Episteme

Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

The State/Agreement Distinction

Anyone who has read the Wikipedia article on hypnosis is aware of the debate between whether hypnosis is a distinct state or whether it's simply a set of agreements between the hypnotist and the subject.

I've been pondering the debate all morning as I've watched the work of Brian David Phillips in the advanced class at Hypnoticon. The beauty of watching hypnotists performing hypnosis demonstrations for others is that their goal (much like magicians teaching magic tricks) is to precisely and exquisitely demonstrate the phenomenon in ways that allow others to replicate the behavior.

More and more, I am falling on the "agreement" side of the argument. I find myself agreeing with Derren Brown that hypnosis is simply the use of a set of tools (in this case, tools of influence) in a particular way that comes together as a phenomenon called "hypnosis".

In this case, the tool set is largely based upon compliance. I'm looking forward to testing this theory later in "walkabout hypnosis" - if I have compliance, can I create the state/agreement known as "hypnotic trance" using any action/induction?

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray