Published January 2019 on Spotfiy

150: Derren Brown | Using the Power of Suggestion for Good

1. Introduction

Derren Brown, a genius illusionist, discusses how he convinces people to do things they wouldn't normally do, such as murder or jump in front of a bullet. He also talks about how he creates his tricks and illusions and tests them. The episode covers topics such as psychic fraud, faith healing, and hypnotic suggestion.+

2. Career Choices

Choosing a Career:Jordan and Derren discuss the pressure to choose a career path early on in life, and how it can lead to pursuing careers that are not fulfilling. They reflect on their own experiences with choosing law as a career and the financial and personal costs associated with it.+
Creative Careers:Jordan and Derren discuss their experiences with creative careers and how they differ from traditional jobs like working on Wall Street. They also talk about the importance of doing what you love and finding fulfillment in your work.+

3. Mind-Bending Magic

The Evolution of Derren Brown:Derren shares how he started with hypnotism, drifted into closeup magic, and eventually found his niche in psychological magic called mentalism. He talks about the commercial viability of closeup magic and how mentalism became popular in the UK.+
The Art of Magic:Derren Brown discusses the art of magic and how it taps into the way we perceive reality and tell ourselves stories. He explains how magicians provide a neat example of how we edit our experiences to sustain a narrative for ourselves, and how he has moved away from the standard remit of "look at me, I'm clever" to focus on the stars of the show - the members of the public going through psychological experiments.+
Mind-bending Reality:Derren and Jordan discuss Derren's shows that challenge people's perception of reality, including Apocalypse and Sacrifice. Derren explains his approach to finding a strong dramatic hook and a good reason for doing it. They also touch on the importance of perception and how it can be manipulated.+

4. Changing Minds

Derren shares his experience of using psychological techniques to change a man's feelings towards immigrants. He explains how he staged an elaborate experiment to test the man's empathy and willingness to lay down his life for a Mexican illegal immigrant. The emotional experiment highlights the power of persuasion and the importance of empathy in changing minds.+

5. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason discuss their love for Athletic Greens, a sponsor of the show, and how it has improved their health.+

6. Health Benefits

Jordan and Jason discuss the health benefits of adaptogens and antioxidants found in a particular food supplement that can help manage stress, mood, healthy aging, and digestion.+

7. Sponsors

Jordan and Jason discuss the importance of maintaining health and learning new skills. They share special deals for Athletic Greens and Skillshare for listeners to take advantage of. They also emphasize the benefits of daily routines and practical skill learning through classes.+

8. Hypnotic Triggers

Hypnotic Suggestions:Derren Brown discusses the subtle psychological manipulation and hypnotic suggestions used in his shows, such as playing a jingle to cue a certain action. He also addresses the skepticism surrounding his work and explains how he selects suitable participants for his shows.+
Triggering Emotions:Derren explains how he uses conditioning or anchoring to attach strong emotions to triggers, which can lead to life-changing experiences for the person without them knowing it. He breaks down the components needed for the final outcome and creates situations where those things can be explored and created within the person, secretly attaching them to triggers. In the end, hopefully, the person takes the bait and becomes a changed man.+
Trigger Techniques:Derren discusses the trigger techniques he used to create a heist and an assassination in his shows. He also talks about the plausibility of Sirhan Sirhan's claim that he was hypnotized by the CIA.+

9. Mind Control and Biblical Miracles

Assassination Mind Control:Derren Brown shares the story of how he used hypnosis and triggers to make a man believe he was assassinating Stephen Fry on stage, without the audience knowing. The use of triggers such as a polka dot dress and a ringtone conditioned the man to feel certain things, leading him to carry out the act. The potential for the audience to stampede added an extra layer of complexity to the situation.+
Normalcy Bias:Derren explains how people tend to not react in emergency situations due to normalcy bias and the bystander effect. He also talks about his background in magic and his upcoming Broadway show.+
Biblical Miracles:Derren and Jordan discuss the origin of biblical miracle stories and how they may have been influenced by illusions and psychological tricks. Derren suggests that the stories were created to teach lessons and justify beliefs, rather than being actual accounts of miracles.+

10. Deception and Meaning

Self-Deception:Derren and Jordan discuss the age-old human tendency towards self-deception and how it relates to mediums, psychics, and cold reading. They explore the idea that people often want to believe something and will take general information and let it fit the specifics.+
Psychic Powers Debunked:Derren explains how psychics and mediums deceive people and why people still believe in them despite the lack of evidence. He also discusses the interesting question of why mediums remain popular despite being debunked.+
Finding Meaning in Death:Derren and Jordan discuss the lack of cultural narrative around death and the need for individuals to find their own stories at this time. They also touch on the dangers of tawdry peddlers of meaning, such as Uri Geller.+

11. Debunking Mediumship

Derren shares his experience of debunking mediumship in one of his stage shows and how people still believe in it despite being aware that it's fake. He also talks about his documentary series where he investigated people making supernatural claims and how it's a complex area to navigate.+

12. Sponsors

DesignCrowd provides entrepreneurs with a pool of 650,000 professional designers to create custom work. By crowdsourcing design work, entrepreneurs can focus on running their business.+

13. Faith Healing Insights

The Psychology of Faith Healing:Derren Brown discusses the psychological component of faith healing and how it works best on audiences who are already believers. He shares insights from his own experience training a faith healer and performing the act himself in his stage show.+
Faith Healing:Derren shares how he prepared for his faith healing show and the psychological aspects that made it work, including the power of suggestion and the audience's willingness to believe. He also discusses the physical improvements experienced by some participants, despite no actual changes in their bodies.+
Extraordinary Results:Derren shares his experience of being healed by a secular process and how it led him to think about doing it on a grand scale. He talks about the ethical world of pain that comes with it and how it's easy to go mad once you've seen the results. The chapter also touches on some of the mechanical tricks used by healers, such as leg lengthening.+

14. Faith and Illusion

Leg Lengthening Trick:Derren explains how the leg lengthening trick is performed, revealing the secrets behind the illusion.+
Faith Healing:Derren Brown shares his experience with faith healing and how it exploits vulnerable people. He and Jordan Harbinger discuss the lack of training for faith healers and the parallels between faith healing and manifesting.+
The Faith Model:Derren Brown discusses the damaging effects of the faith model, which blames individuals for their lack of success or healing due to a lack of faith. He argues that the "believe in yourself" mentality can lead to anxiety and self-blame, and that we often only hear the success stories and not the failures.+

15. Hypnosis and Suggestibility

Hypnosis and Suggestibility:Derren shares his experience with hypnosis and how his belief and confidence played a role in its success. He also discusses the percentage of the population that is suggestible and how it ties into those who respond well to placebos.+
Finding Suggestible People:Derren shares his experience in finding suggestible people for his stage shows and TV programs, and how it's not always easy to predict. He also talks about his creative process in coming up with illusions and the exercise of social compliance.+

16. Social Compliance

Social Compliance:Derren and Jordan discuss the idea of social compliance and how we can be persuaded by narratives that we buy into. They explore how our sense of self is influenced by the people around us and how we often overestimate our own independence and principles.+
Testing Compliance:Derren Brown discusses the limits of compliance and the fluidity of the self in different contexts with Jordan Harbinger. They explore the challenges of testing compliance and the impossibility of judging someone's actions in a situation until you are in it yourself.+
Embracing Failure:Derren and Jordan discuss the importance of failure in TV production, and how it can be used to create interesting and satisfying narratives. They also talk about the potential risks and close calls that come with filming high-stakes shows.+

17. Behind the Scenes Insights

Behind the Scenes:Derren shares insights on the amount of work that goes into creating a TV show and how nervous they are about the fiction being rumbled. Jordan is excited about spotting a camera on a TV show set.+
Behind the Scenes:Derren Brown shares the level of work that goes into producing his show, including the vetting process for participants and the need for a secret production team. He also discusses the importance of psychological robustness and the independent psychological procedures that participants must go through.+

18. The Power of Perception

The Power of Priming:Derren explains how he uses priming to create illusions and how he reveals the method behind the trick. He also discusses the importance of theatrics in the presentation of the trick and how the overall effect is more important than the actual method.+
Perception and Influence:Derren and Jordan discuss the power of perception and influence, and how it can be dangerous if we're not aware of it. Derren suggests that there is no obvious self-defense, but we can be mindful of the environmental and psychological influences that affect us.+
Influences and Free Will:Derren and Jordan discuss how early environmental influences shape our relationships and sense of self, and question the limits of free will in the face of hypnosis and compliance. They emphasize the importance of conscious awareness to mitigate the power of unconscious influences.Show transcript +

19. Life's Complexity

The Complexity of Life:Derren shares his insights on the complexity of life and how it's important to understand that things are not always black and white. He believes that free will is both real and caused by previous events. Jordan asks Derren about using mentalism for personal growth and self-defense, and Derren shares a personal story about using his skills to avoid getting caught by the police.+
De-escalation Techniques:Derren shares his experience of using communication and de-escalation techniques to diffuse a potentially violent situation with a drunk man looking for a fight. He emphasizes the importance of not playing into the aggressor's game and instead using confusion and relaxation to take them off guard.+
Self-Defense Techniques:Derren shares his self-defense techniques and how situational awareness and being prepared can help in dangerous situations. He emphasizes the importance of not playing the game that the other person is setting up and making them feel that they've missed something.+

20. Career and Whiskey

Career Choices:Derren shares his experience of telling his parents that he was going to pursue a career in magic instead of law. His parents were supportive of his decision, which allowed him to pursue his passion. He also discusses the importance of persuasion in getting others to support your career choices.+
Kids and Whiskey:Derren talks about his thoughts on parenthood, the struggles of middle age, and how he uses his platform in television to help people. He also mentions his love for whiskey and how it may not be compatible with having children.+

21. Derren Brown's Upcoming Projects

Derren Brown discusses his upcoming TV projects and the possibility of performing on Broadway. He mentions his approach to stoicism and happiness, and how it differs from traditional self-help books.+

22. Outro

Derren's Fascinating World:Jordan and Jason discuss Derren's incredible talents as a magician, author, and photographer. They recommend watching his shows on Netflix and reading his book, "Happy," which delves into stoicism and the pursuit of happiness.+
Building Relationships:Jordan shares his insights on how to build relationships and network effectively, including his Six-Minute Networking course. He also talks about his meeting with Derren and his excitement for Derren's upcoming Broadway show.+