The house wife was carried away by a cleverly produced advertisement in the print Media: She could not resist the pull: She could not rest until she rushed to the shop and bought the kitchenware that was advertised for sale. Later, the housewife found to her dismay that the ware she brought was a worthless waste. But, then, think of the power of the words in the advertisement that virtually driven her to the shop for the purchase.
Jim Johns, the American evangelist, told a community of hundreds of devotees comprising men, women and children that God has already arranged their blissful, ageless and ever happy living in Heaven. He said, “You shall no longer waste your lives on the Earth. You shall, right now, end your mortal earthly lives, here.”
No sooner did Jim Johns say the oracle, than they all, men, women and children, drank a divine potion of poison and ended their lives to become denizens of God’s own abode. That was fanaticism of the first order, but then, what was the power of the words that Jim Johns spoke!
Words represent suggestions. Suggestion gives or produces certain idea or thought for action. Suggestions are exchanged among living organisms through the medium of sense organs. Suggestions are given and suggestions are absorbed through the medium of sense organs. Suggestions are made and suggestions are received by and through signs and symbols or by and through words. Words for the purpose can either be spoken or be written down. In the absence of signs and symbols or words, no suggestion can be conveyed and no suggestion can be absorbed.
There are two categories of suggestions. They are Auto Suggestions and Hetero Suggestions. Auto Suggestions are self imposed suggestions where the individual suggests the idea for thought and action by himself or herself. The idea for thought and action may have been received by the individual by means of signs and symbols or through spoken or written words. In the other category, suggestion is imparted by a third party which can be a person, a group of persons, an event, an occurrence, rules, regulations or Societal mannerisms. Whatever be the source, suggestions can only be made either through signs and symbols or through written or spoken words.
Think of a person telling himself repeatedly in his mind that he is weak and ill health is bringing his end sooner than later. The result would be astonishing: The guy shall surely fall sick and shall even meet with untimely end. Here the suggestion that was imposed was self made autosuggestion. The same would be the result if a person repeatedly tells another one that his health is declining and he is going to fall sick soon. Here it is hetero suggestion that works.
By being careful to observe, one can see that all the orderliness as well as the chaos in the society, whether it relates to law and order, dress codes, food, avocations or anything else, have direct links with suggestions; Suggestions contained in written words or unwritten customs and notions.
When we closely examine we find that the house wife who was carried away by the advertisement was in a state of mind subdued by the power of suggestion contained in the advertisement. The disciples of Jim Johns were subdued by the power of suggestion contained in his words. The citizens of a civilized society can also be said to have become subdued by the suggestions contained in the civilian rules and regulations.
What then, is that ‘power’ or ‘force’ hidden in suggestions which subdues normal intellectual working of human brain replacing it with the intent ingrained in suggestions? That phenomenon is neither a ‘power’ nor a ‘force’: It is a peculiar state of partial inhibition brought about in the brain by the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex. We may term it a as a particular “Hypnotic Phase”.
Hypnosis is an induced state of mind in which the central nervous system becomes inactive of its natural and ordinary functions other than those which keep the organism alive as in the case of natural sleep. The state of mind diminishes its reaction to the environs; it does not react to sound, light, touch and any other sensory stimuli. The faculty of reasoning becomes extinct in that state but certain sensory centres can be made active according to suggestions. The person who is influenced by suggestions need not necessarily be under deep hypnotic sleep.
Suggestions made through spoken words go a long way in changing the mental states of individuals. Whether under hypnosis or not, suggestions play very valuable role in clinical and therapeutic fields. Word suggestions can be profitably employed by general practitioners of medicine as well as psychiatrists for the benefit of patients. Suggestions under hypnosis help greatly for restorative treatment of patients who suffer from mental aberrations and also for prophylaxis.