Whether you are aware or not, you live with aspects of hypnosis almost every day. Hypnosis comes packaged in many shapes and sizes that are seldom, if ever, called hypnosis. There is one hypnotist to the right of you and another to your left. They are your friends and relatives, your neighbours, the people you work with, and the person selling products on television.
Hypnosis occurs when your conscious mind is persuaded to take a break. With your mental watchdog napping, a choice suggestion or two can easily infiltrate your inner mind. You don’t have to be in a subconscious frame of mind for a suggestion to take root. Trance is not the exclusive province of hypnotists, but is a natural phenomenon we encounter daily.
You can be watching television, daydreaming, or sunning yourself with friends at the beach. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you are; your inner mind responds to chance remarks and subtle suggestions. It’s true that planting seeds in your subconscious will bear fruit, but weeds can grow there just as well.
It is no secret that the advertising industry takes advantage of consumer’s suggestibility. TV commercials count on people’s trance otherwise it will never work. The following example shows the power of suggestion.
Back in the fifties, a poster for Ireland’s famous beer declaired, “Guinness is Good for You.” Around that time, the following exchange took place in a pub between a TV interviewer and an old bloke with a pint of Guinness in his hand.
Television can be a baby-sitter, entertainer, pacifier, companion, or it can lull your throbbing brain after a hard day – the “electronic” hypnosis. Some people turn their set on for company when they’re alone. others watch when they’re at a loss for anything else to do.
I used to not able to understand: Why do advertisers spend many thousands of dollars on TV, to produce a one minute advertising, not to be liked by most people? Yes now I undertand perfectly. Do they really care if you like it or not? No. By repetition, they know your subconscious mind is taking in and absorbing the images – visual; the messages – spoken words of suggestions. This combination makes it the perfect medium fo hypnosis, for it engages both right and left hemispheres of the brain simultaneously, expecially at the moment when you are more or less hypnotized by TV programs. Don’t you feel when the the commercial is on, you are kind of in a state of mental numbness? That’s a perfect time for the advertisers to reach to the antenna of your inner subconscious mind, which learns and commits to your memory. Once your subconscious mind accepts an assertion as truth, you react as though it were true.
Consciously, you don’t really swallow the notion that a new mouthwash will add zip to your love life. But it doesn’t matter to the advertisers. Your subconscious mind sees and hears the programming again and again, until you react as though it were true. This is hypnosis. It could be categorized as “purchase by post-hypnotic suggestions”.
In the days of Edward Bernays (Sigmund Freud’s American nephew), the discovery of the workings of the subconscious mind was put to somewhat exploitative use to manipulate consumers into thinking they needed something they didn’t so that big American corporates could sell more products and services.
Bernays did this very successfully in the early 1900s and many have described him as the “godfather” of advertising and public relations. One better-known example was his ability to significantly increase the number of American female smokers by positioning cigarettes as “torches of freedom”. Cigarettes began to represent female empowerment and every woman wanted one!
It’s not because they are masters of hypnosis, but because your defenses are down in their presence. You are usually relaxed around your friends and are receptive to their suggestions, even openly asking for their help and advice, whether it be to your benefit or not, as they suggestions sometime come to you as a means to protect you, or to help you see “reality” – theirs, not yours.
They are also skilled body linguists, projecting nonverbal messages that create a subconscious acceptance of what they say, and what is left unsaid. sometimes what is said is less important than how it is said. This also includes the political tone which promotes loyalty and patriotism to a country, even to the extent that soldiers will fight “enemy” soldiers to the death over arbitrary geographical borders.
When he was on holiday in Italy he hypnotized a lady on quite a few occassions who had become a patient of his who then revealed a huge amount of information about herself. As their relationship became more entangled it upset Charles Dickens’ wife and put a strain on their marrige.
Most of us are in the thrall of cultural trance, the combination and culmination of the emotional surroundings, mental attitudes and judgements, and social pressures that have enveloped us since conception and birth. This involves the standards and mores of our society, the customs and acceptable social behavior patterns, the recognized and accepted religions, forms of humor, music, and the arts.
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