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Paul Draper's Mysteries of the Mind Newsletter

"What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (American novelist)

Welcome to July's "Mysteries of the Mind" monthly newsletter!

Who is in our tribe? Who is a part of our community? Who do we allow in our inner circle?

These questions fascinate me as an anthropologist and as a mystery performer. As an anthropologist, I was trained to enter a community as a professional stranger. To find informants that would aid me in my ability to observe and participate in a foreign society. It was a fine line between being a nuisance, a bother, or, most dangerous of all, a threat. However, most often, I was given the great honor of becoming a member of the society and handed access to the secret, sacred, and sometimes subtle information held within their culture.

What intentions and actions were at the core of my ability to enter the realm of others? Humility, empathy, honesty, kindness, gratitude, and a sincere willingness to learn as a child learns.

In the fascinating work produced by British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, we learn that a theoretical, cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships is in direct proportion to the size of our neocortex.

So, in layman’s terms, our physiology limits the people that we can hold as close friends. How many people does it limit us to? About 150.

Perhaps that is why it is so easy to experience road rage. The person in that car isn’t a person at all in our minds. They are a thing, an obstacle, and certainly not part of our 150.

If they were part of our 150, we would treat them very differently. I think about this in every potential conflict interaction and resolution strategy.

Our minds can hold approximately 3,000 – 5,000 people as members of our community at large. This is part of the reason Facebook caps any individuals friends at 5,000 Beyond that, we are merely stereotyping and pattern matching to make snap judgments of in or out.

A key ability that I use on stage is the ability to quickly bring each person on stage with me into my 150. In our moments together I think of them and treat them as someone who has entered my 150, and I force myself to believe that they will be there for life. This promotes a deeper sense of empathy, understanding, and awareness than can ordinarily captured in such a short time.

Try bringing people into your 150. Think of them as a member of your tribe, and see what a difference it makes!

"Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives and no support, we’ve put it into an impossible situation."
- Margaret Mead (American Anthropologist)

Your friend,
-Paul Draper

Mental Mysteries
Mental Mystery (agent friendly site)

“Smile at a stranger. See what happens.”
- Patti LuPone, broadway actress and singer


Upcoming Events

Anime Expo 2010
Los Angeles, California
July 1

Magic Castle
Hollywood, California
July 2 - 3

Private Party
Malibu, California
July 4

Las Vegas, Nevada
July 15 - 17

Las Vegas 48 Hour Film Fest
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 23 - 25

Las Vegas IBM Ring Lecture
Las Vegas, Nevada
August 2

Helping Hospitals Heal
Stuart, Florida
August 31 - September 3

Mystique Dining
Boise, Idaho
September 6 - October 31

Magic in the Rockies
Fort Collins, Colorado
September 8-13

Northeastern Junior College
Sterling, Colorado
November 2

Magic For Medical Professionals
Las Vegas, Nevada
November 5th

Idaho Rotary
Driggs, Idaho
November 15-16

Public Theater Events
Butte, Montana
November 18-21

Cruise Ship: Holland America
December 3-13


Downtown Diagon Alley: Harry Potter & Little Shop of Horrors

In honor of my upcoming vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida, I wanted to share this fun clip that my good friend and magician, Scott Hitchcock, found on YouTube. It mixes two of my favorite things: musical theater and films about magic. Enjoy!

Harry Potter and the gang are trying to get out of Knockturn Alley and downtown. Set to the song "Skid Row (Downtown)" from Little Shop of Horrors. Watch it, you know you want to.

"What Happens in Vegas" at (A) Theater, 305 Convention Center Drive

If you are visiting Vegas in July or August make sure to see my new show, What Happens in Vegas, the most hilarious new show in Las Vegas combining the magic of comedy and music at its funniest.

These entertainers have taken the stage on Comedy Central, The Late Show with David Letterman, and America's Got Talent, just to name a few. The show features a rotating cast including the world's funniest guitar virtuoso, Mike Rayburn, Ivan Pecel, a nine-time world juggling champion, Shimshi, who was the last magician standing on America's Got Talent, and Paul Draper the mind-blowing mentalist who has been seen on HBO Comedy Fest, HGTV, A&E and ABC.

Performances are nightly at 7:30pm (dark Sundays and Mondays).

Harry Potter

Paul Draper at the Magic Castle

For booking information visit www.mentalmysteries.com or call Paul Draper (801) 541-2976 - management@mentalmysteries.com
© 2008 Paul Draper, All Rights Reserved.