Continuing down the rabbit hole from Sam Harris to Scott Adams, I decided to learn more about hypnosis. I won’t say this is my first dip into these waters, but that was a lot of years ago, and I might as well be starting fresh. Fine by me. I think I’m in a better place to understand it these days anyway, both from a technical perspective as well as an ethical one. And that’s why I turned to this audiobook.
Anthony Jacquin is a practicing hypnotist, been at it for years. This book is narrated by him, so in addition to getting all of the technical and ethical information, you also get the vocal inflections he utilizes. Of important note, he begins with the ethical considerations, stressing the responsibility. You’ve no doubt heard Spider-Man’s mantra, “With great power comes great responsibility.” It’s one of the most true statements that’s ever been expressed. The power of the mind, even just the implication alone, is more creative and potentially far more dangerous than any physical weapon in the wrong hands. But as with most things of this nature, hypnosis has great power to heal. I’m interested in all of it: the ability to use it properly (the potential good this can do intrigues me), as well as full understanding of how to misuse it so that I can be aware enough to defend against it, if such a thing is possible. That’s one of the big questions I have going into this. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.
With the ethical foundations in place, Jacquin talks about the history of hypnosis, what is it, and what it is not. Misperceptions are dispelled, especially those put in place by pop culture. From there, instruction ensues with a focus on entertainment and impromptu demonstration. Scripts are provided, though Jacquin stresses that the map is not the territory. It’s not the words that do the hypnosis; it’s the hypnotist. Technique is key. The lessons are well explained and well presented. The emphasis is on confidence and enthusiasm. At all turns, full disclosure to all parties concerned is the name of the game.
On the whole, I’m rather impressed with the information and technique offered here. It’ll be interesting to give it a go myself. In conjunction with the aforementioned rabbit hole that got me here, this has been an eye-opening experience regarding willing suggestion. Application of such knowledge in arenas such as partisan politics brings some moral questions into play, obviously (consider the unannounced handshake induction!), but such application is not the focus of this book, only the methodology of how to do such things. I review it on its own fascinating merits, and the rest is up to me.