Thursday, January 24, 2008

Is EVERYTHING manipulation?

I was just reading an article about how stores try to "trick" you into buying more/spending more money. Here's the link if you're interested.

It got me thinking about a book that I have been reading called Trances People Live. The author suggests that when we actually seek to be hypnotized, we are actually undoing some other trance we've been exposed to without our conscious awareness.

If you think about it, there are likely times that you've been "lost" in whatever you've been doing, only to discover that much time has elapsed. Without knowing it, you slipped into a hypnotic type of state. I saw somewhere that there are something like 20+ states to a hypnotic trance. We are in some lighter state of trance more often than we realize.

When you are in a trance state, your mind is susceptible to "suggestion." All suggestion is are words that your mind accepts. If you, as a child, were told over and over and over how difficult you were, odds are you were a difficult child. Odds are, even as an adult (unless you have somehow discovered it, and altered it) you believe that you are a difficult person.

Are you "difficult"? Well...some people believed it, and told you. However, it was what they believed, based on their experience, and then they shared it with you. Your mind potentially said, "well, this must be true I keep hearing it over and over."

You probably even began to seek out ways to prove it without even realizing it, and maybe even wondering why you were doing what you were doing while you were doing it. If you've ever been hypnotized, you'd know that that is the kind of feeling you could have from a "post hypnotic suggestion," words that you are told, that your mind accepts, and then acts upon while you are awake.

It is a quite surreal experience to be doing something that you think you don't want to do, or don't understand, and do it any way. Interestingly, if you think about it, odds are there are examples of it in your own life, even if you've never been "officially" hypnotized.

Many of the marketing professionals these days are using techniques that are based in language that is hypnotic. These techniques speak to you in ways that you are consciously unaware of, and propel you to THEIR desired outcome. Unfortunately, if it isn't aligned with who you are, and what you want, after the fact you will find yourself quite uncomfortable with the outcome.

There was a call I received recently from a well-known company in some circles. It is certainly one that I have respect for. However, this call that I received bothered me. When you become aware of the techniques that can be used to make you act, it can be quite empowering, because you can counteract them fairly easily. In this case, though, my awareness was making me feel like the person was trying to manipulate me.

The language that was being used was designed to "force" me into one of THEIR two choices. How convenient for them. While I believe in their products, and believe them helpful and worthwhile, I would rather make a purchase because I wanted them, than to be manipulated into a purchase that I wasn't able to consider at the time.

I am certain my reaction caused the man to halt. He didn't know how to respond to ME. He only knew how to respond to a person who, in an automated fashion, agreed to one of the two choices. It could have almost have been an argument, because he kept trying to make the sale with the preset language choices - except for the fact that I was clear about what was happening, and was uninterested.

Was this a trance, per se? For someone else, perhaps. Unless the person being exposed to this technique is aware of what is happening, this person is inclined to act upon one of the choices being given. It is likely to be almost too easy.

Ever since I have learned about trance, hypnosis, suggestions, and so on, I have seen how they can be beneficial (sometimes it can actually be good to act without our conscious mind having the opportunity to talk us out of it) and I have also seen how manipulative and harmful it can be.

With so much going on in the world as a whole, I wonder if perhaps we have become an easier target for those who know how to manipulate our experience of the world. I wonder if perhaps, because it does seem easier at the time, we want to be manipulated. After all, it would seem that it would be easier, in some cases, for us to be told what to do, instead of having to make a decision or choice.

Just something to think about. If, in the end, I bought that company's product, I would have felt good about it, because I would have known I WANTED IT. Had I bought it without realizing what had happened, the outcome may have still been alright, and yet it could also have been something I would have had to "deal" with later by returning it, or keeping it, and not really wanting to, or...any number of things - all uncomfortable for me in some way.

A conscious choice on my part saved me from having to deal with it any more than I chose to.

In my mind, it's a perspective worth considering and exploring. After all, do you really want to make choices someone else has made for you and your money? Do you really want your perspective of the world to be one that someone else created for you?

What do you think?

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