Derren Brown

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Derren Brown

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:22 am

I've been watching some recent Derren Brown material: Apocalypse and Fear and Faith. The Apocalypse is about creating a staged environment (on a very large scale) where one guy without his knowing is made to believe a zombie apocalypse has actually happened and is challenged to act. Derren uses a combination of large scale props, fx, extras, phone and tv hacking, suggestion and hypnosis to put this guy in an apocalyptic world and try to get out the hero and human caretaker in him. While there has been much doubt about the show, there's clearly no pretending or hidden factor involved - and I've gone over some of the obvious objections but the show is as fair as can be. My only doubt is if the main actor, who was suggestible, was just doing and feeling what he was expected as opposed to genuinely experiencing the staged event. But what is real in this case if the motions are the same?

The Fear and Faith episodes are so far about the power of placebo medication and fake settings to overcome phobia and stress and the second episode was mostly about triggering religious conversion by some strong emotional release. An atheist scientist during a conversation with Derren combined with some mild suggestion put into a very emotional inner state which is then released suddenly when she's alone and interpreted by her as "God" touching her. Although this type of conversion is in my view only a fragment of the many types of conversions in religion, it's an interesting show because of the strong emotions which Derren apparently can control and manipulate in others even to the degree of timing. Or did he just open her up by suggestion and she felt an actual glimpse of the larger things at stake? Did he fake a religious experience or just initiated one? What would be the difference?

Interesting and amusing shows all in all. How suggestible are many of us really? You can find links to episodes on sites like watchseries dot eu.
Last edited by Diebert van Rhijn on Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Dec 02, 2012 8:01 am

Watched another one, this is on Youtube: Derren Brown - The Experiments: The Assassin.

One of the interesting things of this show is the suggestion these methods could have been used to "program" assassinations like the famous shooting of Robert Kennedy. Obviously in certain contexts and with certain pressures applied someone can be made to act in a way the person would not consciously approve of, including perhaps firing a loaded gun at a celebrity. Something similar Derren did in his show "The Heist" where he indirectly suggested people to rob a security van at certain cues, without instructing or telling them to do so.

It's hard to know where the limits of non-verbal or indirect coersion exactly lie. From what I gather from the shows and the analysis many others have done is that an important factor is the peer pressure and expectation which the environment of the candidate "emanates", no matter if the goal is never spoken out. All the actors, the family and friends involved, and of course Derren, know the purpose and plot of the show very well and might act and speak in ways which "program" the one not knowing that purpose. It's very difficult in normal life to control the whole environment of a person for some time like Derren often does in the show. Another factor is the fame and name of Derren Brown. All of his victims are candidates he meets and selects but even while he does not tell them the real purpose and content of the show, there this a whole atmosphere created that something at some stage will happen and some action might be required to participate. This might be a crucial element in the hypnotic suggestions.

One famous performing hypnotist once told that he thought his subjects desired to be put under hypnosis, that their "suggestibility" was actually also a wish. There might be something to that as well. Stunning fact which remains as seen in the first part of the video, is the ability to surpress sensations of cold and pain on command. This enters the realm of what exactly is physical suffering, although the trick might not work with stronger sensations.

Dennis Mahar
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Dennis Mahar » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:49 am

One famous performing hypnotist once told that he thought his subjects desired to be put under hypnosis, that their "suggestibility" was actually also a wish. There might be something to that as well.
That's the idea of 'being enrolled', possibilities of being playing along.
Surely, in the ordinary/everyday world a being takes its cues from Culture and acts them out as a matter of course.

I know a guy who was embedded in a juvenile gang and ran the usual gamut of booze, drugs, thieving, thuggery etc..
At a point,
he got the scent of a woman in his nostrils,
she was a Baptist,
he went into that Baptist community and after 6 months he was looking like and talking like a Baptist and his prior incarnation was nowhere in evidence.
He was a star in Bible College and sang in the choir as if an Angel were carried on wings, a beautiful rich baritone.

'And sings my Soul,
my Saviour unto thee,
How great Thou art,
How great Thou art.

He 'believes'.

Is he not merely going through the motions,
as like a marionette?
albeit, a marionette of outstanding performance characteristics.

an outstanding performer embedded in the juvenile gang.
an outstanding performer embedded in the Baptist Community.

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Diebert van Rhijn
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Diebert van Rhijn » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:11 pm

Dennis Mahar wrote: the usual gamut of booze, drugs, thieving, thuggery etc.. he went into that Baptist community and after 6 months he was looking like and talking like a Baptist and his prior incarnation was nowhere in evidence. He was a star in Bible College and sang in the choir as if an Angel were carried on wings, a beautiful rich baritone.
It's a fairly common sequence actually. Those churches also love to put these people on the pedestal and let them deliver the testimony of their "conversion" again and again. Now I'm not saying it's a bad switch since the Baptist lifestyle is definitely healthier than one based around violence, theft and cocaine. But it's a change of scene proving the scene itself is the power behind the scene, meaning there is no behind or Behind here to find. Just a desire to be part of a scene.

Everyone who is not a performer embedded in some scene going through its motions, please raise your hand. Those who just raised your hand, welcome in the Nonconfirmist Handraise Gang!

Dennis Mahar
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Dennis Mahar » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:09 pm

But it's a change of scene proving the scene itself is the power behind the scene, meaning there is no behind or Behind here to find. Just a desire to be part of a scene.
He says I am a Baptist as if it were a fixed condition.
I am is an Identity issue or problem people feel gets resolved in falling under the hypnotic spell of a herd.


I try to explain,
No, you are not a Baptist,
You are nothing,
You are 'occurring' as a Baptist as a means to an end.

occurring as this or that is an accurate distinction whereas I am this or that is debilitating.

It is never 'I am'
It is 'I occur'.

To 'get' I occur as a distinction calls forth a freedom and release from untoward suffering entrained in a cultural identity.

One minute you can be 'occurring' as a father to your son and then go to another room and be 'occurring' as a son to your father.
Then you can go to another room and 'occur' as a lover to your lover on the way out of the house to 'occur' as an employee for your employer.

To 'get' you are nothing 'occurring' multifacetedly as a means to some end as a distinction is mindblowing as a 'know thyself' phenomenon.

Dennis Mahar
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Dennis Mahar » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:43 am

I've listened to a lot of women born in the 50's and prior to that.
The hypnotic spell induced into them by the culture was:

'Good girls go to heaven'.

Inside that induced Identity,
if at any point they noticed themselves 'occurring' as other than 'good girl',
a grievous suffering or remorse arose.

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brad walker
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by brad walker » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:01 am

Thanks for sharing these videos. I should find them useful in the future.

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Jamesh
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Re: Derren Brown

Post by Jamesh » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:53 pm

Derren Brown - The Experiments: The Assassin.
Yep, that was the first of his shows that I'd seen. I'll watch them all at some point, I think his all-round magic/mind reading skills are rather entertaining.

I noted a little synchronicity - or set of coincidences relating to what drew my attention once an initial emotional impact occurred - I presume) with the Assassin show.

Early in the show, there was the fake acid throwing scene. When watching I thought to myself "it is irresponsible to show things like that on TV". Within a few days I noticed 1) In the Musings thread Alex mentioned "You know that I see and isolate an 'acid' that is thrown on one's own self", then there was an bad assault at a Sydney uni where some dude threw acid over a fellow students face and finally there was another acid related death involving a crazed fundamentalists muslim's daughter.

There was another one about seances, that Laird should watch! Easily predicable ending though.

One famous performing hypnotist once told that he thought his subjects desired to be put under hypnosis, that their "suggestibility" was actually also a wish. There might be something to that as well.
I'd say so. A good percentage of folks just seem naturally geared to be led - the religious for example. I guess that is what a few hundred million years of necessary-to-survive herd based hierarchical status behaviour does.

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