“What do you understand hypnosis to be?”
The answers I get vary every time, from, “I do not know“, to many weird, wild and wonderful explanations.
I also get many emails, requesting information, a typical one for example being: –
“I have been interested in hypnosis for a long time, but not really stage hypnosis, just hypnosis where I can control people and tell them what to do. I’ve looked through many books but they haven’t helped. All that they are, are Self Hypnosis and I want to hypnotize people. Please help me.”
Probably the first thing I say to people is that there is no such thing as hypnosis, it does not exist, it is just a name given to a natural occurring state in which we all go into many time a day.
You have probably traveled on a train or, on a regular journey, going to work or school, or just going about your business. You have seen the same trees pass you by, the same buildings many times. Have you ever traveled on the Underground, the Metro? Through the darken tunnels, where everything looks the same?
And, as you travel along you start to think about what you are going to eat, what you are going to wear that night, for a party, or that holiday you are going to take. Then, you look around and wonder what station you are at, or what junction you have just past.
Yes, of course you have.
You have been in a trance. Yet, you were in full control. If you were driving and an emergency had arisen, for example a child had walked out in front of you, or a car had pulled out without seeing you coming, you would have taken the appropriate action, you would have been in control.
So you would be in a hypnotic state.
I ask the questioner, if I requested you to go outside into the street now, a shout at the top of your voice a quotation from The Bard, William Shakespeare’s Richard III,
“A horse, a horse, my Kingdom for a horse”.
Would you do it?
No I doubt it.
And if I asked you at the same time, to stand in the middle of the street and take all your clothes off, would you do it?
No, you would not. It would probably be too cold for you.
So, in a hypnotic trance it is the same, you would not do anything, that is against your beliefs, your culture, your religion, you are in complete control.
It is a myth that you are under the control of the hypnotist, perpetuated by movies, for example The Manchurian Candidate, where the spy master telephones the normally placid clerk in an office, and says the magic words, “the clock strikes three“, and the clerk’s eyes mist over, he stares out into deep space, opens his briefcase, takes out a Colt 45 gun, walks out of the office into the street, and shoots the victim dead, then the clerk awakens, and stands there wondering what he has done.
Many Government agencies have tried to achieve such states, but they have failed with hypnosis. What they have achieved, is to get people to do things through brain washing, a (technique, which is outside the scope of this work), has been used in the past, and even today, by some countries to control their populations and individuals, by organisations and by religion. We only have to look at certain organisations today, where individuals blow themselves up for their beliefs, killing others for no other reason but the belief that they will enter the gates of heaven. Was those beliefs placed inside their heads by hypnosis? No, simply by brain washing them to believe over a period of time.
Brain washing? That is another subject I have researched and maybe write about some other time. Read article.
Two versions of film have been made of The Manchurian Candidate, the first in 1962 with Frank Sinatra, the send in 2004 with Denzel Washington and based on the 1959 book of the same name by Richard Condon.