In which we recognize the need for, and hereby offer, a series of treatises on Metaphysics and Magic, for those that would have it.
Hypnotism, should we think of it at all, conjures up images of curious mustachioed stage magicians from days gone by, somnambulistic trances brought on by Freudian psychoanalysts, Indian Fakir snake charmers and other miscellaneous nefarious characters of mostly Hollywood origin. Perhaps you’ve seen YouTube video of instant hypnotic induction, only to be briefly confounded and entertained. The ancient occult art remains occult, yet oddly enough, hardly an hour passes without some fascinating object, some hypnotist’s “swinging watch,” straining for our attention, eager to snatch a snippet of our precious time here on earth, conscious. The objects used to fascinate are diverse and quite often innocuous, or even, mundane.
All that glitters is not gold. It is however, fascinating. Fascinating in that glittering oscillations catch the senses and through them, the mind. Fascinating in the ability to allure, charm, enchant and captivate. Anything can serve to fascinate, anything with the power to attract and hold attention is suspect. Capturing minds for even the smallest fraction of a second is the goal. Fascinating objects, the modern hypnotist’s primary device, are often imbued with suggestion, allowing them to work independently. A fragment of captured mind, however miniscule, is gold, to magicians plying their art. For in that moment your mind is theirs, theirs to fortify a brand image, to suggest or reinforce a thought or idea, to create or alter your reality.
Interestingly, we are all hypnotists. Not embryonic, would-be hypnotists, but actual successfully performing hypnotists, surreptitiously influencing the minds of ourselves and others daily, chiefly unaware of the hows and whys of what we do. It is impossible to hold a conversation without each participant having a hand at “swinging the watch.” Design a cereal box, paint a fence, write (or play) music – literally do anything causing another to consider your action or its result – and you have created an object of fascination, bound to influence, however slightly. While this influence is generally too subtle and diffuse to have noticeable impact on your subjects, imagine the possibilities if you knew what you were capable of, and perhaps, were in front of the public at large.
Signals from the senses are first directed through emotionally based and multichanneled preattentive processing, to provide the linear rational mind with emotionally preloaded information, and making rational evaluation difficult at best. This parallel processing is nearly instantaneous, more widespread, and at a deeper level than subsequent rational thinking. Preattentively processed information is not guaranteed promotion to consciousness. Additionally, about 20% of the motor neurons in our brain’s frontal cortex have recently been discovered to be mirror neurons, in effect motor neurons that fire in empathy. The mere sight of a someone happily drinking a soda, even in a picture, is enough to cause firing of happy soda drinking motor neurons in the viewer’s brain. Thus, only very careful introspection can, to varying extent, wash undue external influence from our unborn actions and emerging feelings and beliefs.
Three thousand years ago, the sage advice “Know Thyself” was already ancient, and yet today remains the best (if not the only) defense against mental intrusion, manipulation and predation. Far too few of us direct our minds well. Or efficiently. Or at all. Only trained minds can hope to effectively counter the continuous onslaught of external influence. One must become ever more diligent, critical, purposeful and deeply introspective.