I hate to start off this blog entry by hitting you with such complicated and sophisticated technical language as "hypnotically retarded", an official term I just invented a full 17 seconds ago, but by golly, it needed to be said. Here's my situation that begs the question which calls upon such high-falutin' serious jargon.
Those of you who are hypnotists already know that there are some magnificent people out there who are what is known as somnambulists. The strict definition of the term, if you look it up in the dictionary, pretty much translates into a sleepwalker. Someone who gets up and wanders around, perfectly ambulatory, sometimes responding when spoken to, all while sound asleep. In the hypnosis field, a somnambulist is perhaps the most wonderful thing in the world to encounter. As I understand it, a somnambulist is someone who not only responds well to hypnosis, but goes very deep, and can experience absolutely EVERYTHING that you suggest him to. Somnambulists are wonderful and they bring joy to hypnotists and audiences alike.
I have worked with a handful of people who are somnambulists and they always bring a smile to my face and put a tap dance in my heart. A somnambulist will, when told to forget his own name or the number 2, experience complete and stunning memory loss for whatever you direct him to. The somnambulist will see whatever positive hallucination you say stands before him, and usually with astounding clarity and detail. If you choose to make yourself invisible, the somnambulist will see right through you as if you have clouded his mind with all the power of The Shadow, since in his perceptions, you have. This type of subject will drop like a brick when you snap your fingers and say "Sleep!", will in fact not only experience absolutely everything you command him to, but will come out of the session feeling like a million bucks.
The true somnambulist will delight all who watch him and get the utmost out of any good hypnotic trance. Then there are others. Other subjects who can experience some things but not others. They can experience catalepsy, arm levitation, but possibly not hallucinations. Some may find they respond perfectly to name amnesia but not to having their feet stuck to the floor. A little of some things, not enough or none of another. As I understand the term, these are not true somnambulists. Theses people with partial responses can still be good subjects and, when guided by a competent hypnotist, still have a great time, but they are not true somnambulists as I understand the term.
Then there are subjects like me.
I cannot experience much of ANYthing under hypnosis, despite a complete and utter belief in the process, a willingness to invest myself fully in the endeavor, and a deep desire to experience whatever the hypnotist wishes me to. Zilch, nada, bupkiss.
Well, that's a bit harsh, I suppose. I can experience states of extreme relaxation and have had some success with catalepsy and levitation—it was even stronger back when I was in college. I have gone through guided meditations and come back with very vivid descriptions of my imagined surroundings, but it's difficult for me to see that as any great success, since as a cartoonist and a writer I do that frequently anyway whenever I get "in the zone" to create. There are things I long to experience that I just never have and begin to suspect I never will. I have no idea what name amnesia feels like. Or induced laughter, which is fucking fun as hell to invoke, by the way. I have a laundry list of things I would love to experience under hypnosis, one of the wackiest of which plays off the truism that while under hypnosis no one really takes control of you. So I often wondered what it would be like to be hypnotically turned into a puppet, a marionette—hinges, strings and all. I did that to a friend, by the way. I hypnotized him into being a puppet, and he said it was an amazing experience. I can only guess how much.
So, I have come to a shocking and somewhat distressing conclusion. I am not only NOT a somnambulist, I am hypnotically retarded. Yes, that has to be it. I can go under, I can come out feeling great, but cannot do any other things I really want to do. And I've been put under by some very skilled hypnotists, too. So if the problem is not with them, it has to be with me. Where others have a wrinkly gray supercomputer under their skull, I have the cerebral equivalent of Mortimer Snerd. I realize that even if I volunteerd at shows by the best stage hypnotists, I'd be the guy sent back to his seat. If I sat with a hypnotherapist, I'd be the guy who had to be told, with stoic face and grave tone, that there was just nothing that could be done for me (after bilking me for several thousand dollars first, no doubt). It's depressing.
Now, I can certainly help others experience everything under the sun, and suspect I will continue to do so for as long as I draw breath. The more joy, happiness, and fun I can bring to my subjects, the better. I shall relish the wonder of hypnosis vicariously through them. 'Cause until somebody invents a short bus for brain stems, that's as good as it's gonna get for me. Poopie.
[If you are a cool hypnotist and think you can get through to my hypnotically-retarded brain, leave a comment and let me know. I am willing to let you turn me into a chicken. Just as long as it works.]