To amplify and speed up the effects of mind control hypnosis is often used. Before we consider how, let's be clear about what hypnosis is so that you can better protect yourself against its unethical use. Later we will uncover the specific ways cults and sects use hypnosis to manipulate members.
Many people think of swinging watches and hypnotists on stage getting people to do weird things like barking like a chicken!
It's more useful to think of hypnosis in terms of states of consciousness. Everybody has a waking state, a state when they know they're awake, they're alert, alive and in the world. And we have different states of consciousness throughout the day. For example, if you are lying in a warm bath you feel a little bit sleepy, your mind might begin to wander, drifting lazily from one idea to another. This is an altered state of consciousness, or a trance state. Another example is staring at the movements of fish in a big fish tank. What happens is your attention becomes more and more focused and your awareness of your surroundings diminishes.
This is typical of hypnotic trance states, more and more of your attention becomes focused on what's happening inside and less on what's happening outside. So you become much more aware of your own thoughts, internal images and feelings, and less aware of things going on in your environment. Normally, it is very pleasant for most people, very relaxing and enjoyable.
One important factor here is that in trance states people's ability to think logically and critically diminishes. They tend to simply accept any information that is given to them, without thinking if it is rational and reasonable or not. This means that people in hypnotic trance are suggestible; they accept uncritically any suggestions given to them. This means that even strong willed people can be hypnotied and made to do things that they would not normally do.
Rational analysis, conscious decision making and independent judgment are suspended. This is a bonus for cult leaders who, after all, do not want the members thinking for themselves!
Add to mind control hypnosis and its effects, and you have an incredibly powerful set of tools to manipulate others, even to manipulate them to do things that violate their own morals and ethics.
It's interesting that many cult leaders will often claim that people cannot be made to do things against their will, even using mind control hypnosis. There are two important issues here.
First of all, the members of the group are programmed to accept whatever the leader says. Therefore they will tend to accept this idea. Secondly, implicit in the idea is that if the person does something they are doing it of their own volition; it is their own decision to do so. When we make our own decisions, we believe more firmly and are more committed to the result, and the actions and effects of our decisions last longer. This is a very subtle but potent idea.
Another thing to keep in mind is that hypnosis is not always a closed eye process. It is not necessary to have your eyes closed to be in a trance. For example, have you ever driven somewhere and when you reach your destination you don't remember much of the journey? You were in a trance! People often drive in trance states, where their eyes are fully open and functioning! If they see someone in front of them braking, there is no difficulty braking themselves and doing what is necessary to prevent accidents.
People often have the idea that there are special hypnotic words to induce trance. Hypnosis can be induced in normal sounding conversations, using everyday words, without ever saying ‘relax’, ‘deeper’ or ‘sleep’. But that’s for another article.
And it is even possible to induce hypnosis without words. For example, if you've ever had a massage, it was not necessary for the therapist to speak, simply rubbing your muscles and manipulating your limbs allows you to relax more and more with your attention drifting inwards.
When people are bored or tired, they will often find their attention drifting internally, away from the outside world. It is often easier to induce hypnosis in people like this, or for the unscrupulous hypnotist or cult leader to utilize these naturally occurring trances to implant suggestions in people. And remember, in cults and sects the suggestions given using the combination of mind control hypnosis are for the leaders benefit!
Group pressure is another powerful force for getting people into trance states. If everyone around you is doing the same thing, it can be very difficult not to follow along, especially if the group leader is berating anyone for being different!
So the important things to remember are that:
So let's have a look at how and when cults and cult leaders use mind control hypnosis to control their members.
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