Brown’s performance goes beyond the entertainment to a more spiritual and eye-opening performance.
By Sean David Hartman
How many people can say that they’ve seen a magic show which ended with you questioning the very nature of religion and philosophy? How many people can say they’ve watched the performance of divine feats all without the use of religion?
Derren Brown’s newest show Miracle is trending big on Netflix, and that may very well be because his crucial message, which will empower you and make you question everything you’ve ever known about faith and philosophy.
The British illusionist is known in the United Kingdom for his work challenging faith healers, though his recent special will not just have you questioning faith healers, but the concept of God itself.
Brown’s show pulls you in with a clock, with an ominous yet inspiring message: “Now. Right now…is all there ever is.”
Brown then proceeds through a multitude of miraculous mentalist and magic tricks, ranging from properly predicting random audience member suggestions to eating glass. But when was notable was that for many of his illusions, he was not the only one taking the risks. Audience members played along too. Brown talked one audience member into eating glass and another into potentially slamming their hand into a nail in a trick that, according to Brown, are prohibited in over a dozen foreign states.
Brown would later use the trappings of faith healers, calling upon the “power of the Lord” and speaking in tongues to trick the minds of his audience members. Many openly claimed they felt less pain, and Brown was able to seek out specific healed ailments, as well as “taking away” a doubter’s ability to read.
The tricks were using faith healing techniques, but Brown himself was no faith healer. In fact, Brown is a devout atheist, and was using the techniques to disprove religion altogether.
Brown’s techniques are well-known because he is open about them. A mentalist, Brown uses psychological techniques to predict what people are thinking and convince them to take in new thoughts by using and reading body signals and other subtle signs.
These mentalist techniques have been proven in psychology to work. Mentalists use extremely subtle movements to trick our brains into changing our perception. We end up connecting the movements to the mental activity, a process known in psychology as “magical thinking.”
Magical thinking is a cognitive action where one connects two unrelated events in a causal relationship. It is the cognitive source of superstition, religion, and occultism, and to many logicians, it is seen as fallacious and potentially harmful thinking.
But the entirety of Brown’s message is that magical thinking is not only powerful, but it is the source of divinity.
What ends up being an amazing mentalist performance expands even further and shows you the power of your own MIND. Brown uses every trick to show you the capacity of your Mind, and how much external factors like the media affect our minds so much we become predictable. The most prominent example is how he used old media snippets to predict reactions.
Brown’s performance goes beyond the entertainment to a more spiritual and eye-opening performance. It may not be good for those who are religiously devout, but it is fantastic for those who need spiritual or personal empowerment.
Sean David Hartman is a reporter for the Central Florida Post, covering entertainment and public affairs. He describes himself as a “Professional Political Nuisance” and goes after politicians on both sides. Hartman is an autism rights activist, and #ProudlyAutistic.