When I was a kid, my favorite comic strip character for a while was called “Mandrake the Magician.” Mandrake was a dashing character, dressed in black with a flowing black and red cape and a magician’s top hat. He was always called upon to pit his skills against some nefarious criminal. He could just wave his hand and put them into a hypnotic trance. Then he could make them think anything he wanted to make them think and make their world look like anything he wanted it to look like. You might say that I was “mesmerized.”
Turning to a Trusted Resource ~
Naturally, the prospect of obtaining such a power had to be explored. The encyclopedias were too big and clumsy, so I consulted a more dependable resource . . . my older brother’s “Novelty Catalog.” Its pages were full of fascinating stuff like itching powder, whoopee cushions, disappearing ink, and spy glasses. I figured if anybody had a way to enable me to hypnotize people, I could find it in there.
Sure enough, there was a book for sale that covered the entire topic. It was called How to Hypnotize Anyone. Never mind that it would cost me $.50. I wouldn’t have expected power like that to come cheap. It would be well worth it if I could make my brother think he was a giant frog and watch him chase flies all over the house trying to catch them with his tongue.
Resistance and Disappointment ~
Like the book instructed, I tried to get my brother to stare at a picture of a pinwheel while I told him that he was getting sleepier and sleepier. All he ever did was stare back at me and say things like, “And you’re gettin’ stupider and stupider.” Needless to say, I never got to see him hop around the house or eat a single fly. That was disappointing, but the idea of hypnotism continued to be fascinating to me over the years.
Much later in the course of my academic journey, I discovered that the concept had applications beyond sideshows at the county fair. While Mandrake’s hypnotic gestures were never adopted as approved protocol in the ranks of law enforcement, hypnotism became recognized as a potentially successful therapeutic procedure in the treatment of a variety of mental and emotional health issues. The process relies on combining a controlled environment, focused attention, a relaxed and submissive physical and mental attitude, and suggestive guidance to produce what is often referred to as a “trance-like state.”
In that state, the recipient is very receptive, both mentally and emotionally, to images, sounds, ideas, or physical responses that are introduced. The impact of hypnotic experiences can be dramatic for some people. It can enable altered perspectives and adjustment of physical, mental, and emotional responses. The systematic insertion of specific images, statements, or iconic symbols under controlled conditions can represent a sobering set of possibilities. The interesting question as we think about it now is whether a process like this has been going on all around us for a long time, and whether some of the disastrous situations and events unfolding are a direct result.
Opportunities Everywhere ~
The conditions that facilitate the kind of mental state that hypnotists love can be created in lots of ways. It isn’t hard to orchestrate settings that promote things like focused attention, yielding to an altered environment, accepting exposure to an extended repetition of phrases, symbols, ideas, or feelings. And it doesn’t take a trained hypnotherapist to create circumstances with powerful potential to alter our thinking. Video screens of all sizes can do it, movie theaters can do it, classrooms can do it, concerts can do it, and secluded “activist” gatherings can do it. All that’s required is shutting out other stimuli — like the real world might normally provide — and the repeated insertion of a single idea, a single response, a single feeling, a single worldview, or a single objective with a single purpose. Add to that the unmistakable suggestion that all other possibilities are dangerous and threatening, and you have the essence of today’s “wokeness” movement.
“Wokeness” in its current context is, in my opinion, a misnomer of the grandest proportions. The overwhelming evidence is that those who claim it aren’t really “woke” at all. The truth is that Mandrake, himself, couldn’t have done a better job of subjecting vulnerable people to an altered view of reality and blinding them to the real world. We’ve allowed a spiritually oppositional culture to systematically draw generation after generation away from truth and reality. We’ve created settings that invite Satan to inject his powerful suggestions into the minds and hearts of our young people for decades.
God Was Way Ahead ~
Our country desperately needs a wokeness movement, but not the one being perpetrated on us today. God, who came up with the idea, has been promoting it for thousands of years. Here are some examples of the ways Paul reminded Jesus’ followers that we’re to be the ones who are genuinely “woke.”
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. (1 Thessalonians 5:4–8 NKJV)
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:11–14 NKJV)
But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:13–16 NKJV)
Different Methods = Different Outcomes ~
God doesn’t put us in an artificial environment in order to create a manufactured replacement for reality, quite the opposite . . .
- He doesn’t pull us away from reality. Instead, He opens our eyes to all of it.
- He offers joy and peace, but opens our eyes to the depth of pain and grief around us as well.
- His abundant provision and marvelous healing grace do not exclude the reality of poverty and the ravages of disease.
- He extols the nobility of truth, justice, and righteousness but doesn’t hide the devastating produce of human depravity.
- He promises the inexpressible glory of eternal life in Heaven for those who repent and accept Jesus’ offer, but paints it against the paralyzing specter of eternal death and hell for all who refuse.
The woke followers of Jesus have a mission, and it isn’t to silence and destroy those who oppose us. It’s to love them enough to engage them, to declare and display the transforming power of the message of Jesus Christ, in the hope that God will awaken them to forgiveness, freedom, and life that never ends.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to tweet and share from the pull quotes below. Each one links directly back to this article through Twitter . . .
- “The systematic insertion of specific images, statements, or iconic symbols under controlled conditions can represent a sobering set of possibilities. Are some of the disastrous situations and events unfolding around us a direct result?” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “We’ve allowed a spiritually oppositional culture to systematically draw generation after generation away from truth and reality — a setting that invites Satan to inject his powerful suggestions into the minds and hearts of our young people.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Our country desperately needs a “wokeness” movement, but “not” the one being perpetrated on us today. God, who came up with the idea, has been promoting it for thousands of years.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God promises the inexpressible glory of eternal life in Heaven for those who repent and accept Jesus’ offer, but paints it against the paralyzing specter of eternal death and hell for all who refuse.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The woke followers of Jesus have a mission to engage those who oppose us and declare and display the transforming power of the message of Jesus Christ, in the hope that God will awaken them to forgiveness, freedom, and life that never ends.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
Check out Ron’s book, “Right Side Up Thinking in an Upside Down World ~ Looking at the World through the Lens of Biblical Truth”
The Kindle e-version is just $1.99. No Kindle device is needed. E-book readers are included on most computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you don’t have one, the free Kindle app can be easily downloaded directly from the Amazon site on almost any device.
Click here for a “Look Inside” preview at Amazon.
© 2021 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.