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"Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 10:32 am
by Moderator
If you can get a hold of a used copy or find it at the library (it's out of print), I recommend reading Ernest Hilgard's Divided Consciousness: Multiple Controls in Human Thought and Action.

It's a great book on hypnosis by the famous Stanford professor (an early reviewer of Jaynes), and topics discussed in the book are relevant to Jaynes's theory. Chapters 1, 2, and 8 were assigned by Jaynes to his students in his class at Princeton University.

Chapter 1: Divided Consciousness and the Concept of Dissociation

"The unity of consciousness in an illusion. Man does more than one thing at a time — all the time — and the conscious representation of these actions is never complete. His awareness can shift from one aspect of whatever is currently happening inside his body or impinging on him from without, or events that are remembered or imagined. Furthermore, as an active agent, he is always making decisions and formulating or implementing plans, and he likes to believe that he exerts control over what he is doing; often, however, he may be deceived about the causes of his behavior" (p. 1).

Chapter 2: Possession States, Fugues, and Multiple Personalities

"The idea of spirit possession is age old. There is the familiar Biblical story of Jesus casting out devils from the disturbed Gadarene. The devils ("My name is Legion") requested that they be sent into the herd of swine, and the possessed herd rushed down the bank and perished in the sea. The fact that, presumably, both the demoniac host and the demons spoke to Jesus suggests the possibility of something like multiple personality. The idea of demoniac possession has persisted, in some circles, to the present time. The motion picture, The Exorcist, brought the matter to light in the 1970s, somewhat ot the embarrassment of the Catholic Church, whose rituals for exorcism still exist, although their use is largely frowned upon" (p. 19).

"A fugue is defined in modern psychiatry as a dissociation characterized by amnesia in which the person runs away from his conflicts or problems by seeking a new environment, or in some other manner demonstrates his flight from reality. During the episode of the fugue, he may behave quite normally in the new environment, but very differently from his usual behavior. When he returns to his usual condition he picks up where he left off and does not remember the events of the fugue. The fugue may be short or long, and it may be a single episode that is not reported" (p. 22).

Chapter 3: Hypnotic Age Regression

Chapter 4: Amnesia and Repression

Chapter 5: Dreams, Hallucinations, and Imagination

Chapter 6: Voluntary and Involuntary Controls of Muscular Movement

Chapter 7: Automatic Writing and Divided Attention

Chapter 8: The Hypnotizable Person and Hypnotic Experience

Chapter 9: Divided Consciousness and the "Hidden Observer"

Chapter 10: The Hidden Observer Perceived and Interpreted

Chapter 11: A Neodissociation Interpretation

Chapter 12: Neodissociation in a Wider Context

Posted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 11:06 am
by coberst
The following is an OP I posted recently on another forum after studying Ernest Becker. What would Julian Jaynes think about this idea?

Ernest Becker (1924-1974) won the Pulitzer Prize foe General Nonfiction for the “Denial of Death”. A distinguished social theorist and a popular teacher of anthropology, and sociology psychology.

Hypnotism is Transference

Wo/man worships and fears power; we enthusiastically give our loyalty to our leader. Sapiens are at heart slavish. Therein lay the rub, as Shakespeare might say.

Freud was the first to focus upon the phenomenon of a patient’s inclination to transfer the feelings s/he had toward her parents as a child to the physician. The patient distorts the perception of the physician; s/he enlarges the figure up far out of reason and becomes dependent upon him. In this transference of feeling, which the patient had for his parents, to the physician the grown person displays all the characteristics of the child at heart, a child who distorts reality in order to relieve his helplessness and fears.

Freud saw these transference phenomena as the form of human suggestibility that makes the control over another, as displayed by hypnosis, as being possible. Hypnosis seems mysterious and mystifying to us only because we hide our slavish need for authority from our self. We live the big lie, which lay within this need to submit our self slavishly to another, because we want to think of our self as self-determined and independent in judgment and choice.

The predisposition to hypnosis is identical to that which gives rise to transference and it is characteristic of all sapiens. We could not function as adults if we retained this submissive attitude to our parents, however, this attitude of submissiveness, as noted by Ferenczi, is “The need to be subject to someone remains; only the part of the father is transferred to teachers, superiors, impressive personalities; the submissive loyalty to rulers that is so widespread is also a transference of this sort.”

Freud saw immediately that when caught up in groups wo/man became dependent children once again. They abandoned their individual egos for that of the leader; they identified with their leader and proceeded to function with him as their ideal. Freud identified man, not as a herd animal but as a horde (teeming crowd) animal that is led by a chief. Wo/man has an insatiable need for authority.

People have an insatiable need to be hypnotized by authority; they seek a magical protection as when they were infants protected by their mother. This is the force that acts to hold groups together, intertwined within a mutually constructed but often mindless interdependence. This mindless group think also builds a feeling of potency. The members feel a sense of unity within the grasp of their leadership.

‘Why are groups so blind and stupid?’ Freud asked; and he replied that mankind lived by self delusion. They “constantly give what is unreal precedence over what is real.” The real world is too frightening to behold; delusion changes this by making sapiens seem important. This explains the terrible sadism we see in group activity.

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 10:44 am
by Moderator
This is similar to the developmental vs. historical theory of the origin of religion discussed by David Stove in Reflections on the Dawn of Consciousness.

This would be the developmental (transference of the feelings toward the parent in childhood) vs. historical (bicameral mind) need for external authority. Jaynes argues that it is primarily historical (a vestige of an earlier mentality) whereas in this quote Freud is arguing it stems from childhood: "a child who distorts reality in order to relieve his helplessness and fears."

I don't know that they are mutually exclusive — there is no question that there is a certain degree of childhood longing to be guided (or controlled) at certain times in certain individuals. But when one views hypnosis along with related phenomena such as "spirit possession," trance states, speaking in tongues, religious frenzy, and dissociative fugues, I think there is more going on than just a childhood longing for external guidance. An actual different psychological state is involved, and to me, Jaynes's bicameral mind fits the data pretty well.

There is likely a genetic basis for some aspects of group behavior in that there are strict hierarchies found in most primates.. For example, primates generally stick together (i.e., they don't go for a drink until the whole group goes for a drink) and follow the alpha male. Darwin would say this type of behavior has a survival value and was selected for over time.

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:27 pm
by WS1
Moderator wrote:If you can get a hold of a used copy or find it at the library (it's out of print), I recommend reading Ernest Hilgard's Divided Consciousness: Multiple Controls in Human Thought and Action.

It's a great book on hypnosis by the famous Stanford professor (an early reviewer of Jaynes), and topics discussed in the book are relevant to Jaynes's theory. Chapters 1, 2, and 8 were assigned by Jaynes to his students in his class at Princeton University.
Superb. I looked around the interwebz for a copy of this book, out of print as you say, and managed to find a reasonably priced copy. Many are quite pricy indeed.

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Fri May 01, 2009 10:13 am
by Moderator
I'm glad to hear you were able to find a copy.

Since you are interested in hypnosis, you might also consider learning self-hypnosis if you have the time and the inclination. I was able to learn hypnosis and self-hypnosis from books — it's a very powerful tool.

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 11:26 pm
by logictweek
Interesting. I'll look up these titles.

Can you recommend any books on self-hypnosis in particular? The only books I've run across on the topic were very New Age-y and poorly written. I'd love to explore the topic with something more intellectually sound.

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:04 pm
by Moderator
There's nothing definitive on self-hypnosis that comes to mind. I would suggest just finding a book on hypnosis that appeals to you. Make sure it contains some basic hypnosis scripts, or if not you can find these online. All of the basic principles of hypnosis apply to self-hypnosis.

Once you've found a script you are interested in using, you can use free audio recording software (such as Audacity) to record yourself reading the script onto your computer. I find that slowing the pitch slightly helps, as often people get distracted by the sound of their own voice. Then just get comfortable and play it back from your computer or an mp3 player. Depending on your natural ability to relax, it may take a bit of practice.

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 11:22 am
by logictweek
So, can you recommend any good starting point books for hypnosis in general?

Re: "Divided Consciousness" by Ernest Hilgard

Posted: Thu May 19, 2011 9:47 pm
by Moderator
I got started many years ago with a book I found in a used book store called Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in Medicine, Dentistry, and Psychology by Kroger. Even the Complete Idiot's Guide to Hypnosis is not bad for beginners. From there you might explore different styles of hypnosis, for example some of the collected works of Milton Erickson, who practiced a more indirect or metaphorical approach.

Hypnosis hasn't really changed over the past few hundred years, so even the older books that are free on Google books I find useful. Some good titles to look at are Hypnotism: Its History, Practice and Theory by Bramwell, Hypnotism by Moll, Suggestion And Autosuggestion by Baudouin, and Hypnotism by Eldridge.

I haven't come across one book that really stands out to me as a definitive text. If you come across a more recent book that is worth recommending let us know.