As a mentalist you want people to believe you can make predictions, have special powers and can read minds. Logically both you and everyone else know you rely on other techniques to create the illusions. However, you don’t want people to know that. Luckily for you people do not think logically and this book will give you a deeper understanding why.
The good news for you is:
- 96% American adults believe in God
- 90% in heavan
- 79% in miracles
- 72% in angels (1996 poll)
People believe they have seen the bright lights of heaven coming towards them, have been abducted by aliens, they believe in myths, join cults. Why? Because it gives them comfort and a sense of meaning. For many believing in something is preferable to accepting they are just a collection of meat and bones hurtling relentlessly towards the grave.
The book looks at how people go about trying to prove and disprove things often using spurious methods. For instance the proponents of creationism focus on blowing holes in the theory of evolution rather than focusing on proving we were all crafted by God. There was a large movement to deny the holocaust in the 20th century based on bits and pieces of speeches while ignoring crucial evidence such as Hitler announcing he wanted to eradicate the Jews and countless testimonies. Nevertheless thousands believed these claims.
Psychologists in the 60s and 70s used recovered memories to prove children had been abused when in fact no abuse had taken place and were subsequently sued by their clients and the wrongly convicted. The book looks at the cult of objectivism and Ayn Rand which tapped into many beliefs and philosophies of the 20th century for instance individualism. Millions subscribed to the central tenets of objectivism but they largely fell away when Rand didn’t follow her own philosophy – is that a reason for it to be discredited?
This book is useful for furthering your understanding of why people believe things that aren’t logical. After all one of your primary goals of being a mentalist is to convince people you can do things others can’t with your ‘powers’. There are better books on this type of psychology however this is still a very interesting book, it is relatively short and worth a read. You will certainly gain a better appreciation of psychology and the fragility of the human mind if you do and that’s certainly worth knowing.