Walking to school the other morning:
Elder offspring: What's that smell? Is that smoke?
Dr. Free-Ride: Yep. Someone has a fire in the fireplace. Look, there's the smoke curling out of the chimney. To me it smells good on a cold morning, but when enough people do it, all the little particles in that smoke hurt the air quality.
Younger offspring: I bet it's nice and warm in front of that fireplace.
Elder offspring: [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] says that if you stare at a fire -- or even a candle flame -- long enough, you could be hypnotized.
Dr. Free-Ride: Hmm. Actually hypnotized?
Elder offspring: Yeah. Your mind would be focused on the fire and it wouldn't be conscious of anything else.
Dr. Free-Ride: You wouldn't just be really relaxed? Or even asleep with your eyes open?
Younger offspring: No, because if you're hypnotized, you can still answer questions.
Dr. Free-Ride: Some of us have a history of talking in our sleep. Indeed, some of us have answered the phone and made dinner plans while asleep.
Younger offspring: You mean you have.
Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah, OK. Anyway, I guess I'm not sure how I'd even be able to tell the difference between being hypnotized, asleep, and really relaxed.
Elder offspring: I think I could tell the difference.
Dr. Free-Ride: That's great. If only I could hypnotize you so we could find out whether you're right.
That night at dinner:
Younger offspring: [Dr. Free-Ride] doesn't believe people can be hypnotized!
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: What?!
Dr. Free-Ride: I didn't say that. I just said I didn't know how I'd be able to tell being hypnotized from being really relaxed or asleep.
Elder offspring: If the hypnotist made you cluck like a chicken...
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: My understanding is that being hypnotized won't make you do things that you wouldn't do while not hypnotized.
Younger offspring: Sometimes [Dr. Free-Ride] clucks like a chicken.
Dr. Free-Ride: Look, I understand that hypnosis is an accepted state, that lots of people have been hypnotized. What I'm saying is, if someone tried to hypnotize me, how would I tell that he had succeeded? How would I be able to distinguish that state from being awake or being asleep?
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: I think the experience would be distinctive enough that you'd know it.
Dr. Free-Ride: Well, in the meantime, in the absence of direct evidence of my own or a clearer description of what people who are hypnotized experience, I'm a little iffy about hypnosis.
Younger offspring: You don't believe in it?
Dr. Free-Ride: My beliefs about it have big question marks on them.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: But there are plenty of real things that are hard to describe to other people who haven't experienced them. How do I convince someone without access to my feelings that I'm in love?
Younger offspring: See if one of Cupid's arrows is stuck in you.
Elder offspring: But Cupid isn't real.
Dr. Free-Ride's better half: Cupid's arrow is a metaphor.
Dr. Free-Ride: OK, we have these ways of talking, and the tricky thing is to sort out which of them are just metaphors and which point to real stuff. So, we're happy to say that Cupid isn't real.
Younger offspring: Yeah.
Elder offspring: Neither is the stork. I mean, there really are storks, but they don't bring babies.
Dr. Free-Ride: OK.
Younger offspring: Hmmm ... I think Santa is real, though, because we get presents from him and from Mrs. Claus.
Dr. Free-Ride: So, even though you haven't seen Santa, you like the way the circumstantial evidence lines up.
Elder offspring: Yeah. Besides, you're not supposed to see Santa.
Younger offspring: If you break that rule, you might not get any presents at all.
For the record, presents from Mrs. Claus is awesome.
I have been hypnotised. It is a most queer experience. You know that you are not a chicken, or seeing naked people, or whatever, but you are able to convince yourself to play along to such an extent that you simultaneously know that you ARE.
Why haven't the offspring seen Santa? He's right there in every mall and parade! Oy! I can't get away from the man!
Our daughter received gifts from both Santa and Mrs. Claus. We finally realized that the jig was up when one year there were presents under the tree for both Santa and Mrs. Claus with tags signed by "Dependent Claus."
What I've noticed when hypnotized is a feeling of emotional detachment. It's like you're disconnected. I self-hypnotize when stressed or anxious and it calms me down.
What happens when you become 'engaged' in watching a fire or the tv, reading a book, or listening to music is better termed, 'entrancement'. A somewhat more intense version of hypnosis. You lose yourself and the outside world, with the activity you're engaged in holding all your attention. Once a few years back I became entranced during a local dance class recital. I was, in a sense, only a presence watching the dancers as they performed. No sense of time, no sense of place, no sense of body; only me and the performance. Yes, I was entranced.
Pheromones and hormones can trigger entrancement. Being in love is one example of this. So is deep hate. You hate somebody really bad you can become entranced by him and unable to divert your attention from him when he's present. Entrancement is not always a good thing.
BTW, small kids are real easy to entrance. Moms and dads can do it just with the sound of their voice.
Your kids absolutely crack me up. They are the best!
chezjake- that's fantastic. Your daughter is obviously right up there with the sprogs on the "freakin hilarious and brillant" spawn list.