work very well one-on-one but on stage they know they do they’re uncomfortable it doesn’t work so I was saying that only that the power aspect of it isn’t really quite what it looks like because it vanities always much more sort of complex and you realize that it’s a sort of it’s a game that you’re sort of playing with people and their consent is is very important and you never quite know whether you know if you were using it for some sort of nefarious reason you never quite know whether they just sort of playing along at some point they’re gonna go sorry can we just stop this because this is you know and you wouldn’t get away with it or whether they could you could you imagine I mean you’ve studied you know Milgram etc we’re talking to about in a minute but you’ve studied mass persuasion etc do you do you feel that some of these techniques could be used really quite malevolently you know we’re talking fascism etc all these techniques open to to abuse well and says they are historically they they have been I I it may just be my temperament I always I always err on thinking and that it’s not as powerful as as it as it looks and I I’ve I when I first started out I saw everything in terms of suggestion I you know really was this for me everything was this extraordinary kind of tool and now I kind of tend to step back and think well it’s it’s not it’s just behavior it’s just people’s behavior and things there is like self-confidence in terms of suggestion etc you know the whole sort of placebo effect there is this capacity to give people confidence that they didn’t know they had so how does that work how can you make someone more conflict I think I think I think stories are very interesting in life and very important in life and if you go and see a you go and see a film and it says at the beginning based on a true story you know when you see those words that what you’re going to see is not a perfect telling of the events that happened you’re going to see a neatened version with a beginning middle and an end perhaps some characters might be sort of conflated into one another you’re clear here over the rest of it so you have a natural sort of skepticism that comes into play likewise if somebody tells you a story of what happened the other night or an argument they got into or some outrageous behavior that you know you you know there’s another side to that story you apply a natural sort of skepticism we very rarely think of applying the same skepticism which ourselves and the stories that we tell ourselves about our own lives which of course are the most important stories that we have and I did a c’mon on receiver where we gave we set up a whole elaborate thing to make people think they were getting a super drug that would do various things depending on what group they’re in so there was one group they were told it removes the experience of fear and the other group so that would stop them smoking and so on and it was really interesting to me because that what became clear is that irrespective of what rivet is whether it’s topping at a smoke or people terrible crippling anxieties or allergies was another one that responded very well to it that these things are really tied in with the stories we tell ourselves and if you give your self permission or sometimes it easier if somebody gives you permission or you give someone else version to just change the story to act out of character to act as if the thing is no longer a problem it’s a very simple shift and with that the people that give up smoking in an instant and never go back to it never have any trouble with it other people that decide I’m going to be a nonsmoker so they change their story they change that sort of identity that label as opposed to alright I must I must not smoke I must try not to smoke which of course you it’s stressful and you fail you give up with them on you when you do eventually have one who they want failed it’s all gone wrong magic is about stories that we tell ourselves you you show somebody an A B and a C a story beginning middle and end there’s an impossible story seemingly because the reality is it’s a bit like you know based on a true story in a film you know that what you’re seeing is the tidied up version so the realities between a and B there’s all sorts of other stuff that happened and B and C other stuff happened but we were given a full story so these stories we tell ourselves great these very powerful illusions and I think we have to we should harness those stories and I think that tell me so the first step is is living a story having a store in your life and had living some sort of considered life I think is important and there was a time when philosophy and psychology was sort of the same thing and and philosophy was about what it was to flourish and what it was to live well and then that sort of became lost and so I got became much of a dryer thing and became about language and analysis and not really about and living well that became sort of an embarrassing thing that normally spoke about so that got left to self-help guru and now that’s sort of we’re left with this kind of positive thinking idea this idea that we can kind of control the world and the universe and our destinies by thinking positively or or even that the universe cares that we can send wishes that the universe and it will it will reciprocate and it’s all that stuff just creates terrible anxiety because it fails and it’s not it’s not a really or we’ve reached our goals and then don’t know what to do next or fixate so much on trying to achieve things in the future and we fed that quite insidiously from a young age you know we’re Alan Watts has this nice thing about if you go and if you go to a concert you got here a piece of music you don’t just just you don’t just go for the end you don’t just go for the climax at the end you know you go over the whole piece of music but from an early age you know we’re taught about what are you going to do you can do these in levels so you can do this at university so you can go and study that and then it just as you then you’re studying and then you’re looking forward to the career then you’re doing your job but now you’re looking forward to this promotion or that promotion and life has happened as shobhona says in a dinger emits just sort of happened in in the meanwhile and we didn’t realise it was supposed to be like a piece of music you were supposed to dance along the way and I think these things I think these things are important and then so there’s a sort of a framework that I think there and I think then after that it’s about realizing that the happiness is a bit like a the rainbow that symbolizes happiness is a good symbol for it you know you try and approach it directly it dissipates and disappears so you find these securities routes to it which again the Greeks and the ancients were very very hot on finding these ways of maybe it was about tranquility maybe wasn’t that being happy as such it was about removing anxiety and being tranquil our achieving this ataraxia as they call it which is what the Stoics for example and the Epicureans and others a lot of you all know about obviously with the school of life and Alan’s sort of bringing back and is now something become a much more popular idea as psychology has become launched it again in what makes the good life of people and as philosophy is also starting to this is sort of marriage that’s sort of you know that being divorced 400 years now that sort of coming back together and it’s I think it’s very exciting and I’m working on a book I’m starting to kind of I’ve been sort of in the background writing a book for the last six months and will do so for another six months on that kind of subject and which are happiness happiness yeah I’m philosophy yeah yeah and I think there’s there’s a lot that a lot of ideas that have sort of got lost that I think are really rich and they sort of get hijacked by self-help people which it’s not you know it’s just bad as I said saw the bad science or it’s about you know if you think about it every success story you read every you know every entrepreneur that says you’ve just got to focus on what you want ignore all the naysayers there’ll be people that will try and bring you down you’ve got to ignore them you focus and you believe and you keep chasing that goal and that’s how I got successful that is also a perfect recipe for failure it’s exactly how you fail that’s how you felt but the difference is the people that failed aren’t writing those biographies so you know it’s true so you have this perfect sort of perfect sort of confirmation bias you’ve got this great sample of people that have told themselves a self-serving story that they’re successful because I’m they committed and they ignored all these people which is rubbish what we actually do we actually live an X an x equals y axis so along the x axis you’ve got all the things you want to achieve in life and on the y axis you’ve got all the things that life throws at you fortune as they used to call it we don’t sort of read don’t really allow for fortune anymore which is a huge shame and we live this thing in the middle and Schopenhauer knew it and Freud knew all the psychoanalysis was when Freud started was just about restoring what he called natural happiness it wasn’t about being really happy it was about of course life generally but I’m happy and will just restore you to that as opposed to unnatural happiness the people like you’re carrying around with it so once we sort of realized that and it’s not you don’t you can’t control you know it’s not about setting goals and then deciding every aspect of what your life is going to be about that that x equals y line is actually what life sort of is and then you can maneuver within that of course you can maneuver that around you can take control where it’s so useful to do so but we just we just fed so much nonsense we fed this sort of you know you just got to keep believing positively and of course it just creates failure a just because it doesn’t doesn’t allow for actually what does go on in life which is much more subtle and you’ve said but I thought was such a lovely such a lovely thought that we need to rediscover tragedy because that’s what are you properly all know this could you from around very well but Sir this idea of you know the Greeks knew about fortune and that was something that was people were very aware of it you know you said yourself we people that are poor now we refer to them as not literally financial people we’ve heard of people as losers now as they used to be unfortunates and that somehow they’ve lost the game now is such a such a brilliant thought and that maybe rediscovering tragedy at some level as is one way of discovering it so yes I wish yeah sorry a lot to say that’s a very beautiful and comprehensive answer it’s so sad but we’ve got to end it there but please come back and visit us you’ve been fantastic so interesting and thank you so much Darren brown for coming to visit [Applause] you

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