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Hypnosis Factor

There are two schools of thought about what actually happens psychologically.

It has been well established that hypnosis is an ability of the subject. It has essentially nothing to do with the hypnotist, and in fact even unskilled trainees, students, or the subject themselves can hypnotize a person with high hypnotic ability.

  1. Social-cognitive theory. Basically, the act represents a very special social situation in which you're allowed to do outrageous things with no consequences. It is socially understood that that isn't "really" you, and afterwards you can claim amnesia or loss of control or whatever and you'll never be blamed for acting like that. This isn't exactly "they're all faking", because there is also an extreme social pressure to do what the hypnotist says and not be a buzzkill for everyone else. So, the combination of the pressure and the opportunity give rise to all the things you see.
  2. Dissociation theory. Basically, you have two aspects of your consciousness: The everyday thinking and feeling part you call "I", and a hidden observer in the back of your mind that just kind of watches everything. Normally you identify with the I, and have only a faint awareness of the observer. In hypnosis you become the observer - which is an altered state of consciousness - and don't worry so much about the I. The observer cares far less about your social standing, personal qualms, etc, and just notes everything going on. So it is more likely to do far-out stuff, similar to what you might do when you're drunk, high, in a dream, etc (all of which are other altered states of consciousness).

Hypnotists are very used to people not believing them (and, really, it's a ton of fun to make a believer out of those sorts of people), but people just get nasty about it. Still, I'm going to address a few points that we've looked at in greater detail:

  1. Yes, hypnosis is real but comes from the person being hypnotized and not the hypnotist.
  2. No, no one is a victim. Although they are in a hypnotic state, they are not helpless. Their inhibitions are lowered, and it's easier to convince them of things outside of their normal reality. But they're never victims. Just volunteers.
  3. The simple truth is, some people are more easily hypnotized than others, and that's why they get selected in thos shows.
  4. When it doesn't work for what ever reason the people tend to be the loudest "Oh my god, hypnosis is fake because it didn't work for me!" Yet you will always find people trying to speak up saying "It worked for me!" Sadly, they get shouted down as liars.

The most interesting theory I've heard comes from the psychological theory of bicamerilism.

The theory states that the mind is 'two chambered' . This corresponds to the brain's two hemispheres. The author essentially argues that hypnosis is tapping into the ancient human capability to receive commands from one part of the brain, and listen to them with the other. It's far more than I can explain here, and it's a far out theory but not as dubious as it first sounds, the guy who invented it was a Princeton psychologist.

It boils down to these factors:

  1. The only people who volunteer for a stage show are those who want to entertain an audience. People who don't want to act in outlandish ways would never volunteer.
  2. The hypnotist narrows down the selection by asking non-responsive individuals to leave the stage.
  3. The audience cheers and applauds whenever something outrageous happens, which encourages the volunteers to be even more outrageous.
  4. An authority figure telling people what to do allows those people to deny responsibility for their own actions.
  5. Finally, hypnosis -- a state of mind where critical thinking is suspended -- allows people to accept suggestions they wouldn't normally accept.

John Oliver

Whenever you take out a loan or get a service that you don't pay for in advance, you owe someone money.

That is how the system works.

If you don't pay, they chase you down looking to get their money. For many of these people who are owed money, they want to spend their time performing services for people, not chasing down delinquent payers. So for a fraction of the total price of the debt, they sell the right to collect the money to some third party. That way they get some of their money back (more than they would without a bunch more effort chasing down the people who haven't been paying).

So now the third party who specializes in chasing these people down will try to find the people who haven't paid and get them to pay.

John Oliver bought the right to collect these debts ($15 million in medical debt), just like these third parties do, but then forgive the debts - that is he told the people who owe money that they don't have to pay him back.


People don't really know the rules of the road. Especially when it comes to instances that they don't have a clue what to do. Take for instance the unmarked crosswalks that you find around.

What's an unmarked crosswalk you might be asking.

Pedestrians have the right of way at every intersection, even T-intersections. A crosswalk does not need to be painted on the street. You can't just rush out into the street, there needs to be some kind of reasonable gap and time for cars to stop.

An unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, basically, when there are two intersecting streets, even if there aren't crosswalks painted into the roadway, it is understood that there is a crosswalk (unmarked) where the sidewalks continue across the roadway.

"Crosswalk" is either: (a) That portion of a roadway included within the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of sidewalks at intersections where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles, except the prolongation of such lines from an alley across a street. (b) Any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for pedestrian crossing by lines or other markings on the surface. Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, there shall not be a crosswalk where local authorities have placed signs indicating no crossing.

Crosswalks are often marked with white lines. Yellow crosswalk lines may be painted at school crossings. Most often, crosswalks in residential areas are not marked.

  1. Anywhere there's a crosswalk painted on the ground.
  2. At any intersection (including T-intersections) where roads meet at roughly 90 degrees, even if there's no marking, except where signs say otherwise. This unmarked crosswalk follows the natural continuation of the sidewalk to the other side of the roadway.

Vehicles must yield right of way to pedestrians in a crosswalk (marked or unmarked) though this does not absolve pedestrians from their responsibility to take due care and not suddenly enter crosswalks.

Vehicles are prohibited from passing vehicles stopped at a crosswalk for a pedestrian so this means drivers shouldn't pass vehicles that are stopped at intersections or crosswalks at a high rate of speed, so drivers can stop and properly yield to pedestrians if they're present but out of view. Additionally, drivers must stop at a red light even when making a right on red, and drivers must stop at the limit line (if present) or before entering the crosswalk.

Still, if recall correctly, pedestrians are no longer allowed to begin crossing as soon as a "walk" light starts counting down or flashing.

Additionally, drivers must stop at a red light even when making a right on red, and drivers must stop at the limit line (if present) or before entering the crosswalk. Still, in my experience, there are a lot of people who at the very least don't care.

As a cyclist and pedestrian I see a lot of people just roll through the turn without regard to other road users. As a driver I get honked at a lot if I stop properly. Certainly most people are just impatient and don't care, but by sheer numbers there must be many who don't know that this is the law.

Safe travels!