Vicarious Experiential Memory Machine

hypnopattern
Vicarious Experiential Memory Machine . . . real experiences through Hypnotic Games and Films and Literature and Entertainment . . . and a whole lot more!

You want to play a game? How about if you could play a video game or watch a movie or look at a photo album or read a good story and really feel like you are really in the action . . . that what you are seeing on the screen or page is actually happening, right there, right here, right then, right now . . . to you? The ultimate virtual reality entertainment protocol may just be helped along with trancework.

Through hypnosis . . . real hypnosis, not just imagination . . . this is entirely possible. Been there, done that.

Recently, on the Marknosis list, the question of using hypnotic language within a game as well as using hypnosis as a frame for a game in order to increase the player’s associated experience while playing the game came up and this happens to be something I am very interested in. I also have some modicum of experience experimenting with just this issue.

I love video games and I love games and I love hypnosis.

When I first started playing with the "Vicarious Experiential Memory Machine" games and hypnosis was one of the areas I was interested in, albeit in terms of using hypnosis to intensify the game playing experience rather than using games to induce hypnosis.

Basically, the idea behind my approach is similar to the old stage hypnosis bit with the voodoo doll where the subjects are hypnotized to feel and do everything they see the doll do. I then used it with television so that the subject would feel and experience everything on the screen as if it’s her own memory (okay, some of the early experiments were with adult entertainment but that’s pretty intense stuff and the research was a LOT of fun).

Anyhow, I’ve used it with videogames as well with some good effect. However, you MUST make certain to keep a certain degree of dissociation there so that the terror of playing Doom doesn’t freak a person out. You want to put in a LOT of rider suggestions of "enjoying" the experience but knowing and realizing it’s just a game at all times . . . like a ride at an amusement park . . . keeping a vicarious or dissociated level withint the associative experience.

I also love 3D photography (I have around fifteen or so vintage and contemporary stereocameras) and love true stereoscopic 3D gaming as well . . . add some hypnosis into the mix and that’s a full-on associated experience.

Here are some articles by David Brager which deal with similar ideas (including a bit on live RPGs – which I wrote my doctoral dissertation on):

If one is considering rather than hypnosis that makes for good narrative but narrative that makes for good hypnosis, then I would suggest taking a look at the critical response to The Woman in White (book and video – albeit the book is much more satisfying than the video). When it came out in the Nineteenth Century, many folks were shaken and addicted to the hypnotic elements in the prose. There’s an excellent write up on it and some nice analysis of some of the excerpts in Mesmerized: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain by Alison Winter.

As to some of the specifics of how I run my Vicarious Experiential Memory Machine method, the process I use is outlined in brief in a short essay I wrote for Zali Segal’s Hypnotize This! – an excellent comprehensive textbook on hypnosis – but the basic approach is pretty straightforward. You don’t need the essay to understand the process as it’s pretty easy for anyone with a modicum of experience at creating physical or experiential imaginative effects with hypnosis. When working with a client, I will use a standard induction set (usually Elman or something along those lines). I then establish and test for somnambulism (usually through a number-amnesia test, NOT the Elman test but something more dramatic along the lines of a stage show "forget the number seven" with eyes-open tests). I like this as it increases imaginative involvement and assures the client that something "real" is going on while training fully involved response. Then I pop ’em back into things and run the patter for the machine. Compound, test, compound. I would normally have some images to model or a video or game right then to run the process with as a deepening and training tool to increase involvement and reliable response to the process.

I have been asked if I do an induction prior to sitting a person down in front of the television or a computer. Yes, no, and maybe.

There are different routes to this. I have done an induction while the person was playing the video and I’ve done a setup with a post-hypnotic trigger that allows the person to go into state (imaginative involvement) on their own without the induction guiding (there are a couple MP3s for conditioning to do something to this effect on my DRTRC site at http://www.briandavidphillips.com which some folks use as a start-off point, not as good or as complete as real-life sessions with a qualified competent hypnotist but certainly a lot better than nothing). For certain individuals, I’ve also prepared videos of sports, dance, taichi, swimming and other activities the clients wished to work on (works with other recreational videos of the more adult kind for the right sort of folks) . . . that would include an induction with trigger phrases for deepening before the clips, with audio mixed in during the clips, and in between the clips for deepening the experience.

As to doing something within the medium itself and ensuring a safe level of dissociation, I would start off as above . . . induction as part of the preset and then run the medium with reinforcement and compounding suggestions under the sound. I would suggest dropping the text-based game medium though and opt for something with live video and live audio as it’s more involving. I’ve no doubts that a text-based adventure game would work (see some of the stuff I wrote on hypnotic hypnosis letters for some ideas of one approach, either here or on my group or in the chapter I wrote for Wendi Friesen’s Hypnotize Your Lover book). Basically though, get state, train for responsiveness and follow-through to suggestions and then run with the suggestions while firing in reinforcement compounding.

Some folks doing this sort of work feel that one can increase dissociation safety for the scary material in a game or story by adding in a humorous tag at the end of a scene or via a catch-phrase from a character. If you’re doing full-on experience, the scary stuff can be a bit much for some folks. Sometimes, what you might consider within tolerable range may not be for someone else and this is even more fully true when we’re talking about full-on experiential trance stuff of this sort. When I took my family to see Spiderman 2, we went with a few friends. While my daugther was perfectly okay with the movie (she’s ten), the son of a friend was really overwhelmed by it and his mother was partially freaked out. Imagine if she were experiencing all that stuff full-on. Some folks found the Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (the third and latest Harry Potter movie) to be more than they’d like to handle. Now, imagine playing a video game with those beasties coming right at ya. Kool, but needs a backdoor escape hatch. Heck, when I saw the twister scene in The Day After Tomorrow it snapped me back to my boyhood in Kansas . . .yes, Dorothy’s Kansas . . . and seeing real twisters lift real houses. Imagine what someone watching the more intense scenes in Resident Evil or it’s sequel Resident Evil: Apocalypse might go through . . . or, perhaps something without zombies but certainly very horrifying . . . Full Metal Jacket or any number of similar films or something like Caligula (I know, some readers are thinking to themselves, kool, but others will note the point). Humor at the end of a scene isn’t going to be enough . . . as the scary stuff is going to be experienced quite viscerally before that so by the end the damage or thrill has already happened . . . make sure you have some sort of safe word or dissociation key so that folks can pull out of the in-your-face-full-on-virtual-reality-experiential-mode anytime they wish.

By the way, only partially on topic due to the current discussion but far enough off that it won’t count as self-promotion . . . but folks interested in virtual reality and stereophotography may want to join the http://groups.yahoo.com/group/3D-StereoviewXchange as we share our stereo 3D photos there with members from all over the globe (while most of the stuff is pretty regular mundane stuff do be forewarned that some of the images are by folks who hang out on adult film sets and are inappropriate for some viewers). I shoot with a stereo attachment on my Digital Rebel and with an old Realist and take hundreds of photos.

I have a stereovideo attachment for my camcorder as well but the flicker on the television made me abandon it. I am hopeful that the new Sharp 3D computer will bring back full-on interest in 3D and we’ll see some better LCD monitor and projector options for stereopresentation.

If you don’t take 3D photos, then you aren’t taking real photos.

Live Trance and Prosper,
Brian
www.BrianDavidPhillips.com

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  1 comment for “Vicarious Experiential Memory Machine

  1. avatar
    July 27, 2004 at 6:15 am

    Glad to see our discussion has made it to your blog!
    hypnotic reality immersion-esque literature & a damn good book:
    _The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich_ by Philip K. Dick
    In this sf world, the mechanism isn’t hypnosis, ofc, but the goal is the same.
    great site!
    Conrad.