A Humanist Approach
Neuro Linguistic Programing is a Humanist approach to solving problems. It goes against the paradigm of Modernist Scientific thought, which is Newtonian based. This Empirical, Mechanistic, and Reductionist approach to problem solving focuses on the, Linear, Objective and Rational components to problem solving.
The Empirical Fallacy
From an Empirical perspective, the only way truth can be approached is through measurement and numbers. Pushed to its extreme, anything that cannot be measured or documented by numbers, does not exist and therefore by definition is not true. NLP believes that only through studying the same phenomenon from different perspectives, trying to explain what is going on, and through inter-disciplinary research, can the truth be found. Empirical research can never tell us whats going on, but only what we were able to record at a certain moment or time period.
Mechanistic Model is to Simplistic
A Mechanistic model of science limits us to a simplistic cause and effect approach to problems. Simply put if you push here you will see the effect repeatedly and predictably over there.NLP has a more Dynamism or to use a new term vitalism belief which maintains that vital activities cannot be explained and never will be explained, by the laws which govern lifeless matter. Just because you have a certain gene doesn’t mean you will be an alcoholic or if you suffer abuse, as a child, you will show A,B and C, as an adult. Neuro Linguistic Programing postulates that humans are not that predictable.
Problem with the Reductionist Approach
A Reductionist approach suggests that an analysis of the parts is sufficient for understanding. For a reductionist “the simple is the source of the complex”. In order to explain human behavior one needs to reduce it to its constituent elements. NLP believes this creates a cascade of errors in method and logic, creates a confusion of statistical artifact with biological reality. The mind and the body affect each other.
Linear Science Assumes to Much
A Linear science assumes X causes Y which causes Z. It assumes that casual relationships are linear, geometric and explained in mathematical terms. Linear thinking does not understand multi-variant thinking and that problems are often spherical and multi-directional. NLP believes that science is a process of constant refinement and that we don’t know what we don’t know until we know it.
Objective Observation of Subjective Occurances
To be Objective, to have an unbiased view, you must be apart from. Objectivity is almost always the opposite of feeling or emotion, and is considered superior to subjectivity by Modernists. NLP recognizes that experience, feelings and emotions are all subjective therefore not measurable, or amenable to the rigors of Modernist science,
Doesn’t fit into a Rationalist Ideology.
The Rational approach in a modernist scientific world has evolved into the need to deny experience, in order to fit into an ideology. Thus Modernist Science refuses to accept many of the Neuro Linguistic Programing suppositions. How can you prove empirically, “that people aren’t broken”, or that “the past doesn’t equal the future”.
NLP Based on Ancient Beliefs
Humanist psychologists look at human behavior not only through the eyes of the observer, but through the eyes of the person doing the behaving.. They believe that an individual’s behavior is connected to his inner feelings and self image. These ideas go back as far as the traditions of the Advaita Vedanta, the ancient Hindu philosophy based on the highest wisdom of the Upanishads, The self is outside time and beyond the limited walled off ego.
Modernist Science is Very Arrogant
Trying to apply Empirical reasoning to the pre-suppositions of NLP as listed below is the epitome of arrogance. To call it a pseudo-science is to ignore the fact that there is a big difference between disagreeing with a hypothesis and proving it wrong. Modernist Science has not been able to categorically prove that any of these suppositions are wrong.
These are the Presuppositions of NLP:
- Respect for the other persons model of the world.
- The meaning of the communication is not simply what you intend, but also the response that you get.
- The mind and body affect each other.
- People respond to their experience, not to reality itself. The map is not the territory.
- Every behavior has a positive intention. Everyone is doing the best that they can with the resources they have available. People make the best choice they can at the time.
- Behavior is geared towards adaptation.
- Accept the person; change the behavior.
- Behavior and change are to be evaluated in terms of context and ecology.
- People have all the resources that they need to make the changes that they want. We already have all the resources we need or we can create them. There are no un-resourceful people, only un-resourceful states.
- Possible in the world and possible for me is only a matter of how.
- The system (person) with the most flexibility (choices) of behavior will have the most influence on the system.
- This is the Law of Requisite Variety
- There is no failure, only feedback.
- There are no resistant clients, only inflexible communicators.
- Having choice is better than not having choice. All procedures should be designed to increase choice and develop greater personal flexibility.
- All procedures should increase wholeness.
Only Through Congruence
For the holist “the whole is more then the sum of the parts”. In other words human behavior has its own properties that are not explicable in terms of the properties of the elements from which it is derived. NLP believes that only through understanding the wholeness and congruence of all elements can the mind be understood.
The Goal is to Help People
NLP offers another approach to correcting the the general neurosis of our time, as stated by Carl Jung, “about a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be described as the general neurosis of our time”. Just like Psychotherapy it has had it’s successes and failures. The system with the most flexibility will have the most influence.
As always, thanks for visiting. Dave