Mind control in days of yore

Anna Clare McDuff amcduff at math.sunysb.edu
Fri May 16 15:33:37 EDT 2003


On Fri, 16 May 2003, Charles Butler wrote:

> A bit of an OT request this, but maybe the collective wisdom of the group
> can save me from a shocking error? I'm currently writing an essay about
> enchantment and hypnotism in children's books, and I'm awfully tempted to
> makes a categoric statement to the effect that complete mind control of the
> 'Yes master I will obey' variety didn't make an appearance in literature
> until well after
> Mesmer - that basically it's a 19th century-till-now thing.
>
> Of course, enchantment existed, and in many forms. It involved physical
> effects (Circe) or physical abilities (as when Prospero uses the power
> of suggestion to make Ferdinand go all weak and wobbly) or physical
> perceptions (e.g. fairy glamour) or the affections (love potions, etc)
> or memory, or sleep - but I can't think of a single example that
> involves the absolute dominion of one will over another. Can you?

	I'm way out of my depth here, so may well be talking utter
nonsense, but don't quite a few religions talk about submittting one's
will to the will of the holy spirit or what have you?  I know it's not
quite the same thing as mesmerism, etc, and maybe it's poor usage to call
a god an individual, but it might be considered to be a distant
ancestor... There weas a lot of fear at the time of Mesmer, wasn't there,
that people were taking upon themselves things properly reserved for
God... But as I say, I'm only guessing!

        Anna

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