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These are not the druids you're looking for

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Jan. 7th, 2004 | 08:46 am
mood: awakeawake
music: Carly Simon - You're So Vain

I think an instance of cold reading and an instance of psychic insight are 'functionally equivalent'. I've written tons about what I mean by that in my LJ. The magic is the same, even if it isn't magic. I think of it as magic because I can use the metaphor to make something happen. The actual details would take too long and the moment could never happen.

Once upon a time, when I gave up on life and things still kept going, I lost a lot of my filters, so I hear and see things others are culturally trained to ignore and immediately forget. Nothing mystical about that, but it sure is magic.

I just went and read a few articles on cold reading. And yeah, that sounds about right. And _exactly_ like psychotherapy. And just talking with someone. And being alive. The only difference seems to be the intent.

crossposted from another thread

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Comments {22}

(no subject)

from: nobodobodon
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 08:58 am (UTC)
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I was just posting a comment in someone else's LJ that seems relevent. Let me see if I can dig up a link... Nope, no can find.

Maybe you saw it. I don't remember who's LJ it was. Anyway, the idea is that the difference between Atheism, Monotheism, Polytheism, and Pantheism is more a difference in how you define your terms, than some real underlying difference in reality.

I threatened to expound on that notion. I still may.

But it's similar to what you're saying, I think.

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 09:21 am (UTC)
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Yes, in fact; I'd read your comment shortly before posting this one.

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Chef Monkey

(no subject)

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 07:16 am (UTC)
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    I don't remember who's LJ it was.
Yours.

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QOTJ

(no subject)

from: sheenaqotj
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 10:55 am (UTC)
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Two things:

I only looked at one of the articles, but I remember a study where they hand each student a piece of paper that apparently contains psychic findings related to that individual. All (most?) of the students said this was the story of their lives. Of course, they were all given the same description.

One of the radio shows in Austin faked having Ms. Cleo on the phone. They had a few snippets of her recording. The callers didn't know they weren't talking to the real person. The first conversation actually went off rather smoothly, which shows something. (It was too much like the real thing apparently; the radio hosts were bored with that success and they started to repeat the comments randomly, in odd places, until the confused caller hung up.)

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 11:33 am (UTC)
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All (most?) of the students said this was the story of their lives. Of course, they were all given the same description.

Sometimes LiveJournal feels like this.

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Mark Russell

(no subject)

from: unatone
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 12:39 pm (UTC)
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Cold reading is obviously a very conscious activity, but the same is not obvious for phychic insight. It may be an issue of definition. But, for me, the difference between conscious and unconscious connection is very striking. I'm often amazed at how poor a job my conscious mind does of finding a path to connection with people. However, some people I instantly connect with on some subconscious/energetic level and just totally get them. This would fit my definition of psychic insight. In fact it may be even something more, as psychic insight implies uni-directional to me, where this connection thing feels very bi-directional. I would totally suck at cold reading.

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 01:10 pm (UTC)
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My conscious mind doesn't have a clue. Maybe I'm lucky there.

It's always definitions, but one thing these articles all point out is that it can be done _accidentally_ and therefore unconsciously. That would probably feel the same as psychic insight -- and I'm arguing that it _is_ the same; a distiction with only one difference: the person's intent. So I'm dancing angels on a pinhead like always -- um, wait, that doesn't sound quite right. I'll come back to this later.

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Triple Entendre

(no subject)

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 01:20 am (UTC)
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You are using the words a little differently, but taking that into account, I agree wholeheartedly, and I've often felt the same.

Food for thought: do you identify with your "conscious mind"? Is that "you"?

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Mark Russell

(no subject)

from: unatone
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 07:13 am (UTC)
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My conscious mind is definitely not me, and only seems to get in the way. Unfortunately, my default energy state is to follow my conscious mind, so I have to try real hard and be very attentive in order not to do that.

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Kaiball: The Chronomorphic Psyclown

kaiball

from: kaiball
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Got any good suggestions for websites or books?

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Triple Entendre

Re: kaiball

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 01:12 am (UTC)
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Write clearly, cite your references, and don't talk down to your audience.

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味锤

Re: kaiball

from: daylightsavings
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 01:44 am (UTC)
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The thing is, there are different types of cold reading, and each example of literature is going to focus on what the author is interested in. Intentional cold reading is the work of scam artists and psychoanalysts. A method of using an advantage over others for personal gain, or to help them.

Unintentional cold reading is what people have done for eons. Part of the job description for being a shaman/mystic/psychic. It's more easy to have a convincing experience with an unintentional practitioner because they are a part of the experience themselves, both parties reinforce each other in believing that the experience is supernatural.

So, there are examples everywhere, just depends on what you want to focus on. When most people use the words "cold reading", they're talking about deception, and about popular psychics as scam artists. In my experience though, a great number of those who call themselves psychics are definitely not scam artists, but believe in the experience as much as the individual being read. They just aren't aware of where their methods/"powers" come from.

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Triple Entendre

Re: kaiball

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 03:53 am (UTC)
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As an introvert, I get my energy batteries recharged through alone time, not through actively engaging others. Intentional cold reading would be exhausting to me. Just reading the details of it has a sympathetic effect. So I'm not planning to do any reading on it.

But, the four articles I've linked in there have some good keywords and details with which to find some good sources. As you suggest, to cover the topic well you'll need to cross several areas of study and read past their filters.

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cold reading

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 7th, 2004 10:49 pm (UTC)
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This is the first time I've heard the term "cold reading" to mean something other than when an actor reads aloud a script they haven't seen before. Very similar ideas, but thought of in very different ways.

Maybe I'll go and get my palm read when I find myself with a little more time. Certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than a shrink. Probably a lot easier to listen to too.

Sara (the lj anonymous)

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味锤

(no subject)

from: daylightsavings
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 01:35 am (UTC)
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You're getting what I was referring to in the aforementioned other thread. What makes this such a powerful experience is that it adds traditional methods of psychoanalysis/therapy with aspects of general statements about human nature with which you can either find similarities or contrasts with yourself (either find your current, past, or hoped-for future self in), PLUS the fact that the person doing is convinced, utterly, of the supernatural characteristics of the situation, and so won't give away any of the normal body language or other signs of deception...because this is not deception at all, but a shared, if misunderstood experience...and you have a powerful experience, no matter how you look at it. Useful and meaningful too, with understandable and valuable insights into the life of the individual being read, and human nature in general.

Just not for the reasons that the involved parties usually believe.

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Triple Entendre

Consensus reality

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 03:44 am (UTC)
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Well-written and true.

The related point I'd like to illuminate is this: what does it mean for an experience or interaction to take place when all parties involved have an 'incorrect' mental model of what is happening?

I'm making the (potentially) rather offensive argument that shared understanding and shared misunderstanding are not just of equal significance, but are identical.

I am still seeing people arguing over what keeps an airplane in the air. It depends on the level of detail you are reasoning at, your choice of metaphors (cf. my next post), and what systems approaches you are willing to accept. Because if you keep digging, down to the level where you are modelling the interaction of the strong and weak electrical forces between components of individual atoms in the plane and the air, eventually you are no longer saying something general enough to have any meaning. You end up simulating the reality of the airplane's flight.[1] I wonder to what extent reality is computationally irreducible.

-Trip

[1] anecdote from when-I-was-little: First grade was boring, so I'd constantly riff on things or reinterpret them, looking deeply at the world around me. The instructions on my assignment were to draw a circle around the (picture of a) fire engine. I (correctly?) interpreted this to mean that I was being asked to prove my ability to distinguish one depicted object from another, and identify a recognized object by reference to its label in the English language. I saw no harm in making things more interesting by outlining the fire engine (trying to keep each point an equal distance from the outer edge of the 'fire engine') rather than making what would have to be an imperfect circle anyway, since there wasn't room to draw a perfect circle without including portions of the other, incorrect, answers inside its radius. As you have guessed, the question was graded as incorrect, with a big red X. When I protested, my teacher (a Catholic nun and also my great-aunt) said, "That's not a circle, that's a fire truck!" and would hear no more of it.

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Triple Entendre

A sudden thought

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 04:01 am (UTC)
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When we figure out that the reason airplanes can fly is because of an error in the algorithm for the coefficient of friction... will it stop working?

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Re: A sudden thought

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 11th, 2004 06:14 pm (UTC)
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That question illustrates perfectly the exact difference between mass misconception and actual known truth.

Sara

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Triple Entendre

Re: Consensus reality

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 04:24 am (UTC)
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(cf. my next post)

Oops, uhh, I meant the post after my next post. Heh heh.

Heh.

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Chef Monkey

Re: Consensus reality

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 07:31 am (UTC)
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    ...a Catholic nun and also my great-aunt...
I just had to once again point out that this same nun was also my first grade teacher, and my experiences were very similar. Truth is, I think you and I had more of an impact on her than she did on us -- or, at least, about the same level. Of course, I appear to have had that kind of effect on many of my teachers and professors -- and I assume you did as well.

As an anecdotal demonstration: I went to a rather large high school (c. 4,000 students), so expecting any particular teacher to keep track of all of their past students isn't really a reasonable thing. At the very least, you would expect most of them to have to dig deep in their memories. When Audrey discovered that she had the same 11th grade English teacher as I had (albeit four years later), Audrey whether she recalled me. The answer was immediate: "Oh, yes." Pause. "Strange boy."

I feel compelled to add that I have a Catholic nun as a great-aunt.

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Triple Entendre

Re: Consensus reality

from: triple_entendre
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 09:26 am (UTC)
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Apropos of nothing, I feel compelled to observe that you are using 'unordered list' HTML tags along with italics to indent your quotes. I like the way it looks, but it is a hidden perversity nevertheless.

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Chef Monkey

Re: Consensus reality

from: chefmonkey
date: Jan. 8th, 2004 01:14 pm (UTC)
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I feel a slight twinge of guilt every time I do it, too... it's ameliorated, however, by muttering mild obscenities under my breath about LiveJournal stripping "<blockquote>" tags in comments.

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