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Hypnotism and the Dream Observer

by James T. Sullivan

Category: Hypnosis


I have had a theory of hypnotism for many years that is very structured (overly). It does explain things I knew about hypnotism and it has explained or predicted other things I did not. It explains many things that demand explanation.

In my Usual State of Consciousness (USC) I am aware of a certain sense of "I". Let us call this Consciousness="I". Compared to the dream state, I have a relatively much higher level of control/access to critical judgement and it is intrinsic to the sense of "I" so lets call the Control Element="I-control".

=> When I dream I have a similar sense of "I", but it is definitely not the same. This is very clear to me because I dream vividly and remember my dreams and all my feelings at that time. I remember moments of questioning absurd situations, but; my critical judgement is not available to me, unless the context of the dream demands it. In fact it is actively suppressed by a not-I element. This effect is spectacular, such as when you dream that your home, which is 15 miles from the ocean, is now oceanfront. I am forced to confabulate lies and false memories to support the theme. I will call the normal dream Consciousness= "the Dream Observer (DO). The Dream Observer, as I have so far described it, is wholly passive, but; it is really a participant like an overwhelmed improvisational actor swept along by external direction, setting and expectation but still a partner in determining the story line. They also have some leeway at resistance, especially when their second level of inhibition is triggered. For this reason I include in the Dream Observer the concept of this dominated but participating improve actor and a contributor to the story. Some dreams have a media form of stream of consciousness and others have a more pointed message and story.

=> By analogy to the USC where I can divide the world into I and Not-I; we can divide the dream world into I and Not-I. Not physically but by perception and control. What is the Not-I? Why am I dreaming about my basement that is changed in incongruous ways. Why have I gone back in time? Where did the theme, feeling and mood come from? Why do I agree to false memories? What compels me to go down there when there is a foreboding sense and I don't want to. I call all these Not-I elements the Dream Director (DD). The dream Control Element = "Dream Director" and it is the relative higher control element in the dream state. Relatively, this is not the control center in the USC. Not absolutely but more.

=> Where does coercive hypnotism come from? There is an economy in evolution that does not develop extra body part or extra behavior. I am not talking about a person referred to as being "hypnotized as they read a book". I am talking about those instances of a dominating state in which, for instance, a stage hypnotist (or experimenter) can tell a person that mathematics is funny and a person that is usually too inhibited and has no acting ability will play the role with conviction and more significantly - ignore everyone else in the audience. This, to me, is a distinct state from the Usual State of Consciousness. A completely honest and sober person who is directed by the hypnotist, or knowledge of what is expected, will confabulate a story of satanic abuse (so convincingly that the FBI investigated for all the murdered sacrificed babies /other evidence/participants and nothing came of the investigation) or past lives or alien abduction. This is spectacular and needs to be explained.

=> My theory is simply this: The hypnotized person, without changing physiological state, gives up their usual state of consciousness to become (consciousness-) the Dream Observer and allows the hypnotist (control element-) to become the Dream Director. One obvious induction method is relaxation and related techniques that "bore" the left brain into giving up control. Just as we do every night! When I said the Dream Director is all the not-I, it was an over-simplification. Expectation, the events of the day and cultural conditioning are all participating factors. I do not have an explanation for other induction methods but they must result in the giving up of left brain control "I" of the USC. In dreaming we switch control to the right brain function of the dream director. That is why its unique messages are often in the form an a visual form of a verbal pun. It is verbally challenged when it is driving the point.

Let us list the elements so far:




USC----------------AWAKE--------------- I----------------I-control

DREAMING----------ASLEEP----------------DO----------- DREAM DIR

HYPNOTISM---------AWAKE-------------- -DO------------HYPNOTIST (as DD)

These are outputs of combination that I did not think about when I started this theory.

LUCID DREAMING----ASLEEP----------------I----------------I-control

CORRIDOR DREAM---ASLEEP----------------I----------------NOT ACTIVE

Trans. Meditation---AWAKE----------------DO---------------PRIOR INTENTION

FUGUE--------------AWAKE---------------DO----------------DREAM DIR

This theory also explains why honest, to the point of being unimaginative, persons who are hypnotized will tell convincing stories of satanic abuse, past lives or alien abduction wholly according to the specialty of the hypnotist. The same type of thing happens every night.

It also predicts that if a hypnotist goes too far - a lower level of resistance/inhibition can be triggered and the hypnotized person could become lucid. I read of an account of this by Roy Hunter in hypnosis.alt. FAQ.

Both these states share amnesia, false memories, resistance, lucidity, ability to tune out external stimulus (but hypnotism is not physiological sleep), restricted access to critical judgement unless direction includes it. Why do honest people lie both when they are dreaming and when they are hypnotized? This is why the the hypnotized person is the worst experimental subject imaginable.

I know that there are many partial effects and states but partial hypnotism effects or long term effects from therapists (another route to the same transaction?) but this does not invalidate hypnotism any more than all the partial effects of rest, momentary reverie etc. invalidate the state of sleep.

Modern theorist in deconstructing hypnotism are sweeping out this important link. Deconstruction is more of an uncertainty principle and a political position than a theory in itself. Imagine, if all sleep study was limited to the entire spectrum of rest. Nothing would be known at this time. Surely the "state" of sleep could be denied if you were far-fetched enough to compare it to momentary reverie (even though they do share common elements). Luckily it is not politically necessary to deny the state of sleep.


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