HYPNOTIC BARRIERS TO FEMALE SELF-ESTEEM
Beliefs are powerful, shaping our futures with beneficent, somewhat neutral or sometimes insidious intent. The injurious ones are like invisible dragons, undermining our lives in a variety of ways. The worst of these beliefs are conditioned ones, ones that are driven into our subconscious through powerful, though little understood methods of indoctrination.
True self-esteem is grounded on a positive self-image strongly reinforced by positive attitudes like self-approval and personal contentment. These are values that come from within one self. In today’s world, there are thousands of outside factors that can influence a woman into believing otherwise and compelling her to look for her own value in something other than herself. Unfortunately, these factors are not only promoted intentionally, but also mechanically, because their power to undermine a sense of self-empowerment of a woman is induced through the power of suggestion in a manner closely related to hypnotic indoctrination.
Why would such undermining factors, damaging to women’s self-esteem, exist in modern society? What value could these factors possibly serve if they keep a woman from experiencing her own self-esteem and self power? The answer is that they serve as psychological predators to be used by individuals, companies and institutions that profit from people who look outward for their happiness and therefore lack personal, internal self-esteem. And women, who comprise the largest minority group and who have suffered and still suffer real assaults to their basic equality with men, are still in these predator’s cross hairs. Why? Because lack of self-esteem leads to servitude and obedience, which also translates into a lack of suffrage, fair wages, the right to work, the right to advance to the level of one’s ability, the right to respect in everyday relationships and in the family, etc. Having this level of control supports certain individuals and institutions very nicely, less money and power for women, more money and power for them.
If the instigators of these factors are cold and calculating and know the truth, we could say they are engaged in a conspiracy to undermine a woman’s value in our culture. They would be like a cynical cult leader who consciously fleeces his flock. We might remember the cynical Jonas Nightengale, played by Steve Martin in Leap of Faith. Despite the somewhat mysterious ending of the film, Jonas is a real scoundrel, taking conscious delight in taking advantage of people of faith.
On the other hand, if the senders of these negative factors to women are thinking they are being helpful or positive, despite the destructive nature of their messages, they are like so many leaders of cults like the Unification Church or Scientology, whose leaders have bought in to the message. Think, if you can remember, Archie Bunker in All In The Family. He is not a conspirator, just a man who uses bigotry as a tool for his own self-interest. He actually believes the nonsense in his mind. He is, although sincere, a successful pawn of predators who use bigotry for personal gain.
The way that psychological predators work is through the power of suggestion. Suggestion actually involves a mild form of hypnotic induction, allowing reason to be overtaken by belief. The susceptibility to suggestion seems built in to human consciousness and can really only be overcome by a certain amount of self-knowledge and self-awareness. It thrives on the acceptance of authority and in our society, that authority is often vested in religious, political and commercial institutions. We will now discuss how this kind of hypnotic influence has been fostered by religious and political institutions.
If one can gain acceptance of authority by a subject, informally or formally, that subject can be induced into believing something without much evidence. In terms of gaining that authority, the ultimate authority was and often still is religion, particularly if it is the predominant religion.
For many centuries, at least until the 19th century, the power of religion held a grip over a great deal of the moirés of human culture in the West. The view of women, both in Roman Catholic and Protestant circles, was largely influenced by certain writings in the New Testament, particularly a few relatively short quotes by the Apostle Paul in Letters to the Corinthians, namely Corinthians 11:3, where he allegedly says, “Christ is the head of every man, and a husband the head of his wife, and the head of Christ is God. (NIV). In Corinthians 11:7-9, he further theologically justifies this doctrine by referring to Geneisis, "For a man...is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman but woman for man…" (NIV) and, finally, as the coup de grace on women’s free and equal participation in the Church, he says in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35: "...women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says, If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." (NIV) Although scholars may debate the meaning of some of these words in the original Greek, although theologians will try and tell us that Paul did not really mean what the English translations imply and that some people, even Fundamentalists, will regard his writings here as only relating to a specific time, the over-all cultural impact has been very clear; women are inferior and subordinate to me.
In politics, specifically in the United States, women’s suffrage became public and in full force for all to see in 1920 and was prohibited by the voting rights described in the Constitution and its amendments. Again, much of the foundation of the prohibition against voting was based on the cultural conditioning from the Church. But, although that is perhaps a very basic reason, the Founding Fathers, as a whole, were not really religious men in the conventional sense as we might think of today. Key figures like Paine, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, and Adams were not religious. They were, however, hardly fighters for the liberation of women any more than they were for the liberation of slaves, both of whose inferior position in society was sanctified by Biblical authority. Therefore, regardless of the power of the Bible in American society, the Constitution itself, largely through omission, endorsed the inferiority of women. Only now, in the new millennium, can we say things like Hillary Clinton said and which has been proven by her recent appointment as Secretary of State at the same time that Nancy Pelosi holds reign over the House of Representatives, the glass ceiling has been dealt a very large blow. But, despite this, the ripples of the past condition affect many attitudes today.
In cults, there are various techniques used to develop the conditions for hypnotic induction. According to Pierre S. Freeman in his work, “The Prisoner of San Jose,” which develops the thesis that he was brainwashed significantly by a Rosicrucian order, one does not have to have a live operator (a hypnotist or cult leader) to induce the conditions for a mild hypnotic trance. He calls this process ‘remote indoctrination.’ This involves the use of various techniques to enforce the authority of the institution or indoctrinating organization. The first of these is to gain people’s trust. Of course, in these two instances, the power and authority of Church and Government served effectively to broadcast the inferiority of women. The second is to have a sacred text, which has been clearly present in the Constitution until 1920, and in most English translations of the Pauline letters. The third is to have an exalted leadership, exemplified by Church and Government leaders in regimes in the United States since its founding and of course, St. Paul and the Founding Fathers. The fourth is to have a “sacred environment,” one with certain ‘branding implements,’ conveying the authority and power of the authority. For this we have flags, uniforms, party symbols, great halls with posters of leaders or slogans and such ornaments as incense, candles, enforced silence, chanting or singing of religious songs. The fifth involves revered rituals like saluting the flag and the pledge of allegiance, gun salutes, the use of honorific titles or formal, oft-repeated rituals, like the Eucharist or a certain order of worship, church music at fixed points, the profession of a certain canon or a creed. Whereas there are other components of remote indoctrination, these are sufficient to make the point that if a certain cultural message is delivered under these conditions; it is delivered to people who are in a very seductive and conditioning environment. And women, for thousands of years, have been in this type of environment and bombarded with this type of message.
Unfortunately, when it comes down to passing along core messages about one’s self-esteem, the fact that there are new laws and new attitudes doesn’t necessarily reflect in the cultural drag that keeps people in check long after the laws have changed. We see this in the gap between men and women’s salaries, positions in government and business, in basic attitudes in office and homes, etc. The core message is still being passed on in churches, political and government institutions and it is still reinforced hypnotically by infusing in women (as in men) the aura of authority which conditions the mind to believe a core doctrine even if it is an irrational belief.
The purpose in bringing all this up is to suggest that the fight for self-esteem by women is partially a fight against hypnotically-induced suggestions that women are inferior. These are not only beliefs; they are conditioned beliefs, enforced by social institutions and individuals, sometimes without a true willful intention to provide that type of conditioning. If for instance, a woman learns a certain core message at home and then is exposed to authoritative atmospheres that she believes support such beliefs, that belief could be reinforced, almost accidentally.
But whether or not this is true, the only way to fight conditioning is to be aware of it. And if it exists, one can actually recondition the mind through positive, well-though out affirmations, deep study and reflection on both the truth and falsity about certain claims and the development of relationships to encourage self-questioning, positive self-esteem and even the aggressive reworking of one’s attitudes based on a true journey of self-discovery.
Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND: Specializes in the natural health care of women and their special needs. She owns a laboratory where she produces custom vitamin supplements, liquid vitamins and other whole food vitamins for her patients.
Author- Dr. Linda Kennedy MS SLP ND
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