1. Hmmm . . .
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    07 Sep '08 01:184 edits
    Raymond Smullyan, in his book The Tao is Silent pondered on the possibility that certain religious beliefs could be held in a manner similar to hypnotic suggestion. My recollection is that he was referring to childhood conditioning that could act as a kind of cumulative hypnotic effect, embedding certain beliefs as post-hypnotic suggestions. [Akin to the old: “Give us your children till they're twelve and they will be Catholics—Mormons, Baptists, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, whatever—for life.”]

    But I also think that certain “spiritual experiences”, even in adulthood, during which the reasoning mind might be temporarily short-circuited, so to speak, could have a similar result. (This may be why Zen masters refer to such things as spiritual visions or sensations of another presence as makkyo, “bedeviling illusions”, and counsel ignoring them.)

    Now, such things need not apply to just religion, of course—but this is the Spirituality Forum... 🙂

    I have argued before that neither the force of a particular experience, nor its particular content, can themselves be relied upon to confirm the veracity of that content—or else no one would ever really be deceived by a mirage.

    If one is subject to a post-hypnotic suggestion of some sort, one might resort to all kinds of justifications for the thoughts or behavior that are triggered by the suggestion. (“Why did you take your coat off when I touched my thumb?” “I was hot.” “Why did you put it back on when I stopped touching my thumb?” “I wasn’t hot anymore.” Never knowing that touching the thumb was the trigger for the suggested behavior. Someone under hypnosis might offer up any number of justifications for their thoughts/behavior, simply because they are in no way aware that they have been hypnotized.)

    That is a very simplistic example, but if one’s post-hypnotic suggestion is triggered and reinforced by continued exposure to reading and communicating with people who are similarly under hypnotic suggestion...? In the right social context, such hypnosis might lead to expansive complexes of thought and behavior based upon some complex of suggestions; there might be whole interlocking chains of such suggestions...? This might be akin to what Dr. Scribbles once called “emergent insanity” in certain social systems.

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    If one (or many) is subject to such post-hypnotic suggestion, how might it be uncovered and rectified? What strategies and tests might one employ? What resistances might one expect to be there (in oneself or others)?

    Can the continued, dedicated application of reason in the context of natural empiricism possibly root out and erase such suggestions?

    ________________________________________________

    Okay, that’s just to outline roughly what I have in mind. Feel free to expand upon it—either the general notion as I have presented it, or the attendant questions—as you see fit. Thoughts by those with experience or scholarship in psychology, psychotherapy or hypnotism are especially welcome.
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    07 Sep '08 11:183 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Raymond Smullyan, in his book The Tao is Silent pondered on the possibility that certain religious beliefs could be held in a manner similar to hypnotic suggestion. My recollection is that he was referring to childhood conditioning that could act as a kind of cumulative hypnotic effect, embedding certain beliefs as post-hypnotic suggestions. [Akin t ith experience or scholarship in psychology, psychotherapy or hypnotism are especially welcome.
    In the book The Latent Power of the Soul Watchman Nee discusses how the use of latent soul force and soul power had penetrated into all religions.

    He speaks of the namegerial powers of the soul that Adam was created with - strong soulical powers of the mind. These innate human powers were buried deep within man when man fell. These powers are not spiritual but psychological or soulical.

    Various traditions in both the East and the West have methods of taping into this latent soul force and doing sometimes incredible things. The deception for many is that they mistake this latent soul power for God or for spirituality.

    There are various disciplines that are very ancient to tape into and unleash this buried powers of the soul. This is not spiritual power. But has invaded both Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other belief systems. These methods include hypnosis and various forms of meditation.

    Sometimes they can border on the accult because evil spirits of the Satanic get involved with the deception. But this is not always the case.

    Those seeking further information should read The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee.
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    07 Sep '08 19:57
    I am not sure how relavant this is, but when I was younger and in love I did a number of things that looking back seem completely irrational. To a certain exent it changed my priorities, values and judgement at the time, and altered my reality.
    Some of the things I did, I did because it seemed exciting, and harmless and to a certain extent I knowingly talked myself into doing crazy things.
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    07 Sep '08 19:581 edit
    As can be seen from jawills post, some people will believe just about any mumbo jumbo without hypnosis.
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    08 Sep '08 01:20
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    As can be seen from jawills post, some people will believe just about any mumbo jumbo without hypnosis.
    It is well documented that various disciplines are emplyed around the world to awaken forces from deep within the human mind.

    Your dismissal of the origin of latent soul power as "mumbo jumbo' is simply your unbelief or disagreement with a proposed origin of this power.

    The fact that it exists is not dismissed as mumbo jumbo by people who study parapsychological phenomenon.

    Your generalization is weak. And I see no alternative explanation from you. No position is always the easiest to defend.
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    08 Sep '08 01:231 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not sure how relavant this is, but when I was younger and in love I did a number of things that looking back seem completely irrational. To a certain exent it changed my priorities, values and judgement at the time, and altered my reality.
    Some of the things I did, I did because it seemed exciting, and harmless and to a certain extent I knowingly talked myself into doing crazy things.
    You could have damaged your capacity for a spiritual life in some your excusions - depending on what they may have been.
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    08 Sep '08 01:37
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Raymond Smullyan, in his book The Tao is Silent pondered on the possibility that certain religious beliefs could be held in a manner similar to hypnotic suggestion. My recollection is that he was referring to childhood conditioning that could act as a kind of cumulative hypnotic effect, embedding certain beliefs as post-hypnotic suggestions. [Akin t ...[text shortened]... ith experience or scholarship in psychology, psychotherapy or hypnotism are especially welcome.
    Did Smullyan choose "hypnotic suggestion" over say "mind control" for a reason?
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    08 Sep '08 09:38
    Originally posted by jaywill
    And I see no alternative explanation from you. No position is always the easiest to defend.
    Maybe thats because I do not see anything that requires an explanation.
    As for my position, it was quite clear: someone called Watchman Nee wrote a book full of mumbo jumbo nonsense with big words that sound cool and you were taken in hook line and sinker without even being hypnotized first.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    08 Sep '08 15:11
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Did Smullyan choose "hypnotic suggestion" over say "mind control" for a reason?
    I don't recall. For purposes here, I would treat mind control as a kind of hypnotizing.
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    08 Sep '08 15:43
    Originally posted by jaywill
    In the book [b]The Latent Power of the Soul Watchman Nee discusses how the use of latent soul force and soul power had penetrated into all religions.

    He speaks of the namegerial powers of the soul that Adam was created with - strong soulical powers of the mind. These innate human powers were buried deep within man when man fell. These powers are not ...[text shortened]... ose seeking further information should read The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee.[/b]
    I would not use the word “soul” just because of diverse religious ideas and connotations. I would just use “mind” (both the conscious and the unconscious, somewhat functionally understood). But that doesn’t seem a necessary point for argument here.

    I see your point—and will just accept your spirit/soul distinction as part of the Christian paradigm without argument there either. (It seems certainly accurate to say that all sorts of “occultic” stuff has invaded religions across the board.)

    Where we differ, I think, is here:

    The deception for many is that they mistake this latent soul power for God or for spirituality.

    I think that the introduction of “exoteric” ideas such as God is precisely where the danger of illusion lies. [Of course, your understanding of “spirituality” and mine are also different; mine does not depend on a theistic Holy Spirit.]

    This is exactly the point of the Zen masters’ dismissal of makkyo. I am not as dismissive of such things, just because I think they can provide some rich aesthetic expressions.

    The following is from something that I posted on another thread:

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    James Austin, in his book Zen and the Brain calls this reflexive interpretation. He identifies four different “categories of experience” in an unfolding sequence attending meditation (or, the so-called “mystical experience” ):

    “1. Raw experience. These first features are not thought about, they happen. They are theologically neutral, and lie far outside any of the person’s prior beliefs, expectations or intentions.”

    —I have described this as simply being aware prior to thinking or conceptualizing about it all.

    “2. Reflexive interpretations. These are original interpretations which the person formulates spontaneously either during the experience itself or immediately after.

    “3. Incorporated interpretations. These contain references to features of the experience influenced by that particular person’s prior beliefs, expectations, and intentions.”

    —Somewhere between 2. and 3. in Austin’s schema may be what I have previously called “immediate translation”. This is where the mind forms conceptual content from the raw experience: e.g., that one is experiencing an encounter with Krishna or the risen Christ. Austin comments: “Alan Watts noted that devout orthodox believers have so automatically associated the imagery of a lifetime of icons with their emotions that these symbols then seem to lie at the core of their mystical experiences.”* [Austin, p. 22.] However, I have known people whose “immediate translation” seems to have drawn upon other symbols embedded in their consciousness, that stemmed from a different religious paradigm than the one they were theretofore most familiar with.

    “4. Retrospective interpretations. These contain references to religious or other doctrinal-type interpretations not formulated until much later, after the experience ends.”

    [Quotes from Austin, pp. 21-22; italics in the original.]

    * It should be clear that by the term “mystical” I do not mean anything supernatural or occultic. I really simply mean that raw experience described by Austin.

    ________________________________________

    Now, I am wondering if a forceful spiritual experience (which you might call a “soul-experience” ) can result in a kind of post-hypnotic suggestion preserving the content of Austin’s 2. and 3. (where I would say that makkyo arise).

    This is a separate question from the one of whether or not childhood conditioning produces post-hypnotic suggestions. (This would seem to be more what Alan Watts is talking about; though years of adult-conditioning might apply as well.)

    I am asking both questions, really.
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    08 Sep '08 19:08
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Maybe thats because I do not see anything that requires an explanation.
    As for my position, it was quite clear: someone called Watchman Nee wrote a book full of mumbo jumbo nonsense with big words that sound cool and you were taken in hook line and sinker without even being hypnotized first.
    By refering to Nee's insights as mumbo jumbo you only expose your own hollow ignorance.

    What else is new ?
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