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hypnotism and mesmerism

Nov 05, 1993 07:07 AM
by eldon

The general rule in Theosophy is that mesmerism is good and hypnotism
is bad. This bears some qualification, but generally holds true.
Mesmerism involves the sharing of prana or raw life energies, which is
primarily a physical activity. Hypnotism, on the other hand, involves
the psychological nature, and has psychological consequences, both
conscious and unconscious, on the part of the hypnotist.

It is fine to give someone the raw materials of life, both substance
and energies from which he can live as he chooses. With this kind of
sharing, there are no strings attached, neither apparent nor hidden.
The other's ability to perceive things, his free will, his volition
are not impacted. He is still in control of his life and his karma
has not been interfered with.

With hypnotism, the other is lead to perceive things that aren't
there, to change and live out suggestions of the hypnotist, to come
under some form of control by the hypnotist. Some physical and
psychological suggestions that are made can have a dramatic effect.
But was there any real change? Will the individual go back to the was
he was before, after the power of the suggestion has been removed?

Hypnotism is really a form of magic, where one is casting a spell on
someone else, it is a way of imposing one's will on another. That
person is living out *our* ideas, rather than his own. Perhaps he has
been changed for the better, apparently so, for the moment. But later
in life, or in a future lifetime, he'll be back to the was that he was
before, with time lost that could have been spent learning that
lesson and solving the problem that the hypnosis covered up.

It has been suggested that hypnotism is not really the suggestion of
someone else, that the subject has control, and allows some suggestions
and rejects others. This idea is that the subject is really making the
suggestions himself. I'd disagree, and say that it just was that the
subject was more successful, in some cases, in resisting the spell cast
on him, than in other cases.

Another idea is that the power of suggestion is a good thing, and that
it should be used to solve one's personal problems. And futher, that
there is a form of self-hypnotism, where one is just suggesting to
himself changes that he wants to happen in his life.

The power of suggestion is a form of magic, an element of the occult
arts, and should generally not be practiced. When you try to bring
about specific concrete changes in yourself, the world around you, or
in the personality of another, you are creating and strengthening
karmic bonds that hold yourself and the rest of us back.

This is different from general well wishes, the sharing of love,
the giving of healing, vital energies. When you share in an unqualified
manner, without any form or structure imposed, the other is able to
use your gift, and continue his own self-directed progress in life.

In mesmerism, the subject is given raw, vital energy, unqualified by
the mind and will of the mesmerist. There is no twist put on the
energy, no direction given to it, no conditions attached, no specific
imposition on the subject that a specific change in the subject or
event in the subject's life happen.

The main experience that we have when using hypnotism--which I've
noticed in my personal experience, when I was very young and did
not know better--is the sense of power and the ability to produce
phenomena. To the hypnotist it is an *ego trip* to be able to do
such apparently fantastic things to other people. But it is something
that both harms the other, and strengthens the sense of personal
self in the hypnotist. The world is not a better place for it to have
been done.

On rare occasions, hypnotism may be necessary, say to cure an opium
habit. (Blavatsky refers to this in her "Inner Group Teachings".)
This is an exception to the general rule, and does not justify its
general use.

We are taught in Theosophy a spiritual practice, an approach to life
that makes such powers as hypnotism unnecssary. We learn to change
he world by changing ourselves and changing our actions in life.
We uplift others by *living in ourselves* high and noble qualities that
cannot help but change the people that we meet. Our influence is a
lofty, spiritual, moral one, one based on the power of the spirit, not
an influence of the imposition of the psychological will on another.
By living in our highest nature, we help others sense it, feel it, and
yearn to live there too.

                           Eldon Tucker (

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