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Suggestive Association and Hypnosis for the Masses


Suggestive Association

Fear and terror, before penetrating deeply into the mind, require an incubation phase before they cause inner explosion and neurotic reactions. People are at first rather passive in battle. They can fight like cyborgs before their inner rebellion begins. At that moment, the shock-reaction comes suddenly to the fore. The incubation period may last from months to years. The fear penetrates even while defenses are built. Years after the war, the battle neurosis may begin to be discernible.

Mass hypnosis endeavors to penetrate the minds through the association of pleasant feelings with simple slogans. This is the secret of all propaganda. It is being used in advertising as well. In the political environment, an enemy is labeled with dishonorable adjectives.

The masses are caught in fixed suggestive associations. The acceptance of one such suggestive association leads to another. Every struggle against delusion must first be directed against authoritarian suggestions, against propaganda, against the fear of criticism.

We must be aware of the fact that we cannot stimulate in the masses what was not latent within them. When the hypnotic effect weakens, the crowd can easily turn and act against the leader.

It is difficult to immunize people against mass seduction; they sleep too much, even when they pretend to be awake. They are not clearly conscious but think circularly, jumping from one point or opinion to another. This is why it is so much easier to hypnotize them than to provide them with a critical approach to the problem. Repetition and driving home a simple phrase or motto induces many of these somnambulized beings to passively follow.

Especially in times of a crisis or approaching conflict, every conversation is a repetition of a previous one. Inspired by fear and rumor, the same theme is repeated with many variations. Thus, people create for themselves increasingly suggestible solutions and psychologically surrender to the concept they feared.

They all act like the somnambulist. To make critical searchers out of them, the people need to be awake, but they prefer sleeping, and driven to the pure vegetative state of an embryonic mind. The totalitarian conqueror wants to inoculate his subjects with a new philosophy, with a new conception of the world. They know that for all these mental sleepers they offered a better sedative, which will make them even better followers and useful idiots. Even now, only a small minority will resist. They recaptured their own mind after a long period of hesitation and after the defeat of their homelands. Mass hypnosis lulls people into a deeper mental sleep than ever before. Mass hypnosis converts the civilized being into a criminal somnambulist.

There is no intrinsic difference between individual and mass hypnosis. The more individuals feel themselves part of the group, gang, or mob, the easier they can be hypnotized by individual treatment. Primitive-minded people and their communities are particularly sensitive to mass hypnosis. Everyone knows how select individuals, shaman, sorcerers and magicians, wield a hypnotic influence on their entire communities. A parallel situation prevails in religious sects where the leader can arouse at will a state of mass ecstasy in his or her followers.

Hypnosis as such is comparable with cataleptic trance in the individual, the archaic form of paralysis, in which the individual builds powerful defenses against fear and other external influences. This defense reaction, occurring outside consciousness, is a general biological defense comparable with camouflage reactions in animals. The more primitive the organism is the more easily the state of catalepsy is brought about. Hypnosis makes the individual more archaic in his reactions and more sensitive to influences from without. Among Malayan people, some excesses of this fear reaction are known as Lattah. The frightened person is compelled to imitate all that other people are doing.

Fear, fright, and intimidation may pass through long incubation periods and have extensive aftereffects on human thinking and the mind. The human brain is heavily burdened, and much time can elapse before the personality again finds the ability to stabilize itself.

Edited excerpts from Delusion and Mass Delusion, (1949). A.M. Meerloo M.D.

One of many examples:

‘Auntie Maxine’ says rise together with resistance and ‘stay woke’

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