[SPLIT] Hypnosis

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Jan 2018, 12:29

It is important to understand practices that impact how people think, but it also is important to avoid classifying things that are unintentional or natural using words that convey intentionality and/or contrived effort.

"Brainwashing" and "hypnosis" are great examples. They mean something specific, and over-applying them outside their actual definitions is highly problematic - just as over-applying charges of racism or sexism causes serious issues, even though many views and actions are racist and sexist even if many people don't recognize them as such.

For example, common prayer rarely resembles a hypnotic state, but prolonged prayer (like the example of Enoch in the Book of Mormon) and intense meditation often do. To be hypnosis, there must be a "sleep-like state". Without such a condition, we have suggestions, conditioning, subliminal messaging, etc., but we aren't dealing with hypnosis. There is nothing in standard LDS missionary work that fits the classic definition of either brainwashing or hypnosis, and I would say the vast majority of LDS members never come close to hypnosis through prayer.

Frankly, many people would see that as a negative, and I understand and can't argue against it passionately. I am wary of over-spiritualization, but I believe there is a place for deeper spiritualism than I tend to practice. I am not opposed to self-hypnosis, in theory, and I support solid, disciplined, ethical hypnosis as an aid to deal with addictions and other psychological and physiological issues - for people who can benefit from it.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

NightSG
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by NightSG » 10 Jan 2018, 13:22

Curt Sunshine wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 12:29
"Brainwashing" and "hypnosis" are great examples. They mean something specific, and over-applying them outside their actual definitions is highly problematic - just as over-applying charges of racism or sexism causes serious issues, even though many views and actions are racist and sexist even if many people don't recognize them as such.
However, it's important to recognize that even light trance - what most people would refer to as a guided meditation or wide awake hypnosis when it's assisted by another person - is pretty close to traditional deep trance hypnosis, and can be used in much the same way. Again, it also happens unintentionally when we hyper-focus on certain things, and many people don't recognize it at all when it's done without the formal trappings of a hypnosis or guided meditation session. That can make it far more dangerous, as the subject won't even realize they've been suggested. It's even possible to convert it directly to deep trance hypnosis, and from there hypnoamnesia to prevent conscious memory of the deep trance is trivial...if not automatic.

This is why I generally recommend treating any person known or suspected to be particularly unethical with constant suspicion; there are people who can and will lull you to a light trance state without your knowledge or consent, and use it to condition you without the normal resistance that critical thinking provides, even to repetitive and/or skilled persuasion methods. If you find yourself focusing more than typical whenever a person starts talking, you need to redirect that focus to critical consideration of everything they say in order to make sure it doesn't become blind acceptance.
To be hypnosis, there must be a "sleep-like state". Without such a condition, we have suggestions, conditioning, subliminal messaging, etc., but we aren't dealing with hypnosis.
At the point where direct conditioning becomes possible, it's really splitting hairs; it doesn't matter which process is used when the result is identical. Light trance with full conscious control is basically the only meaningful exception; the subject still has the conscious ability to reject any suggestion directly at all times, so it's barely more than a normal focus state. It's also rare without specifically creating that state, since it's typically (Always? Never heard of another way to get there.) a modification of an existing light trance state, rather than one the subject can be guided directly to.
There is nothing in standard LDS missionary work that fits the classic definition of either brainwashing or hypnosis, and I would say the vast majority of LDS members never come close to hypnosis through prayer.
Normal prayer, no, but a focused, extended session, entirely possible. The standard "day of fasting and prayer" might get there on occasion. Actually using it productively without recognizing he phenomenon is highly unlikely, though.

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dande48
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by dande48 » 10 Jan 2018, 15:06

Curt Sunshine wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 12:29
For example, common prayer rarely resembles a hypnotic state, but prolonged prayer (like the example of Enoch in the Book of Mormon) and intense meditation often do. To be hypnosis, there must be a "sleep-like state". Without such a condition, we have suggestions, conditioning, subliminal messaging, etc., but we aren't dealing with hypnosis. There is nothing in standard LDS missionary work that fits the classic definition of either brainwashing or hypnosis, and I would say the vast majority of LDS members never come close to hypnosis through prayer.
You could call it a spectrum if you'd like, but as a whole I disagree. Hypnosis is an induction to a state of consciousness which leaves the subject susceptible to suggestion or direction. And it happens a lot more often than you might think. Take a simple prayer (not a deep prolonged one). They bows their head and closes their eyes, on "command". They turn their focus inwards, and concentrate on the inner feelings of the Spirit. They let the words resonate through them, and attempt to instill in themselves the change they desire. Looks like light hypnosis to me.

I'm not meaning to offend, but just because there are heavier or lighter cases, doesn't mean it isn't happening. The same principles apply.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by Curt Sunshine » 10 Jan 2018, 15:34

As I said, I simply want to make sure we distinguish between hypnosis and things like concentration and focus. There is a difference, and it is important. Sure, they might be on the same general spectrum, but so are depression (of various levels) and consternation. We distinguish between them for an important reason, even if they can be linked in some way, and we intentionally avoid suggestions that conflate them.

Having said that, I am conscious of and concerned about manipulation and overt spiritualism, which is one reason I would choose, if forced to do so, a less traditional "spiritual" setting like an LDS Sacrament Meeting over a Protestant revival or another charisma-soaked service (like what happens with classic instances of services that include "speaking in tongues").

Finally, it is important at a site like this to avoid what people who simply read would consider sensationalized, hyperbolic terminology - and equating typical LDS prayer and missionary work with hypnosis is exactly that.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by Roy » 11 Jan 2018, 11:24

Those are important points Curt. Thank you.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

NightSG
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by NightSG » 17 Jan 2018, 19:49

dande48 wrote:
10 Jan 2018, 15:06
Hypnosis is an induction to a state of consciousness which leaves the subject susceptible to suggestion or direction. And it happens a lot more often than you might think. Take a simple prayer (not a deep prolonged one). They bows their head and closes their eyes, on "command". They turn their focus inwards, and concentrate on the inner feelings of the Spirit. They let the words resonate through them, and attempt to instill in themselves the change they desire. Looks like light hypnosis to me.
More to the point, there's really no such thing as a non-suggestible state, and the spectrum is pretty much continuous from end to end; any good salesman knows how to plant suggestions while you're in a far less suggestible state than even light meditative prayer.

NightSG
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Re: [SPLIT] Hypnosis

Post by NightSG » 01 Feb 2018, 11:00

Here's an interesting one; pain spinning. There's nothing that particularly resembles a trance state, and yet the result sure looks like a negative hallucination (i.e. getting the mind to not perceive something that does exist) to me.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAYlt1OSUH8

Obviously this one picks up after the initial explanation, so if you poke through some of Snyder's other videos, you can find the whole thing with intro, but there's nothing that I would call a real induction either. Of course, in this case, it's something the client wants very much, so the mind is more cooperative from the start, but still, it's an effect generally associated with deep trance, happening in a fully aware state.

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