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Solve this puzzle/conundrum

  1. Aug 11, 2011 #1
    ***I hope im in the correct section of this forum, im not a physics student and I havnt studied mainstream physics at any official level so I hope my question itself is not too flawed, infact im not sure of which category this question can go under but here goes....***

    This is a case which was presented in a tour regarding a hypnotist at a party. A friend and I expanded on this case and had to ask a few questions which left us with a lot to ponder. First I will outline the situation then I will ask the question, this case has much to do with the nature of reality, decoding reality, observation etc...

    here is the situation
    A hypnotist is invited to a party, a father is then hypnotised into not seeing his daughter, in other words he is told by the hypnotist that his daughter no longer exists, while the father is asleep the performer places the mans daughter in front of him so that the daughters stomach is infront of the fathers face, when the performer clicks his finger the father wakes up and see's nothing infront of him, the party guests have a good laugh and the show continues......

    Then the same cenario is presented however the hypnotist then places his hand behind the daughters back and is holding a watch, when he awakens the second time he is asked "what do you see"? the father describes how he can only see the hypnotist holding a watch.

    Ok a few obserbations then the question...

    since we understand a bit about the decoding system of the brain we know that in this case that the hypnotist was manupulating the fathers brain so that the father was not recieving the daughters vibrational information so that his brain could decode this information and project his daughter into his everyday world.

    Now, here is the conundrum and question:: to the fathers reality the girl did not exist, but for everyone else who could decode her she did exist, so in a way she was in two states, what would happen if the father tried to reach out and grab the watch?

    think about this for a minute because to him there would not be anything in his way other than invisible frequencies, he should be able to simply grab the watch as easy as I can grab my mouse since my hand passes through the frequencies of tv and radio stations which are everywhere, the daughter now is nothing but frequencies which he is not decoding-just as a radio cannot decode frequencies into sound unless it is tuned into a frequency, but if that is the case what would the other guest at the party being seeing at this point? would they see his hand go through flesh? Or would the man stop at some kind of invisible wall???

    before you answer try and think about the decoding system of the brain and illustion of reality and the fact that we decode the world around us by observation and by the decoding of electrical signals in the brain which dictates what we see, touch, taste, smell....
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2011 #2
    Interesting theory, but she's is in front of him so he can't grab the watch.
  4. Aug 11, 2011 #3
    I cant really articulate how or why it cant be that simple, when I hear even mainstream science asking if this world is illusory? I have to answer with a resounding YES!!!! can anyone on the wilder side of science/consciousness understand where im comming from?
  5. Aug 11, 2011 #4
    I 100% understand your theory and it's very interesting, however unreal.
  6. Aug 11, 2011 #5
    a blind man cannot walk through walls...
  7. Aug 11, 2011 #6
    it is not possible to grab the watch i think so
  8. Aug 11, 2011 #7


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    Let's just get something straight. Hypnotism is an artifact of the mind convincing itself of things, even if those things are, in reality, contradictory. When confronted with a paradox, the hypnotized mind simply chooses not to examine it.

    1] We must first assume hypnotism actually works. Not a given.

    2] We must postulate a way the father knew the hypnotist was holding a watch. No form of hypnotism would result in the father seeing through the daughter. (The hypnotist probably mentioned it. Dad may be hypnotized, but he's not a zombie.)

    3] If he reached out for the watch, he would hit something that stopped him from grabbing it. This is perfectly normal. He would say there's something (or even someone) in the way. Under the most optimistic conditions of 1 and 2, he would simply be unable to describe what is in the way.

    If he were asked to describe something about the watch that was not previously known - such as what time it read - he would be unable to do so. He may or may not be able to say why he can't read the watch ("there's something blocking my view"), depending on show strongly he is supposedly hypnotized.

    Conclusion: the paradox is only in his mind. Resolving the paradox is his problem, not anyone else's.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2011
  9. Aug 11, 2011 #8
    Of course you are right, Dave, anyone with a brain can see that. Unfortunately, you did not use the terms "vibrational information" or "invisible frequencies" nor did you collapse the daughter's dual quantum state or other such crackpottery, so I am afraid the OP will not understand you.
  10. Aug 11, 2011 #9


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    :blinks sheepishly: You're right. There's too much crackpottery here.
  11. Aug 11, 2011 #10


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    NO!!! Don't say the "c" word... I didn't get to reply yet!
  12. Aug 11, 2011 #11


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  13. Aug 11, 2011 #12


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    The premise is flimsy, at best.

    There are no known mechanisms by which additional information is made available to a hypnotized individual as you state here. If I were to hypnotize you into believing you were in California standing on the coast and then I asked you for an accurate description of the weather where you were, you would still have to resort to educated guessing if you didn't know.

    If that were even possible, then hypnotism is how all of the major discoveries of the world would be made: "You're getting very sleepy... when I snap I fingers you will awake, and in front of you will be a book with instructions on how to confirm the existence of the Higgs boson with nothing but an egg-beater."

    But you can't confirm the existence of the Higgs boson with just an egg-beater. So what would he see?!

    There, I created a paradox that is EXACTLY as tantalizing and intellectual as your's.

    Oh, yeah, and vibrational frequencies, decoding signals, quantum banana mathematics, teriyaki burrito fields, blah blah blah...
  14. Aug 11, 2011 #13


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    I had the opportunity to be hypMOtized once, during a stage show on a cruise. The performer brought up about a dozen people (apparently because it's a hit & miss thing).

    I sat there for 45 minutes with my eyes closed, trying very hard to "go with the flow" waiting for something interesting to happen. She kept not choosing me for things.

    It was intriguing though that she could tell I was not under the spell, which is why she kept choosing other people.

    Like the guy next to me who, when told to do so, lay his head on my shoulder and started snoring loudly. And the other guy who, when woken up with a hypnotic suggestion, ran around gesticulating and yelling at the other volunteers for swearing every time anyone spoke the word 'hula hoop'.
  15. Aug 11, 2011 #14


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    Welcome to PhysicsForums, whatuser!

    Sadly, your ideas are not really science as we know it around here. Science is more concerned with useful descriptions of patterns. Speculation in which most of the assumptions are known to be incorrect is not encouraged because it makes no useful predictions.

    I would suggest that you read up more on physics and learn why some refer to the world as "illusory". This is just a word, but there is some very fascinating stuff behind it!
  16. Aug 11, 2011 #15
    BTW you folks dont need to mock me, I simply asked for help, its esspecially rude since I assume you read my first sentence and was of the understanding that I am not a student of mainstream or official physics, my percieved ignorence on the subject should be met with enlightenment and sharing of information from others- not mockery of all things, some of you may be smart but unfortunatly not very wise.

    This story/case originated from a book called "holographics universe" by Michael Talbot, the subject under hypnosis was able to read the inscription on the watch, while the watch was pressed againts the daughters back so no one else could see it- let alone read it, sorry I didnt go into that particular detail, in anycase it dosnt make a difference- infact this new information probably adds skepticism to the entire story now dosnt it?
  17. Aug 11, 2011 #16
    I don't think I would recognize anyone by just looking at their stomach, and I doubt the father would recognize his own daughter that way either. So I think the story from the book is bogus, and put there just so readers can go "awe, wow", and be led down the writer's path of false reasoning. How else could he "prove" his subject matter.

    As for mocking you, I don't believe anyone has. Consider how a magician uses the tricks of his trade to defy suspend belief, if that makes sense. Everyone loves a good magic trick, and here people were just letting you know that the strory is more magic than science.
  18. Aug 11, 2011 #17
    I suggest if anyone has a chance to go to a hypnotist show if they ever get a chance. Not just the ones on stage fall under the spell, but some in the audience also.
  19. Aug 11, 2011 #18


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    OK, well there might have been a bit of mockery there in posts 8, 9 and 10.

    whatuser: apologies. I did not intend to mock you personally; but the concepts mentioned in the opening post such as "vibrational information" do qualify as crackpot ideas. Hypnotism in general skirts the edge of crackpottery. Yes, there are some subtle forms of it, but it is strongly contested that it is as powerful as you suggest.
  20. Aug 11, 2011 #19


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    If you had told us this was in reference to Michael Talbot, this could have been solved with the first post.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Talbot_(author [Broken])
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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