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. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):
    I once read a very odd book called The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, and I couldn’t figure out if the author was a quack or a genius (or possibly both). He posits a very elaborate theory that visual and auditory hallucinations, of the kind experienced today by people we would call crazy, were quite common, everyday occurances for people in the distant past. Thus, when we read in ancient literature from around the globe accounts of gods, spirits, and ancestors appearing and speaking to people, this was neither myth nor metaphor but simply a literal account of what those people had experienced, namely hallucinations appearing and telling them what to do, and they obeyed

    I’ve been listening to Jordan Peterson’s Bible lectures on Youtube, and he wades into this fairly deep. Apparently, Carl Jung (of whom Peterson is an admirer) could enter waking states where he was able to dialogue with entities (my word, not his, and not quite apt) which he believed were manifestations of ancient collective wisdom — or something like that (as Peterson might put it). At one point, Peterson shared a vision he had personally.

    I’m only up to the Abrahamic stories (about halfway through the lectures), but Peterson seems to be taking seriously the idea that the ancients experienced states of consciousness that allowed them to tap into the collective. I’m as yet unclear whether Peterson considers these manifestations God, or divine, or something else. 

    • #61
  2. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Stad (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I have been in the air most of today.

    They legalized pot in Atlanta? Hehe . . .

    More litteral than that. In LA for a conference.

    Shoulda had a Meetup while you were there . . .

    nobody wants to meetup with me unless I hypnotyize them heh

    Shoulda hypnotized me to pay your bill in Atlanta. Hehe . . .

    You did. You just don’t remember it. 

    • #62
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Freeven (View Comment):
    I’m as yet unclear whether Peterson considers these manifestations God, or divine, or something else. 

    So is he.

     

    • #63
  4. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Peterson seems to be taking seriously the idea that the ancients experienced states of consciousness that allowed them to tap into the collective. I’m as yet unclear whether Peterson considers these manifestations God, or divine, or something else. 

    Jaynes did not believe they were any of the above, rather the voices originated in one hemisphere of the brain and were “heard” and obeyed in the other, hence the “bicameral mind” of his title.  Whereas we today experience a running internal monologue as the voice of our “selves” (a hallmark of modern consciousness), he posits that ancient people experienced multiple voices of authority commanding them — even though the voices actually originated in the other half of their own brains.

    • #64
  5. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    I’m as yet unclear whether Peterson considers these manifestations God, or divine, or something else.

    So is he.

    Perhaps.

    One thing I don’t like about Peterson is his defensiveness and evasiveness when asked about some of these things. When asked whether he believes in God, for example, he’ll say things like, What makes you think you define God or believe the same way I do? or even What makes you think it’s any of your damn business?! And then he’ll refuse to take up the question further.

    Putting the hostility (and he does convey hostility, both in tone and appearance) of the latter response aside, you might argue that the first is a reasonable question. And it would be, if it were not totally out of character. If you’ve watched Peterson at all, you’ve seen him answer controversial questions head on; you’ve seen him say I don’t know or I’m not sure or That’s what I’m trying to figure out; you’ve seen him give lengthy and thoughtful responses to vague and speculative questions by first clarifying premises and defining words. What he doesn’t do is side step and summarily dismiss difficult questions, which is what he does on this front — every single time.

    I suspect he’s playing games. Perhaps he doesn’t want to alienate portions of his audience. Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down. Those, and other, reasons are understandable. But I do find his evasions annoying and out of character coming from someone who has made his reputation on being both honest and candid.

    Edit: The phrase playing games has been bothering me since I posted the comment. Being cagey is closer to what I meant.

    • #65
  6. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Peterson seems to be taking seriously the idea that the ancients experienced states of consciousness that allowed them to tap into the collective. I’m as yet unclear whether Peterson considers these manifestations God, or divine, or something else.

    Jaynes did not believe they were any of the above, rather the voices originated in one hemisphere of the brain and were “heard” and obeyed in the other, hence the “bicameral mind” of his title. Whereas we today experience a running internal monologue as the voice of our “selves” (a hallmark of modern consciousness), he posits that ancient people experienced multiple voices of authority commanding them — even though the voices actually originated in the other half of their own brains.

    I studied this theory in College. 

    Humans do have a bifurcated brain. Its structure is unusal. I think if there is something to it, though, it predates language. 

    • #66
  7. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I studied this theory in College. 

    Oh, really?  Jaynes specifically?  I got the impression that outside of a handful of acolytes he wasn’t taken very seriously in academic circles.

    • #67
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):
    I studied this theory in College.

    Oh, really? Jaynes specifically? I got the impression that outside of a handful of acolytes he wasn’t taken very seriously in academic circles.

    He was one of the theories of the mind we studied in a course. Very facsinating and I loved that course. His ideas stuck out the most. 

    We really do not understand the mind at all. 

    • #68
  9. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Milton Erickson‘s thesis was that we all enter trance states multiple times a day as part of our normal life; “in the zone,” “flow state,” and “glued to the screen” would all be trance states.

    How susceptible we are to someone else deliberately inducing a trance state in us is another question.

    • #69
  10. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    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!).

    I used to practice qigong. It’s definitely real. 

    If you get acupuncture, either get it from a guy from China or a guy that has practiced internal martial arts from a young age. 

    • #70
  11. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down.

    Some nominal Republicans really dislike him. People that are way less accomplished. I’d like to know more about that. 

    • #71
  12. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    If you get acupuncture, either get it from a guy from China

    Racist.

    • #72
  13. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    iWe (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    If you get acupuncture, either get it from a guy from China

    Racist.

    Some make the distinction between TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) – by which they mean what was left after Mao – and Classical Chinese medicine which may even have survived better in the Chinese diaspora than it did on the mainland.

    • #73
  14. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    iWe (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    If you get acupuncture, either get it from a guy from China

    Racist.

    IMO, they either need to be trained really well and need to be sensitive to a taoist lifestyle, or they have to bust their (colloquialism) on internal martial arts which is effectively the same thing. 

    • #74
  15. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    If you get acupuncture, either get it from a guy from China

    Racist.

    Some make the distinction between TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) – by which they mean what was left after Mao – and Classical Chinese medicine which may even have survived better in the Chinese diaspora than it did on the mainland.

    Interesting. I know that one of the reasons tai chi is a more well-known term than qigong was because that was the only way you were going to practice qigong without getting killed. They actually encouraged it after they realize what a mistake they made.

    If you just want to be healthy tai chi is a waste of time and resources compared to qigong.

    • #75
  16. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down.

    Some nominal Republicans really dislike him. People that are way less accomplished. I’d like to know more about that.

    He’s highly critical of identity politics of all stripes, so both the far left and the alt-right go after him, which is ironic because probably the most common attack he gets from the left is that he’s part of the alt-right.

    • #76
  17. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Freeven (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down.

    Some nominal Republicans really dislike him. People that are way less accomplished. I’d like to know more about that.

    He’s highly critical of identity politics of all stripes, so both the far left and the alt-right go after him, which is ironic because probably the most common attack he gets from the left is that he’s part of the alt-right.

    Noah Rothaman and someone else I’m not going to name. Those types of Republicans. I mean I know jack about all of this, but his CV looks pretty strong to me and those guys isn’t. I’d love to know what that’s about.

    • #77
  18. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Freeven (View Comment):

    He’s highly critical of identity politics of all stripes, so both the far left and the alt-right go after him, which is ironic because probably the most common attack he gets from the left is that he’s part of the alt-right.

    To be fair, for the left, anyone just a centimeter to the right of Hillary is “alt-right.”

    • #78
  19. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I’ll tell you something else. If you ever have a chance to get a “foot massage” from someone that was trained in China, do it. They are all over the Bay Area, and I think the ones in the Ridgedale Mall in Minneapolis are mostly well-trained from the old country. 

    • #79
  20. Freeven Inactive
    Freeven
    @Freeven

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down.

    Some nominal Republicans really dislike him. People that are way less accomplished. I’d like to know more about that.

    He’s highly critical of identity politics of all stripes, so both the far left and the alt-right go after him, which is ironic because probably the most common attack he gets from the left is that he’s part of the alt-right.

    Noah Rothaman and someone else I’m not going to name. Those types of Republicans. I mean I know jack about all of this, but his CV looks pretty strong to me and those guys isn’t. I’d love to know what that’s about.

    I’ve never heard of Rothaman. Maybe someone else can comment.

    • #80
  21. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Freeven (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Freeven (View Comment):
    Perhaps he’s trying to avoid attacks (and he’s attacked a lot) from those who wish to shut him down.

    Some nominal Republicans really dislike him. People that are way less accomplished. I’d like to know more about that.

    He’s highly critical of identity politics of all stripes, so both the far left and the alt-right go after him, which is ironic because probably the most common attack he gets from the left is that he’s part of the alt-right.

    Noah Rothaman and someone else I’m not going to name. Those types of Republicans. I mean I know jack about all of this, but his CV looks pretty strong to me and those guys isn’t. I’d love to know what that’s about.

    I’ve never heard of Rothaman. Maybe someone else can comment.

    He works at Commentary Magazine and MSNBC. I would assume people like Tom Nichols think the same way. I just want to know what it’s all about, really. 

    • #81
  22. Misthiocracy, Joke Pending Member
    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending
    @Misthiocracy

    a) For that TEDx event, how were the test participants chosen?

    b) Are people who pay good money to attend a TEDx event already predisposed to believe whatever the presenters tell them?  They don’t strike me as particularly critical audiences at the best of times.

    Let’s see him make the exact same presentation at the annual convention of the American Skeptics Society.

    • #82
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Freeven (View Comment):
    I’ve never heard of Rothaman. Maybe someone else can comment.

    How about Noah Rothman instead?

    • #83
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