An Empircal Model of the Mind
In the next few posts, I am going to go over the basic material from my Erotic Hypnosis Class, breaking it into segments for easy digestion. We’ll start with the empirical model of the mind (1) that we use for modeling reactions and personality.
The Theory of Mind is an empirical model for explaining how human beings behave and respond to hypnosis. It may differ or conflict with other scientific models. Psychology is a Science. Hypnosis is Engineering. Scientists can ask difficult questions about the weak force of gravitation. Engineers need hard numbers to build bridges. If you understand this model, it will give you a framework to constructively explain and understand behavior. You may want to combine it with other models and theories – for example I combine it with Eric Berne’s theory of Transactional Analysis. The point is to present a framework for understanding behavior.
Basic structure of the mind
Conscious Mind – everything you are thinking right now and remember from about the past hour and a half
Critical Area of Mind – part conscious and part subconscious. This area contains your memories of the last 24 hours. It is the filter between the Conscious mind and the Subconscious mind. The object of Hypnosis is to bypass the Critical Area of Mind and speak directly to the Subconscious mind. The Critical Area of mind cannot be completely bypassed. If a hypnotic suggestion is given to a subject which is either detrimental to their health and safety or goes in total opposition to their way of thinking, they will reject it. Critical Area of Mind forms from about age 7-14
Modern Memory Area – everything you remember from conception to the present life. “Nurture” Good or bad: Wear a raincoat, good girls don’t. Religion, Parental Edicts, Friends Beliefs, Television…
Note that the Modern Memory Area has no ability to recognize conflicts. Thus if information was put into it by two different sources, and they were able to bypass critical area of mind, either because we were too young, or because we were in a suggestible state, the conflict exists. This is particularly true of sexual behaviors.
Primitive Area of Mind – genetic and evolved learning. “Nature” Running away, impulse to kill, wanting to eat. Roughly, Child according to a T/A Model.
What is Fight and Flight?
Sensory Input (Message Units)
Humans receive sensory input (message units) into the brain from 4 Sources:
Critical area of mind forms between 8-14 years of age. During this time we stop accepting all suggestions and ideas implicitly and begin to question them, as we are increasingly faced with contradictions and issues. We form Critical Area of the Mind to protect the Subconscious, filtering what goes into it.
After we are about 8-14 years old we reject most new ideas that are offered to our modern memory area by filtering, either immediately through logical thought…or after sleep. That’s why we tend to reject an idea after we’ve “slept on it.” We tend to accept ideas if they get past our critical area of mind. This happens with strong emotion (being in love) with drug use (I was drunk) and with any hypnotic modality that tends to increase suggestibility. Our school teacher, Radio ads, magazine ads, and church are all hypnotic modalities. Suggestibility is how we learn as humans and we cannot do without it.
Pain Pleasure Syndrome
This is a short, but useful, digression on the concept of “knowns” and “unknowns”
“What you don’t know can kill you.” That’s an evolutionary mechanism. It makes us have anxiety about unknowns, and feel comfortable with knowns.
Some theorists go so far as to say we feel knowns as pleasure and unknowns as pain.
This is generally a good adaptation. But it can end up meaning that someone likes abuse or pain, because it is a “known.”
Most of us have some qualities like this, BDSM offers a constructive way to channel those qualities without actual abuse detrimental to our lives. Outside BDSM, many people end up in abusive relationships because past abuse makes them desire a “known” that is not healthy. If they have strong emotional attachments to that “known”…it means love, sexual arousal, acceptance, etc., then they will tend to follow it even at the cost of their self-respect or mental well being.
What is Hypnosis?
Hypnosis occurs when an overload of message units causes the conscious mind to shut down and induces a retreat into the primitive mind. This creates a hypersuggestible state, allowing us direct access to the subconscious mind.
If this happens in an uncontrolled situation it can create futility, melancholy, and being over-receptive to negative input. We lose our defenses.
Hypnosis is in many ways the mental equivalent of BDSM. We create a positive situation in which to experience this state, making it pleasant and relaxing instead of depressive. Therefore we achieve a positive rather than negative outcome.
1. The core concept of suggestibility as presented here was originally described by Dr. John G. Kappas, Ph.D.