Why psychics hate Derren Brown
There’s a long stranding belief that astrologers, psychics, and Tarot readers generally do no harm. Most people who read their horoscope do so out of sheer curiosity, and because they enjoy being surprised by the occasional reading that seems genuine. Of course, this belief often disregards the giant disfavor done to individuals who often rely on such quacks to tell them what do with their lives.
The technique every psychic relies on is called ‘cold reading’. There’s nothing too difficult about it. First, you start off with a rather general statement about a person based only on their appearance and demeanor. You can then proceed by making educated guesses on what might be bothering someone. Human beings are generally very similar, and we all share the same fears that others would in our situation. In fact, a psychic could simply be reading the same generic profile and have every single client believe it was an extremely accurate representation of their personality.
Enter Derren Brown. Derren is a performance artist who doubles as a debunker of psychics. He puts on shows to demonstrate to others how easily they can be fooled. In this particular video, he exposes just how easy it is for someone to fill in the gaps in their personality, by simply applying the most basic cold reading. Derren does not even need to be one on one with the person. A prewritten ‘assessment’ and the victim’s imagination are all he needs to have them completely under his spell.
It’s interesting to note after the initial embarrassment and subsequent enjoyment of the performance, many of the participants left feeling more confident in their ability to apply rigorous skepticism to claims of paranormal talents. Some no doubt left with a distaste for the relatively cheap parlor trick being played on their friends and loved ones. Many probably left the studio wanting to warn them of just how easy it is to be fooled.
It takes professional entertainers to be able to fully awaken the rest of us to the dangers psychics can represent. An illusionist is aware that the same ability to fool people can be used to entertain as it can be to control, confuse, and abuse. They can appreciate the vulnerabilities of the human mind because it is their job to exploit them for our entertainment. No doubt they must look upon their counterparts, who claim supernatural powers while simultaneously bilking their fellow human beings of their hard earned money, with a great deal of contempt and anger. Mr. Brown has found an avid new fan with his obvious display of compassion. Keep up the good work!
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