Text of Internet-Interview by Alan Frostick (KERNEL Goa, Hamburg) with Dennis. R. Wier (known to his friends as Dio the Wyrd), director of the Trance Institute, Bruetten, Switzerland January 2001. A condensed version of this interview was published in german in the Mushroom Magazine, Hamburg Feb. 98. To be published in PLUR magazine (Taiwan) in chinese in March/April 98.
Dio the Wyrd: Trance Scientist
Searching the internet for TRANCE PARTY INFO one day recently, I happened upon an institute in Switzerland who are doing research into TRANCE in its various forms. After a series of eMail questions and answers, I have put together the following interview with the Trance Institute's director, Dennis R. Wier, originally a Californian, and affectionately known as DIO THE WYRD. He is the author of the book "TRANCE: FROM MAGIC TO TECHNOLOGY". I hope this will provoke further thought into the subject of TRANCE itself, especially as applied to the parties and the music we all love. Happy reading, Alan.
ALAN: How did you first get interested in trance?
Dio: My qualifications are very personal: over 35 years of meditation, and an even longer time as a systems analyst. I realized that I must be addicted to meditation since I like it so much. I was curious what the connection between addiction and meditation might be, and I realized it was trance. I decided to write a book about my realizations and to invite research into the theories I put forward in it. The theory is empirical, but not my fantasy. I've spent hundreds of hours testing it. The Trance Institute was set up as a clearing house for information about trance as I have defined it. And it is a wide definition which includes meditation, hypnosis, addictions, charisma, music, dance, culture, politics, magic, witchcraft, and probably drugs, although as I am fond of saying: "more research is necessary!"
ALAN: What is trance in scientific terms?
Dio: A trance is a special type of dissociated state. It is the usual way the mind does separate things at the same time, like driving a car and listening to the radio, for example. With deep trance there is more focus, more intensity. The separation into what appears to be another reality can be intensified. A trance is always created by limiting attention to a small area or range or circle. Usually when you do that, your thoughts repeat and then you get bored and space out. So trance is created by a looping or repetition of thoughts in a limited way.
ALAN: That sounds as if trance is something quite ordinary?
Dio: Trances are actually quite common and there is a range of intensity of trance from reading a book, daydreaming, watching television, to those intense deep rare mystical states of a channeller, a yogi, a magician or a witch. Drum beats, chanting, marching, making love, these always create trances. There are more complicated trances too, but the loop will always be found at the source of every trance, including meditation, hypnosis, addictions, certain kinds of schizophrenia and visionary or mystical states of consciousness.
ALAN: What does it mean for a person to be in trance?
Dio: One of the effects of trance is that the limiting of attention to a small focused area causes a disabling of some critical mental functions such as judgement, will power, awareness of the body, continuity of time, memory, etc. At the same time the ability to creatively fantasize or visualize can be enhanced. In deep trance a person can create vivid visualizations. When you learn how to trance skillfully and well, the trance state can free creative capacities and powerful trance forces. Did you ever hear of the so-called Mozart effect? It is a finding by researchers that students who listen to Mozart's music seem to retain information more readily and get higher test scores. To me, it is the repetition of musical themes that invoke trances which enable more creativity and intelligence. I am sure that any other music with distinct complex patterns would also produce the same or similar effects.
ALAN: I have my own ideas about trance in parties, which involve the dissolution of self into the spirit of the dance, the transcendental and sexual power of dancing amongst other self-seeking individuals, concentration on mandalas and the frequently used 'blacklight' deko in parties, these, coupled with the repetitive music all lead to a state of trance. What are your thoughts about such parties?
Dio: Trance parties do have many of the elements necessary for transformation of consciousness. It is the repetition of the music alone which creates hypnotic trance, but obviously there is a lot more going on at parties than just the music. Repetition for long periods of time will tend to produce trance which is more stable, but some elements of the party will break the trance and other elements, such as deko, will work more hypnotically.
ALAN: What's hypnotic trance?
Dio: A hypnotic trance is a special type of trance in which some parts of the loop are connected to a stimulus outside of your mind. Like when a hypnotist talks to you. Basically, a hypnotist takes advantage of the fact that trance causes a disabling of some mental functions and uses - or rather abuses - this specific state in order to deliver suggestions as a stimulus which will be accepted without your normal will or judgement interfering.
ALAN: Do you think trance parties are a route to enlightenment or merely leave one susceptible to suggestion?
Dio: Generally, trance parties are all hypnotic, and not such a great vehicle for enlightenment. Enlightenment assumes that one has control over one's trances, but in hypnotic trance that is never the case and there is some chance of trance abuse at parties depending on the lyrics.
ALAN: Trance abuse?
Dio: This occurs because of the opportunity to give hypnotic suggestions to a person whenever they are in a trance. Whenever a person is in a trance they are often more suggestible and less critical of new ideas. It is trance abuse to take advantage of someone's cognitive disability when they are induced into a hypnotic trance and then to give them suggestions which influences their behavior.
In a trance party there is also the possibility of creating addictive trance, especially when there are already addictions present. There are also schizophrenic-like possibilities, but this very much depends on the music, the lyrics (if any) and also the kind of energies people bring with them. Too much mixing of discordant energies will decrease the final trance energy components. But this is also how you can blow a party apart at the end.
The possibilities for transformation are quite high with intentional parties. Set and setting has a lot to do with creating the type of energy, but this works hypnotically. To be effective, at least one would not do things in a party which blows the type of energy you want to create. In other words, I mean a certain focus of energy and thematic images are very important from a trance theory point of view.
ALAN: That sounds all very scientific. What exactly is Trance Theory?
Dio: Trance theory grew out of a systems analysis of my meditation experience and my emperical experiences with hypnosis and addiction. Because of my eventual dissatisfaction with contemporary and new age psychological explanations of meditation, hypnosis and addiction phenomena, I used my skills in systems analysis to both describe and explain what I experienced. The result is trance theory as described in my book. It is simple, but has profound implications, and even gives a clue as to what enlightenment is and why the trance of shamans, for example, can produce magical effects.
Basically, the theory says that repeated thought objects cause a special type of dissociation which I define as a 'trance' and that for energy conservation reasons, this dissociation also causes the disabling of some cognitive functions. This is a very simple idea, but somehow has been overlooked by research psychologists. Trance theory is a model which can be verified by research, however.
Trance theory is practical. While we are waiting for the results of scientific research, we can apply it to parties as well as in our own personal meditation research. One way is to look for the loops. Obviously the music itself has major loops, but look also to deko, and be aware that there are physical loops and links when you are dancing, too. These all create trances, and the order in which these trances are created or destroyed has a major impact on the types of subjective trance states you will find yourself in. More research is needed of course, but this means we need to study more parties!
ALAN: Maybe I should invite you to a really good party...
Dio: I would love to be invited. The parties I have been to already could all have been much more if the people designing them knew more about trance theory. It's clear that the trance music scene is onto something important, and it is very important to know how trance works, and what breaks it. I can show you how and why.
ALAN: Is there a connection between trance and magic?
Dio: There is a connection between trance and the ability to have knowledge of hidden things, as well as to be able to heal oneself and others. In the past this was known as magic. Well, magic doesn't need to be so mysterious as we end the 20th century. Magic is also a technology and the basis of magic is trance. Trance is the result of repetition and ritual work. Knowing how to recognize and to work with trance is the difference between a magician and the entranced.
ALAN: "Dio the Wyrd". Where did you get that nickname?
Dio: I've been called 'Dio' since I was 15. Wyrd is from the original 'Wier'. Both mean container or channeller of a particular type of occult energy - mostly witchy stuff.
ALAN: Where can people get hold of your book?
Dio: "TRANCE: FROM MAGIC TO TECHNOLOGY" can be obtained directly from me. From the UK just send a 10 Pound note (or 30DM from Germany, ...etc) and your address coordinates to:
Dennis R. Wier
The Trance Institute
PO Box 682
Laytonville, CA 95454
ALAN: What about your courses and lectures?
Dio: I gave one talk at Wolfgang Sterneck's Matrax Cafe in Hanau, and then another one for a private company in Hamburg. I will soon be doing some regular ones in London. I could do more in Germany, but I need to be invited. I'm looking for contacts in all german cities, wherever there are people who are interested in learning how to control their trances: to discover them, to end them, to create them, according to what they want. I'm very wired and open to direct contact, especially if anyone is interested in inviting me to give talks:
Dennis R. Wier
Tel. +1 707-984-6873
On a personal one-to-one level, I am also willing to do trance analysis. For this reason I have made arrangements to use a psychoanalyst's office in Bruetten, Switzerland.
ALAN: What is trance analysis?
Dio: Trance analysis is not psychotherapy nor is it psychoanalysis. Trance Analysis is a technique of personal introspection and observation based on my model for trance. We are always in many kinds of trances. Trance analysis can show you how to recognize, change, control and develop or design trances of your own chosing through your own individual practice of meditation and deep hypnotic trance development techniques. These techniques, based on your own personal history and needs, are designed to free your potential and to increase your personal power to give you more of what you want out of life, relationships and personal awareness.
ALAN: Thankyou Dio for your illuminating answers and thought provoking theories about trance and parties. I'm sure we will hear, and see, more of you in the coming months.
For further information about Alan Frostick, KERNEL Goa, mushroom or PLUR magazines or about the Trance Music and Party Scene in Germany please refer to my homepage at www.goatrance.de/kernel or contact me directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan Frostick).