Is it possible to activate new senses? That depends on what you mean by it. If you dream of developing X-ray vision… well, I don’t know what the upper limits of hypnosis are. That seems unlikely, though. What is possible, though, is using hypnosis to enhance the way you experience the world.
I don’t blame you if you’re sceptical. The truth is that you already have ‘extra’ senses. If you think of vision as faithfully recording visual input, you’re overlooking a few things (if you pardon the pun). You see things that aren’t there. What you see is beyond what bouncing photons tell you.
You don’t see reality as it is. Your unconscious mind constructs your perceptions based on sensory data, memories, expectations and heuristics. If you influence this process, you influence your perceptions. Do this and you can add new ways of sensing reality.
A trivial example is that you can see emotions. When you see someone and pay attention, you can usually tell what they’re feeling. If they aren’t trying to hide their emotions, it’s usually the most obvious thing.
Now, you might disagree here. You might say that you don’t see emotions – you see visual inputs that your brain registers as a smile, which it knows means happiness. So you aren’t seeing emotions – you’re only seeing… well, vision.
I get that, but consider a world where people don’t have this ability. Even if someone if beaming with joy or openly weeping, the only way to know their emotions is to ask them (and hope they’re honest). Then you come along, with your empathy fully intact. At a glance, you distinguish surprise from rage. You have a superpower. There’s no practical distinction between what you do and literally seeing clouds of anger billowing around someone.
A more exotic example is synesthesia, where one sense gets bundled with others. It’s not always an advantage. Smelling numbers, for example, wouldn’t affect you much. In my case, I hallucinate sounds based on visual inputs. The only impact this has on my life is that I don’t like gifs. Imagine a three seconds of sound playing on a loop and you understand why.
But for some people, synesthesia is pretty much a superpower. Some people have perfect pitch thanks to their ability to see musical notes as colours. People who see words as particular colours can easily spot spelling mistakes. In these cases, it’s a way of rendering complex and intangible stimuli as something concrete.
Can someone ‘learn’ synesthesia? Your brain can reach any allowed state, given enough time and training. I know someone who, after weeks of intense meditation, began to see auras around people. The funny thing was that they didn’t believe in auras, yet what they saw reliably matched what the person was thinking.
Talk about seeing emotions…
I was intrigued. Could hypnosis do something similar?
It’s early days still. I’m still exploring the possibilities and I’m yet to hypnotise someone with this outcome. Still, I have made some progress with self-hypnosis. When I’m in the right trance, I can see a sort of… fuzziness around people. This fuzziness changes depending on how focused or relaxed they are.
So, yes, I hypnotised myself to be able to see people’s trances. That’s exactly the sort of superpower I want.
I’m still learning the limits of hypnosis. All the more reason to follow me – if I don’t know what is possible, I’ll do things that you think are impossible. If you need a little bit of impossibility in your life, I know exactly where you should go.