Tag Archives: Psychological Skills

Magic 1.01


Magic;  The power of influencing events using mysterious forces.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Impossible;  Not able to occur, exist, or be done.

The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to attempt the impossible.

Science;  A systematically organised body of knowledge on a particular subject.

When a distinguished scientist states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

I believe in intuitions and inspirations…  (Einstein)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.  (Shakespeare)


Dialectic Aperion Ananta

These quotations and definitions are from unimpeachable sources.  Studied closely they don’t make sense.  But then, even the Bible says that nothing makes sense, (Ecclesiastes 1).  Some things just do not make sense.  Some things in science do not make sense.  Nothing in quantum mechanics makes any sense at all.  Infinity does not make sense in this universe.  And, any competent practitioner of quantum electrodynamics can prove that water does not exist.

Magic is obviously impossible and nonsensical.  Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.  (Kelvin)  Any student of classical aerodynamics can prove that the bumblebee cannot fly.  Then the Wright bothers flew right though the smoke screen of impossibility.


Obvious Impossibility

Dragons are mythical creatures.  One definition of dragon is a mythical monster like a giant reptile.  If you were to travel to London’s Natural History Museum you will be able to see the skeletal remains of a mythical monster like a giant reptile, right there in the entrance hall.  A lot of good Christians don’t believe in dinosaurs.  A lot of good Christians don’t believe in nudity and Pan either.

The point is that it is much easier to claim that something is impossible than it is to prove it.  Conversely, even if I could prove that magic was not only possible, but that it existed, and that I know how some of it works, (through practical experience), most respectable scientists would simply ignore the evidence.  The Boomerang Effect shows that any evidence I could possibly present will only strengthen the attitude of someone who doesn’t believe in magic ~ they will become someone who really doesn’t believe in magic.

We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough.  (Bohr)  There is a t least one perfectly respectable area of science which is basically the study of magic.  Psychology is the study of the human mind and its functions, especially the functions which affect behaviours.  Some say that the most practically effective branch of psychology is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, (NLP).  Some others say that NLP is a discredited pseudoscience.  I have hard evidence that NLP works.  From personal experience I can also state that the widely accepted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (CBT), is so close to parts of Neuro-Linguistic Programming that you couldn’t get a cigarette paper between the two.

Why is psychology a branch of magic?  Proper practical psychology embraces all aspects of the human experience, from child development to the actions of nations in conflict.  Large elements of practical psychology have to be taken on trust by the end-user.  Psychological therapies often work because the patient, (and the therapist), believe they are going to work.  Believing you can recover is vital to recovery from mental illness.  How far different is that from a voodoo witch doctor telling someone they are going to die on Tuesday, and because the victim believes they are going to die on Tuesday ~ send for the undertaker.  Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.  (Jung)

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming there is a basic technique for self improvement ~ Act As If.  You want to stop drinking, gambling, and turn up for work looking and smelling clean.  You are not going to cure your alcoholism overnight, but Act As If you were cured.  Don’t drink as soon as you get out of bed, take a shower, shave, put some clean clothes on the clean body, Act As If you were a normal human being instead of a shambling alcoholic.  The power of belief will carry you a long way.  As well as in NLP, anyone who has been around Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) will have heard this Act As If mantra.  The thing about AA is they only use stuff that works.  Alcoholism is a deadly disease, they don’t dick around with fashionable slogans or do things for the sake of it.

Spooky Cat

Meditation ~ Out-stare a Cat

The power of self-belief is a very basic form of magic.  It is also unbelievably difficult.  All magic is unbelievably difficult until the user really knows how.  The application of practical magic will often require a great deal of sleep, mental preparation, meditation, subconscious thought, and massive self-belief.  I firmly believe this is why cats are associated with practical magic, they have mental preparation and self-belief in bucket-loads.

One of the main principles of scientific method is Reproducibility.  If Lab A can make rats drip green slime by doing B, then if it’s real science Lab C can also make rats drip green slime if they follow the same methodology.  This is different from magic.  In real magic, just because I can do something doesn’t mean that you can do the same thing ~ not unless I show you how, you have talent, and you work at it.  There is no reproducibility in magical engineering.

One useful definition of magic is; the ability to cause an observable effect that cannot be reproduced by anyone else, but can by you.  Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth.  (Archimedes)

Black Hole

black holes produce infinite gravity ~ which is impossible

Black holes are where God divided by zero.  (Wright)  Some things are probably impossible.  Magic isn’t one of them, depending on how you would like to define magic.  The application of magical engineering merely requires a suspension of disbelief, concentrated instruction, talent, and hard work.

I will explain how some of it works in later posts to this blog.

Overconfidence Usually Pays Off


ManlymanThe people in white coats have come up with another best seller.  Published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, a paper by Jessica A. Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don A Moore, with the cracking title; When overconfidence is revealed to others: Testing the status-enhancement theory of overconfidence.  This paper says that highly confident individuals get better results, regardless of whether their confidence is actually justified, or not.  The paper states that there appear to be so few real downsides to confidence that the potential benefits of overconfidence always outweigh the negative consequences.  In group dynamics, the members of a group seem to react positively to confident individuals.  Even when they know that the individual is very overconfident, and then fails to achieve an unrealistic goal, the other members of a group still react positively.

Who knew?  Well every sports fan, for a start.

motorcycleMost fans love to see their player / team attempt the nearly impossible.  The fans still love it when a player attempts the almost impossible, and fails.  That’s a far better spectacle than the safe play, time after time, after safe play time…  And, amazingly, every so often the nearly impossible comes off.  Sometimes the million to one chance works, it has to, it’s a law of physics.  The other thing is, the opposition has usually prepared for the expected play, the safe play.  Therefore, when the overconfident team / player attempts the almost impossible, that play is unexpected enough to carry a greater chance of success than the safe play.  One day he will get that bike into Switzerland.

ryan_reynoldsIn addition to that, confidence is in and of itself, intimidating to the opposition and attractive to your own side.  I have it on very good authority, from a number of very close friends, that hardly any women have ‘wimpy geeky guy, lacking in confidence,’ on their wish list.  When they are being honest, most women will admit to liking the ‘cocky’ man, the one who walks with a bit of a swagger, the one who stands up straight and looks them in the eye.  Action heroes tend to be the most confident guy in the group / piece / movie / book / play / room…  Psychologists know that the lasting power of a very confident first impression outweighs an only-average actual performance.

In other words the overconfident will win over the less confident, even when there is nothing else to separate their performances.  And, everybody and his dog knows that’s the way it’s going to happen.

It’s called Psychological Dominance, and it’s all about control.  It’s also very sexist.  It is very difficult for a woman to be psychologically dominant in a relationship / group.  This is explained by Social Dominance Theory, which plainly states that in almost all groups men have more power and higher status than women.  Partly this is down to the fact that men work to keep it that way, but mostly it’s down to biology and race memories.  In general, men are bigger, stronger, smarter, more driven, than women.  Sorry Ladies, but that’s just the way it is among mammals.

Malcolm Marshall - West IndiesIt is well know in sports that establishing psychological dominance over your opponent allows an easier victory than having to fight every inch of the way with someone who believes they are as good as you.  If you can convince your opponent that you are better than they are, then they have already lost.  Opponents will become tentative, miss opportunities they would routinely accept, become mentally exhausted, in fact they will give up.

This brutal paradigm applies especially in the more physically brutal sports.  Look at two boxers in the pre-match.  They are obviously fighting for psychological dominance before they even step into the ring.  It’s the same with tennis players, golfers, football teams, chess players…,  Back in the day, most players had lost against Roger Federer long before the first tennis racquet hit the first ball over the net.  And, everybody knew that.

MontyThe benefits of overconfidence also apply in the world of business, politics, the arts and entertainment, the military…,  Anyone standing against a Kennedy in Massachusetts has lost before the polls open, end everybody knows that.  Anyone trying to sell books against Amazon may as well give up before the ink is dry on the business plan, and everybody knows that.  Don’t put on a rock concert in the same town on the same night as The Rolling Stones.  And, it took Montgomery to beat the Desert Fox.

Personally, I have won some huge business deals based simply on the fact that I was utterly and totally convinced that I was better than everyone else.

Which brings us to the second most brutal of all areas where overconfidence pays off.  In group dynamics there is something called  the closed group.   This is when it’s difficult to get into the group, and once you are in you have to obey all of the group’s rules, written and unwritten, on pain of pain.  There is always a dominant figure in these groups, the one who calls all the shots, the big cheese, the boss.  Usually that person is the most confident in the group.  Not always.  Sometimes there is a member of the group who is so totally confident, (overconfident), that they don’t need to be the de-facto leader to get the group to do what they want.  Usually this person doesn’t even have to play by the rules, drifts in and out of the group as they please, obtains all of the benefits and more that the group has to offer, and suffers none of the downsides.

seveThis works because, as stated by Jessica Kennedy, Cameron Anderson, and Don Moore, people seem to put the overconfident, cocky, smiling, stand-up guy in a special category.  And, tellingly, don’t change their opinion much when actual performance isn’t quite as good as all that confidence would lead everyone to expect.  We all know and understand that the million-to-one shot doesn’t always come off.  But, we all know and understand that the million-to-one play works a lot more often than it should, and that only the overconfident guy can pull it off.

The real truth is;  If a manly man wants to really succeed with women, he needs to, (almost), always appear utterly, totally, completely confident in himself and his abilities.  However, so that he doesn’t appear arrogant, that same man must also be self-deprecating.

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