by Jon Rappoport
January 14, 2012

from Jon Rappoport Website

Since I’ve written hundreds of articles that attempt to stimulate imagination, I’ve had to take into account the resistance – many people pretending they’re simply “the audience.” They watch. They keep their distance. They enjoy the show.

If they think I might be writing about them, they deflect the message like a matador.

In some strange way, the reflex to deflect keeps the universe in the condition of status quo.

Because, think about it. What would happen if a few billion people, on this planet alone, woke up one morning galvanized by their imaginations to such a degree that they began to create new realities at an unprecedented rate?

Life would never be the same.

To personify what I mean by status quo, it’s as if a deal were taking place, under the table, between humans and the universe. “We’ll pretend imagination doesn’t exist, and you, universe, keep us enchanted by things as they are.”

Hopefully, you understand that I’m talking about magic here – or the lack of it.

Almost all discussions of mind control, programming, operant conditioning never visit this territory, where the really big-time programming lives.

Well, what is this conditioning? What is its nature?

After many years of considering these questions, my answer is simple. It’s resistance. That’s the beginning and end of it. I know, it sounds too simple.

There must be a complex structure involved. In fact, humans would be drawn to a structure like that. Fascinated, absorbed. They would sign up in droves to study it. Why? Because it would constitute yet another deflection. It would allow them to wriggle off the hook.

I’ll offer you another considered conclusion. Even if there were such a structure, whose purpose was to keep people from exercising their imaginations to the fullest, once that system was probed, understood, and eradicated, humans would remain in limbo. They would still be one step from creating new realities – just as they are now.

In another context, with a different implied meaning, T.S. Eliot famously wrote,

“We shall not cease from exploration/and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Remove all the supposed programming, and we’re really where we started, but in this case we don’t know the place for the first time, we don’t know very much more than we did. We’re rather bewildered, like the institutionalized person who looks at the open door to his cell one day and doesn’t step beyond it.

Because the resistance is still there.

The word “will” has been pretty much removed from the modern vocabulary.

“He doesn’t have the will to do the work.”

We’re taught there are layers and layers of social, psychological, and political factors that separate a person from acting on an idea. And all these factors must be addressed.

You want operant conditioning? There it is: the deleting of the idea of will behind an avalanche of fake knowledge.

To live through and by imagination is a choice, taken or not taken in freedom. That’s the short and long of it, and no amount of complaining will change the situation.

To put it another way, resistance is not a thing that sits in the mind like a solid object. It is a generalized description of a person saying NO. It really refers to a refusal to act.

People ask,

“But why does the person say no. Why does he refuse?”

They hope to find a mechanism which, if corrected, will turn the no into a yes. In words, a revolution achieved passively.

“Sir, just sit here and we’ll insert this needle and remove the obstruction and then everything will change.”


It doesn’t work that way.

Here’s another picture.

All the refusals, over time, tend to pile up into a glob. If you could peel them away, one by one, you wouldn’t have curtailed the ongoing decision to refuse, you would have merely taken off some incidental debris surrounding it.




That’s the background for a conversation I had in the late 1980s with my friend and colleague, Jack True, the most innovative hypnotherapist I’ve ever encountered.

In this interview, I touch on the beginnings of the Magic Theater:

Q (Rappoport): Just give me your response to this: a person can say YES or NO.

A (Jack): Yes isn’t necessarily better than no. It depends on the situation.

Q: Are they both pure choices?

A: What else could they be?

Q: The result of habit? The result of long chains of cause and effect?

A: Yeah, sure, you could analyze it that way, but then you’d miss the point.

Q: Which is?

A: Take this kind of thing. “Shah ousted. The president refuses to send troops to Iran.” People assume the president has a choice. They don’t say, “The president couldn’t send troops, because when he was a small boy, his father punished him for shooting a water pistol at a neighbor.” (laughs)

Q: He’s accountable for his decisions.

A: Yes. And he’s free to make those decisions either way. So is everyone.

Q: We have mountains of “psychological research” that deny that.

A: Yeah, well, we have mountains of research that say the universe started with an explosion. So?

Q: Freedom exists.

A: If not, what are we doing here?

Q: Why are we talking at all?

A: Right.

Q: You can lead a patient to water, but you can’t make him drink.

A: No. I make him drink.

Q: How?

A: I find an avenue that’s clear and I send him down that avenue.

Q: Not sure I understand.

A: I find a channel along which he can use his imagination, and I can get him to do it, because it’s fairly easy for him.

Q: You give him a taste of what’s that like.

A: Many tastes.

Q: Which takes ingenuity.

A: I have a fair amount of that.

Q: For instance, you have patients invent dreams.

A: They’re used to dreaming. They know what it is. So I can tip the scale a little and get them to create dreams they never had. But if I had a patient who told me he never dreamed, I’d find another way.

Q: Suppose you have a patient who digs in his heels and says he doesn’t want to use his imagination at all?

A: That’s the “no.” He makes his free choice.

Q: Why does he choose “no?”

A: Why? Because he prefers “no” in this case, just like he prefers to eat fish rather than spinach. He prefers the city to the country. I take him at his word.

Q: So if he doesn’t want to invent anything, you leave him alone?

A: Hell no. I trick him.

Q: How?

A: Maybe he makes furniture in his garage. So we talk about that, and I have him speculate about what kind of furniture he might make. New things. I get him going in that direction. And finally I say, “Well, suppose you were dreaming about furniture? What kind of crazy thing might you see in the dream?” And he starts talking about a chair with six legs. Whatever. Or he has a problem with his boss. And I ask him what he’d really like to say to the boss and that develops into a little role playing.

Q: You play the boss and he plays himself.

A: Sure. I’ve done that. So he’s making it up. And I lead him into new places. As the boss, I’ll suddenly say, “You know, I have this project I want to get you involved with. I need you to spy on a few people who wormed their way into the company.

They’re plants from our competitor.” And that might work. We’d be off and running. He says he doesn’t want to use his imagination, but he’s doing it. I play out that string as long as I can. I had a guy, we ended up talking about missions to another solar system, and he was the cook on the ship.

Q: Theater.

A: Yeah.

Q: Any roles are possible. I like it.

A: No limits on that.

Q: I could play a president and you could play the sap rising in a tree in March.

A: Why not?

Q: I’ve always admired Psychodrama. But I’ve wanted to extend the range of possible roles.

A: Well, with any psychologist, that range tends to be limited, because you’re thinking about direct therapy. You want to choose roles that seem relevant to the patient’s problems.

Q: But that’s not necessary. Maybe the wilder the roles, the better.

A: As long as the patients is imagining and inventing, why not?

Q: I once had a dream where I saw these poles in the ground. It was as if I was looking at the universe. It was a huge space with poles in the ground. That’s all it was. The poles were sunk very deep in the ground. The idea was, this is the pattern. This is where things are placed. It’s fixed. It doesn’t change its basic structure. That was the feeling.

A: But if you start playing all sorts of roles, the pattern does change.

Q: That’s right.

A: Well, that’s what I do with patients. They have a kind of fixed firmament.

So instead of trying to pry one pole out of the ground so we can move it, I just have the patient invent. I get him to invent dreams he never had, and the pattern shifts. Things that were fixed become mobile. And when that happens, the system he has starts to disintegrate. It’s like moving an iceberg.

Do you get behind it and push with your hands, or do you go to the root? The root is, a person has a pattern of ideas and feelings, and he keeps it in place. I have him imagine other things, and after a while the pattern moves. It breaks apart.

Q: How did you figure this out?

A: Well, partly through conversations you and I have had about painting. Also, from Psychodrama. And initially from old Tibetan techniques. They were all about imagination.

Q: This isn’t hypnotism.

A: It’s reverse hypnosis.

Q: Meaning?

A: I once had a patient, a business type. An executive. He was always falling asleep at his desk. It was like a sickness for him. That’s how he saw it. And I told him flat-out that he was trying to have a dream, and that was what was going on. He was trying to dream something, and he couldn’t get to it.

We talked about that for a long time. But then it occurred to me that he was in a sort of waking trance. He was, every day, succumbing to a little bit of that trance. So I put him in a light trance, in my office, and I tried to find where that thing was coming from. I tried to locate the “state of hypnosis” he was in. And I couldn’t.

So I had him invent a few dreams. And he was off like a rocket, making up dreams. It was pretty powerful. We did this for six or seven sessions, and after that he wasn’t falling asleep at work anymore. The change was quite remarkable.

Q: What conclusion did you come to?

A: He had been in a waking trance at work because he was in a basic trance, a more basic trance.

Q: I don’t get it.

A: He was in a trance “about imagination.” He was putting himself in a trance so he wouldn’t use his imagination.

Q: Oh.

A: That’s the granddaddy of all trances, you see? A person puts himself in a trance as a way of saying no to his own imagination. And in this patient’s case, he would literally fall asleep. So when I had him invent dreams, he went right with his imagination, and he woke up. He didn’t need that waking trance anymore.

Q: You’re saying everybody is in that trance.

A: You bet. That’s what we’re dealing with here. That’s planet Earth.

Q: So people–

A: Look, you talk to people about their imagination, and most of the time they draw a blank. They don’t think you’re talking about anything important. See? They say, “Yeah, well, that’s interesting, but I have to get back to folding napkins.”

Or moving pieces of paper around on their desks. You could give that guy speed and he’d seem to wake up, but he wouldn’t really know what to do. He wouldn’t start imagining and inventing like crazy, because he’s still saying no to that.

A person pretends, on some level, that all this business about imagination doesn’t mean much at all. But actually it’s very, very big. The trance he’s in is all about not using his imagination. That’s how he says no. He falls asleep. He walks around, but he’s asleep. He’s asleep IN A PARTICULAR WAY.

He asleep when it comes to imagination. Which means he’s asleep when it comes to the core of existence!

Q: Imagination.

A: Yeah. Reality is what’s left over when a person doesn’t use his imagination in a powerful way.

Q: So if you had him play the role of God and you played the role of Merlin, something might trigger him to wake up.

A: Theater is waking up if you do it right. I had a patient who wanted to be a choreographer in the worst way. She was a secretary but she wanted to be a choreographer. So with her, it was a straight line. I had her imagine all sorts of dances. You know, programs. Performances. Fragments of ballets.

And eventually, she became a choreographer. I used desire as the way in. Her desire. Because it was right there, in the open. I used her desire to get her to use her imagination, and eventually all the barriers fell. See, other people would say I tapped into her desire to be something different in her life. But that wasn’t it. I used her desire to get her to use her imagination. And that was the key.

Once she was rolling with that, she woke up. She woke up from the trance. She was saying no to her own imagination, and I helped her turn that no into a yes. Sounds corny, but that was it. It wasn’t faked. It was real.

Q: How long did it take?

A: Six months.

Q: But you didn’t undo any programming.

A: What programming? Her refusal to invent? I don’t give a damn about programming or conditioning. I’m not trying to undo anything. I’m not trying to do surgery. I’m not trying to pick things apart.

Q: Why not?

A: My boy, you and I could sit here and make up thousands of quite sophisticated patterns or systems of programming. We could invent all sorts of crap that supposedly resides in consciousness that keeps a person from imagining and inventing. We could speculate and assume and presume.

We could play the roles of brain researchers or whatever. But in my experience, there’s NOTHING THERE. There isn’t any programming. Not really. Not when it comes to imagination. You either imagine or you don’t imagine. My job is to get people to imagine. I’m deviously clever about it. I’m a genius at getting people to go out on some road of imagining.

Q: If we wrote a book about the whole pattern of consciousness that keeps people from imagining–

A: If we did that, if we made it all up, we’d have people drooling to learn about it. They’d come out of the woodwork. They’d pay good money to learn all about why they’re screwed. People LOVE that. But it wouldn’t amount to anything. The whole idea is much simpler than that. You either imagine or you don’t. And my job is to get them to imagine.

Q: Not just in little drips and drops.


End of interview