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FILMMAKERS NOTEBOOK

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 Frank Luntz. http://www.teachingvirtues.net/otherbooks.html  6minutes, 3meg quicktime file 3.5meg winmedia file - higher quality versions at Archive.org
Play quicktime file Play winmedia file

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 economics…

HYPNOTIC STRATEGIES

“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 professionals.”

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Special thanks to videographer/cameraman Marc Sparks (Marc@creativesparksproductions.com). Produced and edited by Snowshoefilms.


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* 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

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updated May 2006