Filmmakers Notebook #113
FOUR ARROWS: JULIAN JAYNES,
hypnosis & the exploitation of the vestigial bicameral mind.
Prof Don Trent Jacobs (aka Wahinkpe Topa) discusses hypnotism, an
exploitable vestige of pre-consciousness, noting that our
vulnerabilities are being professionally exploited to formulate an
acceptable collective cognitive imperative. Four Arrows, PhD, Ed.D,
suggests that hypnosis, a “pre-conscious vestige” is understood and
manipulated by cognitive behaviorists [such as Leon Festinger] as
“cognitive dissonance” and by political hypnotists/magicians such as
http://www.teachingvirtues.net/otherbooks.html 6minutes, 3meg quicktime file 3.5meg winmedia file
- higher quality versions at
Don Trent Jacobs, Northern Arizona University, during the course of an
interview on another matter, indulged our questions about Jaynes. We
knew he had read Jaynes years earlier, grounding some of his insights
on Jaynes’ work.
Four Arrows: “Its interesting when you asked me about Julian Jaynes
and his book, The Origin of Consciousness [in the Breakdown of the
Bicameral Mind]. In fact, I haven’t thought about that book in a
number of years.
“When Julian Jaynes wrote that book I was struck by it because I had
been studying hypnosis myself; I had been studying and teaching a the
University of California, Berkeley – a course for MFCC licensure
[Marriage, Family and Child Counseling] in hypnosis. And, of course
Julian Jaynes’ hypothesis in a nutshell is that there was a time when
individuals directly communicated with what we might call ‘God’ [and
‘God’ communicated with them].”
[Insert # 1: photo collage: Knossos ruins, in the ‘preconscious’
civilization of Crete (approx. 2000 BC); art from the same era before
bicamerality broke down: a goddess statue; a fresco of three ‘divine’
women of Crete, a ‘divine’ prince, demi-gods and goddesses. Music
thanks to Ross Daly of Crete, ‘Erotokritos.’]
“And that eventually for a number of reasons that he documents, this
‘voice,’ this honoring of this….this hallucination of direct
communication with ‘God’ was replaced by the authority of kings and
queens and people that rose to power either through force or through
“You know I wrote a book called Bum’s Rush: The Selling of
Environmental Backlash in which I deconstructed the anti-environmental
language of Rush Limbaugh. And later learned that many of the things
that Rush Limbaugh talks about were things that Frank Luntz* – who is
also a linguist and who’s given documents to the Republican Party
about how they should use language to talk about environmental issues.
I identify these things as hypnotic strategies.
“There is a variety of techniques, a variety of strategies that are
used by all preachers, politicians and peddlers – and we need to be
aware of that.
“One of the hypotheses that I think -- that I have that coincides
perhaps with Julian Jaynes work is that during times of fear people
become hyper-receptive or hyper-suggestible to the signals of a
perceived, trusted authority figure.
“Now I’ve done this work in medical emergencies. My Prentice Hall book
Patient Communication [for First Responders, 1988] talks about how
when people are in trauma, during the first hour of post-trauma, the
person who projects a sense of authority like a paramedic, can get
that person [trauma victim] to elicit spontaneous hypnosis phenomenon
like stopping bleeding or reducing blood pressure.
“Now this really fits in, really ties in to the phenomenon that I
believe is happening in this country where there are these events that
people go into cognitive dissonance, where they are holding these
contradictory ideas and they can’t seem to resolve them. The hypnotic
effect would explain that.
[Insert #2: Cover of Jaynes’ book; Chapter 4: Hypnosis; sub-section:
Evidence for the Bicameral Theory of Hypnosis. Music of Crete.]**
WHY WE’RE NOT WILLING TO INVESTIGATE
“The more culture of fear we have, the more hyper-receptive we become
to perceived trusted authority figures, whether they be Christian
fundamentalists like the Pope, or whether they be the President of the
United States, we tend to blindly heed what they say. And when you
have a corporate-owned newspaper, when you have media that has people
like Rush Limbaugh on it, and we have these sound bites that are being
redundantly replayed throughout our media, we tend to become, in
effect, hypnotized by it. And that’s why I believe we hold these
cognitive dissonances about global warming, about our behaviors –
about what we believe, why we’re not willing to investigate.
“I mean, 80 percent of my students at the university who will be
teachers next semester – even in May 2005 – still think that Saddam
Hussein attacked us on 9-11.
“So, yes, I think that bringing in a question of consciousness,
bringing in ideas of awareness, critical thinking – and especially
this idea of hypnosis – are very apropos for trying to understand why
the events that led to….” [fade to black; music up; credits]
ORCHESTRATED BY PROFESSIONALS
Four Arrows [voice over credits]: “Why people are not taking this more
seriously, I think we can look at this phenomenon, ‘spontaneous’ mass
hypnosis [through behaviorism and a conscious manipulation of
cognitive dissonance] and I think it’s being orchestrated by
Special thanks to videographer/cameraman Marc Sparks (Marc@creativesparksproductions.com).
Produced and edited by Snowshoefilms.
* Frank Luntz Frank Luntz’s operation supplies many of the ‘talking
points’ for right wing radio up through the Bush administration. He
directed Bush et al. to begin speeches with a reference to 9-11.
In a 2004 NOW interview, David Brancaccio asked Luntz, whom Brancaccio
had just described as a brilliant magician, “…can you convince a voter
what to think?”
Luntz: “That’s a good question, but the way that I look at it is not
to convince the voter what to think, it’s to convince the voter that
what they think is correct. Some of this is not a matter of
re-educating them, some of this is just a matter of explaining that
their gut instincts are correct. That they should not be fooled by
what they see or hear, that what they feel is what is correct.” (SEE &
LISTEN FOR YOURSELF: http://www.pbs.org/now/thisweek/index_070204.html#
Ignore what you hear, ignore what you see; ignore what you think;
listen to your gut. And based on Luntz’ sense of the collective
cognitive imperative, public opinion, Luntz will ride it like a wave,
supplying guts with feelings, giving permission for the gut to act,
eschewing critical analysis, directing people to act on the basis of
their fears which he compounds (and purportedly shares).
**Julian Jaynes Part III of Jaynes book is entitled Vestiges of the
Bicameral Mind in the Modern World. Chapter 4 is devoted to Hypnosis.
He calls hypnosis the ‘black sheep of the family of problems which
constitute psychology,’ arguing that no other theory of the mind or
evolutionary perspective addresses the extraordinary significance of
hypnosis, and that the phenomenon is a vestige of pre-conscious
mentality, the bicameral era. Chapter 4’s opening paragraph:
“If I ask you to taste vinegar as champagne, to feel pleasure when I
jab a pin in your arm, or to stare into darkness and contract the
pupils of your eyes to an imagined light, or to willfully and really
believe something you do not ordinarily believe, just anything, you
would find these tasks difficult if not impossible. But if I first put
you through the induction procedures of hypnosis, you could accomplish
all these things at my asking without any effort whatever.” / “Why?
How can such a supererogatory enabling even exist?”
The four elements of hypnosis, as outlined by Jaynes, are: 1) the
collective cognitive imperative (the general belief); 2) the induction
(narrowing focus/ framing the issue); 3) trance and paralogic
compliance; 4) authorization / archaic authorization