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23-Nov-2015 07:20

Mesmer was the first to propose a rational basis for the effects of hypnosis.

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.

Thanks to their persistence and efforts, by the end of the century hypnosis was accepted as a valid clinical technique, studied and applied in the great universities and hospitals of the day.

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”.

Those who believe that hypnosis can be used to perform miracles or control minds are, of course, simply sharing the consensus view that prevailed for centuries.

Recorded history is full of tantalising glimpses of rituals and practices that look very much like hypnosis from a modern perspective, from the “healing passes” of the Hindu Vedas to magical texts from ancient Egypt.

When I first left Mexico and came to America 20 years ago, I never imagined trying to create a good life for my family would be almost impossible—and punishable by law. My name is Guadalupe and I am a wife, mother, and mobile food vendor.These practices tend to be for magical or religious purposes, such as divination or communicating with gods and spirits.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.The popular image of the hypnotist as a charismatic and mystical figure can be firmly dated to this time.Inevitably, these magical trappings led to Mesmer’s downfall, and for a long time, hypnotism was a dangerous interest to have for anybody looking for a mainstream career.

When I first left Mexico and came to America 20 years ago, I never imagined trying to create a good life for my family would be almost impossible—and punishable by law. My name is Guadalupe and I am a wife, mother, and mobile food vendor.

These practices tend to be for magical or religious purposes, such as divination or communicating with gods and spirits.

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.

The popular image of the hypnotist as a charismatic and mystical figure can be firmly dated to this time.

Inevitably, these magical trappings led to Mesmer’s downfall, and for a long time, hypnotism was a dangerous interest to have for anybody looking for a mainstream career.

At the same time, the nature of “ordinary” consciousness is better understood as a series of trance states that we go into and out of all the time.