On Being Hypnotized-An Essay
© September, 2010
This past Tuesday, on one of those rare occasions when I was the only passenger on the bus…the driver, at first was quiet and focused on the job of driving the bus, came to a stop on the route, no one boarded, …then in a moment of boldness, he said, “So, man, do you (his speech was faltering at this point)…do you, do you believe in hypnotism”?
Wow, I thought to myself, this one came right out of left field, but I boldly made my stand, “Yeah, sure, I believe in hypnotism” I went on to say, “If someone is open to being hypnotized, I think it can be done.” Little did I realize at that moment that this bus driver was leading me into extremely uncharted waters?
“Have you ever been hypnotized”? He asked. I was quiet for a moment, reflecting on my mostly chaotic life, when I said, “Well, long, long time ago, a therapist wanted to hypnotize me, but at that time I told her I was not interested in going under, so she dropped the idea, and never brought it up again.”
“So”, he said, “You didn’t believe in it then, but you do now, how do you explain that.”? I felt like this friendly conversation was moving closer and closer to armed combat…well I knew that wasn’t going to happen…I waited a moment, then I said, “Life happens, things change, I would bet you aren’t the same person you were 25 years ago, I know I’m not. So things that I may have refused to do a long time ago, I am willing to do today, and things I did 25 years ago, I wouldn’t do, even if you offered to pay me…it’s just the life factor.”
By this time there were several people on the bus and Mr. Bus Driver was insistent on pushing the conversation as far forward as he could. Evidently I had opened the door for him to expand his thoughts beyond hypnotism, and I was his test subject.
“Besides hypnotism, what else would you do now, that you refused to do back in the day.”? Thank God, my stop was just three stops away, then I’d be free of this inquisition, albeit a friendly inquisition…umm is that last statement a contradiction in terms?
“Going back to era of the Viet Nam War, I thought it was right that we should be there to stop Communism…then fast forward to that day when President Bush decided to invade Iraq, along with friends of mine I marched in protest to that decision. But wait, there’s more…back then I felt that war was evil but sometimes necessary, today however, I oppose all war, that’s a big shift wouldn’t you say.”?
The driver was telling me why he and his wife were interested in hypnotism which I thought was interesting, and I tried listening to what he said, but something else was going on.
While we were having this conversation, a sub plot was playing in my head…what if we as a culture have been hypnotized. What if we have been told that at the snap of the fingers, when we wake up, we will believe what the media whispers in our ears, what government feeds us, we must swallow, what the evangelist proclaims, we must consider holy? What if, indeed! And the price that we pay for this hypnotizing moment; that’s easy…when we hear the snap of the fingers, we don’t have to question anything or anyone, we no longer have to think for ourselves, why should we when we have someone whispering in our ears, exactly what they want us to believe.
I got off the bus and walked the quarter mile to my appointment, but this question kept playing over and over in my head….So, have you ever been hypnotized?