Hypnotism and Zealotry

 

In the first weeks of my freshman year, my college hosted a hypnotist who gave a large demonstration. He invited volunteers to come up on stage and be hypnotized. I was curious enough that I volunteered, but when I joined the other folks on stage and the hypnotist began his work, I did not fall under his spell and I was sent back into the audience to watch. As the show unfolded, I was glad that I did not succumb, as I laughed at my classmates acting like chickens and showing us their amazing dance moves. I don’t know for certain but I strongly suspect that the fellow in this video is the same hypnotist, because his show is very similar (although instead of dance moves he’s got them showing off their kung fu prowess):

I could be wrong, but it seems to me that people who are susceptible to hypnotism are also more susceptible to mass hysteria or zealotry. In the video, the hypnotist suggests those people are more imaginative, which could just be a nice way of saying that they can be blinded to reality more easily. Zealots for “issues” such as veganism or climate change often look as silly and grounded in reality as the two individuals did in the video who were convinced they were kung fu masters with something really special and important to share with the audience.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Hypnosis is much about a willingness to go along. We all put ourselves into trances without realizing it. With hypnosis we really are playing along, and surrendering to the game, as it were.

    I have no idea if people more able to do this with others are more apt to get caught up in the zeal of a group. I suspect that another dynamic is at play other than the ability to easily enter a trance. 

    Being open does mean one is more open to new ideas. Turning that into a crusade seems to be a different aspect of personality. 

    • #1
  2. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Hypnosis is much about a willingness to go along. We all put ourselves into trances without realizing it. With hypnosis we really are playing along, and surrendering to the game, as it were.

    I’m confused. Are you saying that hypnosis is a trance state or a willingness to go along? Or are you saying those two things are the same thing?

    I have no idea if people more able to do this with others are more apt to get caught up in the zeal of a group. I suspect that another dynamic is at play other than the ability to easily enter a trance.

    It seems again that you are saying that the ability to easily enter a trance is the same as the ability to be hypnotized.

    Being open does mean one is more open to new ideas. Turning that into a crusade seems to be a different aspect of personality.

    I think hypnotism has nothing to do with being open to new ideas and never implied such. I think it has to do with being able to accept that reality what the hypnotist says it is.

    Being open to new ideas is much more challenging that being hypnotized. It means comparing new, and possibly contradictory to the old, ways of thinking to accepted ideas, assessing the advantages and disadvantages, and deciding which ways of thinking conform to reality better. Kind of the opposite of hypnotism.

    • #2
  3. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Ms. Toad, I believe, as you do, that hypnotism is little more than the subject’s inclination to please the hypnotist. 

    What troubles me about that interpretation is the lack of feedback.  It seems  as though we would have a ton of testimony of people who have been hypnotized on stage who admit, when they get home, that they were aware that they were willing and conscious “actors” in the hypnotist’s show. 

    Have you read anything about this?

    Hypnotism is a curious phenomenon, isn’t it?

    I’ve sometimes thought that I wouldn’t be able to be hypnotized because I’m overly cynical and somewhat contrarian.  My wife Marie agrees.  

     

    • #3
  4. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    In the 90s, I went to a hypnotist to try to quit smoking. I smoked in the car all the way home afterward.

    I did cluck like a chicken at every red light tho.   Haha! Kidding

    (I did end up quitting, but not from that!)

    • #4
  5. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I’ll bet Blasey Ford comes out and claims Kavanaugh must have hypnotized her, and that’s why she can’t remember the date, time, or location . . .

    • #5
  6. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    I’ll wager that there is a link between susceptibility to hypnotism and personality type.

    • #6
  7. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    iWe (View Comment):

    I’ll wager that there is a link between susceptibility to hypnotism and personality type.

    I can’t imagine anyone hypnotizing, you, for sure!

    • #7
  8. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Years ago I read an article (or a series of articles) that, in part, discussed susceptibility to hypnosis. People are graded from 1 to 5. Ones are not susceptible at all. Grade Fives are so susceptible, they can easily hypnotize themselves.

    Or in the context of the article (or series of articles) I was reading, it was suggested that this is largely where false memory syndrome comes in. People who are Grade Fives are so easily hypnotized, so eager to please their therapists, that they can invent memories out of whole cloth. Not only do they invent these memories, but they firmly believe them. These are lies, but lies that are fully accepted as true by the subjects.

    I have been forever searching for this article (or series of articles) in order to read through them again. They were written in the wake of the McMartin Preschool/Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria, and I found them all fascinating. I’m sure I have them in a box in storage somewhere.

    I have a note to myself to dig them out and reread them and write a post about some of the content as it could relate to the Blasey-Ford circus.

    Anyway, I do think that hypnosis is “fake” in the sense that the hypnotist doesn’t actually do anything to the subject — put ’em under a spell or something like that — but that the subject is the one doing the thing. The subject is willingly responding to the hypnotist’s suggestions, and acting the part of a hypnotized subject to the point where they firmly believe they’ve been hypnotized.

     

     

    • #8
  9. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Years ago I read an article (or a series of articles) that, in part, discussed susceptibility to hypnosis. People are graded from 1 to 5. Ones are not susceptible at all. Grade Fives are so susceptible, they can easily hypnotize themselves.

    Or in the context of the article (or series of articles) I was reading, it was suggested that this is largely where false memory syndrome comes in. People who are Grade Fives are so easily hypnotized, so eager to please their therapists, that they can invent memories out of whole cloth. Not only do they invent these memories, but they firmly believe them. These are lies, but lies that are fully accepted as true by the subjects.

    I have been forever searching for this article (or series of articles) in order to read through them again. They were written in the wake of the McMartin Preschool/Satanic Ritual Abuse hysteria, and I found them all fascinating. I’m sure I have them in a box in storage somewhere.

    I have a note to myself to dig them out and reread them and write a post about some of the content as it could relate to the Blasey-Ford circus.

    Anyway, I do think that hypnosis is “fake” in the sense that the hypnotist doesn’t actually do anything to the subject — put ’em under a spell or something like that — but that the subject is the one doing the thing. The subject is willingly responding to the hypnotist’s suggestions, and acting the part of a hypnotized subject to the point where they firmly believe they’ve been hypnotized.

     

    Drew, very interesting.  What you say, I’ve long suspected.  The idea that some people are so eager to please their therapists that they provide what they think their therapists want really does seem relevant to Ford’s charges.

    Add the capriciousness of memory to that phenomenon and it becomes impossible, without reliable witnesses and/or physical evidence, to sort out the real from the imaginary. 

    BTW, I mistakingly hit the Flag button for your response.  Sorry.  I’m not entirely sure what a Flag means, but I hope “they” don’t come after you — or me. 

     

    • #9
  10. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Drew, very interesting. What you say, I’ve long suspected. The idea that some people are so eager to please their therapists that they provide what they think their therapists want really does seem relevant to Ford’s charges.

    Add the capriciousness of memory to that phenomenon and it becomes impossible, without reliable witnesses and/or physical evidence, to sort out the real from the imaginary.

    BTW, I mistakingly hit the Flag button for your response. Sorry. I’m not entirely sure what a Flag means, but I hope “they” don’t come after you — or me.

    Well, you can hit it again and “unflag” . . . I think.

    I must keep my reputation!

    • #10
  11. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    I’ll wager that there is a link between susceptibility to hypnotism and personality type.

    I can’t imagine anyone hypnotizing, you, for sure!

    People have tried, multiple times. No susceptibility whatsoever. Quite possibly it is because of my get-along nature and eagerness to please.

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I had the same experience as you my freshman year in college 55 years ago. I asked him why I didn’t go under very  innocently . He became very rude claiming I was too stupid. We almost came to blows. I was asked to leave the room. Amazing what you remember from so long ago.

    • #12
  13. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    I had seen this clip before and recall a couple of observations: 1) Almost all the participants were women; and 2) There were cases where the hypnotist went down the line instructing individuals to exhibit a behavior whenever they heard a certain word, but the individuals didn’t begin exhibiting the behavior until the hypnotist had gone down the entire line and finished instructing the rest of the group even though the hypnotist repeatedly used the word in the interim. 

    The first observation made me wonder if women are generally more susceptible, perhaps due to “trait agreeableness” as Jordan Peterson might reference.

    The second point made me more skeptical of the whole thing, though I can imagine explanations for why it would be the case.

    • #13
  14. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    iWe (View Comment):
    my get-along nature and eagerness to please.

    <chortle, snicker, snort>

    No doubt.

    • #14
  15. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    I tried hypnotherapy once. I wasn’t a very good subject. I would achieve the state, but then would be unresponsive and not follow all the directions, such as to talk.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under October’s theme of Zeal. While our October schedule is filled, if you have an idea related to Zeal, we can certainly double up on the dates.

    Or, if you would like to contribute to Group Writing in November, our theme will be Elimination. You quit smoking years back or eliminated another bad habit? Why not tell us about it? You want to eliminate something in the future? Tell us your plan. You used to be a hitman or on the clean up crew to eliminate dead bodies in Saudi Consulates in Turkey? I’m sure some here will be interested in all the technical details. Come sign-up to share in November.

    • #15
  16. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Drew, very interesting. What you say, I’ve long suspected. The idea that some people are so eager to please their therapists that they provide what they think their therapists want really does seem relevant to Ford’s charges.

    Add the capriciousness of memory to that phenomenon and it becomes impossible, without reliable witnesses and/or physical evidence, to sort out the real from the imaginary.

    BTW, I mistakingly hit the Flag button for your response. Sorry. I’m not entirely sure what a Flag means, but I hope “they” don’t come after you — or me.

    Well, you can hit it again and “unflag” . . . I think.

    I must keep my reputation!

    Flag” button?  Dang, I thought it said “Flog” all these years . . .

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Stad (View Comment):
    Flag” button? Dang, I thought it said “Flog” all these years . . .

    • #17
  18. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Ms. Toad

    I dislike Ms. which is an abbreviation for “I like to make things up to make myself feel better because I feel put upon by all the social constructs of human history by the fact that I am female” or something.

    I much prefer “Mrs.” Or “Mistress.”

    Or, of course, “Mama.”

    • #18
  19. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    It’s fake! No, seriously, I’m in complete control.

    Did you notice the girl-chicken laugh at herself when she did her kung fu demonstration? Fake. These people aren’t “suggestible.” They’re willing to play along with the fake.

    However. Chauvinist the Younger was “treated” with hypnotherapy by her integrative MD for nerve pain she developed due to her neurological condition. One session and she went from level-1.5 pain to zero. This after trying acupuncture, which also decreased pain from 4 to 1.5. I definitely think mind over matter is possible (stop sticking me with needles!! I feel better already!). But, I don’t believe hypnotists put people in REM states or any sort of prenatal training condition. That’s a buncha baloney. 

    • #19
  20. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Television is one of the most hypnotic influences in our lives. As a medium controlled by those who want the nation’s citizenry to become puppets, there is continual manipulation of almost all major events to have people fall in line.

    As an example: During the Great Economic Collapse of 2008 to 2011, the economy of the Investment Class was propped up by the major heist accomplished by Obama/Geithner/Bernanke. That trio diverted over 20 trillions of dollars from our Main Street Economy, and diverted it into the coffers of the Big Banks and Investment firms. The crash occurred because of how Wall Street gambled on whether or not the mortgage holders would forever continue to pay off their mortgages. Computer programs that should have assisted Wall Street execs with the realization that “What goes up, must come down” had a fatal flaw – they did not allow for any consideration that at some point people could not pay off their mortgages.

    The amounts of money involved in Wall Street’s gamble were about 10,000 times higher than the amount of mortgage monies which were the focus of the bets being laid. But since Wall Street was bailed out, the pain was felt by those who had bought houses that they couldn’t afford. And by everyone in the trades, who had been building and flipping the real estate properties that the Wall Street interests were promoting. This was such a significant sector that almost everyone suffered during that time. People whose pensions were tied into how well the Stock Market did also saw their life savings wiped out. So many suffered. Except for the One Percent.

    It was interesting to watch as commercials on TV helped the above cause. A commercial would show a consumer trying to attempt a purchase only to have the stack of paint cans topple on him. Subliminal message – even when you think you’re being a good little customer, you don’t deserve a product without pain being attached.

    • #20
  21. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    Ms. Toad

    I dislike Ms. which is an abbreviation for “I like to make things up to make myself feel better because I feel put upon by all the social constructs of human history by the fact that I am female” or something.

    I much prefer “Mrs.” Or “Mistress.”

    Or, of course, “Mama.”

    My goodness, Mrs. Toad, you attribute all sorts of bad things to me because I used “Ms.”  

    I use it merely because it’s handy when one doesn’t know whether a woman is married or not.  I suppose I could have used “mistress,” though that seems rather old fashioned.  And how was I to know that you wouldn’t take offense at that. 

    You suggest that “I like to make things up to make myself feel better”?  Really, Mrs. Toad?    Is that what you want to say?  That’s harsh.  As far as I can tell, I didn’t feel better when I used “Ms.”  Really, I didn’t feel a bit better. It was handy but I didn’t feel better. 

    OK, you prefer “Toad” or “Mama.”  I’ll try harder next time. 

     

    • #21
  22. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    You suggest that “I like to make things up to make myself feel better”?

    No no no. Not that you do. 

    “Mr.” is an abbreviation for Mister.

    “Mrs.” is an abbreviation for Mistress.

    Miss is not an abbreviation.

    Ms is not a word., nor an abbreviation for anything. It is a feminist thing. Also, if you read the whole thing I put in quotes, it also says “because I am a female” which I don’t think you are, even if your avatar looks like Bob.

    I was just funnin with you, Kent.

    But I think you might know that already…

    • #22
  23. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    My goodness, Mrs. Toad, you attribute all sorts of bad things to me because I used “Ms.”

    Also, you are over-reacting. If you read more carefully, you will see that I attribute exactly nothing to you or to your intentions, other than choosing to call me “Ms.”, which I thought a good opportunity to tease you.

    Sorry!

    • #23
  24. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    BTW, I mistakingly hit the Flag button for your response. Sorry. I’m not entirely sure what a Flag means, but I hope “they” don’t come after you — or me. 

    Just a quick note if you hit “Flag” instead of like, nothing happens unless you also hit the “Flag” button that comes up to confirm it. If you actually want to flag someone I’d also suggest filling out the Reason box as it’s not always obvious what one is objecting to. But if you hit it by accident there’s a “Cancel Flag” button to cancel it, or you can just hit the ‘like’ button (which is still there) and ignore the flag box. Ignoring it makes it go away.

    I think the mods are busy enough not to want to persecute based on accidental flags.

    • #24
  25. Hank Rhody, Red Hunter Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter
    @HankRhody

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    My goodness, Mrs. Toad, you attribute all sorts of bad things to me because I used “Ms.”

    I use it merely because it’s handy when one doesn’t know whether a woman is married or not.

    I should hope that Mama Toad became a missus before she became a mama. Certainly I wouldn’t dare to assume anything else in polite conversation.

    Even so, it’s not always so obvious from the women of the internet. Question of etiquette; if I’m going to get that one wrong should I be failing in the direction of assuming Mrs or Miss?

    • #25
  26. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    My goodness, Mrs. Toad, you attribute all sorts of bad things to me because I used “Ms.”

    I use it merely because it’s handy when one doesn’t know whether a woman is married or not.

    I should hope that Mama Toad became a missus before she became a mama. Certainly I wouldn’t dare to assume anything else in polite conversation.

    Even so, it’s not always so obvious from the women of the internet. Question of etiquette; if I’m going to get that one wrong should I be failing in the direction of assuming Mrs or Miss?

    In the old old days, my dad would have advised that whenever flustered around a lady, you simply say, “You look lovely today, ma’am.”

    But that could end up badly for you these days as well.

    • #26
  27. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    You suggest that “I like to make things up to make myself feel better”?

    No no no. Not that you do.

    “Mr.” is an abbreviation for Mister.

    “Mrs.” is an abbreviation for Mistress.

    Miss is not an abbreviation.

    Ms is not a word., nor an abbreviation for anything. It is a feminist thing. Also, if you read the whole thing I put in quotes, it also says “because I am a female” which I don’t think you are, even if your avatar looks like Bob.

    I was just funnin with you, Kent.

    But I think you might know that already…

    If we were speaking face to face, this misunderstanding probably wouldn’t have arisen.  When “ms” first started to be used widely, I avoided it, perhaps for the reason that you dislike it.  But once it had lost its feminist overtones, I found the term handy and began to use it when I didn’t know a woman’s marital status.  I really can’t think of a good substitute in that situation.

    I never really thought about that period at the end of ms.  Your point is well taken.    I’ve seen it with the period so often, however, including in the dictionary, that I assumed that common usage was the way to go.  

    I can do better. 

     

     

    • #27
  28. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Question of etiquette; if I’m going to get that one wrong should I be failing in the direction of assuming Mrs or Miss?

    I am stumped by the question when it comes to others, too. I know what I prefer, but I also know that members of my sex are not always fair or mild and can react with shrieking harpiness if folks get it wrong.

    Try, “Yo, Baby” next time and see what happens.

    • #28
  29. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Red Hunter (View Comment):
    Question of etiquette; if I’m going to get that one wrong should I be failing in the direction of assuming Mrs or Miss?

    I am stumped by the question when it comes to others, too. I know what I prefer, but I also know that members of my sex are not always fair or mild and can react with shrieking harpiness if folks get it wrong.

    Try, “Yo, Baby” next time and see what happens.

    Yo, Baby!  (Uh oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have capped the Baby.  What to do?  Mama capped the Baby, but usage demands that I uncap it, unless the person’s name is Baby.   But if I uncap it, Mama might be offended.)

    Yo Mama! (Uh oh, that sounds racy and “blackish.”)

    I’m lost in this modern world. 

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):
    Ms is not a word., nor an abbreviation for anything. It is a feminist thing.

    I embrace the Ms. term, and here’s why.

    In the old days, a woman was either married (Mrs.) or unmarried (Miss).  A gentleman could tell if a woman was available (for marriage or not) by her title.  A man’s status was unnecessary because a gentleman wouldn’t make a play for a woman if she were already married or engaged (a “Miss” with a ring).  Hence, all a gentleman needed was the “Mr”.  Back then, a “cad” was a “Mr.” who didn’t care about the “Miss”, “Mrs.” or engagement ring, and pursued the woman regardless.  Back then, a woman would be told if a “Mr.” was a freakin’ jerk.

    Fast forward to the present (or the last 40 years).

    People don’t always wear wedding bands these days (I’m one), and the concept of a gentleman (sadly) has most likely been destroyed by an army of jerks who’ve embraced feminism because it has provided a pathway to debauchery.  These days, it’s up to the participants in a possible “hookup” to tell the other person if they are already married, engaged, or otherwise not available.

    So let’s use “Ms.” as a woman whose marital status is unknown. This shifts the burden to the woman to state her status in any social setting which requires it.

    • #30
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