I'm currently studying up on HYPNOSIS. (It was surprisingly hard to find a good book about it, it is a thing which people are either strongly for or against, or they don't believe it's real.) (I've still not found a really good source of info, if you know one, do tell.) Because a lot of what I saw of it seemed so fake (and some is). But *if* some is not fake, then then it's a very powerful thing, both for better and for worse. The subconscious is far stronger than commonly believed.
Some practitioners like to tell you that their subjects are totally free to opt out at any time and are fully aware at all times. That's untrue, seems to me. In deep trance the conscious mind is totally out to lunch as has nothing to say, orders go directly to the subconscious.
And some claim that you can't be put into a trance without you yourself doing it. I don't think that's true either. It's very clear that with a skilled practitioner and a good subject, cooperation is not needed very much.
And worse, once you are deep in a trance, conscious cooperation is nil. The subconscious mind rules totally, and it does whatever the hypnotist says, no questions. And this level (deep trance, the third level) can be reached in less than eight hours of work, even down to one or two hours. And get this: in this level of trance, hypnotic suggestions are not "accepted", no they are TAKEN TO BE REALITY by the mind. The second the hypnotist tells you that you are falling from an airplane, that fall will be your reality. If you are told that you are violently ill with food poisoning, you'll be throwing up painfully.
And the orders that are given have effect later, they usually can't be overruled at all by the subject, and if he/she has been told they will not be aware of it happening, they won't be. This has been demonstrated ad infinitum.
They can also very easily be told to forget anything which happened in the session. This further nullifies the idea of their self-determinism.
Of course registered and ethical practitioners are not very likely to do anything unethical. But there are many unregistered hypnotists, and many unethical humans.
In the video below, I was fascinated by the woman having been told that every time she is asked how she feels, she will say "I am deeply hypnotised". And she does say it, quite relaxedly. (7.30 and twice later.) And even when she is asked how she feels about that answer she gave, she does not question it. "It feels normal", she says. She is totally unaware of herself obeying a post-hypnotic command! That is mind control. (I've not yet found out if people typically stay unaware forever after, or if it wears off.) (Update: seems it needs reinforcing occasionally, depending on depth.)
And this is in her first session. Imagine what you can do with people if you work with them for a long time, and perhaps include drugs or whatever, for nefarious purposes, such as political warfare.
There are many clips from the same channel of women acting like puppies or robots or cats, and instantly forgetting that they did so when they "wake up". Perhaps the "I'm deeply hypnotised" thing is more startling to me because it clearly is and it feels more real, even if I have become convinced that the puppies are real also.
Another thing they like to say is that you can't be hypnotised to do anything you don't want to do. This is so much bullshit. For one thing you can be made to believe that an action is for the best. For another thing, you can't usually predict all consequences of any action.
And much worse, even direct work against self-interest is possible: a friend of mine saw people getting hypnotised, they were told to hold their hand under a stream of cold water, and that they were not able to pull the hand back. And then they were told that the water became scalding. And they screamed in pain, but did not withdraw their hand! So much for self-determinism...
And get this: their hand *actually* became badly scalded by the cold water because they believed it would! That is incredible power of the mind and of suggestion.
The World Slavery Organisation estimates that 40 million people today are held in modern slavery! (30M of them women.) So clearly there is no want of people who have no trouble enslaving others. So I can't help wonder how many people among us seem like normal people but vote in governments for interests they did not know they supported? And how many are unknowing sex slaves even though physically they are seemingly free people? And so on, the mind boggles when you start looking into it. It really is startlingly easy to hypnotise many people, and with a bit of reinforcement, I really don't think "slave" is too strong a word for what you could make.
Update; one thing I was sure was fake, was the method used to start a trance by talking to somebody for a minute while shaking their hand slowly and rhythmically, then pulling it sharply, saying "Sleep!", and they droop. But it's real and works with many subjects, and described as one of the methods by seriously practitioners.
To me it seems to indicate how suggestible many people really are.
Update: Support for my unease, from The Human Givens Project, here are some common lies they dismantle:
• “You will be aware of everything that is said to you”
Sometimes that is the case when someone is in a light trance but very often it is not, and that again parallels with dreaming since we don’t remember most of our dreams. When people go into a deep trance, they often have no memory of what the therapist said. That is not to say that they didn’t register it, but they cannot consciously recall it.
• “Hypnosis has nothing to do with sleep – it is just an extremely relaxed state”
Clearly this is wrong because hypnosis is very directly related to sleep: the REM (dreaming) stage of sleep is the deepest trance state of all.
• “A hypnotist cannot influence anyone to do anything against their will”
We know simply by delving into the history of hypnosis of many examples of unwanted influence. There are many modern day incidents, some of which are recorded on CCTV cameras, such as cashiers being hypnotised and handing over the money in their tills because they were put into a trance state, or people being shocked into trance and robbed in the street. Indeed, we have only to think of advertisers and politicians and rabble-rousers and gurus – all artificially induce the REM state in the people they wish to influence.
• “A person’s own ‘moral code’ will protect them from doing anything against their own best interests”
There is no evidence that people can be relied upon not to do things against their own best interests and masses of evidence that they do so all the time. People’s moral codes are as flexible and changeable as the climate.
- See article.