Everything is hypnotic

Last post, we explored a question: if A hypnotises B and C overhears, will C be hypnotised too? In answering that, we learned a lot about the underlying principles of hypnosis. But there’s another principle that we haven’t explored – one that also transforms the original question beyond recognition.

This new principle?

Everything is hypnotic. Nothing is without hypnosis.

Here’s a challenge to anyone with hypnotic training: read this paragraph in a completely non-hypnotic way. Imagine a dystopian future where hypnotists must abandon the craft or work the gulags. To pass, you must read this paragraph to an audience and not cultivate even a glimmer of trance.

How would you do that? I have no idea. In fact, I’d say it’s impossible. The only idea that comes to mind is removing all vocal variety and emphasis. The problem is a flat monotone will bore many people into trance.

There’s no escape. Every sentence drips with hypnotic potential. A Markov chain based on an economics textbook read by a crude voice synthesiser will still hypnotise some people.

Heck, even sitting in a room, not saying anything, not doing anything, not making eye contact…

… is more hypnotic than most people appreciate.

So what is the art, then? If hypnosis is easy – nay, inevitable – what separates a hypnotist from a layperson?

The same thing that separates a Jedi from a layperson.

After all, the Force is also omnipresent. Every object and creature in the galaxy influences the Force and is influenced in turn. But a Jedi is trained. They deliberately use the Force for a specific outcome. Everyone else simply swims through currents they can’t see or feel.

Hypnotists are the same. Every sentence carries hypnotic potential, but not equally. Hypnotists play the odds. They use sentences that are more hypnotic and avoid ones that are less hypnotic.

It’s not binary. It’s not a case of classifying this sentence as hypnotic and this one isn’t. It’s not black or white but a vast rainbow of greys.

And it’s even more complicated than this. A sentence might be more hypnotic for one person at one point in time… but the same sentence is less hypnotic for someone else. Or for the same person, later that day. After all, hypnosis doesn’t live in the words – it lives in the subject’s mind. How you accept a suggestion depends on everything in your body and mind.

But like I say, hypnotists play the odds. Some things are more likely to trigger hypnosis than others are. If something doesn’t work, change tactics and try again. Keep exploring until the subject thinks sufficiently hypnotic thoughts.

The Original Question, Re-revisited

Again, I can say: yes, eavesdropping C will be hypnotised along with B. But the question changes with this idea that everything is at least somewhat hypnotic. If A is telling B about price fluctuations in peaches, that might hypnotise C too.

But if A is using words and ideas, all carefully chosen to put B into a trance, then it’s more likely that C will enjoy the trance too.

Hypnosis enjoys (or suffers) a reputation for being mysterious. There’s a lot of confusion around it. Don’t get me wrong – I understand why. It’s just that when you understand the core principles, most questions stop being what they seem. This simple question with a yes-or-no answer can’t be answered without exploring what hypnosis really is.