In a weird way, Fatima could blame Erickson for the idea.
She remembered reading a story when she was a baby hypnotist about Erickson treating a man with schizophrenia. The man was experiencing something called “word salad”- a psychiatric symptom where patients mix up their words randomly and thus speak nonsensically. In the story, Erickson learned and interpreted the man’s version of word salad and then spoke back to him using it. Eventually Erickson was able to start throwing normal sentances in and, through pacing and leading, help the man with schizophrenia speak normally.
Fatima had worked with psychotic patients since reading this story and definitely had some skepticism about the veracity of it. But- it did give her an idea. One that stuck in her head. If a hypnotist could lead someone out of word salad, would it be possible for her to create word salad in someone else?
Fortunately, her submissive Aiden was very game for this kind of play. They negotiated a scene where she would use a “brainwashing helmet” to slowly mimic rewiring the electrical connections and blood flow in his brain- aping the symptoms of messing with his basic neurological functions to see what would happen. They had played around with similar ideas before and were both fascinated to see how he would respond.
She started by dropping him (a matter of a word after years of play) and starting to describe the effects of a brainwashing helmet she would put on him It would change the electrical flows between neurons, switching on and off neurotransmitters to encourage some connections while blocking the charges between other neurons. This, in turn, would decrease to blood flow to certain parts of his brain, making it impossible for them to function. As she described putting the helmet on, she encouraged him to experience a tingly feeling of having little electrical currents running through his head, charging and changing him from deep inside. She had him imagine a fMRI scan showing a brain full of nice healthily-colored blood flow being projected on a screen above him. This way, they could both see changes as certain areas went dark.
Then she got to work.
Large parts of the prefrontal cortex would be the first to go. She explained as she went- the prefrontal cortex was in the front of the brain. It was the part of Aiden that contained his analytical thought processes as well as his larger sense of self. He wouldn’t need those anymore, she assured. She described slowly dampening the connections in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex first, a part involved in a feeling effort when responding to commands. As she blocked the connections, she told him, responding without thought would get easier and easier. She described the slight sensation he could feel as blood left this part of his body.
From there, she moved on to the rest of his prefrontal cortex. As it drained of activity. Fatima described a decreased ability to analyze or think critically. She described a slowing of his thoughts. A more detached sense of self. She talked about how the front of his brain on the fMRI was slowly becoming darker, darker, darker…
She could see Aiden over the webcam, eyes flickering back and forth under his eyelids like he was dreaming. She felt predatory and protective at the same time. He moaned as he experienced his ability to analyze turning off, leaving him open and vulnerable. That always felt good. She knew. She had told him it would. It felt good when he was no longer able to resist.
Fatima smiled. She described going deeper into the brain into the motor cortex. Once she had control here, she could direct his movements. She described the sensation again, a tingle that let him know he was being affected. Then she took control of one arm- making it limp and loose and heavy while the other arm was free. She let him experience the difference between the arm that was controlled and the other arm. She switched them. Then, suddenly, she took command of his whole body, cutting off all of his control at once.
He flopped like a rag doll.
She reminded him that his important life functions like breathing were further down in his brainstem and would continue as she commanded his body to reposition itself.
Then she froze it.
She encouraged him try in vain to get up but- now that body was obviously hers. He struggled a bit but to no avail. His eyes moved around frantically. They were the only parts of his body still under his control.
Not for long. “Eyes look at me.”
They moved instantly.
She smiled. “Good. I can still see you in there. I’ll give you control of your mouth in a few moments. For now, blink once if you can hear me.”
“Blink once if you want me to keep going.”
Now it was time to focus on Aiden’s amygdala and the emotional centers of his brain. Fatima talked about how controlling this area gave her control over Aiden’s emotional self. From here, she could turn his feelings themselves on and off.
To demonstrate, she started to describe a growing sense of euphoria. She gave Aiden back control of his facial muscles.
She gave him control of his voice again.
“Isn’t it good that I control your emotions now?” she said. “That makes you very *snap* happy.”
He started laughing.
She giggled with him. “Very happy,” she said. “Deliriously so”
He laughed harder and harder.
“STOP!” she commanded.
“That goes away and you feel blank. Blank and empty.”
The emotion drained from his eyes.
“You feel nothing,” she whispered. “Nothing. Blank and empty.”
He stared ahead, vacant.
“But, somewhere deep inside, there’s a need that starts to grow.”
“And the more you notice that need, the more it grows. Growing and growing, electric and strong. Feeling it more *snap*with every *snap* moment.”
His breath quickened. She could see his eyes taking on a look of desperation.
She continued. “More and more. Stronger and stronger. And it’s so odd to need without knowing what you need but you know you need you KNOW you NEED so much, don’t you? You NEED so much, don’t you?”
His eyes blinked.
“SPEAK!” she demanded.
He spoke immediately. “Please please please please! Please I need it! Please!”
She spoke calmly. “*snap* Even more needy. Tell me what you need.”
He became even more frantic. “Please! I don’t know! Tell me what I need! Please give me something to need, please please! Please I want it so much please!”
She nodded her head. “Good. And that turns *snap* off for now. And you can feel nothing….and nothing….and nothing”. Her voice quieted to a whisper.
She watched as his face took on the same blank, robotic look from before.
“Good. You’re doing so good for me. We’ll reset and have that area feel relatively normal now.”
He was ready. She told him that they were going to move to the language centers of his brain. From here, she could change not only his access to words, but, eventually, his access to the thoughts those words were tied to. She could also let him access to certain words and concepts but not others.
She demonstrated by cutting off his access to color words.
She held up a red ball.
“What color is this?”she asked.
He started to answer, then looked confused. “….Ball?” he said.
She smirked. “Good, it’s a ball. Now what color is it?”
He opened and closed his mouth with the same puzzled look on his face.
“Good,” she said. “You don’t have access to that word anymore. In fact, you don’t have access to many of your words. Close your eyes,” she commanded.
His eyes slammed shut.
“You can feel your access to language lessening….and lessening. Feeling those parts of your brain losing blood, quieting, going to sleep. Imagine what that might look like on the fMRI- the color draining, darkening, going black. Your ability to use language can be almost completely gone. Almost completely gone except for the words we’ve written in the deepest part of yourself. Do you know what those words are?”
He shook his head.
“That’s OK- I’ll tell you what words you have. The only words you have access to are the words of your mantras. You’ve repeated those words so much that they’re written deep inside, so profoundly etched into your self that you still have access to them even as you have nothing else. All you have left is the words we use in your mantras. And whenever you try and say or even THINK something else, all that comes out is those mantra words. And they may be jumbled, they may be put together in a strange order- but you know that I can understand. And- you can understand all of my words perfectly, even as anything you say or even think for yourself comes out as one of the words in your mantras”
He was focusing so hard. His mouth hung open a bit, It was adorable.
“Do you understand?”
He nodded his head.
“Open your eyes.”
He did. He looked far away, blissful. Deep inside himself.
“How do you feel?” she asked, gently.
“Slave..good boy….pleasure,” he said, biting off a moan as he heard his own words coming out of his mouth.
“Do you like how I’m limiting your access to words?”
He bit his lip. “Programmed….obedient…pleasure…”
She smiled. “You can barely think at all, anymore, can you?”
“That’s very good. It’s good that you can’t think, isn’t that right?”
“it’s good to be controlled in this way, isn’t it?”
She smiled. Perfect.
“Oh you’re not that needy yet. Not like you will be. I’m going to take control of that emotional part of your brain again. Feel that?”
“Feel me take that need and turn it up *snap* higher”
He rolled his eyes back.
“Slave…pleasing…needy!!” he proclaimed.
Fatima leaned over her templed fingers. “Hmm- I think you have too many words still. I wonder what it would be like if you just had one? Just one word to hang all of that emotion on. Wouldn’t that feel good?”
He nodded, begging with his eyes.
“Are you ready for me to reduce you?”
“Please…empty!” he cried.
“Good boy,” she said. “Feel the words being cut off further. Further and further away. Going going gone until the only thing you can think…the only thing you can feel…the only word left..is please.”
He responded instantly. “Please? Please? Please! Please!”
She snapped her fingers. “Good! And knowing it’s the only thing you can say just makes it more intense.”
“Please!” he moaned. “Please! Please please please!”
Fatima leaned back, taking a moment to appreciate her work.
Mind control was thirsty work! She decided to get a glass of water from the kitchen. She took off her headset. (”Please! Please! Please!” Aiden’s voice echoed, trapped in that one word and one thought over and over again.)
It might have been a little cruel to trap him like this. But, she knew, it’s not like he would mind. He couldn’t right now. Besides, she wanted to make sure he got plenty of time to appreciate having one thought. After all, when she got back from getting water, she intended to turn them all off and start rewiring him from scratch.