Autosuggestion means the person’s self-influence. Thus, the ego is not a consistent and crystallized unit. It consists of one part that can influence the other. The division of these two parts of the ego is simple: the influential side is comprised of the conscious part and the influenced side is in the subconscious. The conscious part of the human mind is just a tip of the iceberg compared to the grand and mysterious subconscious. Actually, we have no information about that part of the ego, which autosuggestion applies to.
In an attempt to conduct a kind of “virtual mapping” of the soul, with the aim of locating and distinguishing that abstract element of the subconscious that is sensitive to suggestion, the best method is evaluating the phenomenon of hypnosis, where suggestion takes on the most direct and focused manifestation.
The Ego Paradox
Beyond the fact that our ego is spread across conscious and subconscious, and that one part can influence the other, hypnosis demonstrates another phenomenon as related to the subconscious ego. It is just this part, which is supposed to be the solid nucleus underlying the conscious ego and which is actually the “core of the mind”, it is this part that is liquid and unstable. It is where we expect the individual to maintain his strongest identity, that his identity is not solid at all. A person can easily be hypnotized into believing that he is someone completely different. A person can be hypnotized to believe that he is living in another place and time, and he will truly believe it. Furthermore, in some cases, a person can be hypnotized into believing that he is an animal and he may believe it in his hypnotic trance, and behave accordingly. When hypnosis was first discovered, there wasn’t much awareness to the severe damage that it may cause to the human psyche. The pioneer practitioners would hypnotize young women into believing that they were hens – they believed it and clucked around – leading some of them to eventually lose their sanity.
The paradox, by which the main nucleus underlying human personality, is the weakest part of his personality, is not unique within the mind-body system. The brain itself, in which all of the sensations and emotions are concentrated, and which is the only organ that senses the body, including any pain or light touch, is actually insensitive and has no reaction to it being touched, pinched or cut.
Hypnosis demonstrates that the human mind conceals a central point that is not bound – not by place, not by time and not by the identity which the individual has developed throughout his lifetime. This part accompanies the individual from birth to death. We encounter it almost every night in dreams in which we find ourselves in another time, another place and, sometimes, bearing a different identity. If we liken the mind (or the psyche) to a virtual ball, the solid external crust is the conscious part, while the core – the point affected by hypnosis, as it circumvents all of the layers and surfaces around it – is the mental nucleus. It is because of the “ego paradox” and its confusing nature, that hypnosis still remains a scientific mystery and the mental nucleus remains unexposed.
An Explanation for the Ego Paradox
At birth, a child is, to a great extent, “tabula rasa” as related to his identity and personality. He is indeed born with genetic attributes, with an instinctive will to survive and with inherent egoism, and yet on all issues relating to his identity and personality, he is highly dependent upon the environment into which he was born. If, for example, he is raised among monkeys or wolves, he will grow to believe that he is a wolf or a monkey (despite feeling the difference between him and them). He will adjust to the environment in which he is living, adopt its customs and norms, feel that he belongs and identifies with it and construct his identity accordingly. He will do all that he can to fit the genetic data, with which he was born, to the reality in which he is growing up. Every baby that is born, regardless of the environment, goes on over the years to develop its character, nature, essence and identity, based on his genetic load and environmental factors.
The ego-building process that every person undergoes does not completely cover the mind, but rather leaves its core, to a great extent, in a neutral stance as relating to one’s identity and personality. Around the core, layers of ego are built up, wrapping it and crystallizing thanks to achievements, experience, the development of self-confidence, reinforcements, status, property, etc. There are people who have created thick and solid layers of protection around the core of their soul, and there are those whose core is more exposed – but for all, it is liquid in terms of identity and personality.
In order to understand the reason for this, we must apply the “proof of the negative” method. Assume that the mind’s nucleus is made up of opposite attributes, i.e. having a clear and crystallized, strong, solid and immutable identity. A person with such a nucleus would find it very difficult to adjust to the many changes that he undergoes in life. He would be unable to cope with the changes occurring to his body, his growth and aging, and the many different roles that he is required to fill throughout his lifetime. He would be unable to handle changes of place, time and living conditions. He would be completely unable to fill the role of another, to masquerade or veer from his stereotypical image. There is no doubt that such a life would be much duller, and that people would behave as sophisticated robots whose conduct and reactions are predictable always.
The weakness of the mental nucleus is also the secret of human strength, since the soul wishes to make up for the weak point therein by strengthening the ego layers covering its nucleus by, as stated, attaining achievements, respect and status.
If every person’s nucleus were rigid, we would be free of many problems: no ego struggles, no wars for respect and status. All the phenomena demonstrating sensitivity, vulnerability, vindictiveness and jealousy would not exist. Furthermore, all the psychological problems relating to identity and personality, such as split personalities, fragmented personalities, failed personalities and various personality disorders, would not exist.
A rigid and solid nucleus would render the desire for achievements and self- fulfillment superfluous. A person with such a nucleus would feel no need to belong to any group. Nor would he feel the need for warmth and love, where it is intended to complete a missing part of his personality.
The need for creating and maintaining an identity, which accompanies the individual throughout his lifetime, is nearly equivalent to his will to survive, which is an inherent genetic factor. There is usually harmony between these two urges, but they might sometimes encounter conflicts. There are people who are willing to die to maintain their identity, dignity, status, independence or the social environment, to which they belong. On the other hand, under the threat of death, many would be willing to surrender their identity and alter it in order to protect their lives.
There are three levels of suggestive influence: suggestion, autosuggestion and hypnosis. We are constantly exposed to suggestions, at every age and every place. They apply, directly and indirectly, to our subconscious and conscious, and can affect our thoughts, emotions, desires, opinions, consumer inclinations, etc. Suggestions do not usually penetrate deep into the mental nucleus.
Autosuggestion, on the other hand, is not directed to the conscious at all and does not intend to alter opinions or direct thoughts. It is completely directed toward the subconscious and its target is emotions.
Hypnosis has the strongest suggestive impact and it is capable of penetrating the mental nucleus. Here too, the weakness of the nucleus is the secret of its power, seeing that by being elastic, it can quickly recapture – following the hypnotic impact – its original form.