Critical FacultyThe critical faculty is the part of the mind that evaluates input from the five senses, asks questions about that input and passes judgment on whether that input is valid. It may very well be the part of us that asks the question, “why”. It is that part of us that determines the meaning of what we see and hear, as well as judging whether there is adequate justification for accepting what we see and hear as truth. It is the voice in our head that says OK…or yeah, right!
Although useful most of the time, there are times when the critical faculty gets in the way of our acceptance of new ideas and truths. It constantly monitors all input from our senses and tends to reject that which does not agree with an idea or concept that has been previously experienced and accepted as valid in some way. Therefore, if and individual believes that they are stupid, the critical faculty will reinforce that belief, and reject any information to the contrary. And, of course, the opposite is true if the individual believes they are smart, the critical faculty will reject any information to the contrary, will reinforce the belief whether it is true or not. In other words, unless we can get around the critical faculty it is very difficult indeed to make lasting change.
The goal of hypnosis is to “bypass” the critical faculty. With the critical faculty bypassed (that part of us that questions “why?”), it is possible to input new information into our thinking, and ways of being. This allows our subconscious mind to accept the new input as fact without running it through all the filters that our conscious mind contains.
Some people believe the critical faculty develops as we age toward adulthood, perhaps the early teen or pre-teen years. However anyone who has been around small children knows that they have a myriad of questions, and all those answers are being stored. In fact it could be argued that any experience we’ve had is stored away and becomes some part of the way we evaluate information. The critical faculty therefore is a product of our experiences, education and training. It is a mental habit and power. It is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, and misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances.
Hypnotists know that a client cannot be made to do something that they would not do outside hypnosis. That is, they will not violate their own moral code or value system. Due to this mental condition, I personally, am reluctant to say that the critical faculty is “by-passed” during hypnosis. I prefer to describe this phenomenon as “turning down the volume” on the critical faculty. It sits back, takes a rest, but is ready to protect the client by rejecting any information that could be harmful, or not within the client’s moral/value code.