It used to be the bread and butter of horror and crime movies. 50% of horror movies between Dracula (1931) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) have a hypnosis scene. And let’s not forget The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), the first horror movie in history, in which hypnosis was the entire plot.
The hypnosis idea appeared on television from the very start. TV shows of every genre—including The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Gilliagan’s Island, Starchy & Hutch, Laverne & Shirley, Dukes of Hazzard, The Jeffersons, Three’s Company, Sesame Street—all had hypnosis scenes.
Scenes showing hypnotic induction may have had a swinging pendulum, a Lugosi gaze, or a truth serum drug. In any case, you knew what was going to happen and were delighted. Someone was going to do something without being the agent of their actions. Someone’s very will was about to be hijacked and force them to do something totally contrary to their true desire or character.
Hypnosis was to crime shows what laugh tracks were to sitcoms, especially during the occult revival on the ’70s, when everything was made better by adding a dash of psi, wicca, ceremonial magic, Lovecraft, or hypnosis. There was even an occult-crime show, Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974–75), which was the only TV show to actually scare me as a child.
Hypnosis remained dramatic bread and butter through the ’80s due to the Fundamentalist Backlash to the preceding occult revival. In the ’80s, everything was Satanic, especially psychology. The Christian view of psychology back then make the Scientology take seem mild. Any type of psychological manipulation was a gateway to occult forces and ipso facto an unintentional act of devil worship.
I haven’t watch any TV since 1997 (nor any movie in a theater since Cronenberg’s The Fly) but I’d bet that hypnotic inductions are still everywhere in popular culture. I just now (Jan 4) discovered that the Japanese, our world champions of erotic discovery, are making hypno porn that is, in fact, good. (It’s not actual porn—more like food porn. You can check out Japense hypno porn here.
What you really think about hypnosis
It’s really a gushy instance of being in love. The voice gets inside you and tells you what to do? What honest punk ethic would ever allow that sick shit to happen? You’re being a pussy to some dude’s voice. Bela Lugosi was never attractive. Puffy and wide-eyed. And Vincent Price. And anyone else who has had The Power to dominate a self with her voice. And this domination is indeed supposed—otherwise the victim would never do what he says. Following a command and being demolished are the same thing.
Doing a saying. This is interesting. But more on that later …
You let this guy’s voice play you, in precisely that embarrassing way that Dad warned you not to let people do to you.
Here is an example of conversational hypnosis induction—the subtle non-ceremonial kind. It trick-tells you,
Milton Erickson once told the story about how he told a man ‘you can learn to relax instantly’ and the man found he could relax immediately and said “you know ‘Everyone can relax faster than they think.’”.
“Yes, Master!”—so cliché that it’s become a parody of a child’s parody of a bad parody—is in fact the essential attitude of the hypnotized subject. The obedient victim.
Well, I’m here to say that obedience is the greatest power of all, for everyone, always, even for skate punks. We would do well to affirm it with full heart, and to follow it with erotic enthusiasm. For following The Call is the way to salvation, which can only be found in vocation.
Vocation is salvation. Why? Because on the Prime Material Plane being is doing. This is the main lesson of the Bhagavad Gita, by the way. You cannot leave while you’re still here. There is no non-doing. The end of suffering is not non-doing, but Right Doing. Which is what? Existentialism says—nothing unless you make it up. This makes obedience to following The Call absolutely important, because nothing digs deeper then Existentialism. Invention all the way down makes finding Your Vocation the mots pivotal all of all acts.
Follow The Call.
Serve The Vocation.
Love it with all your heart.
This is the message of Campbell and Seung.
Say “Yes, Master!” to your heart. To what you really love.
The curse of craving! Yes—it is a curse. And inside the cursed universe there is only two ways of salvation:
- Love your craving utterly, like an epic quest.
- Kill your craving utterly.
In either case, you are enacting and extinguishing. You are doing and questing. Maintaining nirvana is still a quest, because biology cannot stray too far from life-preserving habits.
Wasn’t the topic hypnosis? Yes. About that: for monkeys who are sick, hypnosis is a solution. But you have to be able to Love the Voice. Let it tell you what to do. And (most of all) allow it, its meaning or content, to be hammered into you, so that you take the voice as saying a real OBJECTIVE truth that you care about, believe, and champion. The assertion becomes a real principle you get angry about.
This is commonly called coachability in the self-help market. But it really means obedience. Obedience is unavoidable. You either serve your God or your inertia (or marketers, or social agreement).
Getting angry about your principles, getting stern with your commands, fucking scaring the shit out of that inner kid and telling him:
Do this or I’ll beat your ass.
Get that way about your word!
That’s about the sagest shit I’ve ever said.
Either escape the realm of desire entirely.
Or love your love so much that you punish yourself when you neglect it.
Treat your love like Tiny Baby!
So that’s the drill:
Be a total hypnosis victim
Get angry about your principles. Get stern with your commands. Scare the shit out of that inner kid and tell him:
Do this or I’ll beat your ass.
Get that way about your word!
Be as committed to following your word as a Hollywood hypnosis victim. Carry out your tasks with zombie-like obedience. Get it done!