Question: Erick, what’s your take on Project MK Ultra or Project Monarch, the alleged CIA “mind control” programs.
What is Mind Control?
The idea is that it’s possible to manipulate an individual’s thinking, behavior, emotions or decisions through outside sources without their consent or intended cooperation.
This is specifically achieved through indoctrination, removal of choices, physical confinement, drugs, etc.
Is Hypnosis Mind Control?
Hypnosis is NOT “mind control” because it’s not a coercive process.
The typical “man on the street” associates hypnosis with mind control, because that’s how hypnosis is often portrayed in movies.
No wonder so many people have a fear of hypnosis!
The hypnosis induction itself is a joint, cooperative effort between the hypnotist/coach and the subject/volunteer.
During a stage hypnosis show, it appears as if the hypnotist entertainer has an ability to make the hypnotized volunteers do virtually anything.
Of course, this audience perception actually adds to the entertainment value of the performance and makes hypnosis seem all the more mysterious.
The on stage experience of the hypnotized volunteers is actually more like a state of comfortable daydreaming.
They feel good, and they’ve willingly volunteered to experience hypnosis phenomena within certain boundaries. What are those boundaries?
This pre-talk sets the boundaries for the program. The Stage Hypnotist’s opening comments create an “implied contract” about what is going to occur for the volunteers during the hypnosis show.
Usually, the implication is that the volunteers are going to experience some bizarre and unusual hypnotic phenomena, but no moral or ethical lines will be crossed.
If the Stage Hypnotist were to breach the implied contract made with a volunteer, they would generally pop out of the trance state feeling like, “Hey, I didn’t sign up for THIS?!” They could choose to walk right off the stage.
What About Brainwashing and Hypnosis?
People often confuse hypnosis with brainwashing, but they are not related.
Again, the hypnotic trance results from a volunteer who has free will working with a coach to achieve their goals (i.e. lose weight, experience trance phenomena, etc).
On the other hand, brainwashing is the result of removing a person’s free will and limiting their ability to make choices to the point where they cannot discern true “reality”.
Specific brainwashing techniques might utilize confinement, sleep deprivation, torture, and drugs.
Funny That People Assume Hypnotists Know About This Stuff?!
Interestingly, I was not aware of the MK Ultra and Project Monarch programs you’ve mentioned despite being a full-time Professional Hypnotist for over a dozen years. I had to look them up on the internet!
These programs seem to be focused on mind control through coercive physical and mental manipulation, brainwashing, and mind altering substances.
While these might be the focus of clandestine government programs, that’s not the stuff of today’s hypnosis world!