In this the final article of the series on the links between inspiration, motivation and hypnosis I wish to reiterate the prime purpose of the articles is to spread knowledge and a basic understanding of hypnotism, in the hope that it will become less marginalized and can be used to better effect for the benefit of everyone. To do that I feel I must point some of the dangers of misuse.
Adolf Hitler was born in 1889 in Austria. In 1908 he moved to Vienna where he rented a room. During the five years he spent in the city he was a regular visitor to the city library.
One of the books Hitler is believed to have been particularly interested in was the work of the French psychologist Gustave Le Bon. Le Bon (1841-1931), had written a book entitled Psychology of the Masses. It had been translated into German in 1908, and records show a copy was delivered to the library frequented by Hitler that same year.
Le Bon’s book describes his theories on crowds and their behaviour. He had identified that group behaviour could be manipulated by hypnotic suggestion, and that few individuals in a crowd possess a sufficiently strong personality to resist such suggestion.
He describes how one individual in a crowd is little more than a grain of sand amidst other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will. He identified that individuals, when part of a crowd, became automaton like, no longer guided by their own will.
You only need to see a newsreel of Hitler presenting to a rally to recognise that he is using mass suggestion. It is notable how the delivery is made in a positive and confident manner. Notable too is his use of repetition. Again and again he uses the very same words. Consider why he repeatedly says ‘Jew, Jew, Jew’. Hitler had learnt that repeating a word three times had an identifiable effect on the crowd. Include and repeat, ‘blame, blame, blame’, and you have mass hypnosis being used for sinister purposes.
Work by other psychologists such as Moscovici shows how crowds initially watch and listen to a speaker. By using certain words and behaviour a speaker can very quickly establish a rapport with an audience. Repeated exposure to the same speaker can result in them being viewed with admiration bordering on worship. Every word uttered is accepted as the complete truth.
The members of the audience are likely to reject any attack or criticism of the speaker’s name. Eventually they refuse to believe that the person could possibly be capable of any wrongdoing or crime. In the case of Hitler, many supporters, despite learning the truth about concentration camps, continued to believe that Hitler was unaware of these horrors. In Russia, Lenin, and later Stalin, were equally able to hold sway over mass audiences.
History is peppered with examples of mass hysteria, when otherwise ordinary individuals have been swept up into a mob. During the last 18 years of the 20th century there were approximately 3000 lynchings in America. Almost 300,000 people took part in these mob proceedings.
Mass suggestion still takes place to this day. Watch how newspapers and television can quickly foment hysteria over little more than a football match.
Human behaviour changes little. The mass hysteria Le Bon described in his late Victorian writings still holds true today. You only need to consider the behaviour of people in a riot to realise that they have given up their individual will to the mass consciousness.
Present-day comedians use an aspect of the same phenomenon to improve their performance. One member of the audience will begin laughing. Before long two, then three and four are doing so. Halfway through the performance the whole audience are laughing uncontrollably. Watch some of the short videos on my website if you would like to see a positive use of the phenomena in action. During many of my performances I am convinced some members of the audience do not know why they are laughing yet somehow feel an irresistible need to do so.
Hitler described in his writings how, ‘What you say to the people collectively in that receptive state of fanatical abandonment remains in their mind like an order given to someone under hypnosis, which can not be wiped out and resists all logical argument’.
There have been few in history that have brought such horrific pain and suffering to the world as the psychopath known as Adolf Hitler. Whatever your thoughts are on the man, and you are of course entitled to them, his popularity with a majority of German at that time cannot be denied. My only wish is that in some small way I helped you to better understand why what happened did.
I end by reiterating an important point I made in Article One – the enormous benefits people can gain by having an understanding of what hypnotism is and how it works far outweighs the reasons people often give for maintaining the ‘secret’.