INCEPTION Part 4: The Power of Post Hypnotic Suggestion
By Jacob Krueger
As discussed in parts 1, 2 and 3 of this series, Christopher Nolan’s screenplay Inception is deeply rooted in the principles of hypnosis. Learning more about these principles may not only change the way you approach your own writing, but also help you understand new ways that you can break through writer’s block and build the writer’s life you’ve been seeking.
The Post Hypnotic Suggestion
Just like the idea, in Inception, that Robert Fischer’s father really loved him, a post hypnotic suggestion is an idea, delivered in deep trance, that the subconscious mind accepts as if it were true. Post hypnotic suggestions are incredibly powerful, in that when done right, they become anchored in your consciousness, and begin to bring about real life changes in your every day reality.
As suggested in Inception, these post hypnotic suggestions only work if certain conditions are met:
- They are in alignment with the person’s beliefs. (In other words you can’t “incept” a kind person to be violent, even though you can “incept” a person who desperately wants to write to take action).
- The person chooses to accept the suggestion. This is why post hypnotic suggestions are more likely to work if they’re given by someone you trust– such as a respected teacher, a great hypnotist, or a person you can depend on (in the case of Inception, Eames masquerades as Peter Browning, the one person Robert truly believes in, to surreptitiously deliver the post-hypnotic suggestion)
- The suggestions, and the “dream” images used to get the person to them, are phrased in the right way for that particular person, using their own language, and their own symbolic systems.
The magic book used in last week’s hypnotic script is just one of many ways of delivering a post-hypnotic suggestion. Just as the classical three step model is only one of many ways of using hypnosis to bring about profound change.
How Are You Incepting Yourself?
The truth is, you’re delivering post-hypnotic suggestions to yourself every single day, in the words you say to yourself, and the soundtrack running in your head. And these suggestions can be even MORE powerful than the ones a hypnotist provides, because they are already perfectly aligned with your belief systems, come from a person you trust (yourself), and are perfectly phrased in the way that only you can say them.
So if post hypnotic suggestions really are this powerful– are so transformative, as suggested by Inception, that a person like Mal will continue to accept them as the truth, even if they are not true. Are so powerful that a person like Robert Fischer can heal his whole relationship with his abusive father based on a simple thought. Then its worth asking yourself, what are the post hypnotic suggestions that you’re giving yourself about your writing? And what effect are they having on your writing life?
Stay tuned for next week’s article, in which I’ll be breaking down the structure of Inception in relation to the three step hypnotic technique.