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There are many similarities between man and the lower animals. They are both capable of learning to various degrees. It has been demonstrated that some animals are able to reason to some extant. For example, if food is placed outside the reach of a caged monkey that has been provided with sticks when joined together will reach the food, the monkey will soon join the sticks and retrieve the food. This is possible because of the monkey's ability to think creatively. Man and animal learn in the same way; through sensory information reaching the nervous system as a result of objects and events that can be seen or felt. Through a process called conditioning (classical or operant) all animals learn to respond to these objects and events in certain ways. The way we learn to respond to these objects and events in the real world outside of our skin determines the behavior of animal and man alike.
There is however one great difference between the human animal and all other animals. This one factor has made it possible for man to rise supreme over all other animals on this planet. This single factor is his ability to use WORDS. The invention of speech is man's greatest discovery. The importance of semantic or articulated language cannot be over emphasized.
There are many books and classes dealing with self-help available, but in all systems, the most important factor is overlooked. The language we use! We depend on language for thoughts, for ideas, and for the most part we think in words. Yet we tend to overlook their influence on us.
While it is possible to think without using words, this type of thinking is very limited and very primitive. Although we can only guess what an animal experiences, it is probable that a hungry dog has a mental image of the meat he would like to eat. In this sense he is "thinking" about the piece of meat. But he does not have a symbol (word) for meat, or for the general category food. Man does not require words to decide how to dress himself in the morning. A series of mental pictures is sufficient for this purpose. But thinking without the aid of verbal symbols is limited to the simplest of matters.
We need words to deal with abstract ideas -- ideas such as "justice", "happiness" and "success," which unlike such words as "chair", "ball" and "dog" stand for entities that cannot be seen or touched.
Words are symbols that stand for objects, actions or ideas. For example, the word "table" is a symbol that stands for that article of furniture we sometimes eat from. The advantages of a thinking system bases on symbols or words are tremendous. We do not have to see a table to deal with it mentally. The word "table" stands for all the characteristics and functions we observe in that article of furniture. Once it is tagged with a name, we know without studying a table what it has in common with other objects like it. Words therefore shorten and streamline the learning process.
As great as this system of human thought may be, if we are not very careful there can be serious and disastrous disadvantages. As we have learned to react to objects and events in the real world at a subconscious level, so we learn to respond to words at a subconscious level. The difficulty is this: We tend to respond to words as though they were what they symbolized. However, words are not the things they stand for. For example, the word "steak" cannot be eaten. The word "chair" cannot be sat upon. On first hearing this most people respond by thinking, "That's obvious, everyone knows that." However, it is not as apparent as you think.
Let us give you a simple example to illustrate how we subconsciously respond to words as though they were what they represent. If the word "fire" were shouted when you were sitting in a crowded theater your reaction would most likely be instantaneous -- a panic response. You would experience fear; you may tremble and feel your heart pounding violently. Your mouth may feel dry. You may experience a sensation of hollowness in your stomach. Your blood pressure will either fall or rise. Your face may turn white. Your legs and arms may feel week and helpless. In this paralysis of fear, action may be impossible.
Now stop and think. To what did your body react to with such profound changes? Your entire body responded to a single word. The word "fire." You did not see any flames. You did not smell any smoke. You did not feel any pain. You did not feel the warmth of the fire. Your reaction was to a word.
|The instructions presented are from the personal collections and writing library of Mr. Robert E. Cutter, who died December 13, 2001, while in the process of completing the transfer of his work to the internet. These are offered as educational instruction only. The purpose of this instruction is the effective learning and use of hypnotic techniques for vocational or avocational self-improvement. This instruction is not offered as a substitute for, nor as a supplement to, any form of therapy concerned with physical, mental, nervous or emotional illness. Robert E. Cutter served as web consultant for American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association for three years. His hypnosis education came through the training he provided at a school he owned in the 1950's in Los Angeles, California, along with his wife who preceded him in death in 1980. Robert Cutter was not a psychologist and did not practice psychotherapy, but his interest in hypnosis motivated him to provide free resources materials for others who wanted to learn to use the power of their minds to improve well being and health-related issues.|
Michael A. Robinson, R.N.- BC Psychiatry
Licensed Texas State Nursing Board Registered Nurse
Texas State Nursing Board Certified in Psychiatry
In Honor and Memory of Robert E. Cutter, B.S. 1923-d.2001
From the Writings of Robert Cutter's Self Hypnosis Center
About Feelings Network
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