One of the best examples of a world created with artificial stimuli is the technique of hypnosis. When a person is hypnotized, he experiences extremely convincing events which are indistinguishable from reality. The person under hypnosis sees pictures, people and various images, and hears, smells and tastes many things, none of which exist in the room. Meanwhile, because of the experience, he becomes happy, upset, excited, bored, worried or flustered. Moreover, the effect of the experience on the person under hypnosis can be watched from outside physically. In very deep hypnotic trances, certain kinds of symptoms can be observed in the hypnotized person, such as an increase in the pulse rate and blood pressure, redness of the skin, high temperature, and the removal of an existing pain or ache.
In one hypnotic experiment, a hypnotic subject is told that he is in a hospital and that there is a dying patient on the tenth floor of the hospital. He has been hypnotized into believing that if he rushes to the patient with the right medicine, the patient will be rescued. The subject, under the influence of hypnosis, thinks he is rushing to the tenth floor. Meanwhile he gets out of breath and can't control it, due to a feeling of being extremely tired. Then the subject is told that he is on the top floor, and succeeded in fetching the medicine, and that he can lie on a comfortable bed. The subject then starts to relax. 2 Although the subject experiences the locations and the atmospheres as if they were completely real, the places, people or events as told to him do not exist.
In another experiment, a hypnotic subject in a normal room is told that he is in a Turkish bath and that the bath is very hot. As a result, he starts to sweat. 3
After being hypnotized, this person imagines herself to be rapidly climbing 10 flights of stairs. At that point she loses her breath and becomes tired. The hypnotized person lives in the environment produced by the hypnotic induction, and accepts that it is real, despite the fact that the location, people and incidents that she has been told about do not exist.
This draws our attention to a very important point. In order for a person to sweat, some conditions must exist. The reality that we come across in this instance of hypnosis is that the hypnotized person has sweated, even though there is no physical factor which would cause him to sweat. This example shows clearly that there is no physical necessity of physical existences of places or atmosphere to feel such an atmosphere or place. Similar effects can be created through artificial stimulants or hypnotic suggestion.
The British hypnotherapy specialist, Terence Watts, a member of many organizations including The National Hypnotherapy Association, The National Psychotherapists Association, The Professional Hypnotherapists Center, The Hypnotherapy Research Association, states in an article that during hypnosis, some people who are recollecting a past event exhibit some physical changes related to the event. For example, if there was an element of suffocation in the event remembered, a hypnotic subject might become breathless while explaining the event under hypnosis and might even stop breathing for a while. Watts stated that under hypnosis, even finger marks appeared on one of his patients where a slap on the face was recalled. Watts also explains that this is not a mystery but a reaction to sense of pain in the body.
One of the most striking examples seen in hypnotic applications is that even a wound can appear on the skin of the hypnotized person through inculcation. For example, Paul Thorsen, a researcher, touches the arm of the person under hypnosis with a tip of a pen and tells him that it's a hot skewer. Soon, a blister (as would have been produced by a second degree burn) formed in the region where the tip of the pen touched. Thorsen also hypnotized a person called Anne O. into believing that the letter A was being drawn onto her arm by pressing hard. Although nothing else was done, redness emerged in the shape of an "A" in that area.5 Researchers H. Bourru and P. Burot, persuading a hypnotized person that his arm was being cut, saw that the arm was bleeding after being slightly drawn on by a pencil. 6
It is a fact that some skin diseases can be cured by using hypnosis. On the pictures above we see the disease before being treated with hypnosis, then we see it after the person has been hypnotized and the disease has been cured.
(D. Waxman, Hypnosis, p. 113)
J.A. Hadfield told a sailor in hypnosis that he was going to press a hot iron bar on the sailor's arm and that the arm would burn. However, he merely touched it gently with his fingertip, after which he covered it. Six hours later when the cover was removed, there was a slight redness and puffiness in that area. Hadfield states that "the following day the puffiness became larger and swelled like a burn."7
These changes that occurred to the human body during hypnosis show that we do not need the outside world to produce sensations of sight, sound, touch, feeling, pain or ache. For example, although there is no hot iron bar in the outside world, if the person is persuaded, there can be a burn mark on his arm.
These examples show that when we examine how an image occurs, and follow technological developments, and also when we add consciousness-altering methods such as hypnosis to this knowledge, a certain truth becomes clear. Throughout his life, a human being assumes that he is living in a world which is external to his body. However, everything referred to as the world is only our brain's interpretation of the signals which reach the sense centers. In other words, we can never deal with any world other than the one that occurs in our mind. We can never know what happens or exists outside us. We cannot claim that the sources of signals reaching the brain are material existences that exist outside. This reality has begun to take its place in science books and is taught to people since high school age. The problem is that people do not consider the full significance of this fact.
1- William Kroger, Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, http://www.lucidexperience.com/HypnoPapers/512.html
2- Dr. Tahir Özakkaş, Gerçeğin Dirilişine Kapı HIPNOZ (The Door Opening to the Awakening of Reality: Hypnosis), "Üst Ultrastabilite" (Upper Ultrastability), Se-da Yayýnlarý, Vol.. 1, 1st Edition, p. 204-205
3- Dr. Tahir Özakkaş, Gerçeğin Dirilişine Kapı HIPNOZ (The Door Opening to the Awakening of Reality: Hypnosis), "Üst Ultrastabilite" (Upper Ultrastability), p. 267
4- Terrence Watts, Abreaction, The psychological phenomena that hypnotherapists either love or hate, http://www.hypnosense.com/abreaction.htm
5- Poul Thorsen, Die Hypnose in Dienste der Menschheit, Bauer-Verlag, Freiburg-Haslach, 1960, p. 52-53
6- René Sudre, Traité de Parapsychologie, Payot, Paris, 1956, p. 341
7- Dr. Recep Doksat, Hipnotizma (Hypnotism), p.106-108