hypnotism

(Greek: hypnos, sleep)

That artificial form of profound sleep in which the body of a person is apparently in a state of complete lethargy, while his mind appears to be perfectly awake, but only within the range in which he is subject to the operator. The operator has the subject in his power, and can make him do his will. The subject passes under the absolute rule of the operator, who assumes full command of the subject's senses and mental faculties. Most of the various phenomena of hypnotism, if not all of them, are of a natural character. The mystery which originally surrounded hypnotism has long since been removed. The all-potent factor and the exclusive cause of the phenomena are suggestion and the absolute surrender of the patient to the practitioner. When practised by reliable medical men for therapeutic purposes, or by physiologists for the sake of research, hypnotism may be made use of, provided the necessary precautions are taken to avert bodily and spiritual dangers. Hypnotism when practised by ordinary jugglers and charlatans is a perilous undertaking, and should be discountenanced and forbidden by law.

New Catholic Dictionary

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