Bugs or features in your body’s operating system

If you’re after another definition of hypnosis, here’s a more niche one.

I think it’s less mainstream because it’s harder to argue. I mean, it may or may not be true… but even if it is, it doesn’t seem true.

Here we go:

Hypnosis is a process where the subject exhibits involuntary physical responses.

In other words, you lose control of your body.

That might sound more dramatic than it is. You don’t lose control in the sense you become an automaton, watching helplessly as your body, I don’t know, robs banks or something.

Nah – it’s more like what you see in stage hypnosis shows.

The hypnotist yells ‘freeze!’ and the subjects freeze in place.

Or they glue their feet to the floor using nothing but suggestion.

Or one I like – one I’ve been on both the giving and receiving side many times – your arm locks in place, so you can’t bend or even lower it.

Then again, it might be less obvious than that.

Your eyes close and your body deeply relaxes, whether you want it to or not.

This is a kind of suggestibility – a physical suggestibility, where your body does strange things.

Even impossible things. How long could you keep one arm raised above your head before it gets tired? Probably a few minutes. In a trance, I once locked my arm in that position and it stayed there for around an hour after I came out of the trance.

It wasn’t a strain to keep it up there – in fact, it was pleasant and comfortable.

But there’s no way I could have done that simply by choosing to.

Another fun example, this time from a street hypnotist. Using the power of suggestion, he stuck a woman’s hands to a wall. Okay, okay, maybe she was just playing along… until he held out $50 and said it’s hers if she could take it. She started trying to bite the bill, because – try as she might – she couldn’t move her hands.

This is a handy hypnosis definition because it’s clear and visible. Even if it’s as subtle as someone relaxing, you can see that in their face and body.

But it’s not a great definition for a few reasons:

Other things lead to involuntary reactions. Is blushing when you see your crush hypnosis? What about mindlessly fidgeting? Or recoiling your hand when it brushes something hot?

Also, not all trances lead to that. In fact, you can experience greater control in a trance.

Still, these involuntary responses are a common feature of trances.

By the way, if you’re curious:

I didn’t freeze my arm about my head just because I could

Although that was part of it – a nice demonstration of the power of my unconscious.

Instead, I did it to resolve a problem my conscious mind had given up on.

Sounds strange, right? How can your arm think better than your brain?

It makes sense when you understand your unconscious on a deep and powerful level. And you get there by running through this – the most comprehensive guide to your own inner power on the planet:


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