In this school of thought we would find the psychoanalysts and many others who cannot agree with psychoanalysis and all its teachings. We ourselves agree with their viewpoint and claim that the study of hypnotism is one excellent way of approaching mob psychology.
Take the five factors we have outlined as the essentials of mob psychology.
First, an appeal to the emotions by prestige or direct suggestion. To the writer there can be no doubt that we do the same in hypnotism. This is not quites so evident in the laboratory technique, perhaps, but it is clearly seen in the approach of the stage hypnotist. His whole technique consists in throwing his subject off balance emotionally and then following up his advantage before
the victim has a chance to regain composure.
The writer once had one of these professionals as his guest. Several students who were majors in psychology came around to make his acquaintance. They asked him to demonstrate and he demonstrated one or two simple tests which located for him couple of good subjects. Then the real demonstration began. These men knew that, in theory, he could not hypnotize them without their consent, and were inclined to be a little contemptuous of this illiterate stage hypnotist, illiterate in that he was a "show man" and knew nothing whatsoever of academic psychology. This attitude nettled the visitor and decided that a lesson was in order.
Approaching one of those he decided were good subjects he made a blunt announcement, "I'm going to hypnotize you."
"Thanks, but I don't want to be hypnotized."
"That doesn't mean a thing," replied the professional. He stepped up quickly in front of his victim, seized him by both arms, looked straight in his eyes and said "Now, listen, my child, I'm going to give a lesson in manners. You can't take your eyes off mine, so don't waste time in trying. And you can't sit down in that chair, so stand where you are. You are going sound asleep. I will count to five. By the time I get to five you will be out on your feet."
And he was. The subject was obviously angry, made abortive attempts to strike the hypnotist but went into a deep trance, a very neat display of the highly emotional nature of the "professional" attack. If any of our readers will take the opportunity of watching the stage performer work on his subject for the first time, they will clearly see what we mean. He does not "play around," but goes right to the point with a direct, domineering, frontal attack. Such an approach is highly unpleasant to most people and awakens strong emotions closely akin to fear an anger. This, of course, plays directly into the hypnotist's hands. The emotion sensitizes the brain so that his suggestions then become irresistible.
This emotional factor is not quite so apparent in the psychologists laboratory but the elements are present. The average individual approaches an hypnotic experiment with mixed feelings, generally curiosity and some slight degree of fear. With certain individuals this emotional outlook is more to the fore that with others and it seems probable that these people turn out to be the really good subjects. Why these particular subjects should react with high emotion while others do not is a point in theory which is beyond the scope of this book.
After this direct appeal to emotion, which if successful makes the individual highly suggestible, we have as our next step in mob psychology a restriction of the field of consciousness. It is difficult to say whether this precedes or follows emotional contagion but we will presume it comes first. This of fundamental importance to the success of hypnotism as well. All out techniques aim at confining the subjects attention to some very limited field. the early "mesmerist" accomplished this end by having the subject look in his eyes while he further held his attention by a series of impressive passes.
( face passes - a specialty technique...perfected by the seasoned street thief )
Braid, working in the 1840's, used the trick of having his subjects concentrate on some bright object generally held in a position that it put a slight strain on the eyes. This technique reached its culmination in the mirror of Lys , a rotating mirror which continually flashed a light into the subjects eyes, so serving to hold his attention while the operator made his suggestions.
The professional on the stage accomplishes the same end with is direct, domineering attack, trusting to hold the subject's attention by this method, while the psychologist strives toward the same end with a somewhat different technique. Quiet and monotonous repetition are the keynotes of his "sleeping" technique. "You are falling sound asleep, sound asleep. You are going deeper and deeper. Your limbs are tired, your elbows and knees feel tired. You are falling sound asleep." He repeats this formula world without end, trusting that his voice will monopolize the subject's attention and restrict the field of consciousness.
Thus we see another close resemblance between the psychology of the mob and the psychology of suggestion or hypnotism. The reader will bear with us as we follow through this line of attack, for once we have established the very close relationship between the two we will be in a position to really understand the secret of Hitler's power or of most other great public figures either of our own day or as described for us in history.
(I believe the stage hypnotist who did the demonstration above was none other than Ralph Slater! Who played Carnegie Hall SEVEN TIMES.. the last time.. in May.. 1950!!! his book has been turned into a too-large pdfHERE