Friday, August 28, 2015

How I Used to Hypnotize Myself

I have never had any great interest in hypnosis. I do understand how it works, though - imagination and a very relaxed state.

When I was about 11 years old I ran across science fiction - and found reading it was being in a different world.

When I was reading it someone would call to me - and I wouldn't hear it at first. I was engrossed in what I was reading. I was lost in my imagination.

I had actually hypnotized myself. Self-hypnosis. Imagination and being totally relaxed. That, basically, was it.

Because of this (and other things) I know you cannot hypnotize people into doing what they don't want to do. There is no Manchurian Candidate brainwashing, no government-created assassins, none of that. That's Conspironut nonsense (the belief in impossible conspiracies is the American disease).

I consider television to be hypnotic. It puts people into a trance. I don't think that's a good thing. Why do you think there is so much advertising on TV?

Companies wouldn't spend billions on advertising unless it worked.

I have no great interest in propaganda techniques, either, although I know how they work. I don't much care about persuasion techniques, either, except to know how they work (watch Trump sometimes, and you'll see a master at it).

People are always trying to change their consciousness. It's as if our baseline consciousness isn't go great. Often they use drugs and alcohol.

Governments and businesses want to change our consciousness, too - rewire our brains - to benefit themselves. Not to benefit us, but them.

They want to manipulate us, to persuade us, to hypnotize us - which is fine as long as people know what they are doing.

The most famous scholar who studied the principles of influence is Robert Cialdini. He identified six:

Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.

Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self-image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. See cognitive dissonance.

Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.

Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.

Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.


Anonymous said...

I've had success with self-hypnosis:

There are also subliminal techniques:

Mindstorm said...

I think immersion experienced while reading an engrossing book is the same as while playing a favorite videogame (I prefer the name 'computer game', being more of a PC than a console user). Also, a tabletop game session sometimes evokes similar experiences. I would not call that self-hypnosis, because it lacks a necessary element, suggestion. Temporary suspension of disbelief is not strong enough for that:

Quartermain said...

Over thirty years ago, I had to put myself in a self-hypnotic trance to get myself through a few 10 mile road march with a 30 pound back pack (called rut sacks in the service).

Unknown said...

I've done it myself to get through horrible jobs. I once worked on a production line, which was the worst job I ever had.