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Words As A Weapon: The Dangers Of Hypnosis

Words As A Weapon: The Dangers Of Hypnosis

A lot has been said about the dangers of hypnosis, a debate which centers
around the question of whether or not all hypnosis is self-hypnosis.  The frame
of the debate is wrong, because whether you call the process "self-hypnosis" or
"hypnosis," if harm can be done with it, either through the malice of the
hypnotist, the ignorance of the subject, or both, then warnings about the
potential for harm are necessary.

People say that we go into trance every day, and we do.  Very LIGHT trances,
that are very easy to snap out of.  We get engrossed, we lose focus, time slips
away, and then we come to.  No harm comes to this, and we get the benefits of
the heightened focus of trance in helping us to complete whatever task
"hypnotized us" while alleviating the boredom with the body's own chemicals,
which change as our state of mind changes.  

A change in our state of mind is what causes "hypnosis" in that our body
chemistry adjusts along with the state: happiness, for example, will be
accompanied by an endorphin release, while thoughts of something sad might
causes us to cry or feel more depressed, once again changing our body
chemistry.  In normal conversation, this process is perpetual, as our body
chemistry moves along the tracks of the roller coaster ride that consists of
the other's words.  All language is actually hypnotic, but for "nonhypnotic
language," (i.e., "regular conversation"), the changes in our body chemistry
are so minor that we don't recognize it as hypnosis any more than we'd
recognize a few leftover drops of a beverage in a glass as a "drink," or
someone who is nearly bald as "having hair" even if they have a few stray hairs
left on their head.

Skill with hypnosis could easily be measured by one's grasp of the causal
connection between conversation and changes in body chemistry.  An unskilled
hypnotist, like someone without musical ability banging the keys on a piano,
won't produce the "music" necessary to induce trance, while a skilled "hypnosis
virtuoso," on the other hand, knows exactly how to create any result s/he wants
in the subject.  To them, the subject is a mere puppet whose state of mind and
body can be manipulated at will through the process of changing their body
chemistry with words, what they call "hypnosis."  The hypnosis is
"self-hypnosis" in that the changes are occurring in the subject's mind and
body, but the process is initiated by the hypnotist, who sets in motion the
process which causes those changes.  

A subject who is unfamiliar with hypnosis might know what's happening to them,
but like someone who doesn't know that fire can be put out with water, they may
very well be unable to do anything about it, not knowing to use the "fire
extinguisher" before the "mental blaze" burns out of control.  Some subjects
are like moths drawn to the flames, while others let their skepticism and/or
ignorance cause them not to recognize or acknowledge that someone is using
sensory input on them to deliberately alter their state in order to achieve
their desired result (usually deep trance).  Other times, the process is
cooperative, which makes the hypnotist's job much easier.  

A "resistant" hypnosis subject is either one who doesn't react as planned
(which the hypnotist blames on the subject), or one who is deliberately
preventing the normal process of influence from occurring (changing their state
back every time it begins to be altered by the hypnosis).  In the case of the
former, trance is a matter of figuring out how they react to hypnosis (since
they want to), and in the case of the latter, it is a matter of "slipping one
past the goalie" or using a form of hypnosis that the target does not recognize
as hypnosis and therefore does not attempt to resist because there is no
perceived threat against which to defend.  In these cases, the hypnosis is
covert, and successful to the extent that it "outsmarts" the subject.  

You'll notice many NLP practitioners carry with them in conversation an
underlying attitude of "I know something you don't" and are usually very
patronizing and authoratative, as if their aggressive communication style
somehow makes what they say more credible.  To their "target audience," this
style does work, because those who want to be led are receptive to following
those who appear capable and confident in their self-appointed position of
leadership.  An intelligent audience will see this as patronizing, and will
often react negatively, but they are not what the covert hypnotist is seeking
to prey upon.  Just as the snake oil salesman knew that there were those who
would never trust the snake oil, he also knew that there was a sucker born
every minute, so he geared his "hypnosis" (sales pitch) to that market.

When a skilled hypnotist meets a nonresistant subject, the resulting trance can
easily cross the line and reach a point where "true control" is achieved. 
Suggestions of helplessness, impossibility of resistance, a desire to "feel
this way again and again," or a "craving" for that feeling, are piled on
mercilessly until the subject's mind is overloaded with them and shuts down. 
Since the critical process is suspended, the hypnotist's words become reality. 
Just as a stage hypnotist can make a subject hallucinate on stage (such as
seeing the audience naked), or feel nonexistent sensations as if they were real
(such as being high or drunk, as one adult hypnotist does regularly in his
act), one can also make real the sensation in the subject's mind that they are
completely relaxed (to the point of not being able to move), completely
controlled, and completely addicted to the sound of the hypnotist's voice
(which produces the drug-like high in the form of an altered state that is the
true source of the addiction).  

Like a kidnap victim who isn't aware of an escape route, the subject stops
looking for one, and is, for all intents and purposes, unable to resist the
hypnotist.  It is at this point where hypnosis abuse becomes not only possible,
but child's play.  To achieve this level of addiction, the hypnotist does not
even need to suggest it during the initial induction, and in fact usually will
not, but instead will simply induce the addictive state and let nature take its
course, knowing full well that when withdrawal kicks in the subject will return
to the hypnotist looking for the next "fix."  This is the techniques used by
stage hypnotists, who are fully aware that their "dazzled" subjects will go
into withdrawal within hours or days and begin craving more hypnosis from that
specific hypnotist.  This is especially useful to the hypnotist (and dangerous
to the public) for shows performed in front of an underaged audience.  The
hypnotist induces hypnotic addiction in his target (either children not yet at
the age of consent or where it would otherwise be appropriate to pursue them
sexually, or in some cases, children if they are pedophilic), and then waits
for the subject to seek him (or her) out down the road.  

With no overt coercion, the hypnotist relies on his superior understanding of
hypnosis to achieve the desired result.  The hot cheerleader seeks out his
website and he arranges for some "quality time," or the child finds the
hypnotist, who makes friends with the family while praising the child, cashing
in on the respectability that comes with performing in public.  Since the
public believes that "all hypnosis is self-hypnosis," even if found out, the
hypnotist has nothing to fear because the "crime" in question is thought to be
impossible and nonexistent.  The woman who claims she was hypnotized into
having sex she otherwise wouldn't have agreed to is dismissed as hysterical, as
is the man who is hypnotized into committing criminal acts for a woman or
giving her his money.  The hypnotist "laughs all the way to the bank" while
further patronizing the subject, claiming to want them to "get help" and
expressing a mock pity that fools the public into thinking that his intentions
are good.

Using hypnotic control to get a subject to do things they wouldn't ordinarily
do can be accomplished many ways.  The most difficult is the direct approach,
which will only work if the subject has been convinced that they cannot resist
even that.  More common, however, is the simple use of hypnotic withdrawal to
get the subject to comply.  A complex reward system is established, where the
subject can only get that next trance if s/he figures out what the hypnotist
wants him to do.  A simple example of this might be a domme who tells her
subject that she "just can't focus right now" and is unable to hypnotize him. 
The subject asks why she can't focus, and the domme then explains that it's
because of her ex-boyfriend, who has been "bothering her."  She need say no
more, as the subject will then see the ex-boyfriend as the obstacle to be
eliminated, and he'll find that his dommie won't be focusing on him until he
comes across for her.  He'll escalate his behavior against the ex-boyfriend
until she is satisfied.  In another example, she might express that she is
short of money, while reminding the subject how much she values "loyalty," and
again won't be able to "focus" until the (financial) "problem" is eliminated. 
If he doesn't comply, she just lets the withdrawal fester until he does.  

This article will prompt many criticisms, but as is clear now, those criticisms
are a covert hypnosis in and of themselves.  The "hypnotists" (those who try to
convince you this article is wrong, whether or not they are actual hypnotists)
will use the techniques above to attempt to bypass your critical faculty and
"think for yourself," but they will not reward you by saying that you are
thinking for yourself until your thoughts become exactly what you want them to.
 A good example of how this process works would be if they said that they are
compassionate and altruistic (which we know most people are not, given our
survival gene that dominates our existence), and that they are only trying to
help the ignorant, who would otherwise be swayed by my apparently convincing
words, which they then allege are flawed.  They will do whatever it takes to
convince you, escalating as needed.  

The critics will begin by attacking the points made, and making
counterarguments designed to convince you.  This allows them to win the debate
with fair tactics and not be accused of taking the low road.  If that fails,
they will attempt to cite academic authority that "confirms" their belief, even
if there is equally strong opposite research by those with equal or superior
credentials.  If that doesn't do the trick, the next step is to attack the
messenger, claiming s/he doesn't have any "credibility" and should not be
listened to.  Finally, if that doesn't work, they resort to literally
"attacking the messenger" and will attempt to use threats, extortion,
harassment, and defamation in an attempt to deter their critics.  All of this
has played out on alt.hypnosis for several years, and the purpose of it is to
"hypnotize the newbies" into agreeing with their way of thinking.

If you take the position that all hypnosis is self hypnosis and that hypnosis
abuse is not possible, you are dismissing any and all claims of things like
rape and child molestation which are used by predators to accomplish their
objectives.  You are saying that a woman who claims she was raped while under
hypnosis must have "wanted it," and you are either saying the same thing about
a molested child, or you are accusing him or her of lying.  You are letting any
man or woman call themselves a "stage hypnotist" and perform at your local high
school, summer camp, or state fair (where children attend a lot), and you are
assuming that there is no risk.  

By all means, think for yourself, but by all means, please understand the
implications if you choose to think that hypnosis is completely benign.  I
believe it is not, and these are the reasons I believe it.  I have made my
points here clearly, concisely, and logically, and done so without flaming a
single individual.  Those with opposing viewpoints, by contrast, have harassed
and defamed me, attempted to interfere with my employment and business
contracts, invaded my privacy to a level which is potentially criminal and
definitely actionable in civil court, and threatened the lives of me and my
family.  In Journalism 101, that behavior is taught to be recognized by the
journalist as meaning that s/he is "onto something."  In this case, we are onto
the new realization that all hypnosis is not self-hypnosis, and that hypnosis
abuse and hypnotic control are definitely possible.  

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