Mitchell Weisburgh, PILOTed, Apr 02, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

For those of us who do not get British television, it is totally worth spending some time to check you the Derren Brown videos demonstrating various way to trick people mentally. I found these through this article on PilotED summarizing some of the recent stuff I and others have been looking at on influence and control. A slot of this stuff supports - and in some instances had led to - my own views on associationism. But we have to be careful: the field is filled with shysters and charlatans claiming to do more than simple mental tricks. And another cautionary note: the purpose of covering this stuff isn't to introduce readers to neat tricks they can use on their students. Rather, it should be seen as an exercise in clearing our own minds. It should be impossible to look at this stuff and go away convinced that you somehow have access to The Real Truth about the world. We should be asking ourselves, how much of what we think we know is the result of campaigns of deception? If we can seriously ask ourselves this, we can begin to learn - and to know - for ourselves.
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