I have not written a new blog post for quite some time here. Part of it was just the pandemic generally, but also something new.
After having spent a great deal of time blogging and writing books and speaking to various audiences, I confess, I have generally failed. If you take a look around, despite all the books and speeches and coaches and commentary and TedTalks, . . . the world . . . .and the people in it . . . .are just not improving generally. Some could argue things are getting worse.
So I decided to take a break and come at it all again, and I will get right to it. The problem, as I see it now, is the human propensity towards states of hypnosis.
We are not generally conscious of what we are thinking or how we came to those conclusions, and other people are using various hypnotic techniques to control us.
A quick story, many years ago I was at an outdoor event in an urban park here in Boston, and there was a guy who was a hypnotist for the police department. Once he gave his short talk, he asked for a volunteer for a demonstration, and then he looked at me and said, “You, sir, how about it?”
So, up I went, and long story short, he hypnotized me, in just a minute or two, right on the stage, no rehearsal. Soon after, he induced me to actually fall over backwards (fortunately, he caught me before I ht the ground.) I was humbled and impressed.
The reason I say all this is, the political problem we face today is not properly defined. The “sleight of intellect” is preventing us from seeing the actual problem, and we end up chasing an imaginary one, and of course those solutions never have any effect.
So instead of trying to solve this or that social problem with a concise statement of logic and facts, I have come to the conclusion that before anything else, we must first recognize the nature of the problem in the first place, which is the propensity of human beings to fall into these trances. Once there, logic or cogent arguments are ineffective. The problem . . . is not the problem.
If we continue to believe that logic will have an effect when it clearly does not, we are just as guilty of being in a hypnotic immovable trance (not of our own choosing) as the person whose political views we find so vexing.
So in yet again a probably vain attempt to somehow make a difference, I say let’s try to identify the actual barriers to progress, and from that perhaps we can divine some strategies to find solutions.
The first aspect of the practitioners of successful political hypnosis I can identify seems to be the use of comfort. General ideas and description of the world that people find to be familiar seem to meet this requirement.
The next requirement is offering the subject(s) the feeling of superiority to another group. If you ask any republican if they are smarter they are any democrat, they will generally say yes. And if you ask a democrats the same question, they will generally say yes as well. That sense of superiority (be it intellectual or moral or something else) is so delicious that we will abandon our conscious mind if it gets in the way. Hypnosis has the power to make thoughts . . . . and facts . . . . simply disappear.
There is nothing new here. There are many articles describing the basic sleight of hand that magicians use to great effect, and Cialdini’s book Influence is an excellence analysis of how the human mind can be led astray.
Sad to say, since my goal here is higher wakefulness and consciousness, I will likely fail here as well. But I can at least go down swinging . . . This time, at the right pitch. The next step, it seems, is to create a collective acceptance of the notion that we are all susceptible to being hypnotized with these techniques, and until we recognize that, we will all – left, right, abstainers and undecideds . . be forever in the thrall of those who know these techniques, and are relentlessly using them to keep us divided and conquered.