Brain Software Podcast #50: The Magic of Mentalism

Brain Software hypnosis podcastWelcome to Episode 50 of Brain Software with Mike Mandel and Chris Thompson! We’ve got something special in store for you in this week’s episode filled with information and as usual, humor. So sit back, relax and enjoy a ride in the hypnotic storm.

Here are the show notes for this episode:

  • We’ve got our MINDSCAPING class, the 2014 edition coming up here in Toronto on June 7th and 8th. There’s a few spots left. Our November hypnosis training will be on the week of November 3, 2014. There are only 6 spots left. So, if you are interested to join our trainings, head on over to
  • Mike reviews a discussion he had about Hellstromism which he used to find a certain object.
  • Mike and Chris have an interesting discussion about mentalism which is a fascinating field and has a very rich history. Who is Joseph Dunninger, the Pilkington’s and Kreskin and what are their roles in the history of mentalism?
  • Mike shows a great mentalism effect to amaze people which he learned from a variety performer, Bill McClure. (Hint: It’s fairly easy but you need to have guts to pull it off)
  • Mike furthermore shows two tricks he knows; One is a very old trick he came up with and the other is one that he adopted. They’re both truly amazing!
  • Mike talks about Logical Non Sequitur double bind which is an Ericksonian method, a tremendously powerful tool. Mike gives a few really good examples including the Mandel Taser Challenge.
  • What are the three levels of argumentation?
  • Most people are not logicians as Mike has emphasized and they can go through something else. What could that be?
  • What is a priori argument or a priori situation? Mike shares his experience with it and how he dealt with it.

Closing metaphor: The Painting at the Art Shop

Please leave a rating for this podcast in iTunes!  Go leave a rating in iTunes, and send in your questions by emailing questions (at) MikeMandelHypnosis (dot) com.


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Raw Transcript

Chris: Welcome fellow storm riders. You are officially a rider on the hypnotic storm and welcome to session number 50 of Brain Software with Mike Mandel and I’m Chris Thompson. He’s currently power reading dozens of hypnosis textbooks. He’s lost over 20 lbs and has no plans to find them again and he’s just turned 61 years old. Please welcome to the centre of the hypnotic world epicenter the best combination of skill and humor you’ll ever find, riding the hypnotic storm that he created, welcome Mike Mandel.

Mike: Yes, thank you Chris. Here we are once again ladies and gentlemen, children around the world broadcasting from, podcasting from the very epicenter as he said of global hypnosis, steps away from the CN tower and our training in Toronto where the Architecture of Hypnosis happens on this coming Monday so it will have passed by the time you hear this. This is episode 50 which is a crucial one for us. It shows us we’re sticking around for awhile. We’ve got five big groups of 10 podcasts done. [Laughs]

Chris: Five big groups of… [Laughs] That’s right.

Mike: We’ll edit that out.

Chris: You know what; this is maintain the chain right?

Mike: This is maintain the chain.

Chris: I mean we have sometimes let the podcast publishing schedule slip a little bit longer.

Mike: Yes you have.

Chris: But we keep doing more of them and people keep emailing us and telling us that they just love the content.

Mike: I’m amazed that people are still tuning in and the number of emails we get folks and people are saying, “Hey, I just found your podcast last week and I’ve listened to all of them.”

Chris: Yeah which is totally awesome and I really believe that the mix of humor and content that you bring to the mix here.

So, okay let’s start. We said that for podcast 50 we were going to do some cool stuff and we want to talk about mentalism because I mean way back in like podcast one, I think we said we were going to be throwing in more mentalism.

Mike: Yeah right we can throw in some more. I mean we talked about hellstromism and how to determine through idiomotor signals microscopic muscle movements from another human being which direction they’re thinking of moving, what they’re looking at and so on and you might want to rewind and find that particular podcast if you didn’t hear that. That enabled me to find a finger ring hidden inside a pocket calculator hidden inside a cashbox under some money at the back of a crowded theatre but it looks like ESP and of course it isn’t. There’s all kinds of cool things you can do and my mentalism career started in 1975.

Mentalism is a very hot topic now and people like Darren Brown and others and there’s a whole new wave of mentalist out there. Can’t think of his name – Trevor Parker I think does some great stuff and I find it a fascinating field. It’s one of the branches of magic where it could just be real except it isn’t and a lot of it is sold as well this is the real deal and the problem is if you start selling it as a real deal then you’re forced to stay with that even when it’s unmasked.

Chris: Yeah exactly which means that you’re unveiled at someone if you’ve just been lying so…

Mike: Mentalism is entertainment. If you recognize, it is a branch of magic for entertainment. And it’s not what some people say, oh it’s an illusion. No, Doug Henning, God bless him, he’s long dead but he used to say call everything an illusion and change the whole vernacular of magic terminology which I find terribly annoying.

An illusion is actually a large stage effect which is performed in front of a substantial audience. Something like sawing a woman in half, or making a tiger appear – that kind of thing. That is an illusion. Mentalism isn’t an illusion. It is a way of using magic principles meaning psychological principles, NLP principles and so on although they typically don’t figure into much of the stuff. [Unclear 3:34] to create the impression that one can read minds, predict the future, have psychic abilities – that sort of thing.

Chris: And you don’t actually say that you’re reading people’s minds. Maybe does it mean that the word mentalism, the person watching what’s going on watching the effect doesn’t understand how it’s done so they’re mentally thinking oh he must be reading my mind.

Mike: And you want to be giving that impression to the audience but it is entertainment and there’s some great, great mentalists out there as I said. Joseph Dunninger was pretty well the first. I think he might have even coined the term, the solo act.

Prior to him, the Pilkingtons had a mentalism act. It was a husband and wife team and they would do this sort of thing and he’d say she’d be blindfolded or he’d be blindfolded, I can’t remember which way around it was and heavily blindfolded with dough over the eyes or whatever that seemed impossible to see and will go to the audience and say, “And what am I holding in mind?” “It’s transparent.” “That’s right. What else can you see?” “It’s got water in it. It’s a glass full of water” and everybody would go crazy.

Well the Pilkingtons had developed an incredible coed system that used the same phrases over and over and over on a tree structure. So the first time it was used, it would give the basic branch they’re working on. The second time it would be used it would give the twig on that branch and so, they could say virtually anything. Oh it’s a coin, what’s the date on it? And there are mentalist husband and wife teams out there right now who do the same thing and I’m not giving away anything. This is all over the web, all in the bookstores. It’s a grueling thing to learn the code and typically, people who have learned it deny there is a code and it infuriates them when people think there is one.

Well Joseph Dunninger comes along. I think he was from New York and Dunninger, the difference was he was a solo mentalist act. In fact, he didn’t need any partner. He didn’t need any plants. He did everything by himself. And he did his thought reading act where slips of paper will be passed on to the audience. They’d write down names, dates, social insurance numbers, things like that. They’d be collected by the audience, thrown in a bucket on the stage and Dunninger without opening any of these would say, “Who’s thinking of Mary? It’s your sister in law?” “Yes.” “You’re thinking of a cottage you want to buy?” “Yes.” And people would absolutely freak out.

Well Kreskin picked up on this and he basically [unclear 5:51] a lot of Dunninger’s mannerisms and so on – the way he would toy with his glasses and all these things and Kreskin took over and was immensely popular in the 1970s and so, with the Amazing World of Kreskin – much of it is still online although he was wearing unfortunate leisure suits back then that were made of polyester with big, huge pockets up on the chest and lapels so wide you could land a space shuttle on them but that’s a horse of a different color.

So mentalism has an interesting history and I saw Kreskin alive but Minkler Auditorium in November of 1974 and I can do this and began doing mentalism and power of suggestion in an agency called music shop that no longer exists began booking me and one of the things I did in my act was just sheer boldness and it was taught to me a variety performer called Bill McClure years and years ago. He was an old man then, older guy. He’d come on stage; try to use cycle juggle, do mentalism blindfold. He’d do everything. And he showed me this thing and I used it for years and I never got caught and if any of you got the nerve and you wanted to freak people out, this is a great mentalist effect.

Here’s how I would do it with an audience and you need a substantial audience to make it work. So it’s not something you’re going to do at your house with a few people over. Say I had 100, 200 people in the audience and have a small white pad of paper and a pen like a Sharpie kind of thing. And I’d say to someone “Okay, write down a three digit number.” So they do and I take the pad back from them and I’d pick another person at random. You can throw a Ping-Pong ball into the audience or a lawn dart or something to find someone.

Chris: Throw a lawn dart [laughs] Throw a Ping-Pong ball and I got stuck on that and then you said… that’s hilarious.

Mike: Get three or four of this – let’s say four. Four 3-digit numbers that people randomly placed and the key is they have to be widely separated from each other in the audience.

Chris: So there’s no potential…

Mike: And then I get a fourth person up on stage and hand them the pad that’s been in full view the entire time and they add up the numbers and now this is before pocket calculators. They didn’t exist back then. You’re not going to do it with a slide rule on stage as my dad called it a guessing stick. So they add it up and they got a number of 2611 and we have another envelope that’s hanging from a string up on the ceiling in full view the whole time, tear this down and open it. It’s the identical number and everyone goes nuts to use the medical term.

Right. Now it’s so freaking easy. All it takes is guts. And you have a second set of numbers that you have written yourself in advance on the back of the pad so I’m showing you with an iPhone here Chris. Oh no…

Chris: It’s mine. it’s a Samsung galaxy.

Mike: We just made $10 doing an advertisement there… for iPhone.

Chris: [laughs]

Mike: So anyway I’ve got this on my hand. I’ve taken the cardboard off the back of the pad but I want it fairly fake and substantial feeling but small – about the size of an iPhone or a Samsung. So I’ve written my own set of four three digit numbers on the back in different handwriting so it looks like it had been done by different people. Now, there’s also a line drawn underneath to add them up. So it just takes guts. So I have the pad face down in my hand. I have to have the nerve to hand this to someone to let them write it knowing that there’s writing at the back.

Chris: That he could turn to see it.

Mike: And if you’re congruent, just act like that’s no big deal. Of course they’d get antsy and then they’re going to start examining everything. But if you act really offhand, nobody does. Nobody cares.

Chris: Oh man that’s brilliant.

Mike: So never got caught and they write the number and I take it back and pass it over and we keep doing this. As I walk up to the stage and go up with the other person, so you notice there’s a prediction here the whole time and I point at it and as everyone looks at that, I just flip the pad over with my thumb and hand them the pad and he now adds them up.

Chris: So you’re distracting them.

Mike: Misdirection.

Chris: You’re keeping their attention focused on this prediction card hanging from a string above you so that they just all they do…

Mike: You draw their attention to it. They look at it.

Chris: Now there are hypnotic principles here too right compliance and stuff. So as soon as you hand them the pad and tell them write down their number, they don’t think to spend the time investigating.

Mike: No, they’re just focusing on the number.

Chris: They just do what they’re told and they get back to you.

Mike: And you say make it totally random, a number that means nothing to you like taking their mind off the pad and the number.

Chris: Exactly.

Mike: And Kreskin does this really well or did years ago when I saw him years ago. He would rush people. That was how he would keep it. He would say I know our time’s going. I know our time’s going. We have very little time. He’d always be saying there’s very little time. He does a two and a half to three hour show.

Chris: So I just see so much relation here to instant inductions and PGO spikes and stuff where you’re just telling people exactly what to do really quickly and they don’t have time to think about it.

Mike: Right, right. I do a higher degree of that prediction now Chris which is a variation of a very old trick that I came up with myself. I have my briefcase which you know looks like it’s bulletproof. It’s all tight and stuff and it’s locked and I say somehow I can’t get it open. It’s not opening, someone must’ve changed the combination but we’re going to see if we can produce an effect to find out the combination of the briefcase and you know giant plain cards, they’re four times as big as regular cards. You can buy them at Wal-Mart.

Chris: The size of a Macbook.

Mike: Yeah pretty much.

Chris: Here we go, another promotion.

Mike: For Apple. So send the money to

Chris: [laughs]

Mike: So we have these giant cards and I have nine of them – ace to nine of spades. So they’re all the same suit and we have three envelopes. Someone mixes them up, puts three in each envelope, tells me which envelope to discard so there’s only two left. Now two people each take one of these envelopes with three cards. “Who do you want to be digit number one and who do you want to be digit number two?” “I want to be digit one.” “Okay, take out any one of you three cards. Hold it up.” So she’s got six of spades. Take out one of your three cards and [unclear 11:17] we don’t know what they are. He’s got the eight. So we’ve written on the blackboard six, eight. He discards them. We do that three times. So three two digit numbers, he adds them up, tries on the combination and the briefcase pops open. He’s tried to open it first with all different combinations, it’s not worked. Now he tries this one and it opens and if some people think that it will open with all different combinations, you just go point to the very top of the briefcase, there’s a big brown envelope and he opens it and it’s the same number he’s just done on the board.

Chris: Oh wow.

Mike: And that’s my own creation. In other words, I might reveal how that’s done on podcast 100 if we ever get that far note to self.

Chris: Oh I thought you were going to tell us how you’ve done it.

Mike: Are you kidding? That’s why I’m still doing it.

Chris: Okay so let me ask you. So you were talking earlier about mentalism and how you don’t want to stick to a story that this is mind reading or magic or something so somebody says, “Mike how do you do this?” What’s your typical answer?

Mike: Very, very well.

Chris: [laughs] Right so you don’t actually say anything. You don’t say it’s in effect.

Mike: It’s based on sound scientific principles which is true.

Chris: So it leaves them thinking, it leaves them wondering. It leaves them very curious and of course coming to your next show. [Laughs] That’s awesome.

All right is there another one you were going to teach?

Mike: Yeah let me tell you another one. It’s a great one you can do with a smaller group or a large one. I may have alluded to it but if I have, it’s probably 48 podcasts ago so forgive me. We’re rich in that age, it’s really hard to keep track of everything we say.

Chris: The only ones we taught so far are you’ve talked about hellstromism and you’ve talked about the acid test.

Mike: Okay well all right then. Well this is a really cool one. I adopted this. This is a very old magic effect and [unclear 12:54] Gellar do it, I’ve seen Kreskin do it and a number of other people will. You need a sufficiently large group to make it interesting. So here’s how I would sell it and we’ll just do it on everybody listening right now.

Chris: Sure.

Mike: I want you to imagine, just close your eyes, clear your mind and I want you to imagine the ocean or the sky. A view of the ocean it can be a calm, or it can be droppy. It doesn’t matter, make it in color if you want. If you have the sky, you can have a few clouds floating lazily by and when you have that, use that purely as a background and I’m going to cause something to appear on top of that background of either the ocean or the sky. I’m going to make a simple – I’ll make it two. Two geometric shapes. I’m going to put one inside the other and let that appear and projecting it into all of your minds now.

Okay how many people out there saw a               circle and a triangle? And everyone goes oooo.

Chris: I did.

Mike: Chris I think you got it the right way around the way I projected it which was the circle with the triangle inside with the point up.

Chris: [laughs] Yeah.

Mike: Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. I know our time’s going, we’re going to go to a commercial break.

Chris: That was not planned just for the record.

Mike: No and many of you will have gotten. With a huge audience, they gasped. This kind of thing it’s like mindblowingly amazing. Now think about it. You start by saying ocean and sky which is a complete redhairing. It’s just to get the person’s mind off what you’re doing. It gives them the illusion of choice either the ocean or the sky. It gives them a sense that they have made a free choice. Now you build upon it with another free choice and I always start to say I’m going to send you a simple geometric. No wait, let’s make it more complicated. I’m going to send you two geometric shapes.

Chris: I notice he did that.

Mike: And I’m going to put one inside the other and you’ve got to get both of them to be correct.

Now what is there? What are people really going to see? Square, circle, triangle.

Chris: Well you’re not going to get a lot of people going parallelogram.

Mike: Right, right.

Chris: Trapezoid.

Mike: No of course not or pentagram or something. No mostly you’ll get circles, triangles, square, rectangle. That’s it and circles an triangles – since you said one inside the other. It goes to be by far the easiest two to imagine together.

Chris: Sure.

Mike: And people will almost always put the circle with the triangle inside one point up.

Chris: Well I guess that’s the way we typically see [unclear15:16] at one point.

Mike: Of course and it’s easier to see that than a triangle with a circle inside. So people will fall for that. You’ll get probably 80% of the audience would gasp when you do this and say okay, well let’s give this another shot. Let’s see if we can do it again.

All of you tune in again, you’re receiving my telepathic message through time and space and over the world wide web so let’s see if we can send you another one. Chris you only have to react if you actually get it right. No telepathic powers are working today.

So this time after everyone has gone wow and freaked out of the last one, you say now I want you to imagine – let’s just take that circle for a moment. Get rid of the triangle. I want you to imagine that circle. Make it large, clear and vivid either an outline or a disc. Make it an outline, an outline with circle. Focus on that and I’m going to attempt to make a number appear in the circle. Let’s make it less than 50. Make it two digits to make it tougher and let’s make the digits odd and different from each other. You don’t want 11, that wouldn’t count. 33 wouldn’t count, the digits are the same. Just let that number appear less than 50 will appear now.

How many of you are seeing the number 37? Somebody in the front here. Chris, did you get 39?

Chris: No.

Mike: What did you get?

Chris: It’s 13.

Mike: See, he’s the odd man out. Most of the time way more than 13, I think he’s the only one that picked 13. Most of the time people will pick 37 and with a substantial enough group, there will be a gasp for this as well. The second most common one they’ll pick will be 39, followed by 19 and 13 is the last one. Those are the only choices. There’s only four possible choices but you say out of all these 50 numbers.

Chris: What about 31?

Mike: Well it could be that one. See math is not my forte. So you got 31, 35, 37, 39. Those are the possible ones.,

Chris: That’s true because it has to be – the first one is you can’t be [unclear 17:12].

Mike: 13, 15, 17, 19. Yeah there’s eight possible but you sell it as out of 50 possible choices.

Chris: Actually yeah actually that’s a good point. It really does seem like it’s up to 50.

Mike: And people tend to go to the 30s and 37 will be the most common one. Now if you decide to do it say between 50 and 100 and make the numbers even and different, you’ll probably get 68 or 86.

Chris: I’d probably screwed that up as soon as you said think of a number inside of a circle. Think of one and you said well…

Mike: Chris you didn’t screw it up. The only one who could fail is the person listening.

Chris: There you go [laughs].

Mike: Just kidding.

Chris: Nice frame. Okay what else do you want to talk about now? We’ve got a few actually..

Mike: This is the psychology of mentalism right. You’re selling something that didn’t happen as though it did. You’re selling it as though something is [unclear 18:00] a possibility out of 50 and it’s only eight. So it’s always this way you sell it. Mentalism is all about selling it. It’s all about sales pitch.

Chris: So this reminds me of the concept of double bind because you’re presenting the illusion – I call it the illusion of choice.

Mike: The illusion is correct in this case.

Chris: In the case of my talking to toddlers program, here’s another promotion for you. I refer to this to parents the illusion of choice because kids will often you know want something and you want to tell them sorry, we can’t do that or whatever it is and so, if you can anticipate that there’s going to be some sort of problem or fight with your child about something and you present them this illusion of choice, would you rather go to bed now or would you like to put your pajamas on first? Whatever it is.

Mike: And the kid feels as though he or she is making a rational decision and has control and in reality, you’re maneuvering and manipulating him into what you want him to do. Manipulation is the correct word because all communication is manipulation.

Chris: Exactly. And what color shirt are you wearing today Mike?

Mike: Black.

Chris: Oh I just manipulated you into saying the color.

Mike: Hang on for a second. Back up to the kid, let’s say the child does not want to go to bed at night, do you remember Erickson’s method? He used what was called the logical non sequitur double bind – oh this is a good one. Here’s what you’d say to the kid.

Logical non sequitur means it doesn’t make sense. So whenever you go to discuss something with someone and I always say let’s pre-frame it and this is an inflammatory issue, whatever it is. Let’s agree to just use logic. You can’t use logic with this and I said is that a logical statement you just made, it doesn’t make sense. Well, yes you just used logic to tell me I can’t use logic. So logic it has to be foundation to these things. Logical non sequitur means it doesn’t make sense but in a double bind it doesn’t matter. Erickson would say to a child who does not want to go to bed, “Would you rather take a bath before you go to bed or would you rather put your pajamas on in the bathroom?” Either one means you’re going to bed. You’re putting your pajamas on so…

Chris:  I do that and I didn’t know the name of it.

Mike: That’s good.

Chris: Logical non sequitur all right.

Mike: But double bind’s a wonderful way of getting what you want out of life. If you offer people only two alternatives, either one will get you what you want. This is tremendously powerful.

I just spoke to a group of financial analysts a week ago and at a conference in Toronto and was teaching them double binds because clever salespeople knows this intuitively without understanding the neurolinguistic structure but if you come up with a double bind that will offer only two alternatives as long as you ensure that either one will provide exactly what you want then you can deliver this and get what you want because the brain is unusual in a sense that when we are presented with only options A or B, we don’t typically look to see if there’s option C, D, E and F. You stop with those two and decide between them and clever salespeople will say things like “Would you rather sign the contract now or should we do it after lunch?” The person says, “Well I don’t have time for lunch. I guess we better sign right now.” And that’s a great, great way to offer people alternatives.

So if you’re having a difficult person in your life, you want to be a little more congruent and empowered in their presence. If you want to make sure that your choices are the ones being listened to, offer people double binds.

Years ago, my wife who comes from a family who has a history of kidney stones did not drink enough water. She was just never thirsty.

Chris: Oh you’ve talked about this one before.

Mike: Yeah peculiar thing that if you don’t drink water, you lose your natural thirst and when you start drinking water regularly, your thirst comes back and so I said to her, “You need to drink more water gave her all the science.” “Yeah, yeah Mr. Science. Not interested. I’m not thirsty.”

So one day, she was sitting reading the global mail, I came in and offered her a double bind. I said, “Would you rather have a hot drink now or a cold drink later?” And she went, “What?” I said, “What would you prefer, a hot drink now or a cold drink later?” She went, “I guess a hot drink now.” I said, “That’s right.”

Chris: And she’d normally have picked up on that but she was busy reading the newspaper.

Mike: She was reading and distracted and so she said ill have a hot drink now. So I brought her a big mug of herbal tea and I said, “I’ll bring you that cold drink later.” So that one it implies that we discussed it and agreed to it and she went okay so I brought her a bottle of water and she drank that and went, “What did you just do?” So I’m just offering a double bind.

In fact, the entire taser challenge that is used by the World Canadian [unclear 22:25] is the Mandel taser Challenge. That’s the name of it after the person who invented it – me. They hired me to create it for them and is based on a double bind. It’s police! You’ve identified yourself. Stand still or you’ll get a powerful electric shock. So the thing is you stand still and comply or you get a shock and comply and people tend to stand still but there is alternative three: run away; alternative four: attack the cops; alternative five: get my friends but people either tend to comply or get shocked with a taser.

Chris: Especially in a stressful situation right?

Mike: Of course.

Chris: I mean so what happens in a stressful situation is that their critical faculty is not online the same way it normally would be.

Mike: That’s right it’s not online and just a whole line of critical faculty Chris. Not critical factories we said many time.

Chris: [laughs]

Mike: The reason I mentioned it is because I was reading a well known hypnosis trainer’s book. Just flipping through it to pick up some points and write skating comments in the margins as I usually do. My wife said…

Chris: I know I’ve seen some of the books you’ve lent me. I see your comments written in the margins.

Mike: [laughs] it might be ranging from as if to crap to what are you thinking?

Chris: What is this?

Mike: But anyway, he was closer to the truth back then because even though he’s noted for saying critical factor now. Back then you know what he was saying in his book?

Chris: Critical faculty.

Mike: No he was saying critical faculties.

Chris: Oh like there’s more than one.

Mike: So he almost got it right and just threw accuracy out the window.

Chris: Okay and we won’t identify who we’re talking about as usual.

Mike: Right.

Chris: I want to go back to this logical non sequitur thing because when you were introducing the concept of logic, you said let’s pretend that we’re arguing over something inflammatory and we’re going to agree to use logic. Go back to that. Is that something you actually say to the person?

Mike: When people want to discuss something in an emotional issue, they say they don’t want to use logic.

Chris: So let’s say husband and wife or something like that and you’re fighting about money because that’s a very powerful emotion. “You spent money without asking me first and you just went and bought that new iPad or whatever it is. You don’t care about my feelings….”

Mike: There’s three levels of argumentation. So level one is data which is where we need to be when we’re discussing logic and facts. Level two, we’re starting to get adrenaline trickle so emotions start to kick in. Now when you get to level two, you got to breathe and slow down and take it back to level one because if you get to level three, now you have an adrenaline drenched conversation and the swearing starts and the freaking out.

Chris: Okay so when you’re at level two and there’s a bit of emotion, that’s when maybe this would come in?

Mike: I get it you know people want to discuss their religious beliefs or something so let’s use logic. Oh you can’t apply logic to religion. Is that a logical statement? What does it mean? Does it make sense? Yes. You’re using logic and telling me I cannot use logic.

Chris: Oh that’s beautiful. Okay so what do you call that?

Mike: Being logical. The problem is most people are not logicians and they go through a mysticism instead. So we have rationalism, we have empiricism and we have mysticism.

Mysticism basically is whatever you feel. It is what’s true. Well I just know it. I just feel it’s true whatever it is. You know I know she loves me, I just feel it. Well, have you ever felt something that wasn’t true? You know Hitler just felt it was right to invade Poland. That didn’t make it true. So we have to sort of be careful with this.

The one that makes me laugh all the time Chris is the whole idea of an a priori argument or an a priori situation. So a priori is in advance. What you think before you before you begin to discuss a topic, what are you bringing to the table as your foundational beliefs. So, if you have an a priori that all the people of a certain race are thieves or lazy or whatever they are…

Chris: All those Martians, thieving Martians.

Mike: Those damn Martians, jupiterians, Jovians they are evil and thieves and so on unless we get sued by a Martian.

Chris: Until [unclear 26:13] colonizes Mars.

Mike: [laughs] That’s one of your better lines.

So if we have this a priori, this belief in advance then we will tend to put everything through those perceptual filters and will see it that way and I got in an argument with a family member on my wife’s side of the family who is notorious for being the pseudo intellectual.

Chris: I love the term pseudo intellectual.

Mike: He does one of those clever things. He’s the smartest person he knows because he hangs around with stupid people and if you want to be the smartest person you know, it’s really, really easy. Just hang around with a bunch of idiots and you will be the smartest person you know but he hangs around with people who thinks he’s brilliant because he makes obscure statements all the time but I said, “You have to determine what a priori you’re bringing to the situation before you argue this point.” He said, “I don’t have any a priories. I’m just logical all the time” (which he isn’t). and I said, “So you’re a priori is that you don’t have any.” It’s back to there are no rules. It’s that rule number one. [unclear 27:15] self-destruct.

Chris: I like that there are no rules is that rule number one. What I model from you is that you ask people a question like you’ll attack a universal [unclear 27:24] state or something like that.

Mike: Universal quantifier that’s right.

Chris: And you push it back on them and challenge them to realize that they’ve just said something that doesn’t actually make sense and at that point, they’ve lost.

Mike: And this isn’t me. This is all Aristotle. This is Aristotle. The Greek’s figured this out centuries ago and as soon as you open your mouth, you hang yourself. Obviously, Jake Quinland, a police trainer a very good friend of mine, kung fu fighter, interesting, British, funny as heck and he was the one who said, “No one can make a definite statement about anything” and I said, “Including one you just made.” It was great to see his face as it integrated.

Chris: That was a great one. So the challenge will be to use that technique on somebody in the coming weeks folks listening.

Okay mike so you have a closing metaphor for us?

Mike: I do Chris. It’s a short one but a good one.

A number of years ago, I used to pass a small art shop on Kingston Road, not far from Kingston Road United Church where you know we teach the British jujitsu class down in the basement, in the dungeons of the church by the bowling alley. Yes, there is one there. And I passed this and kept looking in the windows as I passed because you know I’m a bit of an art fanatic and as I looked through the window at somebody’s beautiful acrylic and oil paintings as well, I saw one that caught my eye and it was one of the old Toronto street cars. We still have street cars but they’re all outdated and it was off the tracks though. And the window with the light shining down on it from the street in semi-darkness and it was in snow and you could see the snow all around it, the snow falling on to the street car itself and it was sort of coming towards the viewer and it was against an abstract background with no buildings, just sort of big, grayed out things and so you’re looking through a screen of snow and the street car was off the tracks by about two feet. He was running through the snow but not on the tracks and this used to really interest me and then I glanced at it as we passed and then one day, months later, I went by and looked in the window and the street car wasn’t there anymore and I thought oh it’s a shame. I used to like looking at that, it fired all these anchors of childhood street cars and so on in Toronto. I noticed they’d hung it on a different spot in the window. It was to my left now and when I looked at it, I realized it must’ve been a shadow, a trick of the light because there were furrows in the snow and the street car was firmly on the tracks moving forward and this is a sense that sometimes things aren’t necessarily off the rails.

Chris: Thanks everybody of listening to Brain Software with Mike Mandel and Chris Thompson. This has been session number 50 and we hope you’ve really enjoyed this one. We’ve put some extra effort into it making it fun and just awesome as always.

I want to make sure that I remind you all to head on over to and opt in to our mailing list. You’ll get a copy of Mike’s Brain Software eBook which really does contain life changing stuff similar to the stuff that you’ve learned in this podcast but action packed and quite compact and easy to read in one sitting and just learn a lot of really cool stuff and on top of that, I do want to remind you that we have more live trainings coming up. We’ve got our June 7th and 8th mindscaping class, the 2014 edition happening here in Toronto so a few spots left. And the May hypnosis training which will be over by the time this podcast goes live.

Mike: Sold out since February.

Chris: Sold out and the November training which happens the week of November the 3rd 2014, there are only 10 spots left at this point and it’s still several months away so it will be sold out. If you want to attend with us in person live-training, the best hypnosis trainer in the planet, Mike Mandel, go over to You’ll get all the details and you can leave your deposit for your spot because it will sell out.