The End of Mindreading

Abstract

Advances in neuroscience have formally debunked Cartesian mind/body dualism, ending, in the process, the possibility of mind reading as it has long been depicted in popular culture (Moulton, 2008, pp. 182-192). Gone, now, are the tantalizing possibilities of mental radio waves, psychic vibrations, and disembodied minds, frequently brandished by the mediums, mind readers, and mesmerists of decades past. It is my contention that contemporary mentalists are reacting – both intentionally and unintentionally – not only to these anti-dualist realities, but also to the post-truth condition. This in turn, is giving rise to a new meta paradigm of wink-eye mentalism in which – in contrast to classical mentalism – the lies are less interesting than the lying. In this paper, I explore the relationship between mentalism and two theories advanced by Performance Studies: dark play and make-belief. I further examine the curious relationships between mentalists, professional wrestlers, rock stars, politicians, and method actors; paying specific attention to what is known in the sports entertainment industry as kayfabe.

Keywords

mentalism, metamentalism, wink-eye mentalism, post-truth mentalism, kayfabe, dark play, make-belief, trickster, anti-character, anti-magic

How to Cite

Dean E. (2018) “The End of Mindreading”, Journal of Performance Magic. 5(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.5920/jpm.2018.04

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Edward Dean

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