Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Hypnosis - A Caricature Of Reality
HYPNOSIS – A CARICATURE
Only he who is completely aware of how difficult it is to wake up can understand that for this awakening long and hard work is necessary. - G. I. Gurdjieff
THE SUBJECT of hypnosis is not necessarily the province of esotericism. If I nonetheless deal with it at this point, it is for several reasons:
1 Hypnosis exercises a particularly strong fascination over all who are interested in the occult.
2 Among the public of today hypnosis is once again hailed as a specially effective means of healing and many people are not averse to giving hypnotherapy an esoteric halo.
3 If we use the state of hypnosis as a metaphor we can draw important conclusions analogically about reality.
4 Last, but not least: I made my first exercises in the field of reincarnation with the aid of hypnotically induced regression. The fact that I used hypnosis only in the first experimental stages, and have not used it ever again, has not been sufficiently widely reported, so that among the public my name is often still very strongly linked with hypnosis.
There are many books on what is called “scientific-medical hypnosis”, wherein one invariably learns in the very first chapters that the history of hypnosis started around the year 1775. At that time there lived a doctor by the name of Friedrich Anton Mesmer in Vienna. This doctor tried to cure illnesses and pains by applying iron magnets. Actually, this idea is very old; we find it in Paracelsus and even in the Bible (see Mahrah by Dr Stark).
Mesmer, who achieved good results with his magnet method, tried one day to replace the iron magnet with the human hand. Since this hands-on treatment also proved successful, Mesmer concluded that within man there was a power similar to that of the magnet. He called this property “animal magnetism”. “Animal” in this context means that which is alive and conscious. He only intended the term to express the difference between the ferromagnetism of the iron and the analogous power of the human hand. It indicates considerable stupidity that “animal magnetism” has sometimes been interpreted as meaning something to do with animals.
Mesmer wrote a sizeable oeuvre, wherein he demonstrates the theoretical foundations of animal magnetism. Thanks to his considerable success as a healer he came to be hailed as the miracle-doctor of his age, and was as much celebrated as he was hated. He had to leave Vienna and took up residence in Paris where he treated the world's prominent figures with the method which was called after him “mesmerism”.
The French Academy of Science finally started a scientific investigation into the controversial subject of animal magnetism in order to bring the public discussion on this new method of healing to a definite conclusion. After careful examination the scientific body came to the decision the the magnetic power, which Mesmer claimed existed, was not detectable. With this, Mesmer's scientific death sentence was pronounced and, after once again changing his residence, he eventually died, lonely and in poverty.
Today science is attempting to posthumously reinstate Mesmer, prompted possibly by a not unjustified feeling of guilt. Hence he is nowadays celebrated in the textbooks as “the original father of hypnosis, whose tragic fate it was to have discovered the magical power of hypnosis, yet to have quite erroneously interpreted it as magnetism”. Thus Mesmer is scientifically crucified for the second time. The poor man had in fact nothing to do with hypnosis. It is wrong to proclaim a dead man the progenitor of a cause he could not have cared less about during his life.
Science did not understand magnetism in those days and still does not understand it. Magnetism is an original method of treatment which today, as in the past, is practiced by specialized healers. Magnetism has nothing to do with hypnotism. Medicine would profit by a thorough study of Mesmer's work on magnetism in order to close finally a very old gap in medical knowledge. The day will come when this will happen, for already we are exploring the healing powers of magnetic fields. Thus, little by little and in certain areas, we move towards the degree of evolution that someone like Paracelsus reached over four centuries ago.