Are You In A Distressing Hypnotic Trance?

Are you in a hypnotic trance right now? Read on to find out why this is not a ridiculous question.

hypnotic trance

When asked if you’re in a hypnotic trance, your first reaction might be denial. “Nope. You might be, but I’m fine.”

In fact, you might even feel a little insulted by the question — because it borders on the absurd.

Still, if you’ve watched TV as a child, you’re most likely to be in a culturally-induced hypnotic trance.

How do you find out?

Here’s the litmus test:

Do you feel disappointed in your life, other people, and the world?

If you answered “yes” it’s because you’re in a hypnotic trance. You can’t see things as they are but can only see things the way you want them to be. You don’t accept people and life, and you take the discrepancy between the ideal and the real personally.

The reason for your disappointment is disillusion, and you’re distressed by your shattered ideals.

The way to snap out of his hypnotic trance is to give up your ideals. When you do, you’ll cut off your source of distress because when you have no expectations, then you’ll have no disappointments. 

Idealizations ruin your life because they distort your perceptions. You’re not seeing clearly. If reality could be condensed into the size of a room, you’d be tripping over furniture and bumping into walls. 

Slaughtering a Sacred Cow

If you’re anything like me — an idealist — this idea of giving up ideals is sacrilegious. It’s slaughtering the sacred cow of progressive thinking.

Without ideals, you’re left with nothing. No dreams. No hopes for a better future. Nothing.

Still, I’m not talking about settling for mediocrity, but I am talking about refusing to get into a funk because nothing is the way you think it should be.  I hope to show you that there is a better way of thinking about this whole issue.

Wait! I’m Confused

At this point, you’re undoubtedly confused.

Watching TV as a child? Hypnotic trances? Idealizations? Disappointment?

All these ideas appear disconnected. They don’t appear to have much in common with each other.

While none of this may appear to make any sense right now, you’ll be startled at how they all tie together.

I’m going to thread these ideas together to show you the big picture.

Understanding this invisible thread will set you free. It will break the chain of causality. It will you snap you out of your hypnotic trance.

Watching TV as a Child

As a child, you are most receptive to the cultural values taught by television. For most of the day, your brainwaves fluctuate between the alpha and theta levels. What’s more, you have not developed the cognitive capacity to filter out erroneous ideas.

According to the Piaget model of childhood development:

You are in the sensorimotor stage from the day of your birth to age two.

Then, you are in the preoperational stage from age two to seven.

Next, you are in the concrete operational stage from age seven to eleven.

Finally, you are in the formal operational stage from adolescence into adulthood.

This means you are highly suggestible to TV from birth to age eleven when your brain is trying to map out how reality works. While TV will continue to be suggestive in later years, it will only reinforce your fundamental paradigms. In time, your unconscious may blend your simulated view of reality with your actual experience of it.

Mass Hypnosis in History

Throughout history, cultures have developed various rituals to create a collective hypnotic trance.

This makes it possible to orchestrate all sorts of political agendas.

It doesn’t take acute intelligence to realize that going to war is going to wreck your mind, destroy your body, and ruin your life.

Additionally, you’re going to cause other people excruciating agony and grief through your violent actions, even those not directly involved in the conflict.

In the past, nobody in their right minds rushed into a battlefield to hack and be hacked.

In modern times, nobody in their right minds would fly to another country to kill strangers there.

But if you’re in a hypnotic trance, it all makes perfect sense. You believe you must fight the enemy to defend everything you love.

Powerful ways of creating hypnotic trance states have always existed like:

  • Iconography.
  • Symbols.
  • Words.
  • Pictures.
  • Dance.
  • Music.
  • Chants.
  • Speech.
  • Stories.
  • Poems.
  • Blood oaths.
  • Gatherings.
  • Sacred literature.

Still all these pale in comparison to the relentless hypnotic power of TV programming. Movies work along the same lines. And we’ll talk about the difference in a minute.

Hypnotic Induction

TV programming deploys many hypnotic cues. It uses pictures, dialog and story to create a narrative. It slips in symbols in the background. It references sacred literature to motivate and persuade. And it adds music to dramatic moments.

What’s more, as you watch, you put your body into a receptive state. You sit on a couch, snack, chat with others, and get comfortable.  Since you now feel safe, you lower your level of critical thinking. Your brainwaves slip from alert beta into receptive alpha.

Movies do the same thing, and on a bigger scale. The images are literally larger than life, the sounds louder, and the music more dramatic. The scripting is usually also better and the programming is longer in duration.

While TV is less powerful, the programming is more consistent.

TV has been the most successful technology for creating mass conscious control in civilization because it offers the ideal conditions for inducing a hypnotic trance. Deep relaxation, suggestive sounds, and flickering images are forms of induction and scripted messages enter deep into the unconscious mind.

It’s Not about Choosing Better Programs

Choosing better TV programs is not the solution. Not going to the movies is not the answer.

It’s not about choosing good programs and and avoiding bad programs. It’s not about deciding what’s safe to watch and what to avoid. And it’s not about the intent of the producers, asking if they acted out of innocent or acting or malicious intent?

These issues are fairly irrelevant to what is going on. You could watch a harmless comedy and receive nothing but positive messages, but still be harmed by TV.

The real harm from TV is that it’s programming your mind to be an idealist. And when you believe movies are telling you how to live, you’ve lost the plot of real life. 

Essentially, I’m not talking about shutting off TV and refusing to go to the movies. I’m talking about not shutting down your mind.

While you can’t avoid your exposure to programming, and media is just one channel of hypnotic influence, you can choose to walk through life with your eyes wide open.

Oh, so Idealism Is Bad for You?

Actually, I’m trying to make a much more subtle point. 

The Greeks and the Roman had their ideals. Sages across time from different cultures have been idealistic. People who have changed the world have always been visionaries. That was a different kind of idealism than what we have now.

That was an intellectual idealism. It was an outline of principles. Socrates’ dictum, “Gnothi seauton” or “Know thyself” was an ideal. Shakespeare’s suggestion, “To thine own self be true,” expanded on that ideal.

These were guidelines on how to live the good life.

What we have now is something else. We have deeper levels of programming and our intellect is not evaluating things. Instead, we are now emotionally attached to an image of how things should be.

We now have emotional idealism. It’s a raw desire for something to be a certain way. It’s not an intellectual debate about opting for the highest values.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

When you have an emotional attachment to something, you stop seeing it as it is. You see people and circumstance the way you want them to be. Since reality is larger than your idea about it, nothing fits into your conceptual box. As a result, you experience endless disappointment.

Disappointment opens up Pandora’s box.

It leads to frustration, anger, and grief.

Once the storm settles, it leads to cynicism. This is a state of doubt and distrust on principle. It’s often referred to as disillusion, a separation from an illusion you cherished.

This onslaught of negative emotions creates a downward spiral.

At its lowest point, it leads to misanthropy, nihilism, and suicidal or homicidal ideation.

Most people settle for a state of general discontent. They see the world as a miserable place and life as full of misfortune.

Common Illusions

Disappointment is what happens when emotional idealism smacks up against reality.

Here are some themes you come across in TV programming:

  • Ideal romance, marital bliss, or a perfect family.
  • A brilliant, exciting career.
  • Wealth as the solution to all problems.
  • Loyal friends.
  • The seductive power of human beauty.
  • Smart people solve baffling problems.
  • It’s wonderful to be a celebrity.

On the surface of it, these look like wonderful ideals. Who doesn’t want the good things in life?

The Shock of Reality

When your ideals smack against reality, you’re disappointed to discover:

  • Your family is far from perfect.
  • Your lover has a shadow side.
  • It’s almost impossible to be in a state of constant marital harmony.
  • Your perfect job has its shortcomings.
  • Your problems don’t end when you finally get rich.
  • Everyone has a different interpretation of things and loyalty can wax and wane.
  • Other people are jealous of your beauty.
  • Your brilliant ideas alienate you from others.
  • Becoming a celebrity has many problems.

What’s Happening Here?

Essentially, you’ve been set up.

If, for example, you’ve watched romantic movies, you yearn for the perfect mate because you believe in “true love.”

Unfortunately, this person you’ve emotionally idealized does not exist. Worse still, when you do fall in love, the passion diminishes and may even turn into hate.  Suddenly, you find yourself with a real person with flaws just like everyone else.

Your disappointment sets up a negative chain of emotions.

Regardless of your idealization, no person, place or situation can fulfill it.

Before we talk about a way out of this psychodrama, I’d like to quickly discuss why you might be inclined to believe in things that aren’t true.

How to Simulate Reality

If you were a TV producer and you wanted to create a show that your audience would love, what would you do?

Here are some things you might do:

1. Exaggerate the struggle.

The distressing situation would appear catastrophic enough to get attention, and your villains would be as deceitful as possible, making any good qualities appear to be a lie.

2. Amplify heroic virtues.

You would create protagonists who are far nobler and courageous than most people can ever hope to be.

3. End on a high note.

Your show would fade out after a final, dramatic conclusion. Romantic movies, for example end when the couple reconcile differences. They don’t go into what happens after the couple gets married.

In essence, you would cut out any ambiguities while making it all seem realistic.

In time, your simulation of reality would replace the real thing in people’s minds.

Who’s Most Vulnerable?

The people who are most vulnerable to TV programming are intelligent and sensitive. They know how to pay attention and get engaged enough to let the programming influence them at a deep level. Their keen ability to follow the plot would put them in a hypnotic trance.

While programming happens at all ages, it is most acute in children. It is at this tender age that the mind creates a map of reality. Later, everything else is an amendment to the reality construct.

Symptoms of a Hypnotic State

As we look at idealization, we realize that the danger is not in perceiving how things can be better. It’s fine to see how to improve something. That’s the drive behind all human progress.

By contrasting the real with the ideal, you improve what’s real. This is the idealism of philosophers, scientists, and sages. It’s an intellectual exercise.

The idealization that has hurt you is believing in things that aren’t true.

In truth, life is messy. No-one can fulfill the ideals outlined in TV and movie scripts.

By believing that life should imitate art, you are setting yourself up for a miserable life.

In a state of emotionalized idealization, you feel:

  • Dismayed by everyone and everything.
  • Deceived, used, and short-changed.
  • Other people have a better life.
  • You are never good enough.
  • Your problems would go away if you could only got your act together.
  • Politicians are ruining your life and the world.

How to Break the Hypnotic Trance

The usual advice is to see things as they are and to be in the present moment.

It’s good advice, but almost impossible because your attention lapses.

Here’s the thing, you can’t turn off your desire to create ideals. If you have any imagination, you can often see how things could be improved. So it’s about using your ideals instead of getting used by them. It’s about not chasing illusions.

1. Stick to intellectual idealization.

It’s wonderful to have a vision. But it’s painful to cling to that vision even when it’s unrealistic. Wanting to find a wonderful mate is a beautiful vision. Expecting that person to always be wonderful is unrealistic.

2. See everything in a state of flux.

Instead of a rigid view, choose to see everything in a state of evolution. In a relationship, stop thinking about how the other person is not what you thought they were like. Instead, consider your relationship as a work in progress.

3. Stop complaining and stop blaming.

Yes, it’s all a mess. Things could be far, far better. With just a little bit of effort, you and everyone else could improve everything for the better.

4. Avoid the siren call of righteous anger.

Your anger at the world for not meeting with your ideals is not going to change things. Instead of being reactive, be proactive. Focus on what you can control and change.

5. Appreciate what you do have.

By appreciating what you do have, more of what you want will show up in your life.

6. Generate Value.

Think deeply about your values without despising other people’s values. Everyone sees the world in a different way. You’re not hoping to convert everyone to your worldview, but to celebrate what you have in common.

7. Find your purpose.

Shape your dreams like a sculptor without setting your expectations so high that nothing is ever good enough.

Final Thoughts

See it as it is.

Envision how it could be better.

And do what you can to improve it.

But don’t see it as you want it to be and then suffer because it’s different.


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