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Like breathing, hypnosis is an inherent and universal trait, shared and experienced by all human beings since the dawn of time.
On the other hand, it’s only in the last few decades that we’ve come to realise that!
The work of Franz Mesmer, amongst others, can be seen as both the last flourish of “occult” hypnosis and the first flourish of the “scientific” viewpoint.
Not only did I notice and feel the difference but my golf buddies did also.
On the one hand, a history of hypnosis is a bit like a history of breathing.
He was also fond of dressing up in a cloak and playing ethereal music on the glass harmonica whilst this was happening.
The popular image of the hypnotist as a charismatic and mystical figure can be firmly dated to this time.
As an almost 70 year old new to the game of golf (4-5 years hacking! Michael devoted time to the swing fundamentals, pitching, putting, sand and basic improvement techniques.
Well, I definitely improved in all areas and saw strokes fall from my scores!
This trend continued into the 20th Century, although in some ways, hypnosis became imprisoned by its own respectability, as it became mired in endless academic debate about “state” or “non-state”.
This conundrum – does hypnosis have a real, physical basis, or not? Important shifts were happening elsewhere, however. First of all, the centre of hypnotic gravity moved from Europe to America, where all the most significant breakthroughs of the 20th century took place.
It’s important to remember, however, that what we see as occultism was the scientific establishment of its day, with exactly the same purpose as modern science – curing human ills and increasing knowledge.
From a Western point of view, the decisive moment in the history of hypnosis occurred in the 18th Century (coinciding with the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason).
Although we now know that his notion of “animal magnetism”, transferred from healer to patient through a mysterious etheric fluid, is hopelessly wrong, it was firmly based on scientific ideas current at the time, in particular Isaac Newton’s theories of gravitation.