View Full Version : Attention Deficit Disorder and NLP Anyone?


healthwiz
03-10-04, 03:28 AM
Hi...need a little input.

I am looking at business/personal coaches. I found one with a million designations, seems to be well informed. He uses NLP and chain of events building to create states of mind. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone ever had this treatment, effectively? I called around in search of someone to help me move out of procrastination and into action. I was specifically looking for folks with CBA designation, which is certified behavior analyst. There are none who are coaches!! or feww.... I have not found the one or two lurking out there. but I did find this one therapist heavily into the NLP. He said it is his speciality, moving people from hesitation to action, using NLP. It sounds good, but also sounds like a sales pitch in some ways, and I try to stay away from sales pitches. So....anyone have experiece and results with NLP, good or bad?

Thanks

Jon

MRB
03-10-04, 03:54 AM
I'm going to sound a little incoherent 'cuz it's late ... but I've worked with hypnotists that use it to good effect. I think it depends more on the practitioner than the technique. You might want to ask how long s/he has been using it, and see if they're willing to give client references ...

Nachi2004
03-10-04, 03:59 AM
Hi Jon,

My name is Nachi. I am from India. I have head a lot about NLP and its sounds a better solution to add problems than the meds since NLP involves participation of self..

But it has also raised couple of doubts in my mind. If NLP's success is dependent on taking cues, clues from certain actions..I am not sure about the success of such therepy going by my past reexperincces...This is not to put down NLP practices benefits..Just that I also share the interest in knowing about this therepy and if someone in this forum has tried it on..Hope to get replies, guidance from the members

Have a Great Day Ahead,

WIth Love,

Nachi

healthwiz
03-10-04, 08:51 PM
Thank you MRB

healthwiz
03-10-04, 08:52 PM
Thank you Nachi!

MRB
03-23-04, 04:08 PM
So any results? Inquiring minds want to know ('cuz we respect your opinions ...) :D

bnsforu2
03-23-04, 04:13 PM
interesting. so how's the results coming mrb?
Paul :)

mctavish23
04-18-04, 02:07 PM
Hi,
I never practiced NeuroLinguistic Programming but I do understand the concept. I have also never seen any data on NLP and the treatment of ADHD. If you find some journal articles I would appreciate it if you'd post them.

I will say this tho in terms of the treatment of children with ADHD (this excludes the Inattentive Type or old ADD), that the only proven therapy for them outside of meds is behavior modification.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the most widely practice therapy in the world,i.e.,how you think affects the way you feel. When it comes to hyperactivity and self-control, CBT doesnt work.That was a hard pill to swallow when I first saw that persented.

The best books I know on hypnotic suggestion,which comes close to NLP, are by the late Milton Erickson.He's the best known and most widely respected author in that area. His most widely read book is entitled, My Voice Goes With You. I hope I got that right as I havent loked at his stuff in years.At any rate I think you can tell how that might apply to NLP.
Personally, Im skeptical but would like to read more. Meanwhile, I wish you much luck and success.

Take care.

mctavish23

FightingBoredom
04-18-04, 05:32 PM
NLP is a good place to start. You can learn quite a fe methods by listening to Tony Robbins tapes. Listen to them everyday and do what he tells you to do on the tapes. (They are on CD too!).
If you can't afford to buy them you can get them at your local library like I did.

He also does something that is more long lasting than NLP. It's called Neuro Associative conditioning. It's NLP on repition steroids.
Apparently NLP is a short term correction and has a tendency to "wear off" over time. NAC is a long term way to engage in NLP.
I highly recommend checking this out before you pay someone big bucks for what may just be a short term solution....

Stabile
04-25-04, 01:01 AM
Jon, et al:

This is extracted from a private message I sent in response to a question about a logic structure in the brain called a metamodel web. This has nothing to do with the NLP term “Meta Model”, but there is a relationship between elements of our research (which encompasses much more than the metamodel web) and how NLP attempts to ‘help’ ADDers.

Fundamental to our understanding of the bewildering array of symptoms associated with ADD are the social consequences of the use of this relatively new logic structure, and there is a school of thought that this is what must be ‘cured’. We believe that NLP falls into that category.

I should be specific about one thing, here: there are many therapeutic strategies that are predicated on the same misconception that NLP apparently falls prey to, and they all have proponents that can present a perfectly rational and accurate analysis that supports their view that there is an underlying flaw in the brain. That is, the view that the ‘misconception’ is in fact the only correct view of how the brain is flawed. But rational and accurate as they may be, they’re wrong.

The sense in which that statement can itself be rational and accurate is exactly the case with ADD and the misunderstanding of it that leads to therapies such as NLP. In their view, the use of the metamodel web to store information and analyze it is unstable, and therefore fundamentally incorrect and dangerous. And it has to be noted that there is a perspective in which this is true, that of a person who, for whatever reason, doesn’t use a metamodel web.

But the argument is circular and silly. If you don’t use a web, then you’re in no danger from it, and if you do, the danger is moot. The use of a metamodel web is exactly what is necessary to stabilize a web, just as the mechanisms that ensure stable function of normal brain structures are inherent in those structures. The whole idea that the ‘cure’ for ADD is to return the brain to normal use of ordinary logical structures and prevent the use of new structures ultimately decays into a kind of xenophobia.

Obviously, there is a fair sized leap from the consideration of NLP as a therapeutic strategy to talking about it as a xenophobic phenomenon. I wouldn’t expect anyone to blindly buy into such an idea, especially without support, and there really isn’t room for much of that here. Nevertheless, you may find the excerpt below interesting, and I would be happy to provide more details about the underlying theory if you’re curious.



You mentioned NLP, and I had to do a little poking around before I said anything about it. I'd hate to trash something without at least knowing what it was. I had a bad feeling about NLP the first time I heard of it, and preconceptions are a sure way to screw up. So I did a little research, and now I know what it was I didn't like.

As far as I know, the first use of the term meta in the sense we use it was by David Hilbert, a mathematician who lived in the 1800's. We coined the term metamodel about 12 or 13 years ago for a seminar on logic in which we introduced the ideas behind the metamodel web.

The seminar was a formal six part presentation on logic, computer architecture and programming we put together for our kids and some of their friends.

At that time a search turned up one or two articles in which metamodel was mentioned, but the use was as an on-the-fly construction. The intent was purely descriptive. We were the first to apply it as a name for a real thing.

I just did a Google on metamodel for the first time in a long while, and I notice that the use of the term has exploded. Everybody wants to get into the act. And NLP is one of the places it has popped up.

So it was pretty astute of you to make the connection. And the answer is, no, our stuff has nothing to do with NLP, or how they use the term.

But it does have a connection, back through our communications theory.

As I understand it, the best way to describe what NLP is about is this: NLP programmers are trying to use linguistic models to 'cure' people of using a metamodel web to reason in their everyday lives. They don’t know that this is what they’re doing, because they don’t have any rigorous scientific knowledge about the web at all. This is why the NLP is lumped in with other theories and therapies that are based purely on heuristics.

In other words, the only basis they have for their methods is that they work. As far as I can tell, all of NLP is derived from anecdotal experiential data that is the only theory behind what they do. But data isn’t theory, and results aren’t a substitute for hypothesis. You can see how it’s a bit circular when you lay it out flat like that. Always suspect circularity.

Nevertheless, the proponents claim that they know it when they see it, so to speak. And I believe them, because what I’ve been able to find is dead on aimed at stopping the use of the metamodel web, even though the only way they could recognize it is if they use it. Which I’m sure is case, because everybody does, to an extent; the differences are in how much and what one does with it.

I clipped this from the article Coaching & the NLP Meta Model (from The Pegasus NLP Newsletter Issue 11 - 20 May 2002, http://www.nlp-now.co.uk/coaching_meta_model.htm):

“The Meta Model is, in my opinion, the most valuable of the NLP skills. It provides us with a means of identifying when a person is using one of the thirteen key forms of sloppy thinking. It also provides a means of subtly coaching a person in better ways of thinking - and of reducing misunderstandings by making our own communication more clear and unambiguous. “

I don’t know about the sloppy thinking part; to me it sounds like an indictment of web-based thinking, when the NLP people give examples. But we have a very specific and rigorous understanding of ambiguity in human communication, and particularly in relationship to the use of the metamodel web. And this is exactly what the author is describing here, the use of special linguistic models that are invariant when applied in either the web based context or the in the normal context.

If you’ve read Neal Stephenson’s SF novel Snow Crash then you’ll recognize these unambiguous models as examples of the linguistic viruses central to the book. (If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.) But the NLP people appear to be trying to remove ambiguity by force, which doesn’t work. Our research predicts how a kind of Snow Crash Virus works, but the idea that they could be applied to a sinister purpose was exposed as a sham. Linguistic viruses exist, in a very real sense, but it’s only possible to construct one that is true. They’re all, well, nice.

But the unambiguous models (the communications) mentioned in the NLP article only seem unambiguous because they are arbitrarily defined. And arbitrary definition of models isn’t possible within the web, because all models have to link together, which requires a certain consistency. If you take a person who has come for advice (presumably, in a receptive and plastic state) and repeatedly suggest that they should accept an arbitrary model, what they will learn is to abandon the use of their metamodel web.

Some more from the same article:

“Let's say, for example, that Jack says 'I can tell Jill doesn't like me from her expression so there is no point in asking her for a date! That makes me sad because I never have any luck with girls.'
At first glance/hearing a fairly understandable comment. Yet when we apply the Meta Model to it we learn a little more…

§ Jack believes he can read Jill's mind. This is an erroneous belief unless he is a very gifted clairvoyant.

§ He also believes that the appearance of her facial muscles enables him to predict what her likely response will be. In reality he is looking at her expression and deciding that if he had the same expression he would be feeling certain feelings and would also be likely to react in a particular way… and, as a result of this piece of questionable deduction, that he can predict her behaviour.

§ He has a very limiting belief that he never has any 'luck with girls'. This is a generalisation - a belief which rests on skimpy and carefully selected evidence. While it is possible that it is true this is rather unlikely. What is more likely is that he has is using the memory of a number of set-backs to generalise the past, to predict that the future will simply be more of the same - and to trap himself in a prison of his own unuseful beliefs. “

(Coaching & the NLP Meta Model - The Pegasus NLP Newsletter Issue 11 - 20 May 2002)

Yikes. How many ways can one article go wrong? First off, either Jack can read Jill’s mind, or he can’t talk at all. Human communications depends entirely on knowing what’s in another person’s mind to an amazingly exact precision. Not getting this right, early in life, is related to autism and probably other similar disorders as well.

Second, Jill’s facial muscles are communicating her feelings just fine. I wasn’t there, so how could I know this? Because it’s what we all do. Jack’s imagining what he would feel if he had her expression is precisely why Jill has the expression. He learned the correct interpretation by observing, you guessed it, the behavior of others. If he can’t predict her behavior from her expression, he’s in bigger trouble than any NLP coach is equipped for.

Lastly, Jack’s evidence is only skimpy in the unkind minds of NLP practitioners, because we humans don’t have any ordinary means to ‘carefully select’ the content of our experiential reality the way the author suggests. Such a facility would cripple the mechanisms that ensure convergence of our common models, and it would never select.

There are ways to enable editing on the scale suggested, raw selection of what we will remember of our experiences, but they aren’t pretty: child abuse and rape both jump to mind.

But the teen angst that’s being described here won’t do it; Jack’s conclusions are probably correct, as far as his chances with Jill are concerned, and with other girls as well. In the end, I suppose we all can look back on a life of failure, because no male ever ‘gets lucky’ in the way our primitive urges imply we should. The real statistics are this: it’s a rare male that has had more than a few partners, when they go back over their life and count.

Most young males who have real problems about this are helped more by being told these facts, so they can understand that their experience is not only expected, but the same as what their peers are experiencing. Which reinforces the common model, improving communications skills, and increasing the likelihood that Jack will survive and eventually find a long term partner that he is happy with. Luck has nothing to do with it.

I’m sort of on a rant, here, and I apologize; it’s how we react to what we see as well-meaning therapeutic double-talk run amok. People get hurt, and we don’t see any reason to accept it, just because we should respect the ideas of others. Respect is fine, but the author should be held to the same standard, and he is completely ignoring the standard practices for one of the most widely treated problems in teen age males.

What does he think a useful belief would be, considering the subject? That Jack is capable of learning the skills necessary to get lucky on a regular basis? Even if it were possible, there’s no way that that could be considered helpful life coaching.

...

This kind of thing always seems to wind up in the dirt. We really don't want to set anybody off, and if this offends, I apologize. Feel free to complain, and I’ll be glad to remove it myself.

...

It isn’t our intent to attack anyone's ideas, especially when those ideas are a part of their developing understanding of themselves and their world. Such an attack only tears away at that person's effort. It doesn't touch the target.

We’d rather target the target, so to speak. In our opinion, NLP is wrong for perfectly good reasons. Our theoretical work predicts the circumstances, the motivation and justification for it, and we feel very benevolent about all that. But the avarice behind the organizations that have grown out of those precursors are another thing, and we are likely to always be a bit unforgiving about those people who make a buck off it, if for no other reason than they have their eye on the wrong ball.

healthwiz
08-27-04, 02:43 AM
Stabile,

I loved your piece on this topic. Thank you so much. It does sound like circular mumbo jumbo when you lay it out the way you have. I had someone do a little of their own style of NLP on me and as a result I felt very anxious and tense for about 2-3 days. It bypassed all my normal logic, and that is what it felt like, and it did not feel right. I didnt accept anymore of this free NLP from a friend. It felt like it would cause me to go into a crash landing procedure, it felt dangerous.

Now, with your help, I understand why I had such a strong response. It was literally forcing me to bypass my modal web. It was also making assumptions that may be untrue, discounting the value of my judgements and experiencial learning to date.

Well, thank you for such a powerful piece of writing. Please write more! On any topic!

Jonathan

Jon, et al:

This is extracted from a private message I sent in response to a question about a logic structure in the brain called a metamodel web. This has nothing to do with the NLP term “Meta Model”, but there is a relationship between elements of our research (which encompasses much more than the metamodel web) and how NLP attempts to ‘help’ ADDers.

Fundamental to our understanding of the bewildering array of symptoms associated with ADD are the social consequences of the use of this relatively new logic structure, and there is a school of thought that this is what must be ‘cured’. We believe that NLP falls into that category.

..... (see above for the rest)....

...ending.....
We’d rather target the target, so to speak. In our opinion, NLP is wrong for perfectly good reasons. Our theoretical work predicts the circumstances, the motivation and justification for it, and we feel very benevolent about all that. But the avarice behind the organizations that have grown out of those precursors are another thing, and we are likely to always be a bit unforgiving about those people who make a buck off it, if for no other reason than they have their eye on the wrong ball.

roxannew
10-09-04, 04:59 PM
Jon:

Simply put, NLP is a way for us to learn how to use our brain to our own advantage. Its not a quick fix, nor should it be. These things take time. But it gives ADDers, once they see the benefits of running their own brain, control over their own thinking strageties, which result in certain behaviors. That's how behaviors change -- not because NLP does it but because the individual sees the advantage in thinking about their ADD differently, which in turn changes their behaviors.

But like anything else NLP requires the person have a high motivation to make positive changes in their life. ADD is an especially difficult realm to work with, and this also true within NLP coaching. ADD is more of a challenge because many of the difficulties ADDers exhibit are internal, much of them buried over years and years of links to negative behaviors, and even when an ADD does make progress, there is a tendency to still believe "but it can't be working" or "I'll never change". These negative frames counter any progress that might be made, whether it be in therapy, coaching, or any type of help we might look to.

I believe that the power of NLP is to uncover some of these higher frames of thinking that we have as ADDers. By uncovering them one at a time, you begin to get a sense of where your thinking (of yourself as an ADDer) leads you to certain behaviors. Once these frames are uncovered, THEN you can use the power of your own brain to make a situation just as you want it!

This, by the way, is not a salespitch, for NLP or anything else. Simply stated, in my own experience and in working with other ADDers in the past, I see these negative self-images that ADDers internalize as the biggest hinderance to our overall happiness and productivity, and the ability to use our ADD to its natural advantage, instead of allowing ADD to rule how we respond to life.

I respect what others have said here about NLP, and people should always be wary of individuals who might claim to be offering "quick fixes" to any problems in life (after all, they wouldn't be problems if a lot of people didn't have difficulty getting rid of them). But the message here is that NLP is a positive approach that can offer some individuals some respite, moving them to more positive approaches to their own ADD.

Hi...need a little input.

I am looking at business/personal coaches. I found one with a million designations, seems to be well informed. He uses NLP and chain of events building to create states of mind. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Has anyone ever had this treatment, effectively? I called around in search of someone to help me move out of procrastination and into action. I was specifically looking for folks with CBA designation, which is certified behavior analyst. There are none who are coaches!! or feww.... I have not found the one or two lurking out there. but I did find this one therapist heavily into the NLP. He said it is his speciality, moving people from hesitation to action, using NLP. It sounds good, but also sounds like a sales pitch in some ways, and I try to stay away from sales pitches. So....anyone have experiece and results with NLP, good or bad?

Thanks

Jon

Stabile
10-11-04, 01:03 PM
Hey, roxannew:

Welcome to our forums. We were surprised to see this thread active again; since your post sort of skips back to Jon's initial question, we thought it might be appropriate to restate in a more detailed and succinct way our basic understanding of the nature of NLP, and why we distrust it.

* * * *
Your post reminds me of the story of a man out for a walk in the country who hears a cry for help.

He investigates and finds two men at the bottom of a very deep hole, in an obvious state of panic. They're both crying "Help! Help!" while they dig frantically, flinging dirt in every direction.

He manages to get their attention and calm them down a bit, and using a rope laying nearby, he helps them scramble out of the hole. Assuming the digging must have had a purpose, he asks the first man he pulls up if there was someone else still buried below.

The man replies, "Nope, it's just the two of us."

Astonished, he asks why, since they knew they were already trapped, were they trying so hard to make the situation worse?

"Geeze!" the man exclaims. "Shovels were the only tools we had!"

* * * *

They say If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

That, in an important way, is the problem with NLP. But we certainly do not mean to imply the obvious, that NLP practitioners think that it's The Answer To Everything. It's a fairly subtle point exactly what hammer it represents, and in what way things look like a nail.

We are reasonably certain that NLP is fundamentally flawed, in that beneath the good intentions the effective purpose is to relieve the stress of living with AD/HD by teaching ADDers how to use their brains in the traditional manner used by normals.

There is a kind of sense to that; normals would be largely unable to perform the converse operation, that is, to relieve the social stress of interacting with ADDers by learning to use their brains as we do.

But the idea that the normal way to use the brain is somehow opposite to how ADDers think is incorrect. We are opposite only in the sense of being on opposite sides in the conflict between us. Our use of the brain is a superset of the older methods, which are in turn simply a restricted subset of our own methods.

Our conclusions follow from the application of over thirty years of research into human communication and how brain function gives rise to the conscious mind. We (necessarily) understand in great detail the mechanisms that are at work when we interact socially, and why there are social interactions at all.

* * * *

Simply put, NLP is a way for us to learn how to use our brain(s) to our own advantage… it gives ADDers, once they see the benefits of running their own brain, control over their own thinking (strategies), which result in certain behaviors…
We're going to pick just this first bit apart, in order to show how the intent buried in the language sets off our ADDer alarms. We mean no disrespect to you or anyone associated with NLP; we're certain that your intentions are perfectly honest and benevolent.

So, a few questions:

-- Could you list a few of these "certain behaviors?"

-- What alternative is there to an individual controlling his/her own "thinking strategies?" (Another person doing it? No control? Are either of those actually possible? We're certain each of us is all alone in here with our brains. And not controlling something does not result in a kind of control, by definition.)

-- "Thinking strategies" is one of those authoritative-sounding terms that are annoyingly imprecise. We're pretty sure of how neural function gives rise to our ordinary experience of conscious being, and presumably a thinking strategy would be some element of the conscious experience, the underlying function, or a combination of the two. But which element(s)? Does NLP specify this more precisely, or is it simply assumed that we all understand it?

-- The idea that ADDers don't "see the benefit of running their own brain" sure insults the heck out of me and Kay. But all of us here are obviously intelligent, caring people driven by a sense of compassion for others. So why doesn't this idea seem condescending and arrogant to you? ("Seeing" the benefit of a particular logical abstraction is the fundamental organizing principle of the brain itself. You can think of neural networks as performing either pattern matching or logical modeling. But both are, in a sense, just a way of making choices based on maximum benefit. We believe that most people are consciously aware of this, in form at least.)

-- What is the rationale behind the unstated assumption that ADDers are not using their brains to their advantage? How is that measured? (We assume that, if this is the primary goal of NLP, there is a standard way to evaluate how advantageously an individual seeking treatment is using his or her brain, so that the appropriateness of treatment with NLP can be determined. And so that success may be quantified as well, when NLP has done its work.)

For that matter, is there any evidence to support such an idea, or a formal theory that suggests it? (We haven't been able to find a reference to one anywhere.) Is it possible that an NLP coach simply assumes that anyone presenting with AD/HD needs help using their brain to their own advantage?

* * * *

We are quite serious about the questions, but please don't feel compelled to respond point by point. That kind of debate over details is not our goal at all. What bothers us is that the questions arise from a conflict with the basic scientific principles by which things like NLP must be defined.

NLP's definition seems to be missing some of the more important bits, and that presents us with an interesting contradiction.

One of the nice things about basic scientific principles is that they stand in the same relationship to anyone's individual reality. That requirement can make them seem slow and cumbersome at times, and limited as well. But the commonly understood nature of such principles can't be denied. We feel certain that whoever originally devised NLP must understand the rules of the game.

Thus, the conflict. How can we account for their apparent blindness to the fact that the theoretical basis of NLP is not completely described, as one would expect?

The problem appears to be with NLP itself; if I were a paranoid type, I would feel certain that the people behind it have an active social and political agenda. Fortunately, we understand how the intent we see in the verbiage surrounding NLP arises, in a way that is quite honest in it's own right. I expect that if we were to talk with almost anyone associated with NLP, we would find them sincere.

But honest is not the same as correct, or even right. And that's one of the fundamental problems facing ADDers, one that neither NLP nor anything like it will solve. Our AD/HD gives us the ability to perceive the possibility of two consistent truths in a single situation, but no comparable ability to shield that awareness from the eyes of others.

That means normals and ADDers alike share our special awareness, if only indirectly through observing our unavoidable reactions. But it takes the higher abilities that AD/HD gives us to understand which of two different truths is correct; the awareness inevitably creates a conflict in normals that they lack the tools to resolve.

Thus, ADDers become the problem. But so far, the argument is largely rhetorical; is it possible to understand the details of the actual mechanisms at work? Not by coincidence, that is exactly what our research has sought to illuminate.

* * * *

We ADDers upset a kind of natural order, one that depends on the isolation of individual abstract logical objects stored in our brains. We naturally utilize a different, more efficient and far more powerful logical structure (a metamodel web) to organize, store and analyze information.

But we sacrifice a kind of isolation inherent in older and simpler ways of organizing information, and in doing so we have revealed a form of discontinuity, a kind of disagreement in the fundamental truths that form the basis for any broad class of related abstract conceptual objects.

So what does all that (Tom and Kay) verbiage mean? (And does it reveal the intent inherent in our world view? Of course; but we're aware of it and open about it.)

The important bit is that we ADDers aren't seeing anything that wasn't always there. It's nothing new; a rigorous analysis of the structure of our perception of reality shows that we create the illusion of continuity in our consciously observed universe.

That is exactly what the personal website you list in your profile is addressing on the AD/HD Perspective page, about perception:

"They say that everything we are is nothing more than our perception of it... Our brain holds the key to everything internal and even, to a large extent, external."

(In this particular case, at least, you now know who "they" is. It's us. Howdy. Nice to meet ya'.)

The appearance of a kind of continuity of sensibility between any two different life situations (say, being at work and being at home) is manufactured by our process of conscious perception. Everything about these situations seems to be sensible, if everything is in balance. If not, we are driven to "make sense" of the situation, and failure to achieve that results in well recognized problems.

But there is nothing inherent in any two particular situations that requires the same basic truths to serve as their foundation. (In fact, there isn't any inherent truth to anything external to our perceptual reality; truth itself is an artifact of our own internal existence, as is meaning.)

Until recently, we humans haven't been able to 'see' that different situations may be different even in the deepest sense, as to what is fundamentally true. It shouldn't be too surprising, then, to find that some internal functions have arisen that exploit that fact.

Our internal common models of reality are imbued with the same sense of continuity, both over time and among different individuals. A complex mechanism (the social impulse) maintains that sense, and acts to counter anything that threatens to upset it.

So what, then, is the nature of the experience of inventing something like NLP, given the above understanding of our perception of such things?

There are two solutions to the stress inherent in social interactions between ADDers and normals, as we previously described. One is relatively innocuous, on the face of it: correct the non-conforming mental processes in the ADDer. (ADDers might have a different opinion, of course.)

But the act of simply imagining the other solution, the one that leaves intact the ADDer's vision of an inconsistent reality, triggers a profound negative response from the social impulse.

The kick of the social impulse naturally gives rise to a sense that the offending solution as inherently objectionable and incorrect. We all interpret such feelings as somehow intrinsic to being, as indeed they are.

But that is exactly what we supposed to be the case with NLP, back when we first voiced our objections: NLP seems to be founded in part on a conviction that the way that ADDers use their brains is inherently flawed. And if it doesn't seem necessary to explain exactly how our thinking mechanisms are flawed, it's simply because anything mediated by the social impulse seems inherent to being itself. It's obvious, and if we don't get it, we need the help of NLP (or something similar) by definition.

* * * *

If all you have is a hammer implies a sort of limitation. In the case of NLP, the limitation is that only the solution that seeks to normalize an ADDers thinking seems reasonable, and that fact seems so obvious that it (so far) remains unstated.

The subtlety arises because the social impulse acts in a way that cuts across any and all social and cultural barriers, by definition. The sense that ADDers should (of course!) normalize their thinking is so deep and pervasive that it doesn't seem necessary to establish it in theoretical terms.

And in normal terms, there really isn't. The mechanisms of the social impulse arose to ensure a kind of stability in our common models of reality, and as we previously noted, our AD/HD view of reality can upset that stability for a normal.

Note that there isn't a hint of the idea of malice in this analysis, on either side, or even the suggestion that anyone involved with NLP is wrong. That's a reflection of the nature of the problem itself: we're both right. You must take the context into consideration when determining which point of view is correct.

But inevitably, the ADDer's context will supercede that more primitive and limited normal context.

And so, of course, our claim that we ADDers represent the future of humankind. But what about now? Can a more complete understanding of the problem (which we believe our analysis provides) help in formulating a strategy for dealing with the social stresses we're plagued with everyday?

Of course we believe so, or what's the point? (grin…) We think that the key is understanding why the stresses arise. A thing not understood looms larger than life, and if there is a flaw inherent in the way we think, it's in the way such things can capture our attention, sometimes to our own detriment. We see exactly that kind of unhappy obsessive search for understanding underlying many of the myriad symptoms attributed to AD/HD.

* * * *

A person doesn't submit to sleeping in a bed infested with fleas because flea bites don't bother them. They sleep there because they know what's biting them, and also that they can't do anything about it for now.

But a person that doesn't know what's biting them will never sleep until the question is resolved one way or another. They could sleep somewhere else, but not everybody has that option. Or, they could investigate, ask Mom or whatever, and discover that it's only fleas, and that they're relatively harmless. (Doesn't the dog live with them?)

Or maybe they won't resolve it in the normal sense; maybe they'll fret at it until they're so sleep deprived that they doze off, to dream of monsters eating them alive. Living with ADD has been a lot like that, for many of us, simply because things like NLP don't do a thing to explain why we experience the things we do.

Just knowing there's really something biting us, that it's not our imagination, is a tremendous relief. Learning that we have/are AD/HD is just like that, for most of us. But it's not enough to let us sleep in peace.

* * * *

In the end, it all comes down to this:

We don't see any rationale for the choices NLP practitioners make on behalf of the ADDers they want to help. Despite the obvious and widely accepted need to establish such a rationale, we have been unable to find any NLP related information that addresses it at all.

That was our first clue that there's something wrong under the hood. Usually, such things are based on the assumption that everyone already knows what's right, and that is a sure sign that the social impulse is at work.

In a very real sense, the result is xenophobic and not in our best interests, even though the intentions may be benign or even completely pure. There is an inherent contradiction at work, because by definition the social impulse seeks conformity without regard for the fine points of the difference between ADDers and normal. It's triggered by any difference, by definition.

And we believe that contradiction is exactly what all ADDers would like to see resolved. Ideally, we ADDers should feel a social pressure to conform to what is normal for us, and normals should feel a pressure to conform to what has been normal for them for a long time.

We each should be true to our own natures, but in a universe that holds more than one solution to the problem of existence. If NLP could help do that, it would be a useful tool for some of us.

But until the underlying theory is tweaked to harmoniously include the inherent differences ADDers present, it doesn't look as much like a useful technique as a potential tool for repression.

That is, in our (fairly well informed) opinion, of course.

Most sincerely,

Tom and Kay

roxannew
10-13-04, 03:07 PM
Tom and Kay: I've been without a computer the past several days, so just now received this posting. I'm reviewing it now, and will respond soon :) And thanks for the welcome!!

roxannew
10-14-04, 02:05 AM
I decided after starting a response to the most recent post by Tom and Kay that the best way to “express my thoughts” was through an example. In this personal example, I was able to take a situation, in which I struggled daily to concentrate and focus for even 15 minutes at a time, and turn it around. I ended up being able to do 4-6 hours of reading a day in preparation for preliminary exams. This is not to say that this technique would work for anyone, and I’m not even saying that I believe it would work for a majority of people. However, for me the fact that it worked made all the difference in the world---the difference between failing very important exams! And being able to feel confident that I was prepared, and ultimately doing well as a result of my ability to focus on my studies.


I do not deny the theoretical benefits of understanding why this process works (and I have more ideas and insights into my thoughts on this as well) but instead I wanted to point out how it was the result that intrigued me, and encouraged me to learn more NLP and utilize the techniques for my own advantage. It has helped me learn what processes in my brain worked for what purposes, and how I can apply this information to other situations as they come up. It is not a “one-minute-fix” nor is it always easy; being able to change 15 minutes a day to 4-6 hours!!, however, was worth the effort for me.

So, as well as I can, here is an explanation of what we did, and the results:

1 ) My NLP coach had me “reproduce” a scenario in which I was trying to read, and felt I couldn’t concentrate. He started by asking me to sit where I would typically study, and try to read something. After I’d read a few paragraph or so, he then asked me what the reading was “like”.
My “perception” here was that I cannot concentrate, which as you’ll see, was not the reality, but just my perception of it. This is what I refer to when I mention a “strategy”—it is a perception that I’ve developed, over years, over months, or even just from one experience, that drives how I behave in similar situations in the future. It’s like a “short cut”, or a heuristic that my brain attaches to a certain situations.

This strategy was “reading is boring, I don’t like to do boring things, so as a result, my brain can’t focus.” The other “distractions” I had were ways for my brain to try to get the stimulation it really wanted, instead of doing "boring studying".

2 ) I explained to him that I heard everything around me, and it was distracting…..I’d read one paragraph, hear the crickets outside making noise, and would look up distracted by it, and by the time I got back to the book, I’d have to reread the same paragraph, or I’d have forgotten my line of thought at the moment. This was the same for several other “distractions” that I noticed at the time, including my daughter coming in and out of the room, the TV set being on, the clock ticking, the sink dripping, etc.
Further questioning, however, revealed that because my strongest “modality” is of the audio type (I typically will read out loud to myself, hearing it in my mind, as I read, write, listen to someone speak, etc.*) how I was hearing the words in my mind might be important to how "stimulating" or boring the situation of reading/studying, might be.

In fact, after looking at this more it turned out that I would hear the words in my mind as a monotone voice, slow and dull, and rather lifeless it seemed. Imagine if you were listening to someone talk, in a very dull, monotone, slow, boring way, how interesting would this be for you? Most likely not nearly as interesting as if the person had a wide range of voice tone, and inflections, and “appeared” and acted interested in what he was saying (anyone who’s had to sit through a number of boring University lectures will relate to this rather easily!).
4 ) After doing this, my coach then asked me to recall a time when I was able to focus.** Once I started remembering a time when I could focus, he began asking me the same types of questions as before---what was “that” situation like? What was different about that situation?

As I began to imagine myself being in that situation, I was able to form the context, and not only the physical aspects of what it was like, but through his particular questioning I was able to see differences that I perceived mentally as well.

5 ) In this case what I found out was amazing!! When I was focused, in my mind was an active “conversation”…. The characters in the reading literally would come to life in my mind, and were more “exciting” as if I were watching a Shakespearean play (this was an odd concept that just came to me as I was expressing myself at the time, but became a turning point in my ability to engage myself in reading without becoming bored or distracted later on).

When my mind was focused, the stimulation was different. Instead of “just reading” my mind made the words interesting and more real by making the voices more exciting, adding stimulation by putting the words I was reading into more context, as if the words were a conversation among characters in a play. Apparently, for me, this added stimulation makes reading more exciting, therefore, there is less reason for my mind to get distracted (after all, much of our ADD inattentiveness is the result of simply being bored because we, more than others, require more mental stimulation).

6 ) So how did that help? Well since this experience, every time I need to read something that I might believe will be “boring”, I employ this personal NLP method --- I sit comfortably, review what I have to read so I know where it might be going, then when I start to read I imagine the words coming to me as characters in a play, with a vibrant, interesting voice, as if two people are conversing about what the words say back and forth. In other words, I “change” the way I read, so that the reading is now interesting, and I focus FAR longer.
I didn’t just “imagine” myself enjoying it, and I didn't imagine something that was outside my own "reality", but instead I employed techniques that were the same as when I KNEW I could focus, and hence was able to simulate the same positive results.

All I did was change the way the words in my mind sounded and expressed themselves. A magic trick? Hardly, but I found it to be an amazing and ingenious “solution” to a difficulty that was causing me serious anxiety (that I would fail these exams if I didn’t read, and reading required focus).
Before this, I was having a hard time being able to sit for more than 15 minutes without getting distracted, and of course feeling like it was because I “couldn’t” focus. After I started using this concept (words in a vibrant, exciting Shakespearean play), I was able to enjoy my reading for 4-6 hours a day, minimum, and though there were still occasions that were more difficult for me to focus, my “results” were far superior to those I had previously.

Even more important, however, was that at this moment, I didn’t care what the theory behind the process was --- I could have cared less at the moment whether, as an analyst, I could “reproduce” the results, or obtain statistical significance through a scientific model (though I've since contemplated how this might be accomplished practically, and do not deny the importance of trying to find an appropriate theoretical foundation for its ideas).

At the time, however, all I honestly cared about was that now I was enjoying my reading more, and focusing on it for 4-6 hours a day, reviewing for very important exams, and feeling more and more confident in my ability to do well. The PRACTICAL results were important---and I'd achieved those results with far greater success than anything I'd experienced with medications alone, and far superior to beating myself up because I couldn't seem to do it.

That’s not to say that everyone who tries NLP will have the same type of results --- many may not. But for those who are interested in exploring, the worst result would be no results at all. For me, that’s a negligible risk, but a choice that should be made as an informed decision, gathering information, ideas, and even sitting in on one of the several free tele-seminars that are often given by NLP practitioners as a way to see for yourself what it is, how it works, and whether it may be useful for you or not, before spending money.

Trust between you and your coach is also very important, and could mean the difference between success and failure---if you do not believe for one moment that the person you're considering working with is knowledgeable, or has superior skills or practical experience in NLP, then by all means make another choice!

This is not a "try NLP at all costs" proposition---I simply express to you that there are plenty of positive experiences, that not all NLP practitioners are out to just make a buck (many really care about being able to help) but ADD is also a complex situation, regardless of how one attempts to "tackle" the challenges. Don't expect miracles, but also, don't rule out potential possibility of NLP coaching simply because there are some people who would themselves, choose not to use it.





Footnoted comments:
* This line of questioning is part of finding out the “modalities” an individual is using at a given point and time. This process, in a nutshell, involves finding out what is going on while I was trying to read. For instance, was I hearing thoughts (reading the words to myself, mind wandering elsewhere, etc.), was I feeling things? (knot in my stomach, perhaps from anxiety?), was I imaging pictures? (seeing people I need to talk to? Or seeing the words in my mind). Also important was what I perceived as the distraction I was having, and how this was being represented by the modalities--- in this case, the “audio” modality for me was a voice that was monotone and rather lifeless.
** Usually, if a person says “I can never concentrate”, if you ask them “has there EVER been a time when you could concentrate?” inevitably they will have at least one time they can recall in which they could.

Stabile
10-15-04, 09:32 AM
Well, that's really pretty cool. Nothing we looked at had that kind of direct and simple expression of the process, and I'll bet the reason is mainly one of those standard chip-on-the-shoulder academic intellectual elitism things.

Kay hasn't seen this yet, and we have a bunch of other stuff to review. I would say that any process that works as Roxanne describes is perfectly acceptable to us, but that would make it seem as if we had a right to a valid opinion about what she described.

We don't generally think our opinion (or any opinion) belongs placed in juxtaposition to a statement like that, other than it was pretty cool. This kind of stuff stands on it's own, Roxanne's experience, and we are at best privileged observers. I will say this: I have a more concrete idea of what the successful process of NLP does from this one example than all the dozens of pages of stuff we reviewed previously.

And unless someone can think of a good reason, I stand by our distrust and dislike of examples like the excerpt we included in our first post. It seems to be light years from this one, and I can't imagine how it could have been successful. The author never said, if I recall correctly; I believe that was one reason we chose it.

One example isn't enough for many purposes, but it does just fine (for example) for showing a person how to put a key in the ignition and start a car. I didn't have any trouble adapting to Kay's Chevy, with the ignition in the dash, other than having to pull the key out of the crack in the steering column the first couple of times I drove it. But that's just motor habit; the process of starting her car is the same as almost all others.

So, to me, there's a valid bridge here in what she says. We don't ever want to discourage anyone from pursuing something that is working, no matter what the reasoning, as long as they aren't damaging their spirit. There clearly isn't any of that here.

And I believe that I'm getting a glimmer of understanding about how to interpret what successful NLP is doing in terms of what Kay and I know about the mind and brain, if Roxanne's example is typical. We need to think about this some more, and look at other more detailed material.

So, more later. And thanks, Roxanne.

paulbf
10-15-04, 02:12 PM
This is making me very frustrated. I can't even find out what the heck NLP is. Could someone please give a summary. Not the esoteric part, the meat. Thanks. I've lost patience. I've tried reading this thread & it's frustrating not knowing what you are talking about! What exactly is on the tapes???

Stabile
10-15-04, 03:52 PM
Hey, Paul:

NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming (an unfortunate moniker, in my opinion)

I don't think there really are tapes per se. The tapes mentioned are the Tony Roberts stuff, and I don't know what, if anything, they have to do with the formal practice of NLP.

There is a bunch of stuff on the web, but some of it can be infuriating, with pop-ups, downloads, and other stupid web tricks. Try Googling the full name.

paulbf
10-15-04, 05:25 PM
Grr, I spent half an hour reading this thread then another 20 minutes reading mumbo jumbo philosophy mission statements on web sites, now another 15 minutes gives me this:

NEURO -brain, duh, that just means it's about your thinking

LINGUISTIC -uses language somehow, like affirmations???

PROGRAMMING -they try to make this sound magical, or like a recipe, like studying successful people & find their magic program then copy that by making yourself self-talk with the same sorts of logic that successful people use???

http://www.nlpschedule.com/whats-nlp.html

"pretend it works, try it, and notice the results you get. If you don't get the result you want, try something else."

This sounds like CBT to me.

Here's an example:
"Submodalities - The structure of internal representations determines your response to the content. For example, picture someone you really like. Make the colors more intense, as if you were turning up the color knob on a TV. Now turn the color down, until it's black and white. For most people, high color intensifies the feeling, and B&W neutralizes it. The degree of color, part of the STRUCTURE of the representation, affects the intensity of your feelings about the content."

OK so NLP is a collection of little mental tricks like this?

"NLP has several techniques for diagnosing and intervening in certain situations. They have a phobia cure, a way to detraumatize past traumas, ways to identify and integrate conflicting belief systems that keep you from doing things you want, etc."

So yeah, it's techniques like above??? THat example doesn't use language though.

Here's another example below. I still don't quite get what distinguishes this specifically as NLP:

"One way an NLP therapist might approach a client session is by understanding the cognitive structure of how a client creates a problem. They then help figure out the cognitive structure of an area of life where the client deals satisfactorily. Then they would teach the client to use the good strategy in the problem situation.

For example: a friend of mine was obsessed with her ex-boyfriend. She was in such fear of him that she would fly into hysterics at the thought of him. Cognitively, she made a big, bright movie of him physically harassing her, with a soundtrack of him whining and lecturing her. The soundtrack seemed to come from around her left ear, and was in the boyfriend's voice.

She had another ex-boyfriend who she was fine about. Cognitively, his picture was small, framed, and in the distance. The soundtrack was her voice talking about how nice he had been, and how the relationship was firmly in the past.

The work I did with her involved representing the problem boyfriend with a small, framed picture. We removed the soundtrack of his voice, and added her narration, instead. The result: she stopped obsessing about her ex, and went on with her life, able to deal with him. "

So I googled "nlp procrastination" & got a lot about prices of various tapes and hypnosis??? ...OK something about the state of mind for procrastination is fear & hypnotising a state of playfulness in and it's fixed, bammo.

Hmmm (scratching head)...

roxannew
10-17-04, 04:15 AM
I can certainly understand and respect the frustration that paul and others have expressed here. NLP is not a simple or easy thing to express. The example I gave was one of dozens that I've used either for myself personally, or with other individuals I've coached, or who have coached me.

Specifically addressing the question (of sorts) that paul expresses below:

Here's another example below. I still don't quite get what distinguishes this specifically as NLP:
One way an NLP therapist might approach a client session is by understanding the cognitive structure of how a client creates a problem. They then help figure out the cognitive structure of an area of life where the client deals satisfactorily. Then they would teach the client to use the good strategy in the problem situation.
This particular "verbiage" relates to the example I outlined previously. It might be outlined like this:

1) "understanding the cognitive structure of how a client creates a problem."

In reference to my example in a previous post (focus for my readings), the "cognitive structure" of the problem was the way that my mind was using the audio submodality, or how the words in my mind as I was reading sounded---in this case, dull, monotone and lifeless.

As a result, my mind literally got bored! So to take care of the boredem, instead it would find distractions that were more "exciting" (watching the TV when it flickered, yelling at the child as she paced into/out of the room, thinking about how many crickets it must take to make such aweful noise outside, etc.).

2) "help figure out the cognitive structure of an area of life where the client deals satisfactorily"

Once we recognized that this might be why I was having difficulty focusing on my reading, it was then a matter of finding out whether, when I was focused, the audio in my mind were different.

After remembering a time in which I was VERY focused (I hyperfocus very well, but before this I didn't realize that I could choose when to focus like this--instead it would just happen, or it wouldn't).

Once I started reading as if I were at a time when I was focused we realized very quickly that the audio within my mind was far different. Instead of being dull it was very vibrant, and soon I realized that I was imagining the words as if they were a conversation among characters in a play! Far more entertaining!!

As a result, I was able to literally give my mind the stimulation it desiredso that it could do what I wanted it to do, i.e., focus on reading, and not have a desire to get distracted with other things---because it was already having fun! And getting lots of stimulation from the wonderful movements and voice inflections going on in my mind as I read.

3) "teach the client to use the good strategy in the problem situation"

In this case, I just learned that each time I sat down to read something that required focus, I would begin to imagine that the words came to me in the same way as when my brain was stimulated to focus---so I just imagine the words as characters acting them out in a play. That's it!

Honestly, I don't understand why we often spend so much time trying to make something that's so simple sound so "formal" and mystical. What this individual (or whoever wrote the copy for this page) was trying to say was no different than the example I expressed earlier, but as seems obvious here, how many people will be able to understand that this is what it means?

I often have difficulty expressing my thoughts in coherent and clear ways so that many people would be able to know what I mean---I believe to some extent this is a result of field specialization, or the expert syndrom. Besides, perhaps these people feel that if they don't sound "impressive" no one will think they know what they are talking about?

Personally, I would much rather understand what the process is, through examples, than try to wade through hours of the kind of language that paul found here.

But to be fair, I will also say that NLP is a complex process, and just as with any specialized field, special language is sometimes required in order to be able to express complex ideas. In the case paul gives here, though, I don't feel the langauge was necessary, though perhaps the website was geared toward individuals who already had some specialized knowledge with NLP language?

In the end, however, my own use of NLP, and what I've found to be helpful myself, is based primarily on knowing what ways my brain is processing information (like reading words aloud in my mind as I read) and then being able to change these processes in ways that get me whatever result I might be trying to get at the time.

And to be completely fair here, this was not the first time I'd tried to increase my focus for reading. Over the previous few months I'd probably tried at least 4-6 other "techniques" to obtain the same results. It wasn't until we tried this particular process that the extent of the audio stimulation in my mind at the time was uncovered and addressed.

The same goes for other processes that I now use regular, to slow down my mind when it starts racing (since I no longer take ADD medications), for example, or to increase motivation for something I'm not particularly thrilled to do (i.e., something that's boring, and lacks the stimulation my ADD brain likes).

Its trial and error in many cases, and can be just as frustrating on occassion as trying different medications to titrate just the right dose. But the neat part of it is that once you start "getting" some processes that work, others come far more quickly! Its like learning a new language---once you learn one, it seems learning more is easier.

Paul, I hope that this has helped to clarify to some extent, some of your frustrations. I can understand your frustration in trying to find "good" NLP and ADD coaching references on the net (and those stupid pages that only lear one for pop-ups and spyware are soooo frustrating that I think the people who make them should be shot and hung---'er.. well, maybe just fined :D). My coach and I are actually working on developing a better site, devoted specifically for NLP-related ADD coaching, as we've also found the same frustrations as you have. I'd be happy to share this information with you as we develop it---my coach is truly gifted in NLP and also has ADD, so he relates quite well to the issues involved.

But again this isn't intended as a sales pitch for NLP, because not everyone will be interested or even have results they will be happy with. But for some people it might be worth looking into.

By the way, a VERY good and explanatory NLP book you might want to check out is NLP: The New Technology of Achievement. It is edited by Steve Andreas and Charles Faulkner and primarily written by individuals at the NLP Comprehensive Training Team. I don't know any of these individuals personally, so cannot vouch for their expertise specifically, but I've read the book a couple of times, and each time I get something from it that I missed the first time. Plus, its written in plain English! Very well written, which is the primary reason I would recommend it. I think they might have a website online too, though I'm not certain of this.

Hope this is helpful, and I want to add that I'm thoroughly thrilled that everyone has been so wonderfully open and gracious. I've been on forums before where the negative atmosphere is such a turnoff that I rarely go back. Thank you for being a great bunch of folks :D I'd be happy to try to answer any other questions here, or at the least try to direct you to resources where you could find good information.

roxannew
10-17-04, 04:29 AM
I nearly forgot to address this---Richard Bandler and John Grinder are the original founders of NLP. Both were professors, Bandler in the mathematics field and Grinder in the linguistics field. NLP began as an attempt to find out if one could "model excellence". In other words, did people who were genius' have something going on in their brains that was different than us everyday folk?

What they began to realize was that there were these "submodalities" going on in everyone's mind... audio, visual, etc. The breakthrough that they developed was in the recognition that everyone could think in the same way that people who were successful thought. In other words, one could "train their own mind" to think in ways that were geared toward achieving goals, maximizing their personal productivity, etc.

Between the two (although Bandler is more well-known and established with expansions of the NLP processes) they developed techniques that could help someone make these changes for themselves. Bandler has, in fact, generated quite a number of NLP audio and video tapes, but many of them are simply recordings of seminars he's given.

Tony Robbins has employed probably the most highly successful uses of NLP, though he doesn't use it overtly as much as he uses it in a way to help individuals create inner motivation (if that makes any sense?).

Unfortunately most of Bandler's stuff is a bit difficult to read and understand, and is certainly written with more academic intent than mass market appeal. One set of his tapes, however, is called Design Human Engineering (DHE). I'll tell you these are the most odd sounding recordings I've ever listened too, but they are so highly inspiring after first listening that they're hard to put away for a while (though highly expensive!)

The difficulty with tapes and videos, however, is what I've addressed already---specifically that much of the success (for me anyway) has been in personal processes that I've learned and developed over the course of a few years. If one hopes to just purchase a set of tapes and be able to employ the processes and have success, they'll likely be disappointed.

My recommendation instead, if you're truly interested in learning how NLP might work, or if it will, would be to check out the book I noted in the previous post. This one takes the individual through the process from beginning steps, to more advanced stuff. I found it limiting, after my NLP knowledge increased, but for someone just exploring, I think its a perfect start.

Hey, Paul:

NLP: Neuro Linguistic Programming (an unfortunate moniker, in my opinion)

I don't think there really are tapes per se. The tapes mentioned are the Tony Roberts stuff, and I don't know what, if anything, they have to do with the formal practice of NLP.

There is a bunch of stuff on the web, but some of it can be infuriating, with pop-ups, downloads, and other stupid web tricks. Try Googling the full name.

paulbf
10-17-04, 11:05 AM
OK thanks roxannew, that’s a good example. I can see how developing a personalized approach could overcome some of stabile’s hesitations about brain washing people into some standard mold. I’ve seen some brainwashing & it’s fully BS. Someone I know very well spent 15 years of their life in such a group, eventually giving up, figuring they just weren’t smart enough to learn & to this day they still feel that way. And it was smart stuff, potentially useful to lots of people but not for this person because I think they are somewhat ADD-ish and were blaming their problems on some other emotional or mental weakness they hoped to some day overcome by working hard enough. That’s when this type of approach becomes very dangerous and destructive.

But yes your example gives hope that similar techniques could be adapted to our individual ADHD traits. Work with the ADHD, not against it. Learn how to trigger our own hyper-focusing & learn to recognize our “muddled thinking” as what stabile describes as natural and healthy intuitive wandering so we don’t feel it’s bad and can relax & enjoy it & learn how that intuitive web thinking can be used to advantage without expecting something else out of it or feeling it’s something we need to shamefully erase from our brains.

The other thing I see it potentially helping with (just like CBT) is overcoming emotional issues & emotionally clouded thinking. But it’s got to be custom fit for the ADHD brain, not trying to put us in a standard mold that doesn’t fit. But yeah what Amen calls ANTs Automatic Negative Thoughts would be a good thing to erase. But maybe we need to attack them in a different way than a normal might. Maybe there is some way to develop NLP/CBT for ADDers specifically that ends up being very different from the familiar patterns.

I can also see stabile’s point about “if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail” and if NLP is primarily designed for molding standard “successful” thought patterns, maybe it’s a stretch to make it useful for helping ADDers. I can see how an ADDer might have limited success with such techniques but really it isn’t natural and might ultimately be uncomfortable & might allow one to achieve small successes in the standard sense but not allow one to reach their full potential; even to hold one back from that. I don’t get the feeling that roxannew is being limited by this though.

Something I’ve found helpful which is maybe sort of CBT combined with meditation is when feeling anxious, spacey, uncomfortable, to take a moment of meditation & deep breathing to relax & try to feel what exactly is happening to cause that bad feeling. Instead of just being driven by it, step back and observe it. Usually we can learn to identify the problem, and once that is seen, some affirmations or positive/productive thinking/feeling can be inserted into the process and relief can be felt.

For example, my spacey feeling might be due to anxiety so I’ll stop & feel & identify that it’s a tension causing the fuzzy brain then think about what that worry is, then go through a sensible analysis of whether that’s a legitimate worry & what exactly I can or cannot do to address it. A minute or less and I’m feeling better, more relaxed, with some direction.

If the thing going on isn’t that simple & logical, that’s OK too. Just slow down & give the old intuition some room to do it’s thing. It doesn’t have to be a solid logical or simple answer, just a chance to step back & not be controlled... a chance to take control or let loose or whatever is needed that just needs some space. The thing I saw in my friend who was in the brainwashing club is they were trained to always be on alert with a huge set of rules for prescribed solutions involving terrible disciplines that ran counter to their nature. They wanted to be clear thinking like their school taught and resented being fuzzy thinking, not knowing anything about ADHD. The result was endless frustration and denial of their nature.

Another thing that goes with meditation is general all around happy thoughts. Go into the deep breathing & think about generosity towards the world. That’s not going to harm anyone. I don’t care what your thinking processes are that’s just plain healthy.

roxannew
10-17-04, 04:52 PM
You are SO right here paul! And the processes you mention are very similar to what NLP gets at (at least the NLP that I practice)... the idea is its a personalized solution, not a "one-size-fits-all" and I'm just sorry that you and others have gotten the impression from much that is on the web that NLP is meant to be some sort of "rules to live by" kind of notion.

I like what you do in terms of the meditation... sitting back and just allowing your brain to 'go where its going to go anyway' is a perfect way of working with it, instead of working against it. The part that NLP can additionally enhance is knowledge of what exactly IS going on... there was one time when I was having such difficulty concentrating, and even being motivated to do my coursework, even though I had come so far, and was SO CLOSE to getting where I wanted to. But for the life of me, my "regular analysis" (I've always called it my introspective self, but it can be way to analytical to make any progress after a while) was just not able to figure out what was going on.

The one interesting thing I've realized about ADD is that we cannot be motivated like others can---I have several non-ADD friends who can just tell themselves "this just needs to be done, so I'm going to do it", period. They do it! Just like that *sigh* That just doesn't work for me, and sometimes I seem to even "rebel" (yeah a bit childish huh LOL) and I end up doing everything BUT the one thing I really want to do. So as you've said Paul, working with your mind, and not against it, is a good idea.

After a few sessions of work what we finally found out was that I was feeling GUILTY about doing well (sounds odd I know)---essentially, I've been through some tough years, which included a nasty divorce and a child-custody arrangement that I was never completely happy with even though I agreed to it. So in my mind, I felt I'd let my children down---so how could I be "happy and successful" at what I was doing, when I'd let them down (so said my mind to myself whenever it tried to finish the important project/program that I was working on).

I was completely blown away, because I'd never imagined that something like that, unconsciously happening, could have such an affect. Not only that, it had been YEARS since this had been an issue (at least consciously) but yet there it was, biting at me every time I tried to accomplish something of importance.

So I guess the point (long-winded of course LOL) is that sitting back and reflecting, giving our brain some "space" is a very good thing --- and IF that doesn't work, it might be worthwhile to reflect on what else might be going on "behind the scenes" in your mind as well, if it seems nothing else helps you get where you want to be. :)

roxannew
10-17-04, 05:09 PM
My apologies, but I just realized that I'd given the wrong info here. Bandler's DHE tapes are more designed for NLP trainers, or those with advanced NLP knowledge. The CD set I meant instead was his Personal Enhancement Series.

I'm not sure how useful this set has been for others. For me it was very invigorating the first few times, and terribly entertaining thereafter LOL. But in terms of making practical changes in my life, they weren't very useful.

You can do a Google search, using "personal enhancement richard bandler" to get more information if you're interested.

Sorry for the mixup :)
Rox


Unfortunately most of Bandler's stuff is a bit difficult to read and understand, and is certainly written with more academic intent than mass market appeal. One set of his tapes, however, is called Design Human Engineering (DHE). I'll tell you these are the most odd sounding recordings I've ever listened too, but they are so highly inspiring after first listening that they're hard to put away for a while (though highly expensive!)

Stabile
10-17-04, 08:31 PM
Thanks for that, Roxanne and Paul.

This has evolved into a pretty neat discussion. The criticisms are really split into at least two separate areas: the question of whether NLP actually works as described, and the question of the goals one has in applying it.

Usually, everything is lumped together into a single heap. That's why one misguided practitioner can sometimes give a whole discipline a bad rep, and also why people can get away with arguing that a valid criticism of the core principles of a method is just an unfair response to one bad example.

Our criticism of the goals of the NLP coach exists on the metalevel above the principles of application, and the question of whether NLP could be successful. In that sense, and of no consequence to this particular criticism, NLP might be a perfectly useful technique in need of a better strategy for application.

We don't usually get to address these problems in this way; usually, metalevels are invisible, or at least difficult to delineate verbally. It's Paul's and Roxanne's sharp, honest logic that brings the opportunity.

I'll state it again: there is a metalevel on which the question of NLP's efficacy exists. Speaking strictly in terms of NLP as a technique for making a change in a person's mental processes, does it work?

On the metalevel above that, there is a different question of what change you wish to bring about. (You can also see this as the metalevel below, as a detail of the application of NLP.) This is where our criticism falls regarding our perception of the goals of the coach, where much of what we've read seems to have a working assumption that being normal is the answer to the problems of AD/HD.

But see how that question has now been decoupled from the one of efficacy? That's what metalevels do for us. Very cool.


For example, my spacey feeling might be due to anxiety so I’ll stop & feel & identify that it’s a tension causing the fuzzy brain then think about what that worry is, then go through a sensible analysis of whether that’s a legitimate worry & what exactly I can or cannot do to address it. A minute or less and I’m feeling better, more relaxed, with some direction.

If the thing going on isn’t that simple & logical, that’s OK too. Just slow down & give the old intuition some room to do it’s thing. It doesn’t have to be a solid logical or simple answer, just a chance to step back & not be controlled...
That bit about giving intuition room to do its thing is the very thing Kay and I are on about so often. It's what prevents the logic from becoming stuck in the same old familiar solutions.

Whether you recognize it or not, you're using the metamodel web to analyze the situation. Being aware of it doesn't have a whole lot to do with having and using a web; it is, after all, only a logical structure. How many of us walk around thinking about the structure implicit in a particular way of organizing information?

In your example, you use it to both recognize that the solution isn't going to fall to ordinary reasoning and to find the extraordinary answer. Also very cool.

* * * *

The fact that tapes and other materials are expensive is a problem for us. We have observed that certain absolute principles arise as an obvious implication of understanding the organization of one's own mind. For Kay and me, everything is linked logically in some way to everything else, a natural consequence of using the metamodel web.

But there isn't any exclusivity implied, no barrier to understanding some particular subject in isolation, as long as it doesn't involve or require the properties of the web itself. So you can think of any node in the web as a potential paradigm, an apparently isolated blob of logical comprehension that serves to illuminate a subject or idea in a unique way.

How do you tell the difference between a paradigm and a node in the metamodel web? In one sense there isn't any difference. The real question is whether the logic is interconnected, implicitly imbued with the associations to every other logical blob that links it into the web.

Whether or not that implicit linkage is missing is the clue, and on the surface it doesn't affect the logic in any way. But the web is sparse, as we like to note, and there are subtle changes in the details of a paradigm when you link it into your web and it becomes a metamodel.

When everything is interconnected, the plight of political refugees in sub-Saharan Africa (for example) reflects in some way on how you think about the personal economics of distributing ideas that might be important to humanity as a whole. It's hard for Kay and me to see the morality of making a profit on describing a pattern that is implicit in the operation of everyone's brain.

We could understand writing about it, and by selling books, making a living pursuing the knowledge that you seek to share. But Tony Robbins is clearly in a whole other category.

It strikes us that if the techniques work, they should have worked for the people making the tapes. Now, implicit in that statement is our assumption that the self-knowledge that things like NLP must be based on can only arise from at least a partial application of the metamodel web as an analytical tool.

And that is just what we see; breakthrough ideas routinely rely on exactly the same kind of mental process that Paul describes, one that functions in the interconnections, and therefore implies the use of at least a limited metamodel web.

That's the Catch-22 of this stuff. It's impossible to see interconnections without glimpsing the web itself. And unless the new idea includes come mention of that, the implication is that glimpse is intentionally suppressed after the fact.

This bothered us deeply, for a long time. It seems deceitful, and no uncharitable view of conscious human intent has ever led us to a valid insight. Yet we have example piled on example of what is unquestionably open denial and sometimes hostile rejection of the very phenomenon that often allows deep, new understanding in the first place.

In simpler terms, what we’re saying is this: if a person invents something like NLP (assume, for the argument, that it's valid), they are certain to require an insight that is based in part on recognition of a pattern of logical relationships between two or more previously established logical patterns.

And often, after a new logical pattern is established, that person will deny and reject the proposition that such a pattern of interrelationships was observed, or held any significance.

Understanding this was a huge breakthrough for Kay and me. It provided us with a validating example of a phenomenon that we had first identified in analyzing male - female social interactions, the neural mechanism we call a black hole.

A black hole is essentially a dissociative mechanism that seeks to prevent logical associations from being formed with some specific abstraction or family of abstractions. It can be thought of as an aversion to thinking about or forming an understanding of some prohibited subject.

In the case of the metamodel web, the black hole is centered directly on the idea of metalevels. That's why, back at the top, I said this was a pretty cool opportunity, because normally, people do anything to avoid it.

There are many examples, but one of my favorites is mathematics itself. The entire field is built directly on the assumption that metalevels are a Bad Thing, to be avoided at all costs. There has been much effort over the years to put metalevels to rest as an illusory property of nature that only arises because we haven't correctly understood the underlying logical structure of problems that seem to need them.

The culmination of this effort was the seminal work of Kurt Goedel, in which he proved that metalevels are unavoidable. This was exactly the opposite of his stated goal, and the implications did something to him that he never recovered from.

He became paranoid, unable to correctly judge the social implications of other's actions, and he ultimately became obsessed with the idea that someone was trying to poison his food. His wife struggled every day for years to convince him to eat, and shortly after she died, he starved to death.

The purpose of the black hole centered on the idea of metalevels is to avoid an instability in the function of the mind exactly like the one that affected Kurt Goedel. The interconnections that define the metamodel web are a significantly more robust substitute for the stability afforded by the black hole.

But Goedel didn't spend years building associations to things that have nothing apparent in common with the ideas of mathematics. By considering directly the existence of metalevels, he built a metamodel web that extended only over the black hole that interfered with his thinking about metalevels.

It enabled him to finally understand the context, and see exactly where his theory must go. But it provided nothing to stabilize what he regarded as unrelated areas, like social interactions.

From a practical experiential view, the black hole feels like a natural aversion to any idea that seems to need metalevels as an integral part of its logical expression. The practical effect is an uncanny propensity to separate and isolate different blobs of logic, even if a small piece of the web was a necessary tool for their development.


So: take a metamodel, and turn it into a paradigm by removing all the associations that imply the existence of metalevels. The impulse is so deep that there doesn’t seem any reason to question it, or ever mention it, either.

By doing that, you remove the associations that Kay and I can't escape, the ones that would make us embarrassed to claim our ideas worked, that they could change humanity for the better and solve longstanding problems, and then try to charge for their use.

Understanding it like that, with a black hole that is supposed to ensure stability of a primitive fragmented mind, it makes some sense when someone like Tony Robbins claims to have the big answer to everything over here, and then acts like he doesn't have a clue over here, where his wallet sits. We can take a benevolent view and avoid the obvious assumption that he's a bad guy. He just doesn't really have a metamodel web.

If they had a web, and used it, in our opinion these people would have the same impulse that Kay and I have, to let anybody and everybody know exactly what we've uncovered in our research. There's a sort of implied idea that, if you've caught on to the big picture, you understand that it isn't about getting rich.

We sure aren't. We're givin' it away…

--Tom and Kay

roxannew
10-18-04, 01:23 AM
I'm quite intruiged, and impressed with the array of thoughts that have resulted from this thread. As somewhat of a "geek" (in training maybe LOL) when it comes to theoretical concepts like what you have addressed here, I find the connections interesting, and they also raise more questions of interest but in a unique way (good information tends to do that though, I believe).

I hope that it does not stray too far from topic, however, if I try to clarify this in a way that might make more concrete sense for me. My background seems obviously different than yours, but hopefully I'll be able to express myself well enough for you to be able to understand exactly what question I'm trying to get at.

I'm curious specifically about the relationship between our thoughts, in a more holistic sense, and what I've begun to understand about your metaweb model. My thoughts in the past, and these are all new ideas for me, have revolved around the idea of thinking in a "file drawer" type of way. This is a concept that is quite common in one area of my background (political behavior), but still doesn't get at the more higher-level theoretical context, which as of today seems set on the experiential notion (our mind as a "blank state" when we are born) than more classical assumptions that our ideas are "innate" or that we are born with them.

My question, of sorts, is this: if we are to assume that we are born without "thoughts" and ideas, and that our experiences are what determine these thoughts (as well as social interactions, cultural upbringing, and a host of other things unique for the individual), are we then able to also make the assumption that this metaweb model develops, at first as a very "simple" web, with few directions.. and then grows larger as we get older/have more experiences?

Also, at what point do these experiences develop into something we consider more "meta-level" to just the experience itself? In other words... say that I have a bad experience as a child---every time I attempted to finish a project, I was told "You'll never be able to finish that". Now, after a while, it would seem like the idea "I'll never be able to finish" would become a "meta-level assumption" that I believe, not because my experiences tell me to believe this, but because it would seem it was always there!

The idea here is, at what point are we able to unravel the concept of a "reality" (whether or not I could actually finish a project) and what has "become my reality" (believing that I cannot, because I was told so many times that now it seems like a "fact" instead of simply someone's opinion that I could not).

The reason I'm asking is that often NLP coaching will lead me to some "meta-level" belief, that my unconscious has been holding as a "reality" for so long, that no amount of conscious effort to convince myself otherwise works to change that. Much research on child development, in fact, points to the very critical ways in which what a child learns, and how they learn it, can have a tremendous effect on their thoughts, decisions, and behaviors in the future. A good example of this would be how hatred is taught---if a child is raised to believe that one race is inferior to them (for whatever stupid reason), by the time that child is grown, it is nearly impossible for them to seperate the "belief" (now seemingly ingrained) that a race is inferior, from what appears to them as "reality" around them (that there are individuals of that race that do very well, and in fact might do better than they do themselves!).

This kind of conflict, between the conscious and the sub-conscious, seems to me to be the key to many "problems" for nearly anyone who has some difficulty they can't seem to "overcome".

How might your metaweb model address this kind of issue? Or is it one in which, if I understood how you've expressed it, much of the analysis of these kinds of behaviors ignores this "meta-level" within our thinking processes, hence why they end up becoming short-term solutions?

paulbf
10-18-04, 01:59 AM
OK Tom & Kay...
I know this is a tall order but what exactly is this whole meta model thing supposed to provide that helps me move on in life? It is fascinating but how the hell do I make use of it in moving forward???

Stabile
10-18-04, 05:41 PM
OK, great questions, and I think they're appropriate to the subject. Any discussion of NLP in depth must touch on these foundation concepts, in order to establish a common sense of the territory, if nothing else.

(IOHO, of course, and overrule us, anyone, if this seems to drift too far off target. We could start a new thread, I suppose…)

Paul first: Kay and I believe that understanding how the brain and mind function is central to learning why some coping strategies work, some don't, why some work sometimes and not others. And also why different strategies for dealing with the effects of having/being AD/HD work for some of us and not for others.

We developed our models of how the brain functions to produce the mind and our conscious experiential reality from (close to) first principles, working in the classical manner.

That is, we started with our own observations and those of others, and as much information as we could get about the structure and function of neurons and neural nets, and structures in the brain as well.

Building from that, we have been able to devise a sufficient model of brain function, in the sense that we can derive human behavior and experiential reality with it. We believe this is the first model of brain function to successfully accomplish this.

So we didn't set out to explain AD/HD; instead, something very much like it arose as a necessary consequence of our understanding of the mind and conscious experiential reality.

We assume that this feature of our model is a close analog for what we experience as AD/HD, and the central player is the two different organizing principles for information storage and analysis.

The use of our organizing principle of choice, the metamodel web, is very much a factor in being able to see and understand the various elements that go into the experience of living with AD/HD. And in turn, simply being able to use it seems to be related to the subtle differences in how our brains function.

So the metamodel web and AD/HD are related on a deep level. But merely having/being AD/HD doesn’t necessarily imply a fully developed web; we can be almost as adept at using our abilities to suppress its development.

Recognizing a fundamental principle that gives rise to AD/HD (i.e., making sense of it) necessarily changes the way that you view yourself and your interactions with others. Many of the elements of the negative self-image we all struggle with simply disappear.

That in itself would be enough to recommend it, but the advantage of being able to predict and understand the various difficulties we deal with in daily life is a much more important advantage, in our opinion.

We see and expect many of the problems that coping strategies seek to remediate. That eliminates the need for a coping strategy in some cases, and often allows us to devise them on the fly when one is needed.

It also affords a deeper understanding of coping strategies; much of what you might consider simply doing things in the normal way can be seen as the normal coping strategies for the same exact problems of living that we experience.

It might seem that there is an understandable inherent discrimination implied, given that we’re the new kids on the block. But that's not exactly the case. The difference appears to be related more to the fact that we can see and interact with the processes by which we develop coping strategies, while normals cannot. They don't think they have 'em.

But that ability carries a penalty: we can't simply "function" in the way normals do. Conscious awareness of the process implies a need for conscious control. We need to develop a strategy of actively developing coping strategies in order to function at all.

Thus, the appearance that ADDers need something that normally isn't necessary. When understood this way, the things we call coping strategies are seen to be merely the functional definitions of any higher level ability, something that every brain requires, normal and ADDer alike.

Areas of our lives that seem to need no particular strategy are those in which our expectations of ourselves and others don't really differ from that of normals too much. But there is, of course, still a functional strategy defined. We just don't have to change it much from what we learned growing up, observing the behavior of others.

There is still a considerable amount of difficulty with social interactions, because we truly are different. We are forced to develop strategies to deal with the stress that such things cause, but again, being able to understand and predict these effects goes a long way towards bringing our own self-image into a more realistic focus.

There's much more, but the simple picture is this: our model of brain function predicts most of the experience of having/being AD/HD. The only requirement for applying it is understanding the several major elements, and dealing with the somewhat disturbing implications of some of them.

That, as it turns out, isn't so easy. But it isn't any harder than what you're doing now, and in our experience, the results have much to recommend them.

* * * *

OK, Roxanne:

When you describe the file drawer metaphor, you're revealing that you have, in fact, been "walk(ing) around thinking about the structure implicit in a particular way of organizing information." (grin…)

Which is expected, although not a normal subject of conversation.

We don't take sides in the debate over whether thoughts (or the potential for them) are innate or derive completely from experience. The reason is that there aren't really any sides to take; nature vs. nurture turns out to be an illusion created by an incorrect view of the problem.

Our work begins with the newly minted brain and follows the development of the hierarchical systems of neural networks that model our bodies, our experiential reality, and conscious being.

This process requires certain pre-wired functions ("instincts") to get it started and keep it rolling along smoothly. In that sense, the classical view of the "tabula rasa" is discredited; a truly blank slate would be unlikely to converge on anything recognizable.

But the idea that there are intrinsic systems of high level concepts is just as unlikely. The idea of "genetic memory" displays a misunderstanding of the mechanisms of both memory and conscious experience.

So, let's take a stroll through the process of experience and the analysis and integration of the memory of it that is implicit in that process.

At the simplest level, neurons form networks that can be thought of as either performing pattern recognition or storing models of abstract objects expressed in logic. The challenge is to find a way to relate that cellular behavior to our experience of conscious being.

In one important area, the folks that have come the closest are the researchers that are pursuing the idea that we play out "scripts" in our minds, little plays that we write to either interpret what we observe or speculate about how an imaginary situation might play out.

It turns out that when many neural networks are organized into a complex enough system of hierarchical structures, those properties just mentioned are sufficient to support a kind of internal scripted reality, complete with players, rules, and a consistent context.

It's a simple matter for a hierarchically structured logical model to be exceedingly abstract. If you think of the visual image of a living room, you might be aware of an object that you recognize as a couch.

A couch has physical attributes that the brain models in increasing abstraction: the lines that form the basic 3D geometric shape, the patterns that imply the texture of the surfaces, the deeper implication of subtle variations of those patterns that define such abstractions as the expectation of how comfy the couch would be to lie down on and take a nap.

It might also have abstract attributes like the realization that the couch (and living room) belongs to your Mom, implying another bunch of associations relating to your stored memories of the experiences you have already had that include the couch in some way.

The ability to associate simpler elements in a hierarchical way allows a complex model to be assembled very efficiently. For example, the sense of how it would feel to take a nap on the couch ties in your self model, the abstract idea of comfort, and an interpretation of what you might consider comfortable that includes a model of your current physical and mental condition, i.e., how tired are you?

These extremely abstract conceptual entities may be represented logically by the same simple mechanisms described by Dr. James Albus in his landmark papers relating to his CMAC neural network model. The power of the natural organization of neural structures to hierarchically model increasingly abstract logical objects should not be underestimated.

If we follow the input path of sensory information, we find that visual images are passed through a chain of increasingly abstract logical comparisons. This pattern matching ability of neural networks can be thought of as a process of expressing how closely a certain pattern of stimuli match the logical pattern stored in the structure of the network.

If that pattern represents diagonal lines, then the process will identify diagonal lines in the input image. If the pattern represents your self-model, then the process will enable you to recognize yourself in a photograph.

There is nothing to prohibit patterns from representing purely abstract logical entities, like the concept of a series of events taking place over time. In fact, the idea that we experience the flow of time is a great example; we have an intrinsic sense that the entire sequence of our particular experience of, say, going to a party may be represented as a single abstract object.

Such a model is, of course, a memory. But it is still hierarchical in nature; the interior of the car, for example, as we drive to the party, isn't efficiently modeled by wholesale inclusion in the model of the experience.

Rather, we make an associative link to our model of the interior of our car. But what if we accept a ride from a friend, who drives a rental car? Won't that model be uniquely a part of the experience of the ride?

The answer is, of course, yes, but the model of the interior is still not linked directly into the memory of the ride. Instead, it is incorporated into the general model of a car interior, modifying it in whatever way necessary to enable it to adequately represent the visual experience of the ride.

It's interesting to think about what constitutes an adequate model of the rental car's interior. While you might know exactly where coins disappear to in your own car, you probably have only a general idea of where to look in the rental car.

Unless, of course, you lost something during the trip to the party, and spent a few minutes upside down finding it under the seat. And that memory is interesting, as well; how, exactly, would such a memory be stored, and what would the process of accessing it entail?

Obviously, such a memory includes a specific sense of the physical experience of being upside down. It also entails a sense of a time sequence of actions, as already noted.

So the process of remembering the complex event "driving to the party with a friend in a rental car" must in some way involve a kind of playback of the time sequence, with the already noted associative links to the complex logical models of characters (you and your friend), the car interior, and something we haven't discussed yet, the context in which the car, the trip to the party, and the party itself occur.

Clearly, I am talking about reality, and the implication is just as clear that we must have an extremely complex abstract hierarchical model of reality itself in which we can play out the "scripts" that stored memories represent. In the same way that the model of the car interior is adequate to model the experience, our model of reality is only as complex as necessary to model our experience of being.

The process of remembering just described is perfectly in keeping with the current view that every act of remembering is an act of reconstruction. Also note that, since experience takes place in reality, our internal reality model necessarily contains all other abstractions: our self-model, the model of the car, the trip to the party, and so on. It also contains all that abstract information that we think of as "what we know."

Thus, the internal reality model simply represents the highest level in our internal system of hierarchical representations. It must arise as a natural consequence of the underlying organizing principle.

The natural hierarchical organization of neural networks into larger meta-networks is the same organizational principle that gives rise to the metamodel web. But the metamodel web is a logical structure that defines the way we organize our conscious access to the information stored in our internal model of reality, what we know about anything and everything.

(We have already described the elements of the metamodel web and the formal definition of the structure elsewhere several times. I will send you more information about it in a PM.)

As we mentioned in an earlier post, there is nothing in the process just described that dictates consistency or even continuity. The same general model of a car interior is capable of representing different interiors with varying degrees of accuracy. There is every possibility that some attribute of the rental car interior, initially assumed to be similar to other car interiors, doesn't fit our picture of it at all.

In other words, when we go looking for whatever we dropped, we might find that the model breaks down entirely. We have all had the experience of sudden alienation this brings about; maybe, when we look under the seat, we discover that there aren't really any seats in the conventional sense.

In the case of a rental car, I suspect that our drive to recover the lost object might cause us to take stock of the actual structure, giving rise to a dramatically modified general model. So we have a sense that we see a general form of the logic in structures like car interiors, but also the knowledge that occasionally, that smooth view may be ruptured.

At this point, we are essentially describing your idea of how your memory is structured, the "file drawer" example. It's obvious that such a model implies a certain kind of isolation, and that's exactly what we see.

Despite the illusion of smooth continuity of representation, it's clear that we can in fact model complete, complex aspects of our reality in a way that allows potentially serious inconsistencies to lurk just out of sight.

Let's consider now the example of how your experience colors your expectations of future performance. Clearly, your self-model is a kind of memory built from observation of your own conscious experience of being, similar to the way that the abstract model of a car interior is constructed.

Note that the definition of reality is now significantly different from your use in the post:


…The idea here is, at what point are we able to unravel the concept of a "reality" (whether or not I could actually finish a project) and what has "become my reality" (believing that I cannot, because I was told so many times that now it seems like a "fact" instead of simply someone's opinion that I could not)…
Reality is the model of our context, or perhaps the master model that sits at the top of the hierarchy that is our entire context. Your use implies something different: your expectations of your own ability to perform some task. It also implies that there is some absolute measure of that ability that might differ from your expectations.

The question is really one of how you create your own self-model, and whether it's accurate. You can see that reality doesn't have a lot to do with it. (grin…)

Despite my implication that an inaccurate model could exist in isolation (so that the inaccuracies aren't evident), experience constantly conspires against us to bring us face-to-face with the inconsistencies implied by such a situation. In the case of your self-model, you obviously have a quasi-absolute comparison, so you can estimate your own level of performance against a gestalt model of the general capabilities of your peers.

Your idea of your own capabilities is a model that has been constructed from an analysis of your aggregate experience to date. It will of course incorporate the experience of being told that you are unable to finish your work.

My impression so far of the idea of "modalities of thought" (as you are using it) is that they are a derivative abstraction representing exactly how we think that information relates to our "actual" abilities. Thus, is it opinion or fact?

A rough parallel would be how you interpret the experience of finding that the rental car interior isn't familiar after all. One possible reaction would be to assume that the lost object is irretrievable. And given the model that you stepped into the car with, that is in fact the case.

But as we described originally, you might also take the view that the model might be changed by engaging in a process of investigation and discovery, e.g., model making. And if you think of where you sit when you have that view, in a sense above the very real dilemma of being unable to retrieve the lost object, you are "seeing" the metalevel above the dilemma.

So the question seems to be one of how you go about dealing with the situation: do you assume that the criticism is opinion, or fact? Put that way, the question seems flat, an either/or proposition.

But the idea that the criticism represents fact is equivalent to recognizing and accepting that the object is irretrievable, despite your previous expectations. And the question of whether it’s opinion (and to what degree) is equivalent to considering the process of investigating the unfamiliar car interior, and modifying your model appropriately.

In other words, the question actually addresses two different propositions, on two different metalevels. In this light, it’s easy to see the error in how the question is stated. It's really an apples and oranges situation; the idea that the criticism is fact is a completely different consideration from deciding whether and how much it represents a valid opinion.

Your example was excellent, and there is nothing we can say about a process that is successful without seeming insensitive. Nevertheless, we can point out that the "modalities of thought" may be an incomplete representation, one that doesn't accurately take different metalevels into account.

It's interesting to us that NLP arose from mathematics and linguistics (much of which is mathematically described), and thanks for that information. It could be expected that ideas like modality might reflect the underlying assumptions; as we mentioned in an earlier post, mathematicians are loath to accept a definition that requires metalevels.

I know we pushed the idea of a nefarious "black hole" mechanism to explain why that is true, but there are other ways to see the same effect. For example, let's first touch on your question about how a metamodel web arises, and then consider your example of learned racist behavior in that context.

When we instinctively jump up a metalevel to consider revising our model of a car interior, we are using a model of that behavior as a sort of template for the behavior. This simply means that we have learned models of appropriate behavior for different situations, arising by the same mechanisms that give rise to any other abstract logical model.

But there isn't any reason to expect that our models smoothly represent all of our reality. In another situation, such as your expectations of your performance in completing an assignment, there isn't necessarily any reason to expect that the same instinct to jump up a metalevel and see if anything in the model can be tweaked would apply. And if we haven't learned it, we won't do it. There's no model for it.

Presumably, that's what your coach or therapist would help you do, encourage you to extend your model of appropriate behavior to include looking at your self-model from the metalevel above, and assessing the extent to which the opinions of others actually apply.

That's not such a bad description of the process you described, is it? But suppose that we postulate that we might have an ability to observe two different aspects of our experience simultaneously. In other words, something akin to what we call multitasking, but perhaps a bit more subtle.

If you can simply pay attention simultaneously to two different aspects of the same experience, you might eventually note a pattern: there is a generally useful aspect to the behavior of jumping up a metalevel and taking a good hard look at how the model on the level below is constructed.

Now, when you run into the idea that you're not be capable of completing a particular task, you might recognize the similarity to the feeling that the lost object is irretrievable. And that, in turn might suggest the same approach that worked in the rental car, changing the model.

If you are simultaneously observing the nature of your approach to the problem, success will reinforce the model that jumping up a metalevel is a good general strategy. The slight differences in the character of the situation, and how the triggering emotion felt, will be incorporated into the model, making it even more general and robust.

This type of association has the potential to eventually link every stored model of any experience to every other experience, in a giant web. There are two remarkable properties of such a web.

One, the actual information stored may be eventually discarded, because it is more accurately reflected in the interconnections of the web, which also represents a more efficient storage method.

Two, such a structure by nature implies a smoothly continuous logical representation of the reality it models.

There are other interesting details about the function and structure of a metamodel web, but for now lets address the kids that were raised to be racially biased.


…if a child is raised to believe that one race is inferior to them (for whatever stupid reason), by the time that child is grown, it is nearly impossible for them to separate the "belief" (now seemingly ingrained) that a race is inferior, from what appears to them as "reality" around them (that there are individuals of that race that do very well, and in fact might do better than they do themselves!)
What you are describing is very real, and disturbingly common. Race needn't enter into it, of course; any difference will serve, as anyone with AD/HD can attest.

In the context of what we've outlined so far, it's easy to see how a child could be influenced by others to form such an obviously incorrect model of his/her self and the expected behavior (which is intimately intertwined with attitude) when dealing with people with a different skin color.

But how is it possible to maintain the isolation of such a model in the face of the conflicting evidence that must arise every day, as you note?

The fact that it is possible to construct and maintain this sort of isolated model is one of the most revealing clues to the nature of the ordinary organizing principle for storing information. In fact, it appears that such isolation is the norm; as we stated in our last post, breaking the isolation can bring about a kind of instability that is potentially deadly.

And isn't that the case here? Consider what would happen if we forced the barriers down, at least where they hide the obvious conflict with reality that such an illogical element implies.

A person that has isolated their models to the extent that unreasoning hatred can survive has no mechanisms to deal directly with such conflicts. In a way, we are saying that anybody that can find sense in racial bias isn't likely to be able to find a quarter dropped in a foreign car.

And lest this seem like we're treating the subject too lightly, it's important to remember why we’re even discussing it in the first place. The real question is about the efficacy and appropriateness of a tool that might help us individually overcome our own inappropriate internal logical models of our selves and various elements of our experiential reality.

And isn't that an interesting juxtaposition? Why should having/being AD/HD cause us a concern that has something in common with the underlying structural defect that allows racial bias?

We believe that the real question is going to eventually come down to this: what inappropriate elements of our model of reality are being forced upon us by the expectations of the normal world?

And of course, also this: what would our reality look like without those conflicting and inappropriate elements?

Now, that's some fun…

--Tom and Kay

paulbf
10-18-04, 07:31 PM
That makes sense as a framework for understanding how our minds work. I still have some trouble pinning it down to practical useful stuff though, but maybe just a matter of getting more familiar with these concepts.

Your theories remind me of a guy I mentioned here before who claims to have a unified theory of how the mind/body works. He is I think actually a bit schizophrenic but interesting nonetheless & I think he's got some cool ideas. Here's one of many essays: http://stevenharris.com/theory/059.htm He has this all worked out in a metamodel in his mind that he can barely put into words about how each cell in the body communicates with the others & it's all based on reward/pain for the individual cells and their various layers of association. Maybe interesting to you. His ultimate discovery is that by therapeutically "overdosing" on ritalin, the cells can be knocked out of their dyfunctional comas through manipulation of pain/pleasure and brought back into healthy balanced operation. That's probably a bit nuttty. Obviously it worked for him but I don't know if it's as universally useful as he hopes and anyways it's not necessary to follow him through all that to find some interesting thoughts.

roxannew
10-18-04, 07:41 PM
Tom/Kay: Do you have any formal outlines of your metamodel web (I keep mixing it up; using "metaweb model" instead LOL sorry about that---guess there's no question about my ADD status LOL).

I'm terribly curious ... as, unless I'm completely messing this up, your interpretations of how the brain functions seem SOOOO close to underlying principles and foundations of NLP (though I have to think about this some more).

I'd love to see something you've written that explains this more indepth. Most specifically in regard to this comment:

There's much more, but the simple picture is this: our model of brain function predicts most of the experience of having/being AD/HD. The only requirement for applying it is understanding the several major elements, and dealing with the somewhat disturbing implications of some of them.
I also second Paul's concern regarding "practical usefulness" to help individuals make important and significant improvements in their life---particularly for the ADDers.

Rox

Stabile
10-18-04, 11:08 PM
The criticism about practical applications is well taken. Where our theories have helped it is largely because of the insight into how we function.

So I suppose a method would seek to give you insight into the processes that are at work, and allow your instincts to direct you to your own natural solutions.

In our experience, everybody is really just about even when it comes to their mental abilities. So in theory, anybody should be able to deal with the issues of AD/HD as easily as anything else.

What we see is that people are trying to solve problems without understanding what the issues are and what mechanisms are at work. And that's because these things are new.

For the theory behind NLP to be useful, it must help explain them in a way similar to how our ideas do it, so that ultimately we can have these kinds of conversations about those mechanisms. The issues tend to take care of themselves.

The one place we have tried to define a strict way of approaching our intellectual material is in dealing with male-female relationship issues. There's an obvious payoff in that; for us, it was sort of like stopping a drug trial because it's working too good to keep it away from the people getting placebos.

But there's a heavy social bias against presenting such work, and we’re having problems there, too.

* * * *

Thanks for the url, Paul; here's another in a similar vein: REDWOOD Neuroscience Institute (http://www.rni.org/)

That's Jeff Hawkins outfit; he's the guy that invented the Palm Pilot and founded Palm One. I heard him in a radio interview several years ago, and he was oozing semi-smug self-assurance about his theory, details of which he wouldn't reveal. Why he kept them secret I have no real way to tell (he wouldn't say what he knew, duh!) but he clearly thought he was really on to something.

Last week my older boy Chris sent me a wire service story about a conference at Rutgers:


Oct 10/04 - AP

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - A small group of thinking men and women convened at Rutgers University last month to consider how order theory -- a branch of abstract mathematics that deals with hierarchical relationships – could be applied to the war on terror...
The story went on to talk about a bunch of scary anti-terrorism stuff, and then mentioned Vladimir Lefebvre, a cognitive scientist at UC Irvine, who claimed, "I can compute feelings."

Here's a link to one of his more interesting papers: Mentalism & Behaviorism: Merging? (http://cogprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/archive/00002925/01/Mentalism_&_Behaviorism.pdf)


There's a lot of stuff like this, and we think it's emblematic of the times. Under the hood, everybody has the same core concerns and problems, normal and ADDer alike.

Incidentally, our usual snotty reflex criticism of this stuff is that there is an extra layer of logic in the brain that they aren't accounting for. We often don't bother to check too hard if that's true; so far we’re batting 1.000, and anyone that has actually recognized that fact should jump up immediately and say, "Oh, yeah? Did so!" (grin…)


Tom/Kay: Do you have any formal outlines of your metamodel web (I keep mixing it up; using "metaweb model" instead LOL sorry about that---guess there's no question about my ADD status LOL).

I'm terribly curious ... as, unless I'm completely messing this up, your interpretations of how the brain functions seem SOOOO close to underlying principles and foundations of NLP (though I have to think about this some more)…

I also second Paul's concern regarding "practical usefulness" to help individuals make important and significant improvements in their life---particularly for the ADDers.

Rox
We did that same thing when we coined the term. (ADD, anyone?)

We have been working for several years on a formal exposition of key pieces of our theories. So far the best pure description of the metamodel web is still a letter to a friend about it, and lots of related stuff as well.

I'll send a copy; maybe I’ll cut it back to a more manageable size, first.

Do you do Word? The original is a Word 2000 document, I think…

==Tom

roxannew
10-19-04, 08:12 AM
Yup, I "do Word" and just about anything else you might have LOL. Word 2000 would be great :) I'm quite curious about your thoughts in detail, and I'm curious to see how it might "fit" with some of the thoughts I've had on NLP since I've been using/researching it. thanks so much! for the help and great conversation :D


Do you do Word? The original is a Word 2000 document, I think…

healthwiz
10-20-04, 01:32 AM
Tom

Whats the word on combining hypnosis and NLP? They are being used together to achieve fast results in areas like smoking cessation. I hear it is effective but havent seen any factual data. Got an opinion on it's effectiveness? Got an opinion on it's theoretical basis for having an effect, if any? Thanks@!!@ I always love your devotion to this topic.

Sincerely,

Jonathan

Stabile
10-20-04, 06:46 PM
What's the word on combining hypnosis and NLP? They are being used together to achieve fast results in areas like smoking cessation. I hear it is effective but haven't seen any factual data. Got an opinion on its effectiveness? Got an opinion on its theoretical basis for having an effect, if any? Thanks@!!@ I always love your devotion to this topic.

Sincerely,

Jonathan
We're not really qualified to talk about hypnosis. We like the professional take on it, that it has no place outside of the most private one-on-one therapeutic setting. Public demonstrations are considered unethical.

So we've never actually encountered an example of it. There are several related ideas suggested by our understanding of the brain and mind. Most of them have to do with two different aspects of being.

The first is how we define ourselves and our idea of our experience of existence in physical reality. We all suffer from the illusion that what we perceive as real actually exists. The truth is closer to our perception of the real being a trick of how we model the experience internally.

Much of the character of perceived reality is not likely to be any part of the true nature of nature itself. For example, we all perceive a certain continuity of experience from moment to moment, but the act of perception itself is arguably discontinuous.

Furthermore, the apparent linear continuous quality of the experience of being is an artifact of the underlying purpose of consciousness, rather than an attribute of physical reality. Meaning is another artifact of our own observation of the nature of our existence, rather than intrinsic to reality in any way.

The implication is that the sandbox we’re foolin' around in is largely of our own making. Any process we're consciously engaged in can be manipulated, regardless of whether we're aware of it as a discreet attribute of the overall process of conscious being.

There are many examples of such manipulation, both intentional and as a result of accidentally falling into a circumstance that causes a process to be disturbed in some way. We assume that hypnosis belongs in this class of experiences.

So what does such an experience consist of, from the point of view of the structure of our self-model and our model of reality? It seems reasonable to assume that, in a therapeutic context, it isn't really much different than any other interaction that is designed to lead the client to a different understanding of his/her self and experience of being.

If I explain to you in a rational way how your self-model is inherently limiting your ability to correctly interpret a particular kind of criticism, for example, I'm using my linguistic and verbal abilities to relate a specific kind of logical model. A copy of such a model is intended to arise in turn in your mind, through the process of communication using language.

In a way, any therapeutic method must seek to create new logical models in the mind of the client, either by correcting an old model or imparting an entirely new one. The specific strategies used range from advice about techniques that lead to finding one's own method, assisted self-realization, and direct intervention of one sort or another.

The last includes the use of drugs to physically change the context in which the client defines and refines his/her models, and methods that seek to temporarily transfer responsibility for the client's models to the therapist.

In these terms, hypnosis as we propose it might exist doesn't seem quite so odd, other than the fact that it would apparently manipulate conscious processes that are ordinarily such an obvious part of conscious being that they are effectively invisible.

That's a little creepy to some, I'm sure, but the goals aren't creepy at all, in our estimation. It seems like it would simply be another way that a therapist can effect a change in the logical models of the client.

The direct control that such methods imply demand deep personal trust and absolute privacy, as I'm sure is obvious. Thus, the idea that a public display would be unethical.

We postulate that NLP (in one form, at least) represents a strategy for using strong, preexisting logical associations implicit in carefully chosen language to suggest by example an appropriate structure for a particular internal logical model. Such language can seem compelling, even possibly beyond one's ability to resist.

This is the same technique we described above, using language to impart a logical model that is intended to serve as a template for the client to correctly construct his/her own models. What sets the proposed form of NLP apart is the recognition and use of specific language that is intrinsically more compelling by nature than the usual murmur of a kindly therapist.

In a sense, then, you might think of the use of language to induce hypnosis in a carefully contrived situation as a special kind of NLP with an extremely restricted purpose. After the induction, it's assumed that the therapist would proceed in the normal way, using language as a means of imparting a particular logical model in the mind of the client, who is presumably in a more receptive, or 'plastic' state.

This seems to be the most commonly cited scenario in the admittedly limited amount of material we've looked at.

There's every reason to assume that NLP might also be employed for the same purpose, again taking advantage of the more receptive state. But the difference hasn't really been explained. Why should some language exhibit such strong underlying logical associations, with the potential to compel us beyond ordinary persuasion?

In part, such special language is a kind of natural defect in the way that it's traditionally structured in our brains. The remaining bits are due to the second aspect of being that I referred to back at the beginning.

There are features of the structure of our minds that are dissociative, rather than associative. Of course, neurons can't encode dissociative relationships, but an associative relationship can be used to interfere with the formation of further associations, effectively blocking the creation of any new connections or networks.

It's expected that such a phenomenon would be integral to some kinds of damage caused by deeply disturbing events. But how would you know if this mechanism was at work when such an event hasn't occurred? Is it possible that we could have ordinary examples of dissociative mechanisms working all the time, with no way to recognize it directly?

The answers are, you couldn't, and yes, they're in integral part of our model of reality. The purpose appears to be ensuring a kind of stability of those models, in effect keeping us from seeing or becoming aware of things that might lead to the breakdown of some part of our smoothly running illusion.

They're also implicated in the female version of the primitive mating strategy, and to a certain extent (I'm less charitable here) in the male version.

But the illusion of continuity of experience allows the construction of verbal models that can, in effect, launch you right into the middle of one of these dissociative mechanisms. Since you have no stored experience to rely on in understanding your temporary context, any structure at all will seem to be magnified far beyond it's normal significance.

There are many examples of this. For example, it’s the basis of the occasional susceptibility of groups to social suggestion, what's commonly known as mass hallucination. It’s the dissociative mechanism that makes it seem unlikely to most of us, regardless of how many times it's happened.

There are other, more mundane examples, and Kay and I have been through many of them. We manage to do it to each other on occasion, and there are certain kinds of relatively common experiences that can place you into such close proximity to these dissociative spaces that a little push can send you right on in.

* * * *

The mad race to get to my Mom's memorial service comes to mind, and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Kay and I were clearly in an altered state by the end of the two-day trip.

We were tired, and it was shading toward dusk. The Indiana sky seemed to open up to infinity, and we both clearly saw Mom right there, spread across the skies she loved so much. Kay and I both thought, how else would Mom have recognized us, if we weren't late and flying low once again, trying desperately to get there?

Suddenly, the whole purpose for the trip was happening right there, Kay's solitary Chevy suspended in flight beneath that sky. The moment and the two lane state road both stretched on forever, and for us, it's still going on right now. It was a physical shock to suddenly be turning on small town Indiana roads, and pull in at the church, not so late after all.

When we walked in people reacted like we carried a kind of electrical charge. Our presence changed everything, and the day never recovered. We ended up sitting in my brother's kitchen in the wee hours of the morning, explaining as simply as possible why we didn't exactly feel the same way about it all that the eight or nine people listening did.

We're used to that kind of response by now, but it still carries the same impact every time. Someone else might have had an entirely different experience. There isn't anything uncommon about people breaking down at a funeral, and not being able to recover for days or weeks. We just went the opposite way, once we got into that hole.

* * * *

To return to the positively mundane, there are other examples out there claiming to be hypnosis that make a more smarmy use of the principle. That is, getting' chicks. I already mentioned that one of these dissociative holes is deeply implicated in the female version of the primitive mating strategy, and this is exactly where most of these techniques try to play.

But you wimmin out there shouldn't worry too much. There isn't a more exposed example of the dissociative mechanism than this one. The only consequence of it being a black hole is that every woman knows what's up, only you can't really talk about it.

That contributes to the feeling that females all belong to the same club, and only members get it. In a way, it's really true. The emotional garbage that comes from trying to speak about the situation can be extreme, a fact that Kay and I know from personal experience. But that's the main fallout; talking is hard, but recognizing what's going on isn't difficult at all.

That can be frustrating, and dangerous in it's own right; it can be difficult to explain why you know some crazy idea is just plain wrong, and if you get caught up in the verbal logic, you can temporarily imagine that it makes some sense after all.

But that's not hypnosis, in our opinion; it's just underhanded. As I said, we don't really feel qualified to say much about it (all appearances to the contrary), but we don't see anything in common with what legitimate therapists are trying to do.

As far as whether it works, we still have our ADDers doubts about handing over the reins to another person in any circumstances. We believe we know much about how we work that isn't common knowledge.

The few encounters that we have had with legitimate therapists have been marked by just that fact, and I have to say that it did seem to bring out the caution flag on their part. But one or two sessions aren't enough to draw general conclusions, and we suggest checking out anyone very carefully before you hand yourself over to them.

But then, isn't that a classic requirement, the establishment of a deep trusting relationship? That's another thing that sets off our alarms about any strategy for short circuiting the preliminaries and going for quick results. Of course, if the subject is smoking, how wrong could anyone's idea of the correct reality be? Even smokers agree it's no good for you. (grin…)

--Tom and Kay

healthwiz
10-20-04, 11:35 PM
Well, Tom and Kay,.

If you wanted to blow my mind and give me some circuit breaking fuse popping information, I guess you done good!! :)

As for the female primitive mating black hole, what was that? I need that one in plainer language, please.

Now, if I understand you, consciousness is just a method of information processing, putting life into a smooth interpretable experience, with reliable conclusions assumed if one remains in a "conscious" state.

And hypnosis, then is an anomoly from this foolsgold experience of consciousness, one of the few times when we actually percieve reality through a less pureed form of consciousness, and presumably leaving us with a better logic pattern than the pureed version was giving us. As well, NLP is another method of cirumventing this supposeldly efficient processing of experience into consciousness, presumably making more logical calculations and conclusions than one would make without the use of NLP? Correct?

So, in short, both methods may lead to desireable results, assuming the results requested are desireable to start with. That they work at all, you believe, is because the thing we call consciousness is very relative and only efficient, not necessarily real.

I think I get some of it....how am i doing so far?

Sheeesh, you guys are trying to fry my circuits!

Thanks for the most intersting post!!!

Jonathan

roxannew
10-21-04, 11:48 PM
I can honestly say that I've NEVER seen a more intense forum post in my life (and I like intense! LOL) This is wonderful :)

I had a couple things, in reference to both recent posts.

But first Tom, this last post was so wonderful! Your thinking is very much on target with where I'd been going, in terms of beliefs about these thinking processes, but you explained it here so wonderfully well! Thanks sincerely for taking so much time to do a thorough job, wow!

As for my comments, first I wanted to say something in regard to what appears (but might be my imagination) a bit of uncorrect thoughts on the NLP processes (these really are processes, since each individual is unique, and not just techniques that one could list in a book and then say "oh, so you can't focus while you read, then we'll do XYZ"; our individual brains just don't do well with these kinds of stock "techniques", but then I don't think based on these posts that anywhere here is saying they would).

My comment was in regard to a general idea that Jonothan suggested:
As well, NLP is another method of cirumventing this supposeldly efficient processing of experience into consciousness, presumably making more logical calculations and conclusions than one would make without the use of NLP? Now, I'm certain that the intention in using the term "circumventing" was likely more for clarity than anything else, but the impression is that perhaps there is a belief that NLP is trying to stop some process, already occuring, in order the "change" the way it is working.

Tom also says:
We postulate that NLP (in one form, at least) represents a strategy for using strong, preexisting logical associations implicit in carefully chosen language to suggest by example an appropriate structure for a particular internal logical model. Now I might be quibling with semantics here, but I'm looking specifically at the terms "circumvent" and "appropriate" as potentially being one of the misunderstandings often associated with NLP.

More clearly I should state that NLP, as I've been taught to use it in coaching so far, and as I prefer to use it in processes for myself, does not intent to circumvent conscious thoughts/assumptions/or strategies, as much as it intends to bring to the conscious mind the processes that are going on that the conscious mind might not be aware of. So with my reading, I hadn't realized that my unconscious mind was discriminating between "bored reading" and "exciting reading" by changing the structure of my thoughts while I was reading. It wasn't until my conscious mind was able to recognize this process (see that I was making my tone more exciting and seeing a Shakespearean play in my mind when reading was fun) that I was then able to purposefully apply it to a situation in which perhaps the reading wasn't as fun. So now when I study I can use this information to change the negative behavior (getting distracted cause I'm bored).

I think many ADD challenges fall into this type of category; where a person can

1) find the unconscious process
2) and apply it in a different way
3) to a situation where it wouldn't have occurred without the conscious "prompt" given the new information.

As for the use of appropriate as in Tom's comment above, I may or may not be right in my understanding of the intention of how its used here, so I'll say instead that one of underlying suppositions of NLP is that every process we use has a positive and important intention. Intention, however, is not the same as attention, so though a process might unconsciously be protecting us---from hurt, bad feelings, anger, or whatever---on the surface it can create negative "side-effects"--i.e., the negative behaviors and/or challenges that many ADDers deal with.

An individual may simply not consciously understand why they are doing something before recognizing what the unconscious intention was (and all of this is nothing new, because Tom has said the very same thing, only from a bit of a different perspective).

NLP then, if you break it down in a more simplistic way, is finding out what these unconscious processes are, and then next, finding ways to use these processes consciously to change behaviors (again, not very much at all different than anything that Tom has proposed or suggested of what I've read so far).

What I wanted to additionally throw out for everyone's consideration is this: to a certain extent, we walk around every day going from one hypnotic state to another. What I mean by that is this---every day our brain changes its neurochemistry in unique ways, in response to different stimuli around us. We wake up, perhaps, a husband/wife, mother/father... when we go to work, we become the boss/employee, the businessman/salesperson... each of these could be considered various "states" that our brain switches to as we progress throughout our day, and changes our behaviors as a result---for instance, how we interact with others, as a father/mother, is quite different than how we interact as a businessman/saleman. Some of these changes we might recognize consciously (we have a more authoritative tone at work, than at home, perhaps) but much of it happens unconsciously.

One really good example of this---you're at home, arguing with your child/cat/friend/partner.... the phone rings, and how do we typically answer? Most people would typically, within an instant, be able to answer the phone in a friendly, non-confrontational and social response of "hello" (instead of screaming hello into the receiver to the poor idiot who dared to call in the middle of an argument). I'm suggesting that this process, which changes automatically most of the time without us even knowing it, is the kind of state that we change through neurochemistry. What NLP does is tries to show individuals how they can become consciously aware of these state changes, and then be able to change them at will, when they want to. Instead of them just happening unconsciously.

My last thought was in regard to the discussion on hypnosis.
NLP is somewhat a spin on hypnotic suggestion, as Tom has noted here:
What sets the proposed form of NLP apart is the recognition and use of specific language that is intrinsically more compelling by nature than the usual murmur of a kindly therapist.
What is interesting here, however, is the linguistics element. Because we utilize "trance" words every day, to get what we want. We might do this by "talking sweetly" to our loved one if we want to ask for a favor, or, if we know someone well, we might engage them in conversation about their favorite hobby before we tell them we set their cat on fire by accident (hopefully this has NEVER happened; I happen to be an avid cat fan but it sure gives one a vivid image of the analogy huh ;)). Linguistics is about knowing which words have what affect, when, and how to use that for a specific purpose. Similarly, hypnosis creates a particular state where the unconscious is more apt to "hear" suggestions, because the conscious mind is occupied with other things (whatever the hypnotist is distracting it with).

But Tom and Paul you're also VERY correct that this can be used quite unethically, and sadly many use it every day in this way. What I found interesting, however, was that apparently there are "safety measures" built into the unconscious. My coach is often fond of retelling the story of demonstrating some type of hypnosis for a group once. After getting a woman into a deep trance-like state, where her inhibitions would be at their weakest, he told her that "she was very safe, and in her own bedroom. it was time for bed, so she should take off her cloths, because she needed to change for bed".

NO amount of prompting, for her to take off her cloths, prompted this women to begin to do so, even though she was in a pretty intense hypnotic trance. The reason he uses this example is to show that, even though there are many things that a person could do as a hypnotist that are unethical and simply sleezy, the unconscious mind is still protecting a person from things they wouldn't do under normal circumstances. Unconsciously this woman knew she was in front of a group and NOT in her bedroom---therefore it simply refused to accept the suggestion as reality. (he also likes to add here, that had she been a stripper, and had no moral reservations about taking her cloths off in front of stranger, he might have had quite a surprise on his hands LOL).

Well, this was suppose to be a two paragraph post LOL so I think i'd better stop with that :) I would be curious though, for anyone who had thoughts on these ideas.

Rox

P.S. Jonathan, as an aside, from experience I have found personally that no amount of NLP, hypnosis, threats, rants, lectures, or pain of death, helps an individual who is not really motivated, consciously or unconsciously, to quit smoking *sigh* what a dang shame LOL

Stabile
10-22-04, 01:40 PM
I don't think we made a difficult point clear yet, but that's OK. We know why it's difficult, and part of what we’re doing in this thread is trying to describe that. And the description itself runs into the same difficulty, so it's a real Catch-22 situation.

Nevertheless, there are ways around this particular ambiguity (which is related to metalevels). So let me try again with one small part of it:

We aren't talking about circumventing conscious thoughts. We’re talking about circumventing consciousness itself. And since consciousness is just another conscious thought when we think or talk about it, it's easy and common to lose sight of the distinction.


More clearly I should state that NLP…does not intend to circumvent conscious thoughts/assumptions/or strategies, as much as it intends to bring to the conscious mind the processes that are going on that the conscious mind might not be aware of. So with my reading, I hadn't realized that my unconscious mind was discriminating between "bored reading" and "exciting reading" by changing the structure of my thoughts while I was reading.
The "processes that are going on that the conscious mind might not be aware of" part is exactly right. But "my unconscious mind was discriminating… by changing the structure of my thoughts while I was reading" walks right into the trap the ambiguity sets for us.

We don't believe that there really is such a thing as the unconscious, as it is classically described. Kay and I view the function of the mind and brain as a gestalt, the collection of all processes related to being.

Consciousness is only one of those processes, although it tends to take a pretty centric place in our view of the whole, seeing as it's the process by which we can do that (take a view of the whole) in a way that can be easily talked about.

Even saying we think about it really means that we have structured conscious thoughts about it. Language itself inherently discriminates on behalf of the consciousness-centric view.

Reading your posts, I think both Roxanne and Jonathan have this partly right, and partly it's been scattered. When you think of unconscious processes and speak of using a technique to bring them into view, it seems as if there is an actual thing, perhaps a kind of unconsciousness, a counterpart to consciousness.

There was a utility to that kind of personification at one time, because it provided a model for people like Freud to imagine what kind of manipulations could be achieved, and what the effect might be. But that was only a temporary expedient; we no longer need such a device to help us see what we’re dealing with.

Your reading example fits just fine here. Kay and I both laughed when we saw it, because it's almost universal. We've both been through it several times.

We would have asked you right up front if you had your eyes checked recently, and also if you were having trouble with allergies, which commonly affects vision. But we'll assume you thought of all that.

So: the process you describe uses a kind of black box approach that is common in current studies of the mind and brain. You envision an unconscious process assigning a certain quality to every example of reading, with two distinct classes gradually emerging as your circumstances change.

This discrimination in turn leads to two different types of reading behavior. Recognizing that now enables you to select the preferred behavior using your visualization tool. And it all works just fine.

But the idea that there is an unconscious process at work is just a useful illusion. The idea that there are two different types of reading behavior is flawed as well; what you're experiencing is just realization, the conscious recognition of what appears to be two distinct classes of reading experiences.

Your recognition of one class was unvoiced; your therapist did that for you. The model of the conscious and unconscious was a convenient framework for discussion and implementing that particular kind of remedy. But we believe that there isn't any utility to any of it unless you actually have an accurate view of the underlying truth before you start.

So the question then becomes one of why we would need such manipulations and machinations to deal with a thing that we can view directly, and that brings us back to the point. The problem is the appearance that conscious experiential reality actually is our entire context.

That is, we feel like we're really here, in the external physical reality we perhaps actually inhabit. And by definition, it contains all that is or can be, including ourselves, our brains and all of our mind. So the process we're discussing must exist entirely within our conscious mind whenever we consider it consciously.

And that includes, of course, talking about it, just as we're doing here. Thus, the need for a handy mental model that allows us to work outside boundaries that by definition can't be exceeded.

This brings our original objections to NLP into much better focus. We will still argue that the examples we cited were unacceptable, and I believe that isn't any longer an issue. The problem is with the technique only in the sense that it is a black box approach, and as such leaves you effectively blind.

For someone like Roxanne, who walks in with a pre-existing understanding of the problem, the whole thing goes just fine. But Kay and I know how hard it can be to determine for another person exactly what's going on, and if the client presents with only a general complaint, or is persuaded to seek help because somebody else feels they have a problem, then the whole process gets off to a dicey start.

What's needed in that case is a good therapist, someone who is trained to make that kind of determination (or help the client make it) without grave error. Then NLP has something to work with, and the whole thing might reasonably be passed over to a competent coach.

But the big picture is that conscious reality isn't the big picture. Your actual process of reading has always included an assessment of the quality of the experience, because that's the nature of experience itself.

It’s more interesting to think about what led you to recognize that the quality of recent examples had deteriorated, without a conscious recognition of either the stored memories you were using for comparison or the fact that you recognized time as the partitioning principle.

When you start to think in terms of neurons, it’s obvious you stored a representation of those original experiences, and the recent problematical ones as well. It's just as obvious that there was some implicit process of comparison, but it isn't necessary to imagine that it was an actual, goal seeking mental process that proceeded without your conscious awareness.

There are several ways that the underlying principles of ordinary neural network function could give rise to both the stored memories and the comparison, and your dawning recognition of the problem as well.

And as long as we’re here, the same principle applies to your directed behavior to seek help with the problem, and so on. This type of serendipity is reflected wherever we look, and it's a good thing, too, because neurons and neural nets are probably all we’ve got. Whatever they do should be sufficient.

Which only leaves us with the mystery of why we’re able to be discuss this subject in this particular way at all. We do this all the time; we made a case for why we can't directly address these things, and didn't address the apparent contradiction inherent in such a statement. But this time, we'll fix it before we go away.

Recall we said that Roxanne walked in with a pre-existing understanding of her problem. We meant that we believe that she directly viewed the process (in a way familiar to both Kay and me), and then made an extraordinary effort to translate what she saw into a form that was appropriate to communicate to her therapist.

We see this as the real place to do something new and useful, because if we can develop a common model of that process, we can begin to work directly in terms of the thing she saw in the first place. There isn't any black box approach necessary; you just look at a thing that's out of whack, and push it back where it belongs.

Describing the view of such a place and what the experience of being there is like is part of the problem, and part of the solution as well. It is very much a direct abstract view of the neural network function we mentioned, although you shouldn’t think we literally mean we're looking at nerves themselves.

Experience is different than that, entirely lost in the abstraction. We will say this, though: there is a distinct difference between consciousness and awareness. Being consciously aware implies self-awareness, but your sense of self doesn't go away with the loss of consciousness.

Kay and I make a distinction between consciousness, awareness, and self-awareness. Of the three, all but self-awareness can be explained by hierarchical structures of ordinary neural networks. Once you peel away everything but self-awareness, it collapses into a kind of singularity, a pure sense of being without experience.

This is not, by the way, any of the Zen states. Zen states (and other related experiences) occur in the experiential spaces that are left when you separate awareness from consciousness. We're pretty sure that's where Roxanne went to see what her problem was in the first place.


to a certain extent, we walk around every day going from one hypnotic state to another…We wake up, perhaps, a husband/wife, mother/father... when we go to work, we become the boss/employee, the businessman/salesperson... each of these could be considered various "states" that our brain switches to as we progress throughout our day, and changes our behaviors as a result---for instance, how we interact with others, as a father/mother, is quite different than how we interact as a businessman/salesman. Some of these changes we might recognize consciously… but much of it happens unconsciously.
You are going to have some fun with the excerpted letter we sent. We describe exactly this in terms of how neural networks store information, particularly the information representing your self-model.

We also address an idea you've left as implicit here, that there is an intrinsic comparison of any two self-models that (obviously) delineates any contradictions between the two. There has to be a way to deal with such contradictions, either by inhibiting the comparison or somehow resolving them. (And there is, of course.)


...apparently there are "safety measures" built into the unconscious…
Yup, there sure are. In a way, what we’re talking about are equivalent to the linguistic viruses that Neal Stephenson described in his book Snow Crash. In fact, Kay and I refer to these things as "Snow Crash viruses."

One of the predictions of our theory is that such things are possible. But just to exist, any real linguistic virus must have an interesting attribute: it has to be both true and correct. So there's your safety mechanism: linguistic viruses are possible, but only if they're 'nice.'


Thanks again for the stimulating discussion. –Tom and Kay

roxannew
10-23-04, 03:48 AM
Wow! this was really great, thanks again :) Now I'm excited to get to the documents you sent me, as I think I'll be able to ask better questions after reading that.

I just wanted to be sure that I'm getting what we've discussed so far. Essentially, the idea of spliting our thoughts into "conscious and unconscious" thought is a black box theory, in the sense that we're assuming, first, that there are two "realities" (of sorts) and second, that one of these cannot be "seen" directly.

What you and Kay address instead is the idea of a consciousness, and an "awareness" (could it be safe to say that this is unconsciousness, without the idea of it somehow being "hidden" from our conscious state?); lastly, self-awareness, which perhaps melds the two into one whole reality?

If I got this right, then I can see where your disagreements with NLP principles might lie, but more than that it seems that NLP processes themselves could serve rather useful still, within this context. Provided the same processes are able to bring "awareness" to the self in a efficient and productive way, then the processes themselves could be used to potentially change behaviors.

I do recognize, however, what you also addressed as the difficulties even if the above is the intention. IF, for instance, the perceived problem is something that is not really a problem but instead an individual believes it to be because of conditioning, or someone else's observations, or whatever. Then you're trying to change an awareness that never required change to begin with (hopefully I got the foundation of that argument right).

This brings me now to another related question: classical NLP assumptions see ADD as not a biological and/or neurological "deficiency" but instead as simply learned behaviors that become a "reality" only because of the individual's belief that they are "true" (in fact, most NLP practitioners believe that ADD does not exist at all). Given what you've said about the neuro networks and brain processes, is ADD a biological (innate) process that one is simply born with (or "gets" as the result of some physical injury); or, is it an experiential state that is learned as a result of certain social contexts, such as the quality of an individual's childhood, etc?

Now my guess here would be that its the latter, given that the former implies there is something innate about the neurological processes themselves. Personally I believe that individuals, just like with personality, have a tendency toward ADD that is genetic, but that social conditioning determines whether the ADD will be inactive or whether it will transform itself into the problematic behaviors that many of us experience throughout life (I can certainly see, in differences with my daughter who also has ADD tendencies, how had I been raised in a more structured environment, or under different circumstances, my "ADD" may not have created as many challenges for me as I got older).

Whew! Well I finally have time this weekend to review all the great info Tom sent, so I'll likely see some of the answers in this information as well. Thanks again, though, for the wonderful discussion. It certainly is giving me a good view of what directions may or may not be useful for NLP and ADD coaching in the future :)

Rox

paulbf
10-24-04, 12:16 AM
One other possibility is that ADD can be a side effect of other emotional problems. Depression is well known to mess with ability to focus & worsen procrastination. When those traumatic emotional experiences happen early in childhood, it is particularly difficult to distinguish from 'real' ADD. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms can be similar and early emotional wounds are nearly impossible to heal anyways. Much of the psychiatric perspective of imbalanced brain chemistry assumes there is some emotional trauma that causes a physical chemical imbalance which simply psychotherapy is inadequate to change after it's been around long enough to be drilled so deeply into your being. If it's relatively recent or not to severe, maybe... but my thought is that emotional trauma can cause a physical injury to the brain chemistry which is more or less permanent. I wonder if that type of ADD responds to medication differently? It is my observation that most people with most any type of psychological problem also suffer from ADD whether induced or inborn.
Given what you've said about the neuro networks and brain processes, is ADD a biological (innate) process that one is simply born with (or "gets" as the result of some physical injury); or, is it an experiential state that is learned as a result of certain social contexts, such as the quality of an individual's childhood, etc?
...
had I been raised in a more structured environment

roxannew
10-24-04, 02:05 AM
It is my observation that most people with most any type of psychological problem also suffer from ADD whether induced or inborn.

Wow! You know Paul I NEVER thought of it that way... hmmm... now I'll be curious to watch people who seem to have issues other than ADD, and see if they behave very much like ADD.

I still have a hard time accepting that ADD is permanent, but that's prolly just cause I don't LIKE the idea LOL. Moreover I think I've seen too many times myself where I was able to do what I needed to, without the ADD issues, its just being able to get it to stick that can be difficult... this is where your comments raise a lot more thoughts in my mind about this belief.

For me I think that "ADD tendencies" have increased as I've gotten older, but mostly I think its lack of enthusiasm because I was such a get out there and do whatever it takes kinda gal. After the zillionth time that I failed to do this well, or to fruition, or whatever, now.. well, its like the "zeal" is just zapped from me, and I have a very difficult time trying to convince myself that the future doesn't have to rely on the past (if that makes any sense LOL).

So when I think about these things, it seems that if ADD is indeed innate, or permanent as you suggest it might be, what a depressing thought! Maybe ignorance is more bliss than knowledge in this case LOL

Rox

Stabile
10-24-04, 03:21 PM
Hey, Roxanne, Paul, et al:

This is fun, because we're talking around the exact problem of representation that causes so much of the misunderstanding and disagreement about these things among researchers.

By representation, I mean the picture we have in our heads of how our minds are structured, that we're trying to formulate words to describe.

The interesting information isn't in the words, though. It's in how we each perceive that we're having trouble describing it, based on our judgment of how well the other understands what we meant.

I'll try to give a brief schematic of how we understand consciousness and awareness. It's a simple, almost mechanical view, not as far from the neural structures in our brains as you might expect.

(The lack of a common understanding of this is a universal problem; everybody has a different idea of what the landscape looks like. We've been working on a three page monograph entitled The Structure of Human Experiential Reality for several months. It's intended to serve as a simple roadmap, and it might be ready around Christmas.)

Neural networks contain models of things, which they can recognize, giving a response. These 'things' can be as solid as a rock, or as ephemeral as Mom's smile. It could be the impression that something just flashed by the corner of your eye.

As sensory input streams through your brain, it is parsed into increasingly abstract 'units of recognition', logical objects that might represent an attribute of a thing, or perhaps the entire thing itself.

Immediately before passing into the parts of the brain the support the conscious mind, the sensory input stream has been transformed into a mini-flood of complex logical models, the thought patterns that you recognize as a chair, or someone approaching in the subway, and so on.

The act of distilling raw sensory input into these complex conceptual objects naturally focuses on the information that seems important enough to represent. Things like the background noise in a restaurant may have been reduced to a single entity, as I just did in this sentence.

Once in the conscious mind, we employ attention mechanisms to identify and select the important features that we then analyze and understand by incorporating them into a little internal play, complete with characters, sets and a script.

In a way, the script is the object of the whole exercise; it represents the pattern of our conscious understanding of the sensory input stream, and those patterns are handled by neural structures in the same way as any other part of the brain.

So the process of consciousness has selected the leading players and provided a script, using substantially the same neural function at work throughout the brain. The implication is that immediately prior to passing into the conscious mind, every other element was already present, embedded in the same neural context that enables us to be conscious.

You can think of this like the backstage scene of a play being constructed on the fly. Out front, in the light of consciousness, there's a more or less orderly story being told, a few players running through the script and blocking just handed them, in a set put together from the jumble backstage only a moment before.

You can imagine the hubbub backstage, piles of scenery and props, the crowd of actors waiting to be called, some paired off or in groups, going over lines that might or might not become a part of the action on stage.

To say that there isn't a story in that is obviously incorrect, but it's different from the one onstage in a significant way. The onstage play can address things like the quality of a mother's love, or how well meant actions can lead a person into the wrong circumstances. It could even be an elaborate comedy, punch lines unfolding over several different scenes.

But backstage, everything just is. The potential of any particular bit of the overall scene is obvious, and it of course changes from moment to moment, as actors come and go and the sets and props are shuffled about.

In terms of our perception of reality, something like the backstage scene exists in the parts of the brain immediately preceding the conscious mind in the sensory input stream. The principle distinguishing feature of the conscious mind is the persistent illusion that the play actually is reality, and that at any given moment, the onstage scene is all we know of it.

This describes the process of consciousness, operating at the end of the chain of increasingly complex processing that characterizes the flow of sensory information through the brain. But what about experience itself?

Experience is implicit in everything we've described so far, including the scene backstage. We're conditioned to associate experience with conscious experience, but the error in that idea should at this point seem obvious. You can think of experience as an abstract quality of the process we've just described, the distillation of the sensory input stream into recognizable abstract objects. Experience is, in a sense, just a form of recognition.

To a certain extent, organizing the moment-to-moment flow of abstractions into a coherent story creates the illusion of temporal order, i.e., the passage of time. Experience stripped of conscious interpretation just is, in the same way the scene backstage just is: a timeless now.

It makes sense that we might not be conscious of experience in the parts of the brain closely related to our conscious mind, but not actually a part of consciousness itself. The audience isn't aware of the scene backstage; the director, sitting in the shadows of the first few rows, is aware of its existence, but has his/her attention fully on keeping the play moving.

But how could that bit of awareness of a non-conscious reality creep into our conscious awareness? If we strip conscious interpretation from awareness, we can see that it's an abstract quality of the existence of those abstract objects distilled from the sensory input stream. You can't be in a timeless now without being.

So experience and awareness are a dual, apparently different aspects of a single, complex underlying process. The 'experience of being aware of the scene backstage' is a kind of oxymoron, in that it's inherent in the existence of the scene itself. To imply it arises from a separate process is a contradiction of its own existence.

The implication of this is that we are all aware of such experiences. And that, in turn, implies that there must be a process that creates the illusion that they are separable from conscious experience, and so do not exist.

That process, of course, is consciousness itself. But why should the process of conscious interpretation draw such a stark dividing line? The answer lies in what consciousness represents, and why it arises at all.

For most of us, the scene on stage is reality. The illusion is so complete that describing it is impossible; we have to infer it, sometimes by reasoning from first principles using extremely difficult logic. Even then, description fails, and we fall back on describing the logic.

The reason that the description fails is because of the nature of description. To describe a thing, we must construct a model of it with words, drawing on the store of such models that is a part of our shared model of our common reality.

But our common reality model is by definition comprised only of the knowledge we share about the play on stage before us, i.e., our conscious reality. So what we can describe with words is limited to only those things that we all agree we understand about the play and the scene it’s set in.

We can't even talk to each other about all of our conscious reality, let alone experience that lies outside it. And this circumstance is also a dual, the limited nature of language and the sharp distinction between conscious awareness and awareness of other experiential realities, like the scene backstage.

Both are the natural consequence of the underlying purpose of conscious reality, which is to provide a vehicle for the common model and in turn, language itself. In a very real sense, conscious reality and consciousness itself exist so we can communicate with each other in complex ways.

This is most likely the 'purpose' that drove the development of our conscious processes. It's a distinct advantage, which must select. Without such a faculty, we would have no way to imagine and create a world filled such wonders as tall buildings, large airplanes, and grand reasons to use one to knock the other down.

So it is understandable that many linguists are a bit cranky about insisting that the study of linguistics holds the key to understanding the conscious mind. Their view is biased, if course, but it does bear on the discussion at hand: why we're having such fun trying to explain to each other what we understand of these ideas, and how.

It's incorrect to assume that there is anything unsophisticated about experience outside conscious reality. When you recognized your problems with reading, most of the process of recognition probably took place in your experiential space analogous to the backstage scene.

This is extremely common; the process of staging the play that represents reality naturally acts as a severe filter, limiting conscious awareness to those few elements that we have chosen for our attention.

Actually, attention is that process of choosing and filtering out all but the few characters and props onstage, and the script they're playing. You can see by now this common characteristic, how the nature of the mind causes the illusion that there is a separate meta-process of choosing that precedes the process of paying attention to what has been chosen.

We are all more consciously aware of the scene backstage than we acknowledge in our day-to-day communications with each other. Everyone is the director, as well as the playwright and (usually) the star of the production. We all have at least the director's sense of the scene backstage. It's the lack of language to describe it by definition that makes us think that we're not consciously aware of it.

Or, more precisely, that's what makes us think that others aren't consciously aware of it. By the time we reach adulthood, most of us develop a conscious sense of the backstage scene as a singularly private space, despite the obvious relationship to our real external physical reality.

The conscious ideas we have about the nature of such supposedly private and personal experiences are parts of our conscious model of the universe that aren't included in our shared, common model of reality. We can think about them, but it's difficult to talk about them.

In a way, the experiential reality of the backstage scene represents a more accurate picture of our actual physical reality, simply because it hasn't been subjected to the filtering process of our conscious attention mechanisms.

It's common to realize that there's something significant in the backstage scene that the conscious attention processes have missed, a phenomenon that we variously describe as intuition, or having a sixth sense, and like that.

Kay simply calls them "whispers." Learning to listen to whispers is a significant step towards developing a conscious awareness of your own internal landscape, and beginning the exploration of other experiential spaces.

Since these phenomena all arise as a consequence of the same underlying principles of neural function, there's no reason to expect that experience and awareness stop at the stage door. We can imagine a sensory universe of experiential spaces, becoming less abstract and complex as you traverse back through the sensory input stream.

That implies, of course, that the experience becomes successively more primitive. But each step back effectively removes another set of filters; the ultimate, most primitive view possible is naked physical reality itself, in primal form, stripped of all pattern and meaning.

I've never been there, by definition; you could argue that I wouldn't be able to remember it, which is true, but the same complex inner processes that gives rise to the ability to form memories gives rise to what I know as myself as well, at least as it's represented in even the most primitive memory.

But I can say that there isn't any reason to believe that the singular sense of self disappears in the same way. Many people have described a journey back through several levels of these alternate experiential spaces, and one of the most notable features of the experience is the remarkable constancy of that kernel at the core of our selves, the immutable sense that we are.

* * * *

So that's the map: a five page description of ideas that are supposed to fit on three when we finish the precise version. Maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere. (grin…)

What we need to do now is map the ideas we address with words like conscious and unconscious onto the basic experiential landscape of brain function laid out in our map. Every concept we have about how we think and how our minds work fit into this framework either as one or more functional processes or as a feature of our perception of those processes.

That will take some thinking, both about the nature of the processes we've described and what we mean by the words we’re using. But it's an effort worth making, in our experience, because you can apply one common underlying understanding to every aspect of your experiential reality.

Our map isn't supposed to explain everything; in a way, it doesn't explain anything. It provides one stick that we can use to beat on any problem we look at, regardless of what aspect of being it seems to affect.


This brings me now to another related question: classical NLP assumptions see ADD as not a biological and/or neurological "deficiency" but instead as simply learned behaviors that become a "reality" only because of the individual's belief that they are "true" (in fact, most NLP practitioners believe that ADD does not exist at all). Given what you've said about the neural networks and brain processes, is ADD a biological (innate) process that one is simply born with (or "gets" as the result of some physical injury); or, is it an experiential state that is learned as a result of certain social contexts, such as the quality of an individual's childhood, etc?
Yes, it is. (big grins…)

The NLP view that ADD doesn't exist at all is perfectly valid, but it isn't very helpful. That's because it leaves you with nothing to hang the rest of it on, the actual effects that undeniably exist.

So the explanation goes all willy-nilly, and settles out on the idea of learned behaviors. To put it into perspective, learned behaviors can be thought of as models of what we might logically expect characters in our play to do.

As such, they're a part of the common model. We select models that seem appropriate when we construct the script; one big test of that process is whether the action flows in a sensible way. When a character's actions don't make sense, we usually stop the play and figure out why before we continue.

Notice that viewed in this way, learned behaviors don't really have any particular power over us, any more than words do. But we can suffer from the illusion that our stored models of appropriate behavior represent all possible options, simply because of the requirement that our actions make sense in the play. The action described by the script must make sense to others by definition.

We take the opposite view of AD/HD, that is, it exists, but everybody has it. This is logically equivalent to the NLP view, but functionally much different. We are immediately faced with the question of why everyone doesn't exhibit symptoms.

We should be more precise here: we view AD/HD as the collection of symptoms that arise from whatever it is that everybody has, the single universal underlying cause. Again, the NLP view (and yours, too) is correct, in that it's the process of being that gives rise to what we call AD/HD.

When we talk about the collection of models we use to describe our universe, it's presumed that they must have arisen by some process usually assumed to be a part of normal childhood. But the features of the map of our experiential reality are models as well, and to a certain extent, our experience molds them in the same way it molds our models of appropriate behavior.

So our view of everyone is shifted a bit from the NLP view. We see an entire population affected by a small change in the way that the brain operates, with everyone acting either to suppress it or incorporate it into their internal logical models in some way.

The NLP sees a population that is essentially identical to our view before our postulated change in the way the brain operates. That makes some sense, since it matches everyone's historical model of the normal human brain, and also represents the way we function if we suppress the effect of the change.

So there's a sense of a kind of natural normalizing force, deriving in part from our need to be consistent in how we present our idea of ourselves in our scripts. This brings up two interesting questions: which view should we adopt, and if there's a normalizing force at work, why does AD/HD exist at all?

For the answers, we again go back to the map, and the way we create the models that give rise to the various elements such as consciousness and conscious reality. The postulated change in our brains engenders the use of a subtly different logical structure, a new organization for the way our models are constructed.

We could simply rely on the assumption that new is better. And the use of the new structure is precisely what brings about the symptoms of AD/HD, so we could also argue in its favor that it gives rise to our remarkable ADDer qualities as well. The problem with both arguments is that whatever gives us our ADDvantage also causes all of the disadvantages; newness can be a double-edged sword.

So we need a view of the situation that brings the issues into focus in a way that we can see what's at work, and weigh all of the various effects. And that brings us back to the map of our experiential reality.

At the uppermost level, we could argue that such a map is impossible to construct without use of the new logical structure, and since it unifies our understanding of so many different aspects of brain function, the advantage of the new structure is obvious.

Such an argument is valid, but requires a general acceptance of the map's validity. We're confident that will come, with time. But here's where the fact that AD/HD arises at all fits in, and regardless of the positive or negative effects.

In a way, we are arguing that the question of which view we should adopt (essentially the question of whether the old or the new way is correct) is being answered every time AD/HD arises in an individual. Over time, we naturally select models that give an advantage. But we adopt models simply because they're convenient; it's competition with similar models that results in selection.

So the persistence of a model may indicate an advantage, or only that, as of yet, no competing models exist. To infer an advantage from persistence requires evidence of competition, in the form of the existence of valid alternative models.

Of course, the entire debate seems to be framed in exactly these terms. But there is an additional feature of the appearance of AD/HD that gives an even more persuasive view. We noted that the NLP view implies a kind of natural normalizing process; the existence of a process by which a change in a system arises slowly and is compensated by a normalizing force is the defining characteristic of an emergent system.

The property of emergence arises precisely because the action of the normalizing force compensates for the change up to the natural limits inherent in the process. The system appears to undergo no change at all, right up until the normalizing process reaches it's limit and fails.

Often such a failure is catastrophic. The entire change that has slowly been accumulating unseen is revealed, seeming to emerge suddenly out of nowhere into an apparently tranquil and normal scene. And in any emergent system, the onset of emergence implies not only the existence of a competing model, but no evidence of an advantage even after a long struggle aided by the normalizing process.

In fact, the advantage is all in favor of the new model, or the entire process wouldn't have been triggered in the first place. There is strong evidence to suggest that an emergent system as pervasive as the one apparently giving rise to AD/HD should be considered a speciation event.

That idea sets off alarms, and has the potential to topple the debate back into complete confusion. There is no merit to the personification of the ideas that lead to such a conclusion; it is fundamentally incorrect to speak of one species as being superior to another as if we were discussing which of two stocks to add to our portfolio.

The only valid comparisons are in terms of function. In that regard, a shark seems a far superior solution to the human one, but only because the shark's solution only allows comparison in the shark's limited context. We function at a far superior level if you assume the more general context we normally inhabit.

The situation with AD/HD seems much the same to us. The change in our brains in effect opens up our context, and that is where the real advantage lies. If we restrict ourselves to the normal context, much of the advantage disappears, just as if we were to challenge a shark to a competition for food on its own turf. It's likely that the food chain would quickly undergo an inversion.

So the emergence of AD/HD seems to us to signal an even stronger advantage than our argument suggests. Something about being in the expanded context must select very strongly, because it isn't hard to see that the whole thing inverts when we constrain ourselves to the normal context, just like the shark's food chain.

It's possible that it's just the expanded context itself that's the key. That is exactly what happened at the cusp of the last speciation event; our context expanded to include a distinct, common conscious reality.

But the advantages of that, starting with the possibility of language, seem too obvious to ignore. The only question is what comparable advantages we will see when we look back at this from a few hundred years down the road.

Thanks. –Tom and Kay

paulbf
10-24-04, 03:25 PM
I think the inborn type is permanent. That is the commonly accepted understanding and it's different than other disorders, some of which can be temporary or curable. What I think can be done about ADHD is to learn coping strategies so that it's not a big problem, more like a personality quirk. I've not heard anyone say that you can get ADD from a bad upbringing, rather they call that something else (false ADD) or "associated attention problems.

Stabile
10-24-04, 05:41 PM
I think the inborn type is permanent. That is the commonly accepted understanding and it's different than other disorders, some of which can be temporary or curable. What I think can be done about ADHD is to learn coping strategies so that it's not a big problem, more like a personality quirk. I've not heard anyone say that you can get ADD from a bad upbringing, rather they call that something else (false ADD) or "associated attention problems.
Of course it's permanent. But the things we think of as "being" AD/HD aren't in any way fixed in stone.

As we said, there is an underlying cause, but to call it a condition would be as incorrect as to call the physical difference in the brains of Neanderthals (as compared to Cro-Magnons) a condition.

Put into the perspective of everyday life, it's like assuming that there's a significance to the energy of photons from a red traffic light as compared to those from a green light. There is a difference in energy, and the difference is significant in the context of automobile and pedestrian traffic.

But the one is due to physics, and the other the particular circumstances of our social context. The relationship is arbitrary, even though it depends on the difference in energies. They aren’t really related in any way.

But sometimes, it's hard to escape the illusion that they must be. All of the symptoms we've been describing in this thread are related, including the suggestion that there might be something in common with things like depression.

You can't really begin to sort them out until you can ask the question, "OK, so there's something called 'associated attention problems.' How could that arise?" That forces you to stop and formulate a common context in which the question can be intelligently asked.

And that's the difficult step, for whatever reason you might want to attach to it. For example, it's a problem that requires metalevels just to state, let alone formulate a solution, so we could simply note the fact that mathematicians have a systemic aversion to metalevels and associate the failure to address a context properly with that.

But in our view, such an explanation just pushes the problem up a metalevel and leaves it to die. The original question still remains, transformed into, "OK, so we have an innate aversion to the idea of metalevels. How could that arise?"

That's why we presented our 'map' of the structure of human experiential reality. (Which, judging by the time of your post and the length of ours, you haven't yet plowed your way through. If, in fact, you ever have enough free time to get through it…) The point is that it's based in a low level analysis of the stream of sensory input in the context of neural structures in the brain; no metalevels are necessary for the logic that establishes the basic framework.

For that and other reasons the map presents an ideal common context for considering many of the questions that are called to mind just by the mention of the ideas in your post. We're used to not bothering to address them, so it could take some practice before we all get comfortable with using it.

But we're glad to finally have the opportunity to try.

And thanks for that, for sure. –Tom and Kay

paulbf
10-25-04, 10:19 AM
Tom,

Yup, I read the latest one. I like the stage analogy, it's quite clear.

I printed out your last couple of posts here and your letter to Dave for my mom (and because I never got through that letter). We spent a couple hours going through the first page & a half. She is *very* well read on these topics but it still took her a lot of re-reading to figure out. I tend to skim & wasn’t getting much from it myself. I find the subject fascinating but still it is real hard work making it through your concepts. Anyways she thinks you may be on to something & are taking the best road towards discovering it though she wonders how much of this comes from stuff you read & how much you are thinking up on your own. Another few months and we will have made it through those 20 pages I printed. I’ll let you know how it goes.

If you are interested in relevant references, I’ll take notes from her and pass it on but I think you don’t have energy for other ‘dead people’s opinions on the topics and would benefit more from discovering it on your own. I think it’s more likely that you will find the truth that way too.

Stabile
10-25-04, 02:53 PM
…I printed out your last couple of posts here and your letter to Dave for my mom …We spent a couple hours going through the first page & a half. She is *very* well read on these topics but it still took her a lot of re-reading to figure out. I …wasn’t getting much from it myself… it is real hard work making it through your concepts…
You have no idea how much that information helps us. We're too close to the material to be able to judge this well at all.

We tend to err on the side of not insulting anyone when we try to describe our work, and we've been known to miss that something obvious to us may not be obvious to someone who hasn't been immersed in the subject for thirty years.


…she wonders how much of this comes from stuff you read & how much you are thinking up on your own…

If you are interested in relevant references, I’ll take notes from her and pass it on but I think you don’t have energy for other ‘dead people’s opinions on the topics and would benefit more from discovering it on your own. I think it’s more likely that you will find the truth that way too.
The ideas we've presented here and elsewhere are the result of an ordinary research effort by Kay and me. We've been pursuing our own original theoretical vision since the beginning, but like most research, we are clearly standing on the shoulders of those that went before us.

Sadly, that attitude isn't universal these days. But we have no problem acknowledging the ideas of others where we incorporate them as a part of our work. In particular, Dr. James Albus' brilliant CMAC neural network theory was key to deciphering how it is possible for neural activity to give rise to such things as human behavior and conscious experience.

You're absolutely right about not having enough time to read all that we wish we could. And you are the first person ever to comment on the idea that we might sometimes restrict our reading to avoid cluttering up our vision, something we have always done.

But we would be very interested in any references that you or your mom think might be relevant, because they give us a valuable perspective on how you interpreted the material. So if you think to jot them down, we love to see them. Thanks for the offer.

Please don't hesitate to ask about something that seems unclear, rather than stay stuck at it for too long. Anything like that is likely our fault, an oversight easily remedied. It certainly doesn't reflect on you or your mom.

Kay and I would probably do well to remember that these ideas are new to most people, at least in how we see the organization of structures of the brain and mind. New stuff has a kind of time delay before it 'hits', an interesting indicator of the underlying brain function in its own right.

But mostly, just have fun with it. We sure did. –Tom and Kay

paulbf
10-25-04, 09:32 PM
I'll get her to scribble down some titles on the printout. Every time I visit her, she pulls out a few books that she just read about this kind of stuff & begs me to read it but I really have a tough time reading books, especially really dense material like that even though I love the subject matter. You wouldn't know she read all that stuff just looking at her < grin >.

paulbf
11-02-04, 11:39 AM
OK the one j\guy she thinks you will appreciate is Ken Wilber, particularly 'The Marriage of Sense & Soul - Integrating Science and Religion' It's not too big or scary. She's got me reading another thing 'Personality Types - Usiing the Enneagram for Self Discovery & another awesome into to neurophsychiatry written by a journalist called 'Mind Wide Open. by Steven Johnson.

Stabile
11-02-04, 05:13 PM
Tell her thanks...

lychweake
06-28-06, 12:34 AM
NLP is just one of the "many" ways one can "undo" his or herself. In summary, NLP can improve your awareness and how you engage in social interactions, there hasnt been too much scienfic proof that can show the effectiveness on NLP but As Richard Bandlar says..."NLP isnt a living thing, its just an idea" and so if thats the case NLP is just AN ART!!! It's the art of learning how to see the world and how one can improve their perception...thats really all there is too it if you ask me.

lychweake
06-28-06, 12:43 AM
Oh and I think that if you people who are interested in NLP should learn more about General Semantics instead....it goes WAY beyond the NLP concepts and examines Language, Logic, thoughts and most scienctific theories in a way that I cant even put into words. www.generalsemantics.org (http://www.generalsemantics.org) goto this site to learn more