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TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016
Emile Coue studied the idea of brainwashing yourself.



Science & Technology

I am sure that many of you are aware of the placebo effect. When given an inert substance under the guise of treatment, patients often recover from their illnesses in a remarkable show of "mind over matter". Similarly, the 'nocebo effect' is provoked when patients hold a negative view towards their prescriptions.

This, I believe, does not only work in medicine, when patients believe or do not believe in their treatment, but can be provoked at any time and to any end.

The French psychologist Emile Coué wrote extensively on the theory and practice of autosuggestion.Applications of deliberate autosuggestion are intended to change the way one believes, perceives, or thinks; to change one's acts; or to change the way one is composed physically or physiologically. An example might be individuals reading nightly aloud a statement they have written describing how they would like to be, then repeating the statement in their mind until they fall asleep

I, myself, have tested a placebo-like effect many times. For instance, two years ago, I was very shy and quiet. During the summer holidays, I decided it was time to change my personality. (Note: this is different from presenting a different personality). By simply imagining, and believing, myself to be a more outwards and sociable person, I soon became more outwards and sociable. Not only did I become more of an extrovert, but, through imagining and believing myself to be a more attractive person, my looks began to change.

In addition to this, I decided to test this out on my perception of others. I beganing imagining myself attracted to a certain guy, a guy of whom I had no interest before, 'fantasising' myself to be attracted to them, and even to love them. And, soon enough, my feelings towards this guy changed, and I began to become more and more attracted to him, and, perhaps, even to have fallen in love with him. Just to make sure, I decided to reverse this effect, and stopped myself from thinking about this guy in such a way, and, over time, my feelings towards him diminished. I repeated this with two or three other guys just to make sure, and all my attempts were successful. In the end, I think people have the whole idea mixed up. Falling in love does not make you think about someone more often, and in more intimate ways - thinking about someone more often, and in more intimate ways, makes you fall in love.

Has anyone else tried the same? Does anyone have opposing theories as to how I was able to 'change my reality'. Do you think it's possible to extend this "mind over matter" effect to other areas?



So...if someone is persistent enough, and convinces someone they like (but who doesn't like them back) to think about them enough, they can get the person they like to like them too! I've got some calls to make...

Interesting stuff, Lilian. Were you at all freaked out by your own malleability when it came to liking (or unliking) boys?

As cynical as I am about mind-over-matter philosophies and self-help style personal transformations (for reasons I'll get into in an article...), it does seem we're extremely changeable beings, perhaps the most alterable creature of all. Books like The Brain That Changes Itself seem more optimistic than, say, a Steven Pinker book like The Blank Slate, which argues that we're more fixed, by genetics and biology, than we'd probably like to think.

I say "optimistic" in relation to malleability, although there is a dark side to the idea that we're so mentally flexible, namely that we can be moulded into whatever the social engineers would like us to be, that is, rigid, unflexible, and obedient. A little ironic, maybe...

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