I was told this story over 50 years ago. Here’s the gist of it:
On a tea plantation in Ceylon, one of the plantation workers committed a crime, and hid up a tree. The plantation manager tried to persuade him to come down, but he would not. Eventually, in exasperation, the manager told him that it didn’t really matter whether he came down or not, because he was going to be dead anyway in a couple of days time. Later that day the worker climbed down from the tree, and went home. And two days later he died.
Just an anecdote, except that it was the retired plantation manager himself who was telling the story, complete with all sorts of details that I’ve long since forgotten. The message was not forgotten: if you can convince someone that they’re going to die, they will die.
And today I connected that story with all the death sentences printed on cigarette packets these days – the ones that say the Smoking Kills. Smokers are being told that they’re going to die. And perhaps that’s why they die. Once embedded in their minds, the thought that they’re going to die works slowly to kill them. And it may well even kill them many years after they stopped smoking, because the conviction that they were going to die never left them. Once they’d read the death sentence on the cigarette packet, they were always waiting for death.
Of course, it only ever works if smokers actually believe what they’re told. Those smokers who never read or never believed the death sentence were immune, because the suggestion was never firmly implanted in their minds, and thus was never able to be realised.
And why shouldn’t suggestions of this sort become actualised as cancers and heart diseases? Body is always affecting mind, so why shouldn’t mind affect body? When I go shopping, I first have the idea of going shopping, and then some while later I actually go shopping with wallet and bag. First there is the thought; then follows the action.
Hypochondriacs – who are perpetually anxious about their health – would seem to be particularly likely to be affected in this way – if only because they are always finding signs of one malady or other in themselves, and in this manner make themselves unwell, perhaps by using unnecessary medicines.
I’ve never been worried about my health. My father never worried about his, and neither did my mother. And I don’t remember my grandfather being much of a worrier either. I come from a non-worrying family.
And how many surgeons, before operating on patients, first blithely tell them: “This is very likely to kill you”? Very few, I imagine. They don’t wish to plant such suggestions in their patients’ minds. It might kill them.
So why are so many very senior doctors busy telling smokers that they are killing themselves? Why are they planting these suggestions in their minds? Surely they must know that it could in many cases be a self-fulfilling prophecy? The answer must surely be that they want to kill them. They are eugenicists who have a profound hatred of smoking, and therefore of smokers. They wish to construct a world that is both smoke-free and smoker-free. Their hatred can be found spewed over Michael McFadden’s Wall of Hate. But instead of killing smokers with lethal injections, the eugenicists have set out to kill them by planting the suggestion in their minds that Smoking Kills, because they knew that once that idea has been fully absorbed, the smokers would die as certainly as the tea plantation worker whose story I have just recounted.
Yet, after first planting the suggestion that Smoking Kills, the eugenicist-doctors have since gone on to plant the further suggestion that even Ambient Tobacco Smoke Kills. Smokers now not only kill themselves, but everyone around them. And since that suggestion has been planted in non-smokers’ minds, isn’t it likely that they’ll start dying too?
Furthermore these senior eugenicist-doctors have started telling drinkers and fat people that they are killing themselves with alcohol and food. Isn’t that likely to be another self-fulfilling prophecy?
We are going to have to rid ourselves of all the eugenicists in the medical profession. There ought to be no place in it for people who who plant murder in people’s minds. They have no business anyway to be trying to construct some smoke-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free utopia. They should go back to curing and caring for the sick.
Another powerful piece of suggestion, which has been introduced into the minds of the inhabitants of the continent of Europe, is that their true identity lies not in being French or German or Spanish or whatever, but instead lies in being European.
And the catastrophe (as some people see it) of Brexit is that the British never fully came to identify themselves as European. The British people live on an island offshore from the continent, and are thus in a very profound sense separate. Most of them carried on being British, and carried on wishing to govern themselves rather than being governed from Brussels or Strasbourg. And as soon as they got the chance, they voted to leave Europe. The suggestion hadn’t worked: the British didn’t become what it had been suggested to them that they should become.
Furthermore, while much of western Europe has had nearly 70 years to become “European”, Britain has had only 40 years. And perhaps that wasn’t enough. And the same may well be true of other countries that were also late in joining the European community – such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, and all the countries of Scandinavia and eastern Europe.