Sun Mar 14 16:10:00 2010
How can someone hypnotize you against your will? Should you worry? Is hypnosis that dangerous?
If you've read "Mind Power: How to Change Reality in Your Favor" far enough, you might notice that I suggest hypnosis as primary means of "fixing" any mistaken beliefs that you've attained about yourself and others. I was questioning whether I should call the technique by it's common name or disguise it. Why?
A lot of people, upon hearing word "hypnosis", imagine swinging pendulum and a person going into zombie-like state, submitting all control over themselves to the hypnotist. Such belief is no surprise: the majority has never studied the subject of hypnosis to know how it actually work, while the popular culture often depicts it just like that - mind control.
The thruth is that hypnosis does not have any qualities that you should fear. In fact, we enter hypnotic state naturally several times a day and even when you're being hypnotized with a help of a hypnotist, it is still self-hypnosis!
Hypnosis is simply controlled day-dreaming. It can be experienced during dancing, listening to music, reading a book, or watching a movie. While in trance, your conscious mind is either distracted or is just not as active. Your unconscious has more control during those moments: there might be an amazing scene from your book that you are now imagining in your mind – the function of unconscious mind – feeling the sounds of the music and moving the way you feel like, without consciously thinking about your every move – all of that is again, a function of unconscious mind. Is it any wonder that if you watch a scary movie – perhaps late at night and alone – even after the movie ends, you might think that the monsters or ghosts are about to hunt you down?
The thoughts of ghosts from the movie being real are exactly akin to suggestions a hypnotist might make. The hypnotist might be able, to a certain extent, elicit certain feelings (anger, fear) towards certain objects, but unless you agree with them such feeling will go away just as fast as ghosts in your closet.
Dr. Bruce Goldberg in his book Self-Hypnosis (ISBN: 978-1-56414-885-8) writes this regarding stage hypnosis:
...the volunteer would not do anything against his or her moral beliefs. For example, if handed an imaginary glass of champagne, a non-drinker will refuse to pretend to drink...
Does it follow that no one can brainwash you against your will using hypnosis? I think it's a yes and no situation here. I am certain that even the best hypnotist in the world would not be able to make you commit a murder, run around naked on the street or have sex against your will. However, a lot of advertisers use hypnosis-like techniques. They don't spin a pendulum on the screen, but they suggest that you would benefit from the product, and they also often show happy people who are supposedly enjoying the product.
Even though, you don't mindlessly get up and go to the store to purchase latest cellphone or blender, the suggestion that a certain brand of blender cuts better might reside in your head the next time you shop. However, does that sound rather like a natural way we use opinions of others when making our own decisions?
Hypnosis is not the tool of evil and arguably it is impossible to use it to make you do something you don't want. Quite the contrary, millions have successfully used hypnosis and self-hypnosis to improve their lives one way or another. To remove unwanted habits or beliefs. To remove phobias or gain confidence... Will you be next?
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