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  • Jon Newman
    replied
    I thought the video was great and I show it to anyone willing to watch.

    By the way, did anyone notice the Gorilla?

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  • Crazy Pole
    replied
    Barrett,

    In your experience, do you notice a difference in acceptance of your teachings between age ranges and/or educational background (bachelors vs masters vs doctoral)? I understand that this may be difficult to discern and my intention is not to start a discussion/debate of which backgrounds are better.

    The basis of my question comes from an interaction I had with a classmate at a course in Florida. He told me that for his group research project in PT school, they classified PTs (who were attending the APTA conference) by their educational background. Then, they assessed the subjects views towards continuing education. In sum, the trend was that those with Bachelors tend to take courses to fulfill CE requirements; those with Masters or DPTs tend to take courses to further their learning/understanding. Just wondering if you have noticed a similar trend. My suspicion is that the null hypothesis would be accepted if this were rigorously studied, but I could be wrong.

    Again, I do not desire to spark another debate about educational levels and degrees, and I realize that these results are not very generalizable. Just a curious question...

    Wes

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Another Magician

    The most recent podcast from New Scientist magazine features a conversation with Richard Wiseman, a psychologist I’m certain will become an important figure in my further considerations of manual magic. He is especially adept at revealing how our perceptions aren’t nearly as reliable as we imagine they are.

    Just consider this You Tube clip for starters.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    I just read a CBS news report here that includes “A group of Japanese magicians sued TV broadcasters on Tuesday for revealing closely guarded secrets behind a series of coin tricks.”

    The brilliant satirist, Steven Colbert, used this as a catalyst for one of his commentaries this week as well. It’s wonderful, and can be seen on Crooks and Liars.

    What Colbert says about the audience at a magical performance describes the attitude of some therapists I’ve met. Not only don’t they know the mechanism; the “trick” behind manual magic, they feel that they shouldn’t ask because that knowledge ruins the effect.

    This thread is about changing that attitude.

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  • Jon Newman
    replied
    You see? Undressing a little works.

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  • Crazy Pole
    replied
    “Neurologic freedom” is a term I once saw Butler use and it struck me as another way of speaking of ideomotion. And I have always thought two things: I never helped anybody who did not get warmer in some way and who didn’t laugh at some point.
    According to the Explain Pain course I attended, laughter stimulates serotonin release, which seems to be helpful in modulating pain. For better or for worse, I took his word for it and have not researched further to know if that is true.

    As I write, I wonder: what stimulates the smile?

    Love the Cowbell reference. Couldn't get the link to work here at work, but I know the skit well. Thanks for the laugh. Even thinking about it stimulates a smile.

    Wes

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    More Cowbell

    I’m convinced that manual magic contains an attitude of lightness and humor that is often not found in the “heavier” methods of manual care. Coercion carries with it the connotation of control while the legerdemain of Simple Contact is much more likely to be permissive in nature. Here I’d like to say something about humor in relation to the “craziness” some find in the gentle nature of manual magic.

    Feuerstein refers to a book titled Zen and the Comic Spirit by M. Conrad Hyers where you’ll find this: At every level of manifestation, humor spells freedom to some degree. Humor means freedom. The freedom to laugh within the bondage of life becomes the freedom to laugh on the other side of enlightenment. He who is longer in bondage to desire or the law and no longer torn apart by alienation and anxiety can laugh with the laughter of children and great sages.

    “Neurologic freedom” is a term I once saw Butler use and it struck me as another way of speaking of ideomotion. And I have always thought two things: I never helped anybody who did not get warmer in some way and who didn’t laugh at some point.

    I wasn’t above being a little “crazy” in order to get the laughter if I found I had to resort to that. Sometimes that behavior on my part was remarkably subtle but there nonetheless.

    Here’s an example of that sort of small thing from the classic Saturday Night Live “More Cow Bell” performance. I heard this week that in rehearsal it wasn’t that funny – and then Will Ferrell went backstage and came back wearing a smaller shirt.

    To me, that’s not only comic genius – it’s magic.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Earlier in this thread I mentioned the dress of Howard Thurston, a contemporary of Houdini’s - a man who took his clothes off at every opportunity, but then, he wasn’t much of a magician. Thurston dressed formally and was never seen otherwise, to my knowledge.

    When I teach I always dress up as well, though I’m no Howard Thurston. I see this in a number of ways. It provides the class a way of recognizing who I am and I firmly believe that it is a display of respect; a respect for those in attendance and for the subject matter as well. Over the course of the day my coat comes off and my sleeves get rolled up. I become more like the therapists around me and by virtue of what they’ve learned they become more like me. My goal is for us to truly meet somewhere and I think I get there with a few. Of course, we soon separate once class is over. I encourage them to meet me again on these pages but that hasn’t been an especially successful endeavor.

    I find myself returning again here to the subject of secrets. Thurston and Houdini guarded theirs carefully until they could sell them. Manual magicians keep nothing once they’ve learned it – not from the patient and certainly not from other therapists interested in learning.

    What my class sees is my semi-formal but common dress but what they soon hear are my unusual ideas about what is wrong (and right) about our patients and what we would should and should not do for that. To some, these ideas sound crazy and the appearance of ideomotion, even in their own hands as they practice, is startling. In magical terms it is The Turn (introduced in post# 155) i.e. getting an ordinary thing to do something extraordinary.

    If such a thing is seen within the context of culturally dictated adherence to convention (which is another way of saying “The instructor looked normal enough – he was even dressed rather nicely) I feel it is more likely to “stick” to the therapist witnessing it. My dress is, in effect, a little Velcro for the progression of thinking that includes the meme of abnormal neurodynamics, Simple Contact and ideomotion.

    I don’t think that dressing like a clown would help this along.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Crazy Enough?

    Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.

    Legendary Physicist Niels Bohr

    I spent a lot of time at breakfast this morning reading more about “crazy wisdom” and especially the characters that displayed it. Feuerstein’s book is enormously detailed and I will admit that while reading the intricate descriptions of the behavior pursued by those he feels truly “got” the concept of living and teaching this way I often grew uneasy. In fact, I nearly gave up on the idea of finding my way toward more of this as I develop further the concept of manual magic. These people often appeared psychotic and reveled in that. I cannot.

    But then later in the morning as I ran hard uphill on the treadmill, my iPod blaring away in my ears, my eyes fixed at the television above tuned to an old episode of Charmed that I couldn’t actually hear, I had a sort of epiphany, or, at least my version of such a thing. I thought, “Who appears crazy at the moment? At least, in relation to the behavior of most men my age in the world?”

    Craziness is a relative thing, of course, and though I can explain in great detail to anyone why I do these things, I’m sure that there are many out there who wouldn’t get it. Without trying, to them I am acting strangely, and perhaps I can use this in some way. Then again, the students I actually have should probably see something crazy from me as well.

    I’m working on it. More about that soon.

    Leave a comment:


  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Therapist as Magician, Teacher as Trickster

    This is from the first paragraph of Chapter 1 (Feuerstein’s book) beneath the heading: The Upside Down World of Tricksters and Clowns “What these approaches have in common is an adept who typically instructs others in ways that are designed to shock or startle the conventional mind…From the conventional point of view the crazy-wise teachers are eccentrics who use their eccentricity to communicate an alternative vision…they are masters of inversion, proficient breakers of taboos and lovers of surprise.”

    So much of this sounds like the themes of essays I’ve written during the past year or so, especially Going the Other Way and The Stimulation of Eccentricity.

    From paragraph 3: “…the trickster celebrates bodily existence, which includes all the many functions that civilization seeks to suppress or control.”

    This sounds even more familiar and in the process of developing my concept of manual magic this has probably been my most common subject.

    Then there’s this: “The trickster is the embodiment of the anticultural forces that surround human society, which are kept at bay by the countless institutions that compose the skeleton of the culture…”

    Well, maybe I don’t need to actually read much more of this book, but I know I will. It appears that performing and teaching manual magic requires that the therapist begin by seriously questioning the rituals and dogma of traditional care and work to reveal what it is about the way we are told live our lives without stepping from “the herd” that leads to pain.

    I’m already there, and I’ve been for a long time.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Yet Another Book To Read

    I’ve started reading a book purchased and placed on my shelf unopened several years ago. It’s Holy Madness – The Shock Tactics of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools and Rascal Gurus by Georg Feuerstien. I immediately had the sense that some of this work would inform me further of certain aspects of manual magic and its teaching, and its teaching is something I hope one day to do.

    I’ll be writing more over the next few days about what Feuerstein has to say but wanted first to return here to something I wrote in post# 55 of this thread: I also recall seeing an old, comic magician pull out a pair of scissors and cut the thread which had been attached to a small item he had just "levitated." The audience groaned…he looked at them and said, "Hey, how else?"

    This situation reminds me of those times when therapists who don’t know anything about the way I teach assume I must be some sort of “guru” and, understandably, assign all the negative connotations that word has justifiably acquired over the years.

    But “guru” simply means “teacher” or “expert” and such a position isn’t something to avoid. In fact, many work to attain it. The problem of course lies in what the teacher does with his or her special knowledge. Though there are numerous examples of teachers in therapy whose primary goal is to make as much money as they can from their peers, I feel it’s possible to teach, make a living and share freely all at once. This is what I currently do. In fact, I often describe myself as “an itinerant entertainer playing the part of a teacher for therapists who want to learn something about manual care.” Well okay, I’ve never actually said this out loud but plan to one day. In fact, I might turn this phrase into a business card.

    I am a guru in the strictest sense of the word, but, like many words, this one has several meanings. Feuerstein makes clear which of these I seek to be when he quotes an ancient Sanskrit text: Many are the teachers that rob the disciple of his wealth, but rare is the teacher who removes the disciple’s affliction.

    When I saw that old magician say, “Hey, how else?” I understood immediately that he was taking the audience’s money for the entertainment value of his performance, but that he was also teaching them something. He was “removing their affliction.” And their affliction was a tendency to believe that the laws of physics could be violated.

    Manual magicians (and I am one) do the same thing.
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 05-05-2007, 03:19 PM.

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    The resourceful professional failing to improve the method changes the moment.

    From Erdnase’s classic The Expert at the Card Table

    The Jazz Age was in full rollick when Vernon developed his improvisational approach to card tricks: beginning a trick without knowing exactly what the ending was going to be or how he was going to get there. In a sense, he would let the effect take him and his spectators for a ride. This was pure jazz.

    From The Magician and the Cardsharp

    Manual magic doesn’t follow a specific pattern of application and its effect is unique. Location, sequence and configuration of movement can’t be known in advance. Because of this, Vernon’s approach to a card effect is remarkably similar to the sort of treatment session I conducted thousands of times over the years.

    To many therapists this is somewhat disturbing. Okay, it’s worse than disturbing; it’s more than enough to make them abandon the method.

    But this is the bottom line: Predictable responses to manual care diminish as the dominance of neurologic involvement rises. This makes improvisational management driven by the constantly changing "moments" during recovery from the abnormal neurodynamic essential for success.

    Manual magic requires an appreciation for the nature of jazz. Remain in key, return to the primary theme and let the unconscious expression govern the progression.

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  • Diane
    replied
    Barrett, I thought you might like to see this note that arrived in the mail today, inside a nice art card, unsolicited I might add. (Bouquets to Jason for coming up with the term, "corrective movement", and the sheet to go with it.)
    Attached Files

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  • Barrett Dorko
    replied
    Bas,

    A wonderful link and story that has already generated a number of comments in my head soon to appear here. I saw this event briefly mentioned on Inside Edition on NBC last night as well. Thank you for this.

    Jon,

    Therapy's Strange Loop will appear as a new thread soon. You're right, it's an amazing book.

    Off now to conduct the workshop in Boston. Nick Matheson is coming down from Canada.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jon Newman
    replied
    Hi Bas,

    Great post. Barrett inspired me to purchase I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter in a previous post (I can't recall which thread.) I've not yet read it but it's next on my list. I did open it to get a flavor for it. Here is a short excerpt

    Consciousness is the dance of symbols inside the cranium. Or, to make it even more pithy, consciousness is thinking. As Descartes said, Cogito ergo sum.

    Unfortunately, I suspect that this answer is far too compressed for even my most sympathetic readers, so I will try to spell it out a little more explicitly. Most of the time, any given symbol in our brain is dormant, like a book sitting inertly in the remote stacks of a huge library. Every so often, some event will trigger the retrieval of this book from the stacks, and it will be opened and its pages will come alive for some reader. In an analogous way, inside a human brain, perceived external events are continually causing them to come alive in all sorts of unanticipated, unprecedented configurations. This dance of symbols in the brain is what consciousness is. (It is also what thinking is.) Note that I say "symbols" and not "neurons". The dance has to be perceived at that level for it to constitute consciousness. So there you have a slightly more spelled-out version.
    Barrett, I hope to read a book review or other posts with your particular insights regarding Strange Loop.

    Leave a comment:

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