I am, most decidedly, a sceptic. I rarely believe anything on someone’s say so. The only faith I have is that the next mass extinction event will be the complete eradication of humanity because, like any climax woodland, only the fittest in any environment ever survives.
Hypnosis is one of those things that you’d imagine, given the above, that I would never believe in without some firm evidence. And, if I don’t believe in something, it’s clearly not going to work on me. It’s kind of like the stupidity of homeopathy which seems to work for the weak willed while being an example of a lot of marketing and no science.
However, the difference with hypnosis is I have actually seen positive results which indicate it does work. Dad, who had smoked for most of his life, was advised to give up because of the onslaught of emphysema. He tried many things but nothing worked until someone suggested a hypnotherapist.
It worked instantly. He went to the first session and never smoked again. The therapist also taught him meditation which he practised every day, swearing by the calming and peaceful life it provided.
So, armed with this combination of scepticism and belief, I attended a hypnotherapy session today with a Masters student. It’s for her dissertation. She wants to write a piece on the effects of hypnosis on mobile phone addiction and she has organised three sessions with ten participants each and I was in one today.
Without going into too much detail, I didn’t go under though I did feel remarkably relaxed during and afterwards. Whether any of the others went under, I don’t know because we all had our eyes closed. The reason I know that I didn’t was because at one point she told us to forget everything that had happened during the session and I didn’t forget anything.
Not that that matters. I rather enjoyed just sitting, listening to someone talk soothingly and put me in a super relaxed state.
I was the only male there, something that I’ve never minded particularly given I often wind up being the token male in a traditional female role. The fact that I much prefer the company of women to men also helps a lot.
Anyway, it didn’t work on me and my phone addiction has not lessened since. Or increased either, to be fair. I left and went shopping, stopping to admire a rather odd door down an alley.
I can only assume the door is some kind of outside art from the university which is, after all, only a road away. And it wasn’t the only art I saw today. Of course, I’m sure there’s plenty of people who wouldn’t think the door or what follows is actually art but people have some odd ideas.
I posit the following: Take Constable’s Hay Wain. A beautiful painting depicting the quiet simplicity of the country. I think the majority of people looking at Constable’s painting would agree that it constitutes ‘art’.
Now, get a camera and take a photo of the same scene, from the same spot in the same conditions. Get the photo developed and put it in a frame. Is this ‘art’? I think some people would think it wasn’t although there is very little difference between the two apart from the medium. Some people might argue that there’s less skill in taking a photo and it can be replicated time and time again whereas the oil painting is unique.
So, get rid of the camera and just stand and look at the scene. The same scene but live. This is definitely unique and will never happen again. Is that ‘art’? Does the changing landscape mean that this ‘art’ is constantly changing, growing, developing? When we look at the painted landscape then the real one and declare them both beautiful is it because they are both ‘art’?
This is a question that could easily apply to the works dotted throughout Farnham Heath at the moment. As we walked the girls through the heathland, little plots of imagination made themselves known among the pines and heather.
From spray painted scrunchies twisted into fungal shapes, to legless chairs placed between towering trees inviting the viewer to look up and admire the world in a specific way. It was all good fun.
Sometimes the pieces were excellent (I rather liked Bird Spotting), other times a bit silly but they were all art and deserved to be considered as such. Other people’s imaginations can only really be seen through their creations. When it combines us with the natural world, it’s always novel, usually original and generally questioning.
Back at home, it was barbeque time and I was lucky enough to be the sole audience to an outdoor concert while I sizzled and grilled kebabs and a few Gloucester Old Spot sausages.