The placebo as post hypnotic suggestion
For a post hypnotic suggestion to happen a subject must first be induced into a (light to deep) altered state of awareness. Such an altered state (i.e. a lucid trance) happens when concentration is intensified on (i.e. flooded with) a particular acceptable (i.e. non-threatening) focus (for instance, a pill). In short, an initial (hence initialising) impact (preferably a slightly fuzzy one) must be made that is not refused.
During concentration on the initial impact, and when the subject goes into an altered information processing state (thus appearing to be asleep or unconscious), a 2nd focus (i.e. as instruction, and given in the present tense (hence not a suggestion!!) and which refocuses towards a desired outcome) is presented which the subject cannot resist since he or she is still concentrated on (i.e. processing) the 1st focus.
In other words, the 1st focus (i.e. the placebo) distracts and so removes or weakens the capacity to resist (now usually called the critical faculty) the 2nd focus and which would in the normal state be resisted. When the initial (processing) state wears off (i.e. has been processed to completion) the 2nd focus, installed ready-made hence not requiring processing, does not wear off but becomes active.
A whole placebo is a (brief, indeed momentary) double (whammy) impact, i.e. a 2 phase or step operation. The 1st (because appearing more significant) impact (i.e. the carrier or delivery system) is a (rendered acceptably by means of rapport) fuzzy (or irrational, hence defying easy computation and resolution) stressor, such as, for instance, a sugar pill, a physical manipulation of some kind or a fable with a moral or a simple pretence scenario. The 2nd impact, attached to (or piggybacked on) the first impact, hence hidden by the 1st, is a clear idea (i.e. a rational, thus easy computable, albeit virtual reality as instruction rather than a fuzzy suggestion).
Indeed, it is commonly accepted that “It’s the thought that counts!” and not the useless or unwanted gift (to wit, the sweet pill).
In other words, the placebo’s whole affect results from its double whammy impact, namely the (meaningless or acceptable) delivery system (viz. the Trojan Horse) that misdirects (i.e. confuses or distracts, indeed, momentarily blanks, brain functioning) and the (meaningful but unacceptable) idea (i.e. Ulysses and his pals) that gives the BIO-Nav a new, logic focus to be realised. In boxing terms, installing (meaning impacting with) a placebo is a ‘feign with the left, then punch with the right’ trick. Stage magicians use the same trick, that is to say, mental misdirection.
During mental misdirection, i.e. when attention is shifted and re-focussed, the brain needs to increase its concentration, meaning that it narrows conscious (hence waking) activity. Such narrowing of conscious activity during concentration results in a mild altered processing state (elsewhere called (Greek) hypnos = sleep) See: the Abbé Faria: ‘On the cause of lucid sleep’ (1756 - 1819). While thus preoccupied (i.e. concentrated) with its initial refocusing attempt it is open to (i.e. cannot resist) accepting the 2nd impact (i.e. the idea as instruction to be applied).
A placebo is not required if the critical faculty, the natural mental defence system, is disabled by increasing the relaxation level. Increased relaxation as such is also the best general health tonic.