Why do I believe hypnosis exists?

Title says it all. Suggestions?

6 responses to “Why do I believe hypnosis exists?”

  1. Reinder says:

    “Exists” is very vague, as is “believe”. I like to tell people I believe in astrology – astrology obviously exists because a lot of people practice it. Then in the next breath I say that that doesn’t stop it from being complete and utter BS.
    So, at the most basic level, hypnosis exists, because people practice it. Does it actually work? Is there a separate mental state of being “under hypnosis”? That one’s trickier.

    The Skeptic’s Dictionary has this to say about the “altered state” hypothesis:

    Those supporting the altered state theory often cite studies that show that during hypnosis (1) the brain’s electrical states change and (2) brain waves differ from those during waking consciousness. The critics of the mythical view point out that these facts are irrelevant to establishing hypnosis as an altered state of consciousness. One might as well call daydreaming, concentrating, imagining the color red, or sneezing altered states, since the experience of each will show electrical changes in the brain and changes in brain waves from ordinary waking consciousness.

    So, probably not. Skepdic also makes short work of the idea of hypnosis as a way of tapping into an occult reservoir, and continues:

    The hypnotist and subject learn what is expected of their roles and reinforce each other by their performances. The hypnotist provides the suggestions and the subject responds to the suggestions. The rest of the behavior–the hypnotist’s repetition of sounds or gestures, his soft, relaxing voice, etc., and the trance-like pose or sleep-like repose of the subject, etc.–are just window dressing, part of the drama that makes hypnosis seem mysterious. When one strips away these dramatic dressings what is left is something quite ordinary, even if extraordinarily useful: a self-induced, “psyched-up” state of suggestibility.

    So it seems that you’ll be like putty in the hypnotist’s hands if you were already a suggestible, fantasy-prone sort of person. The hypnotist, then, could save himself a lot of bother by telling the subject to sit down and, y’know, pretend to be a chicken, without all the tedious business with the voice and the swinging shiny on a chain. But that doesn’t bring in the punters.

    So, to get back at your question: you believe hypnosis exists and does something out of the ordinary because each time you saw it happen, on a stage, in fiction, or in a documentary, you were under the spell of the hypnotist’s voice and his use of stage props. Those trappings were there to convince you, not the subject.

  2. brankl says:

    I guess I believe in the existance of hypnosis the same way I believe in the existence of North America. I haven’t actually witnessed either myself, but there are sure a heck of a lot of people pretending both are real.

    So why don’t I believe there is such a thing as gods? Probably because what is asked of me in the case of religion is an act of faith. Presumably I could walk up to a hypnotist one day and test the hypothesis. The outcome wouldn’t prove anything, but somehow I feel there is something testable about hypnothesis that religion lacks. I still won’t ask God to damn a loved one, though.

    (And why do I keep writing “existance” instead of “existence”? Is “existance” the correct French form?)

  3. Brisbane Hypnotherapy Centre says:

    Hypnosis is real. Many people have undergone such therapy and became well. Problems like addiction, insomnia, etc. can be treated through hypnosis.

    I agree with Brankl. You can’t really prove that it really exist as you can prove that the air exist.

  4. m44 says:

    Re: existance

    Duh. U’re just trying to have a stance in the universe with the word ‘axistance’ coz that’s the way you would like to define urself, wuldnt u ? ;-)

  5. m44 says:

    “but somehow I feel there is something testable about hypnothesis that religion lacks. ”

    go on, !

  6. brankl says:

    I believe Midge Ure used to play for Ultravox, dear spelling Gestapo.

    Hm, testing hypnosis. You’d have to assume that all subjects are frauds, that they’re all trying to give the wrong answers in order to “prove” hypnosis exists. But that’s not much different from something common in the social sciences, namely the assumption that all subjects try and give desirable answers. In both cases you’d get invalid measurements. The usual solution to that problem is to lie to your subjects about what you’re trying to achieve with the test.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.