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Author Topic: Super-Hypnotism?  (Read 16170 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: July 28, 2005, 09:15:11 AM »

Here's a question:

What exactly is Superman's Super-Hypnotism? What are the limits of the power? On what occasions has he used it, and to do what?

I've always had the impression that Superman's Super-Hypnotism originates from his eyes and requires eye contact. and is a Vision based power, not unlike X-Ray and Heat Vision (and possibly related to them). So it is not truly a telepathic power, like say, Saturn Queen or Universo's hypnotic abilities.

Someone on this forum once offered the explanation that Superman's Ventriloquism was due to telepathic projection. I don't think this works; for one thing, if Superman's super brain was capable of telepathic feats, he'd use it for something more profound than just causing his voice to appear elsewhere. And the fact that he can use it to mimic accents and whistle into untrasound implies it is vocal in origin; how can a telepath project into ultrasound?

One possible rationale for why Superman seldom uses this power (apart from the obvious, that it creates solutions to problems different from actions we'd expect of Superman) is that Superman has such respect for human free will that he will not tamper with it even in extreme circumstances. This explains why Superman does not use Super-Hypnotism on Luthor to, for instance, let him out of his Kryptonite trap. It may also be plausible that Luthor, evil genius that he is, has invented contact lenses that block the use of Super-Hypnotism. Superman's respect for human free will may also account for why he does not use his Hypnotism to remove his enemies of their more antisocial urges, Doc Savage style.

(On a related note, some people have called Doc Savage's treatment brainwashing. In the interests of preserving Doc Savage's heroism, I would say it is precisely what Doc says it is: a surgery to remove the "crime gland" responsible for antisocial acts. This is an interesting 1930s notion: evil being a medical disorder related to a hormone, and a recurring one in a decade coming to terms with real human evil. One of my favorite variations on this is the idea that evil - from WWI to the Depression - was caused by a secret sub-race that has existed in secret from the dawn of time, identified by their hairier, cavemanlike bodies.)
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llozymandias
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« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2005, 11:01:22 PM »

Kal used his Super-hypnosis to make someone forget something, it was so effective that even their subconscious mind would also forget it.  He was even able to use that power on himself.  This power combined with his Super-Ventriloquism, telescopic Vision, & X-ray Vision; theoretically enabled him to brainwash just about anyone, almost antwhere.  Like his other powers the upper limits to this ability have never been shown.  No wonder he almost never used this power.
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Genis Vell
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« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2005, 06:43:07 PM »

Sigh. That's very trash, in my opinion.
Then, I considered unfair that Superman could use his superpowers to alterate minds.

And, don't forget it, he could use this power on himself. Now he can do it again, as seen in "For tomorrow".
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RedSunOfKrypton
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2005, 01:18:08 AM »

Some quotes on my theory on superhypnotism I had originally posted elsewhere:

Quote
Vocally, it could be that certain infrasonic frequencies generated along with his speech thanks to supervocal control, could force the mind into a state of extreme suggestibility, as infrasonic frequencies have weird effects on people's brains and bodies.


Quote
Here's something I thought of off hand: I read a report once where Dr. Patrick Flanagan hooked up his neurophone invention to a microwave antenna and broadcast subliminal messages into a room full of army troopers with astounding success. While this may be total baloney, if possible, it could be that Superman subconciously could modulate the signals from the microwave part of his heatvision (at low power of course) to do this to people ergo Super Hypnosis/Hypnovision. This would even hold water with his modern day incarnation's capabilities of microwave projection.


Thoughts?
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2005, 01:49:20 PM »

I don't think very highly of Patrick Flanagan.  He was one of the big promoters of pyramid power back in the day -- until some Ontario scientists performed controlled experiments conclusively proving pyramid power is bunk.  IMHO, he does not rate very high credibility in the scientific community so I'd be skeptical about any of the typically grandiose claims he makes unless corroborated by other more credible scientists.

As for the infrasonic angle, I think what's key here isn't so much sonic or visual as subliminal effects which his eyes could generate in eye-contact and same goes for his voice.  Subliminal ads in the old days used to be used to suggest to the audience to buy a Coke or something in movies with just a single frame or two fed into a standard movie reel.
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Captain Kal

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Captain Kal
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2005, 04:52:23 PM »

Why didn't Superman use this power more often?

He didn't for the same reason he didn't use his super-speed in combination with his other powers in fights or any of his other powers more creatively and effectively.  The writers had troubles with such an overwhelmingly powerful character so to make things easier on them, writers of all incarnations have given Superman the default liability of being mind-bogglingly uncreative and uninspired.  That way, it just wouldn't occur to the guy to use his super-hypnosis or super-speed, etc. creatively.

BTW, an old internet friend of mine, Jassgard, once asked DC why Superman didn't combine his super-speed in fights.  Their response was super-speed tended to amplify his other super-powers so they took it away from him in fights by not letting the idea occur to him to do so.  This was pre-Mongul Jr. training, of course.

That same reasoning should apply to his not using super-hypnosis.
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Captain Kal

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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2005, 04:57:14 PM »

Oh, a further thought to help justify the uncreative post above.

The less one has the more creative one gets in using it.

The more resources, abilities, etc. one has, the less creative one needs to be with any and all of them.

Why be creative with a subtle power when a good super-punch tends to solve most problems?

This occurs in the real world.  People born and raised in North America tend to take the opportunities and resources there for granted so tend not to take full advantage of them.  New immigrants see clearly what the North Americans blithely take for granted and more likely use those resources to full advantage having had none of them in their native lands.

Ergo, Superman has little need to be creative with his vast powers and array of powers.  That's why the Flash is more skilled at super-speed since that's his one power and he has to make the most of it.  Superman's not as skilled with his speed simply because he doesn't need to be so.

This was addressed during O'Neil's Sandman Saga.  The less powerful Superman became, the greater use he made of his wits to meet his challenges.

OTOH, the weakened Byrned Superman tended to be pretty much brain-dead despite his lesser powers.  Writer talent also figures into the mix as well as character power-level in determining power use creativity.
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Captain Kal

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2005, 10:03:45 PM »

I prefer my explanation for the absence of Super-Hypnotism - Superman's respect for human free will - because it preserves Superman's intelligence and dignity, and it extends logically from his motivation and personality.

And Superman IS clever with his superspeed and other powers; Superman's more interesting stories are defined by absolutely inspired use of powers, from the way he used "superfriction" to turn the Daily Planet globe into a gigantic magnet back in Alan Moore's Man of Tomorrow, to that Superboy story where Superman used his X-Ray Vision to cause plants to grow more quickly (Superboy #22, 1952). To say nothing of all the power tricks Superman used to defeat Luthor in "The Einstein Connection" by Elliot S! Maggin, present on this very website.

The fact that Byrne and his even worse imitators (Mike Carlin, Roger Stern, Dan "Electric Superman Was My Idea" Jurgens) made Superman basically a flying version of the Thing with not one iota of Ben Grimm's personality, really is just more proof how the lot of them just didn't get who Superman IS.

That said, the heat-vision/vocal control explanation to power Superman's Super-Hypnotism is fascinating, in a pseudoscientific "the core of Mars is made of ice" kind of way. I can see that sort of explanation being used in the Silver Age.
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"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
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