The picture shows Franz Mesmer magnetising a patient. In between his hands and her head and heart there is a set of little slivers of metal, capable of being magnetised – shown by the fact they are all lined up the same way. The therapist was able to influence magnetic fields and could realign bits inside her similarly, undoing whatever blockages were causing her problem – whether she had a paralysis, was hysterical or whatever.
When Mesmer moved from Vienna to Paris, a Royal Commission, put in place by Louis XVI to look into magnetism, concluded there was no evidence for a magnetic influence but a lot of evidence for an influence from the doctor’s suggestions – patients could be mesmerised not magnetised.
Or hypnotised as we’d say now.
The French Royal Commission was set up because Mesmerism suggested the entire social order was held in place by magnetism or hypnosis and we, the sleep-walkers, could conceivably be woken up. We could be Woke.
There is an idea out there that only some people can be hypnotised, when in fact we can all be especially when we are in groups – as the Austrians and other German speakers proved in the 1930s and 1940s, and religious revivals and other popular movements repeatedly show.
Whether some of us are more susceptible or not, and whether the hypnosis is being done on an individual basis or not, once induced a key thing is to get the person to do something stupid. That way the hypnosis deepens.
The very best example of this in the world today happens routinely when people go to a doctor.
When s/he puts you on a medicine, he gets you to focus on just 1 of the 99 things this chemical will do – the essence of hypnosis. You will not link any of the 99 other things to his drug his voice murmurs – the loss of your ability to make love, your muscle aching, your ruptured Achilles tendon, the feathers you are growing.
If one of those 99 other things is difficult to ignore, maybe you are about to skin yourself alive you are so agitated, or you are compulsively injecting an opioid, the way to deepen the hypnosis is to tell you that this is another illness.
If you are suicidal, this is because you have a bipolar disorder someone missed – here take this as well. If you are injecting opioids this is because you have an addictive disorder someone missed but we can get the addiction services to treat this while we continue to treat your pain – with an opioid. If the latest antidepressant doesn’t help, this is because we didn’t realise you don’t have depression, you have an entirely different disorder – Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). Here take Spravato – Do Not go Gentle.
What this stupidity should bring home is that it’s your doctor who is under hypnosis not you.
The scene is not your doctor as Mesmer with you as the one mesmerised but the pharmaceutical industry, maybe one of the Sackler brothers, or the health service company your doctor works for in the role of Mesmer – your doctor is the one there in the pink dress.
As with all hypnosis, the spell involves an “If X, then Y”. In this case if the figures for X are high, whether cholesterol, glucose, depression scores, give Brand Y – or low as in bone thinning.
Key to your doctor, nurse, physicians’ associate or pharmacist staying “under” is keeping anything personal out of the interaction. One way to do this is to encourage him to use rating scales – so much more scientific than just a conversation. Or as many measuring instruments as possible rather than putting his hands on you or looking closely at you.
Having a computer on his desk, ideally with your record in the form of an electronic medical record (EMR) to occupy his attention is important. If he’s too occupied with this to spot that you’ve grown feathers, this is ideal.
Another method is group practice, so you rarely see the same person twice and no-one is in a position to notice the change in you from before the drug to after.
The most important thing is to avoid any opportunities for your doctor to make a judgement call. Hypnosis is like sleep-walking – people can do very complex things but ask them to make a judgement call and they either can’t or they wake up.
Of course another way to get your doctor is to behave as the powers-that-be want him to behave is to brainwash him – that peculiar form of hypnosis that appeared in the 1950s. The guideline apparatus is perfect for this. Even the most independent guidelines, are effectively written by pharma. If pharma run all the trials and ghostwrite the publications, they write the Guidelines – Guidelines work from published trials and nothing else.
But besides the doctors who will faithfully follow the Guidelines because they are guidelines, the rest can also be hypnotised or brainwashed by another function of Guidelines. As one of the quips about US troops taken prisoner in the Korean War, who went on TV to denounce the USA, had it, you don’t need to brainwash people to get them to say things like this – you just have to aim a gun at them off-screen.
Guidelines are the gun – don’t keep to guidelines doc and you will be out of a job.
How do we get doctors to wake up?
First you need to realise that no matter how awake your doctor appears, he is sleep-walking.
Second, don’t let doctors measure or screen anything unless it has to do with a problem you brought them. If you happen to be there and they suggest measuring something – your peak flow rate, bone density or whatever – just say No. If they suggest measuring something linked to a problem you brought them – think about saying No.
Third, don’t go along with your doctor when he suggests something stupid. If something is going wrong on treatment, its almost certainly the treatment that has caused it. Don’t buy the line that this is another illness.
Fourth, ask them who they are having an affair with – something, anything that disrupts what might seem like a conversation but it more likely to be a stereotypy.
Fifth, get them to make a judgement call about something that counts – anything.
The title comes from Macbeth – from the witches one of whose finger-tips start tingling and who says Something Wicked This Way Comes.
We are heading toward a creepy MacMedicine, where companies want you on as many drugs as possible every day of the year – none of which save your life or improve your life expectancy. The lesson that pharma took from AIDS is that cures are bad for business.
Your doctor can’t be hypnotised as easily with something serious like AIDS and or with a treatment like Triple Therapy that saves lives. Better a statin or an antidepressant any day of the week.