My usual stance on hypnosis/post-hypnotic suggestion/brainwashing is that it's baloney. And that's not based on nothing, but admittedly, based on little. I guess I've come to understand that LSD (which I've done a lot of reading about) isn't particularly useful in post-hypnotic suggestion.

But as I hear more about Sceintology and their methods I wonder if I'm wrong about hypnosis/brainwashing.

I'm also interested in, but not yet buying, the 'Manchurian candidate' theory behind RFK's murder.

Anyone know about the science behind any of this?

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Hypnosis works only one way, you have to allow yourself to be hypnotized.

Its a contract between you and your hypnotist. He wants to hypnotize you, your going to act out his suggestions to the best of your ability.

My mom and grandmother were both big supporters of it when I was younger, so I saw and experienced a lot of it. I can say I consider it a bunch of wooooo.
Here's a very long, and fairly comprehensive article on hypnosis on The Skeptic's Dictionary.

The Skeptic's Dictionary also has a good article on brainwashing.



Also, in a nutshell, from what I know, what JayBarti wrote about people allowing themselves to be hypnotized.
Méabh, you're truly one of the smartest people on this site. You always have a good link and you always call me and others out on our bullshit while still coming across as calm and reasonable. Thanks for the link.
You're welcome, and thanks billyist, but seriously... I'm fallible. I've lost my temper more than once on Atheist Nexus.
Brainwashing isn't something done with slight and sly methods, but an overt effort taking effort akin to labor. Read 1984. That's a pretty good sense. It works.
I've read 1984, it's a great book, probably one of my favorites.
Hypnotic suggestions delivered by a hypnotist in the presence of the subject ("hetero-suggestion") (see Wikipedia) is the common idea and the idea you seem to have. That, however, is by no means the limit of hypnosis.

I'd like to recommend looking into NLP (neurolinguistic programming), which connects language itself and how we structure our personal reality in the brain.

In a sense, we are all hypnotized because we model the world through our presuppositions which are predominately derived from the external world which includes other people and theirs (the memes we pass on). There was a time it was a given that the world was flat, and thunder meant the gods were upset. If you got sick, you were inhabited by demons, and so forth.

Every belief is a form of hypnosis because it depends on underlying presuppositions which are generally accepted without notice or critique. And that's the trick or method of hypnosis.

Check out Derren Brown. All his videos that you can find. He's a magician yes, but much of his technique is by using NLP. The one on voodo has been removed but is excellent if you can find it. Here's one on ... well, amnesia.
As it was described to me when I learned autohypnosis to overcome a phobia, "No one can hypnotize you. Only you can hypnotize yourself." True hypnosis is really just advanced meditation/relaxation/visualization. A sprinter envisions the finish line, sees herself crossing it ahead of the pack, putting her 'in the zone' and giving her that little extra boost of focus and speed she needs to win the race. That's a basic form of autohypnosis.

That said, the hypnotist acts as a guide. As it pertains to brainwashing, I can see where the gullible can allow themselves to be led quite easily.

I've been going through a lot of grief and mourning the last several months and I am constantly reminded how tempting it is to indeed believe in an invisible friend in the sky who will make it all better and provide a perfect afterlife. Very, very, very appealing to our human nature to desire peace and balance.

Very easy to see where all it takes is a few well-placed suggestions at just the right time and the mindless masses are putty in the hands of the preachers.
Part of the issue is you have to define hypnotism. There are a lot of things that come under the title that bear no relationship to each other.
Like chicken hyponotism. If you grab a chicken, hold its beak to the dirt, and then draw a straight line in the dirt away from it's beak, it wont move until you move it, or rub out the line.
Which is clearly not the same thing as those anti-smoking hypnosis tapes. Which is not the same thing as party hypnosis guys who can usually only get 1/2 the group under and loses the other half by the end of the evening.

But I was told by an expert in anaesthesiology in my undergrad that hypnosis was widely used in WWII when the anaesthetic ran out for surgery. And that in clinically controlled trails, people hyponotised into being told they would feel no pain recovered faster, expereinced less pain overall (always a tricky thing to measure, but based on self reports etc), were given less drugs and left hospital faster. It's unclear whether or not it's a placebo, but if it's a placebo with 0 side effects and effectively no cost, what does it matter?
"My usual stance on hypnosis/post-hypnotic suggestion/brainwashing is that it's baloney. And that's not based on nothing, but admittedly, based on little. "

I think such a position is referred to as "argument personal incredulity" , a form of argument from ignorance.

Anton Mesmer gave a very old practice a bad name.


I became interested in hypnosis in my 20's and taught myself self hypnosis. I had some interesting experiences; (and one noticeable failure). I could use it to relax to the point of preventing the onset of chronic,crippling headaches, if I began soon enough,as soon as I felt it coming on.. I could also lower my heart beat to 60.

The doctor I saw when I was getting sober also used hypnosis. I found it of limited value.

I'm not sure it' very useful try to talk about "hypnosis" as if it's a simple and easily described process.Judging by what I've read and experienced,hypnosis is anything but simple. In my opinion to dismiss it,or any of its claims because of the incompetents and charlatans is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
I hope I'm not coming off as closed-minded. Isn't the very fact that I'm asking about it evidence that I'm open-minded?
Just so's you're not so open minded your brains fall out ...

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