Thursday, January 28, 2016

How I Used to Hynotize 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 a great interest in propaganda techniques, because I know how they work. I also care about persuasion techniques, because they work, too (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...

Power can turn human beings into monsters:

"How much does prison, and the power of being a prison guard, transform a person? It can turn a sweet student into a tyrannical despot in less than a day. That’s the message I took from the experiment. None of us are above it. Power over others is the evil golden ring, something that reaches deep within the darkest regions of our soul to find the foulest of all longings and bring them to the surface."

"Power is such a corrupting force in the human heart that it can overcome the best intentions, the most earnest ethical training, the strongest faith in transcendence, and even the meekest of temperaments. Power is the devil that destroys all that is good and puts pure malice in its place. The replacement of power is a human priority for peace and well being."

Anonymous said...


Glen Filthie said...

Yes you CAN brainwash people, Bob. Every second chit-house cult in California has done it. When members can be extracted from them - they have to be de-programmed using many of the same brutal psychological attacks used in their indoctrination.

Trump is not manipulating anyone. He saw the market for a candidate that hated the media and the established elitist, statist Washington political slobs. There are legions upon legions of angry Americans sitting on their couches, watching that black baboon in the Oval Office and Hillary shilling for the fawning media - and all they can do is sit on that couch and fume.

All Trump has to do is get them off the couch. All he has to do is make himself useful to the people that actually work for a living - and the other candidates will sink themselves. Everyone is calling him a master strategist and manipulator...but he's not. He's simply a good business man doing what they do - making opportunities for himself and others. That used to be quite common in America and it will be again - one day.

Unknown said...

No one is that good of a businessman unless they had a mentor who told him things. Even Andrew Carnegie had a mentor.

Trump didn't automatically know these things. I guarantee you he's read and memorized techniques about advertising, propaganda and persuasion.

Anonymous said...

There was an article recently saying that if Trump would have just put his inherited wealth in an S&P index fund, he would have been richer and better off rather than relying on is own business ventures.

Trump is not that great of a business man. Trump was born rich. It's a lot easier to make money and become richer when you have money to begin with.

But nobody is perfect. I still like Trump compared to the other candidates. I also like Bernie Sanders.

Shaun F said...

When you actually realize very few people have actual authority over you, aside from say a Police Officer or Judge rendering a decision based on law - you start to see how free one is, when you determine how deceived one was. We have been so conditioned to respond without thinking - like automatons. I agree with Glen - brainwashing exists - just go to an AA meeting.

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