Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hypnosis, Belief, Fear, Creativity

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I found this book cover so strange, that I had to share. What does this woman have to do with auto-suggestion? I have no clue. She is not the author, she is not the person whose work this book discusses, nor did she write the forward. I have no plans on actually reading the book, to see if the mystery of the completely unrelated cover is expounded upon.

I merely borrowed it from a book store in the neighborhood, having good relations with the owner, and will promptly return it once done with this entry. As it stands now, the cover makes a good case for not embarking upon the adventure of auto-suggestion.

Wikipedia says:
Autosuggestion is a process by which an individual trains the subconscious mind to believe something, or systematically schematizes the person's own mental associations, usually for a given purpose. This is accomplished through self-hypnosis methods or repetitive, constant self-affirmations, and may be seen as a form of self-induced brainwashing. The acceptance of autosuggestion may be quickened through mental visualization of that which the individual would like to believe. Its success is typically correlated with the consistency of its use and the length of time over which it is used. Autosuggestion can be seen as an aspect of prayer, self-exhorting “pep talks,” meditation, and other similar activities. A trivial example of self-improvement by autosuggestion is the New Year's resolution, especially if it is followed up by systematic attention to the resolution.

Autosuggestion is most commonly accomplished by presenting (either through caressing or bombarding) one's mind with repetitive thoughts (negative or positive), until those thoughts become internalized. Practitioners typically hope to transmute thoughts into beliefs, and even into actualities. Visualizing the manifestations of a belief, verbally affirming it, and thinking it using one's “internal voice,” are typical means of influencing one's mind via repetitive autosuggestion. Autosuggestion is normally thought of as a deliberate tool, but it can also refer to an unintentional process...
I prefer to confront my beliefs and quirks head-on, eschewing such short cuts like self-hypnosis. I figure we are all hypnotized enough as it is. Belief is the enemy. Best to root it out, confront it, and throw it away if possible.

There are all kinds of gimmicks sold in order to change ourselves. It is almost an impossible task to actually change ourselves with brute force. Instead, I prefer the more mild observation over time approach. Don't judge or belittle the self, just the disinterested scientist, saying things like, “Hmm that's interesting.” Interacting with others is when we expose our quirks and beliefs, so neither do I think that creative types should hole themselves up in order to unleash their creative genius upon the world.

Bertrand Russell said, “The experience of overcoming fear is extraordinarily delightful.” If you could actually succeed in hypnotizing the fear out of your self, just think of all the fun you will have missed. Fear and social conformity hinder the creative spark and there are some recent articles that expound on the issue:

The best study to make the popular press in a while, or so I think:
What Other People Say May Change What You See
The conclusion of the article states:
But if people are made aware of their vulnerability, they may be able to avoid conforming to social pressure when it is not in their self-interest.
That vulnerability is social conformity. Choosing a groups version of truth despite it being evident that it is not the truth:
In fact, the researchers found that when people went along with the group on wrong answers, activity increased in the right intraparietal sulcus, an area devoted to spatial awareness, Dr. Berns said.

There was no activity in brain areas that make conscious decisions, the researchers found. But the people who made independent judgments that went against the group showed activation in the right amygdala and right caudate nucleus - regions associated with emotional salience.
Creative geniuses, creative jerks
GREGORY WOLFE wonders: If brilliance is so often bestowed on the undeserving, why do we still consider it a virtue? (via the nonist)
An interesting article, regarding morality and the creative genius, yet the author leans a bit too heavily on the great religion encourages creativity bit. Look at some of the great cathedrals, and it becomes obvious to those who study such things that non-Christian symbolism has been slipped past the censorious over-lords. Morality needs to be personally wrestled with, rather than just taking dictates from a hierarchy.
Over the limit

Leaps of faith into the realms of Tolkien and The X-Files are vital if science is not to become boring and die. Henry Gee favours a journey into the unknown

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