More on the title in a moment. First, I feel a duty to carry on in Ellie’s Monday tradition by calling out some hypnosis news from the past week.
From livingstondaily.com comes a story on a Community Health and Fitness Fair hosted by the Hamburg Kiwanis Club. It’s coming up this Saturday, November 1, so if you live near southeast Michigan it might be a good chance to introduce some people to the benefits of hypnosis.
New Scientist (sorry, it’s a paid article) posted a piece on 10/15 which, from the abstract I can see, looks very positive about the increasing uses of hypnosis in conjunction with medicine.
And from NaturalNews.com, you can read about how hypnosis is being used to help children and teens who suffer from dyspnea, a disease of the airway, lungs, or heart.
The Bad (as in cool)
From Ben-Gurion University of the Negev by way of medicalnewstoday.com, there’s a short piece about a study in which hypnosis was used to induce synesthesia — that is, one sense triggering another in odd or interesting ways.
Along the same lines, Wired reports that another group of psychologists have used hypnosis to give people the ability to see numbers as colors, which is also a form of synesthesia.
Which brings me to …
A hypnotist friend of mine sent me a missive that’s been circulating around the ‘Net recently and accuses Democratic Presidential candidate Barak Obama of using Ericksonian covert hypnosis techniques to “override the voters’ rational judgment” and compel people to vote for him in the upcoming US Presidential election. Included with the email was a 67-page PDF that discusses what “covert hypnosis” is, talks a little about Erickson and his methods, and then goes on to detail several speeches of Obama’s and point out the embedded hypnotic commands.
To a degree the piece is interesting because, when you peel away all the alarmist rhetoric about subverting the democratic process and the gross overstatements of how universally and irresistibly effective these techniques are, the document does illustrate some habits and behaviors that may partly explain how Obama was able to rise from relative obscurity to his present position in just a few years. Whether he uses these techniques deliberately and with malice aforethought, as the document author claims (and I can’t help but imagine the writer adjusting his tin foil hat every so often while typing it all out), or whether they are habits he learned and uses unconsciously, Obama is definitely skilled in the arts of persuasion. And while I remain among the undecided as far as my personal vote goes, the whole thing does have me thinking: if I had a job where my success depended on persuading 535 other people, each of whom has his/her own and probably conflicting agenda, to do things my way, wouldn’t it help to have Erickson’s natural ability?