|How to Map Peace
|Enrol in NLP Peace Mapping Course
|About Peace Mapping
|NLP Peace Mapping
|NLP Peace Mapping Game
|Asylum seeker issue
|How to find the fat truth?
|A look at the Mediterranean Diet
|The Fresh Air Deal
|Why What Do?
Use the NLP Peace Mapping Model to get on the same page and have a good quality conversation - and better still use it to structure a rigorous inquiry into truth. Phone 07 5562 5718 or send an email to book a free 20 minute telephone or Skype session with Abby Eagle. NLP Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Meditation. Gold Coast, Robina, Australia. Online NLP Coaching sessions on Skype and by phone also available.
(Abby Eagle) I don't know about you but when I read an article in print or watch a news program or advertisement on television I want truth and honesty not half-truths and deception, and since this is not always the case I decided to create a framework that would prompt me to think about a topic in such a way that I could gain greater clarity.
Using climate change as an example, there was a time when it was called 'global warming', then it became 'climate change', now some refer to it as 'climate pause'. If the science did not get us on board then the images of polar bears drowning surely did. And then we started hearing divergent opinions. We learned that polar bears can swim and that in Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, there was the "Use of highly skillful and emotive Hollywood animations appearing real and conveying messages contrary to the science."
As a result of the climate change model, changes occurred in most countries around the world but who stood to gain the most from those changes? Was it the individual, the community, industry, politicians, governments or oligarchs? And what was the role of the media entertainment industry? Who do they serve?
We are now at a time in history where the Internet gives us access to enormous quantities of information but what is the quality of that information and how much of it can we trust? How do we best utilize our time and resources so that we don't waste time fighting paper tigers. We could educate people - we could tell them what to believe but of what use is that, as that is just going to be our opinion. What we need is to teach people how to ask questions such that they learn how to challenge and discover the truth for themselves.
So I came to realise that we needed a formal process of inquiry that would prompt us to ask a range of questions that would help us to systematically map out the topic of conversation giving us not only the details but also the bigger picture. The NLP Peace Mapping Model is designed to help you do just that. This is not about being right or wrong; not about spin doctoring and distorting the facts but about expanding our minds such that we might learn to accept, appreciate and perhaps even hold some awe for the diversity of opinions in the world.
What I need the reader to understand is that I am not taking sides. I am not a believer or disbeliever in climate change. I am not for or against people trafficking. I am not for or against vaccinations.
One of the things that I am trying to do with the NLP Peace Mapping Model is show people how to make a distinction between process and content. For example, the ABC (Australian) reported that a number of asylum seekers burned their hands when they were forced back onto their boat by the Australian Navy. "Burned hands" is the content. The process is of people attempting to illegally enter another country. The process is of the Navy protecting the integrity of the nations borders. The Australian Government should not be expected to make a decision based upon "burned hands". There are more important criteria.
The problem is that when we focus on content to the detriment of process we end up making bad decisions. The NLP Peace Mapping Model gives you a way to examine a topic from many points of view - at times dipping into content but always mindful of the importance of being able to step back and recognise the process.
I got the inspiration for the NLP Peace Mapping Model from Robert Dilts Sleight of Mouth Model (SOM) which was later modified by Michael Hall to become the Mind Lines Model. There is one limitation, for me, with these models in that you have to start with a complex equivalence. That is to say you take what someone says and rephrase it in the form of a complex equivalence where A=B. For example, "Are you saying that A means B?" I found this to be a limitation so to loosen it up for the purpose of a ferocious conversation I start with an image in my mind of a grid - from the Hierarchy of Ideas by Tad James.
So you imagine you have this grid where you can abstract up and down to details - and you can move from side to side to explore different subject matter. Also by moving side to side you can bring in timeline so as you move to the left you explore the past - as you move to the right you explore the future - and present is the central starting point.
On top of this grid you place the Mind Lines Model. Then around all of this you place all of your other NLP language tools.
References: see the bibliography.
Whether you hold a discussion with another person or you research information from the Internet, books, film and television - either way there are two entities involved. There is the other party and there is you. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as objective analysis. There is the object that you focus on and the subjectivity that you bring to the process. As the researcher who you are will determine how you approach the study. In some cases the biggest learning's may come from an inquiry into self, not into the other.
To help you understand the NLP terminology I have provided links to sources of information. A notation in square brackets indicates the process used. If you need more clarification or would like to offer your suggestions then feel free to send me an email and I will take a look at it.
Specify the topic. What is the topic of discussion? Where have others put their focus? Do you want to focus on the same page or somewhere different? [Sameness / Difference Meta Program] What is going to be the most useful point of focus? Who would benefit most from that? Is this focus useful in terms of the bigger picture?
Explore the hierarchy of ideas - logical levels and types. Chunk up and down to different levels of abstractions, shift the focus laterally, then bring in the context of time and map out the topic against a grid. [Hierarchy of ideas]
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Example - People Trafficking: For a start we could have titled the topic as, "Asylum seekers", or "Refugees", or "Boat People", or "People smuggling.", or "Illegal Immigrants." When you change the words the meaning changes. [Reframing]
The focus could be on the history that created a situation in which people would risk their lives to illegally enter another country. The focus could be on the business of people trafficking. It could be on the plight of the passengers. It could be on the consequences to the incoming country. If the focus remains on the suffering of an individual do we miss the consequences to a nation? It is like the metaphor of the trees and the forest. [Global / Details Meta Program] As soon as you focus on one thing you miss the other but both media and government are fond of public interest stories because it hooks the viewer into the emotional content and can be used to sway public opinion.
The ability to step back and shift our focus with awareness around the grid gives us a means to make a decision that will have the best long term outcome.
What is the situation? What is the information that you have available to you? Define the key individuals and organisations involved.
What is the purpose of the discussion? What do you hope to achieve? What do you need to address to help you achieve the desired outcome? Do you have a system to track your progress from present state to desired outcome? How will you know that you have made progress? [P/S - D/O model]
The well formed outcome questions are typically used in a NLP Coaching session to define precisely what the client wants and then to help them to access and mobilise their inner resources such that they can take the necessary steps towards achieving that outcome.
Michael Hall has identified five basic kind of Coaching Conversations: clarity, decision, planning, experiencing, and changing. The lesser two are: confrontation and mediation. Then for groups and teams there are four more: the Meta-Conversation, Rounds Conversation, Problem-Solving Conversation, Collective Learning Conversation, and the Conflict Resolution Conversation (Michael Hall, Group and Team Coaching, 2013).
As the interviewer, researcher, journalist or coach do you have a system to track your process of inquiry? What frames of mind do you need to hold? Where are you coming from? What outcome do you want from the process of inquiry? Do you have an agenda? Are you open to the process of discovery? [Well formed outcome questions.]
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The NLP Meta Model is a powerful linguistic tool that was developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder, and first published in The Structure of Magic, Volume 1 in 1975. Use it to systematically gather high quality information and learn what people actually mean by their communication, rather that what you think they are saying.
For example, How do you know 'x' to be true? Where is the evidence? According to whom? How does 'a' make 'b'? How and what specifically? Does 'a' have to mean 'b'? Could it mean something else? Is this what everyone believes? Do we all have to believe and act this way? [NLP Meta Model Questions.]
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Example - Fluoridation: What do you mean by fluoridation? What specifically is the chemical added to the water supply? Where are those chemicals sourced from? Is this the same type of fluoride that is naturally found in groundwater? If not, then what is the difference?
Add fluoride to the water supply for what purpose? Who benefits from fluoridation? The individual; the aluminium smelter industry who dispose of a hazardous waste product; the medical profession from treating side effects; the government from a dumbing down effect on the mind?
What is good about fluoride? Good in what way specifically? According to whom? Is fluoride always good for health? In what quantities? What happens with too much? In what ways could fluoride be bad for your health? Are their people who may benefit? Are their people who may be harmed? From whose perspective?
What are the benefits of fluoridation? How would you know if it was not true? Who funded the research? What was the scope of the study? What data was included, what was excluded?
What are the negative consequences of fluoridation? Are there any side effects to fluoridation? Does it reduce intelligence? If so, then why would a government support fluoridation?
Are there countries in the world who fluoridated their water supplies but no longer do? Why?
Who supports fluoridation? Who does not? Is this about health or about disposing of toxic waste products from industry? Does everyone have to drink fluoridated water? Do we need to fluoridate our gardens and food supply?
Is it a question of fluoride being good or bad for health - or is it a question of the right to clean water free from additives? Is it about freedom of choice?
What are the questions that we need to ask?
To learn about someone’s model of the world we start by asking “who” questions. Who is this person? Who is this organisation? Where are they coming from? How is it possible they could believe that or do that? What is their religion, family and socioeconomic status? What schools did they go to? Are they a member of any clubs, industry associations, secret societies, etc. What pledges have they taken? What are their identities, attitudes, values, beliefs, life experiences, background, behaviours? What is their history and track record?
5a. Frames of mind: What are the frames of mind that each party brings to the topic? Explore different frames of mind. How else could we look at it? What would it be like to experience the world through the eyes of the other? [Second Position Shift] Just because it is true for one person does it mean that it has to be true for everyone?
5b. Beliefs: What do people believe about this topic? Who do these beliefs serve? Can we embrace the differences? Can we allow others to hold their beliefs or do their beliefs impinge upon the rights of other people? What are the higher frames of mind that would allow us to come to agreement? Are the parties involved willing to come to an agreement? If so, then at what logical level and type?
5c. Tonality: What is the tone of an article or book? What is the tone used by a journalist, interviewer, spokesperson, etc? Do they sound credible, authentic, arrogant, dramatic, conciliatory, apologetic, condescending, reassuring? Do they sound like they are dumbing the topic down? Are they playing it up or playing it down?
There are a number of aspects to tonality. There is the tonality that you use and the tonality that the other uses. When we change our tonality then it will bring a different meaning to the tonality that the other person uses.
What is the tonality that you bring to a discussion, an article, a book, an email, a web forum, a film? What is the tonality of your internal dialogue and your voice?
5d. Left Wing Political Orientation - the Group: The Left believe that individuals are collectively responsible for the welfare of the entire community. The people look to the government to provide a structure. Government action is required to achieve equal opportunity for all. Government is expected to solve problems and take care of people.
For example we hear people say, "If GMO was bad then 'they' would not allow it." "The government should do something about it." There is a shift of responsibility from Self to Other. [Authority Sort Meta Program - Internal / External] The authority figure, that is government, media, industry, religion, etc., are not questioned - people would rather believe what they are told than go to the effort of asking questions.
5e. Right Wing Political Orientation - the Individual: The Right believe that individuals are responsible for themselves, and that the community benefits from the efforts of the individuals acting in their own interests. Individuals should exercise personal responsibility. The right to pursue personal goals. Empowering the individual to solve problems.
The Right wingers seems to take more responsibility for self whereas the Left winger expects society to take care of them. The locus of control is with Self for the Right and with Other for the Left. [Self / Other Meta Program]
The Right allows more freedom for others to do as they please whereas the Left wants everyone to think and act like them. [Prof Clare Graves Values Level #6] For example, everyone has to 'save the whales'. Everyone has to share.
The Right complain that they create the wealth and the Left want to redistribute the wealth. The Left complain that the Right exploit the workers and they all they want is a fair deal. The Right complain that the Left take from the rich to give to the poor rather than teaching the poor how to create wealth.
The Right don't seem to have a problem with religion yet the Left want displays of Christianity removed from public buildings in case someone might get offended. In some way the Left seem to reject their own group in favour of pleasing another group. [Self / Other Meta Program]
The Left tend to be better communicators yet poor at economics while the Right tend to be better at economics but poor at communicating. Sounds like a husband and wife scenario where one partner makes the money and the other spends it.
In theory if both Left and Right learned to look at the world through the eyes of the other, embraced their differences and combined their resources we could create more peace, harmony and prosperity in the world. Both have limitations, both have something to offer but governments tend to swing from one end to the other. It is an 'either or' process when in fact it needs to be an 'and'. [Either Or / And Meta Program] That is not Left or Right but Left and Right.
In a discussion the effort should be on presenting all aspects of an argument for consideration. It is not about holding onto one's own ideas and trying to win over another but of putting all ideas out on the table and stepping back, and bringing awareness to all aspects such that we might learn how to look at the topic of discussion through the eyes of another [second position shift] such that we might be enriched by the experience. Rather than being goal oriented and having to win, to be right, to get our way, or change someone's opinion - more about bringing awareness to the facets of the discussion, such we can allow others to be who they are, such that they might allow us to be who we are, such that we don't need to change the world.
Some people like to walk alone in a wilderness without a satellite phone - they like the feeling of risk, of potential danger. Some like to feel the wind blowing through their hair as they race down a hill on a push bike but the regulatory bodies want to minimise risk and make the world a safer place for everyone so they force all cyclists to wear a helmet. One personality type embraces the opportunities and risks that life presents - the other has a fear of what might happen.
Meta Programs are perceptual filters that generally operate out of conscious awareness. For example, are you a pessimist or an optimist? Big picture person or have a preference for details? Do you like to follow procedures or keep your options open? Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert? Are you an idealistic dreamer (Intuition) or more grounded in reality (Sensing)? Is your focus on Self or Others?
Meta Programs filter perception and determine your preferences in how you think, feel and act. Use the recogniition of Meta Programs to help you understand personality type.
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Example - Politicians: It is not unusual for a politician to quickly shift to the big picture when asked about a specific detail. [Global / Details Meta Program]
Example - Economist: Ask a government economist specifically how they intend to balance the nation's budget and not only do they generally abstract to the big picture but they may also project into the future and say, "We can fund this project based upon the expected increase in population." [Past / Present / Future Meta Program]
Example - Health: Ask a Doctor about health and they may chunk down to the details of a specific medical study. In contrast ask a Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioner about health and they may chunk up to the concept of 'cooling and warming foods'. [Global / Details]
When having a conversation with someone you need to stay alert for how they manage time? Are they NLP in-time, through time or other? Past, present or future oriented? Does the time line extend beyond conception into the past – and into the future does it extend after death? Are they short term, long term or visionary planners or do they not plan at all? Do they act the way that they do because they believe in past lives? Are they grounded in this life and/or focused on some type of afterlife, heaven or rebirth?
What is the context of the topic of conversation? What frames of mind does each party bring to the topic? What is happening in the world today that is relevant to the conversation? Is the conversation about something that is current or something that happened in the past and in a different culture?
Is the conversation face-to-face or via email, text message, newspaper or Internet article or forum? Is there an audience involved? If so, then who is the audience and what is the setting? Is the conversation held inside or outside? Are there cameras, microphones and studio equipment involved? Is each party to the conversation familiar with the setting? What state of mind and health is each person in?
If you are reading text then how can you determine the tonality of the communication? Unless we hold a conversation directly in front of the real person we miss the submodalities of their body language and voice. All meaning is context dependent. Change the context and the meaning changes.
Example - Hypnosis: The process of hypnotism may be used in a hypnotherapy session; on a stage; in a temple; at an evangelical rally; at a political rally; in an advertisement, or as part of the training of a terrorist. The state of deep trance is identical whether it occurs in the office of a hypnotherapist or occurs during deep meditation in a temple, but the context changes the meaning. Hypnosis in a hypnotherapist's office is therapy; on stage it is entertainment; in a temple it is a religious experience; at an evangelical rally it is the power of God; in an advertisement it is promoting a product; in the training of a terrorist it is something else.
Example - Television: Watching the use of guns and violence in an action film in your lounge room is a different context to actually being on the film set, which is a different context to that of a Television News program reporting on a war, which is a different context to actually being on a battle field as a reporter, soldier or medic.
Example - Time: Evaluate the topic from the context of time - recent past, distant past, present or future. There are a number of ways to explore a topic in respect of time.
1. From the perspective of now you can look back to past events. This is what most people do. You can also take yourself back to the past and look forwards to now. For example, what would the world have been like in 1960? What would their expectations have been of the world in 2013?
2. From now you can look towards the future or you can orient yourself out in the future and look back towards now. For example, fifty years from now, experiencing 'x', how will it feel to look back towards now? Is this what you want?
Shifting perceptual positions refers to the ability that we have to look at things from a different perspective. The descriptions that follow will make it easier to understand.
1st Position: The ability to look at an event from your own model of the world, out of your own eyes.
2nd Position: Second position is the ability to stand in the shoes of another person (or an organisation) and look out of their eyes back at your self or the world. This is known as a second position shift or more commonly as empathy.
Example - Asylum Seekers: Those people who have a strong meta program of 'Other' will probably find themselves naturally making a second position shift and want to help others. For example, in 2010 I had a conversation with policeman who intended to retire from the police force and study law so that he could become an advocate for asylum seekers trying to enter Australia. He was motivated by the thought of helping "the underdog". (Not a good metaphor in this context but this is a direct quote.) He wanted to help asylum seekers to enter Australia but at what expense to Australians? What are the possible short term and long consequences? What is the worst case scenario?
Example - Posco Steel Project India 2013: Posco Steel, a South Korean company intends to build a massive steel plant which will flatten thousands of acres of forest and force 220,000 Indian villagers from their homes. We can look at this from the perspective of the Indian Government, Posco Steel, the investors, the villagers, the forest, or even the plants and animals in the forest.
3rd Position: Third position is actually second position with a space outside of your body from where you are able to observe both yourself and another person/s or object/s. This is the position that we use when we put the topic of conversation 'out on the table' and step back to 'take a good look at it'.
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What is the history, prior events, prior causes and background of the current situation?
Example - People trafficking: An asylum seeker boat sank off the coast of Indonesia in September 2013. Australia was initially in charge of the search. An Australian friend commented that the Australian Prime Minister, "Tony Abbott sunk the boat". So should the Australian Government be held responsible for not taking better action to prevent the disaster? Where else could we shift the focus?
The focus could go on the captain; or the owner of the ship; or the regulatory bodies that should have made sure that the ship was seaworthy. The focus could go on the travel company, that is the people who sold the tickets to the passengers. [Reframing]
The focus could go on those people who created a situation - a conflict in a society that motivated people to flee their country and seek passage on an illegal and unseaworthy vessel. So who created the situation? What is their model of the world? What do they have to gain from creating such conflict? Is that where the media and politicians could shift their attention to?
Some people have learned to step back [third perceptual position] and put the situation in historical perspective, others will naturally find themselves stepping into the shoes of someone who is in a difficult situation. [second position shift] [self / other meta program] What should be noted is that people helpers have a set of criteria for who to help. People helping is not random. There is a reason why we do what we do? Some like to take care of stray animals; others want to help drug users; others want to help the homeless; others want to help people to lose weight; while others may want to help people to quieten the mind and to find inner peace, and so on. Yet some people have no interest in helping others. Helping others is just a value.
There is always a reason why we do what we do? And that reason is not necessarily founded in altruism. At some level there is something attractive about reaching out to someone. In every case, there is something that we get out of doing a second position shift with another living being. [perceptual positions] But if we say "yes" to one thing then we say "no" to another.
What is the intention behind the attention? What is driving them? What are the prior causes and experiences? Why are they behaving this way? Identify layers of mind. What is underneath 'x'? What is behind 'x'? Who is behind 'x'?
What are they trying to achieve? What is the personal investment? What are the core questions that they hold in mind?
When I think of Jesus heading off into the wilderness I wonder about the questions that he held in mind? When Buddha left his family, renounced his kingdom and headed off into the forest in search of truth, what were the questions that he held in mind? Fasting and solitude are methods shared by most spiritual traditions. Tibetan monks spend time meditating in solitude in a remote cave. The American Indians have their 'vision quest'.
So what were the questions that these people had in mind and what was their highest positive intention? Extreme action is taken for a purpose - but for what purpose? And once they get that, then what do they hope to get, to have and to experience? Who do they get to become?
With every action there is a prior intent. For example, when Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, sat down to write the DOS programming language, what was his intention and what were the questions that he held in mind? When Steven Spielberg set up his shingle on an empty trailer in a Hollywood film studio what was his intention and what were the questions that he kept in mind? When an athlete sets an intention to train for the Olympic Games what is their intent and what are the questions that they need to hold in mind such that they have the highest probability of achieving gold medal status?
Example - Child Activism: A young teenage activist is interviewed on television. Who encouraged the teenager? Who prepped the teenager? What is their intention? What were the questions that they held in mind?
Example - Medical System: When a hospital takes the parents of a 10 year old child to court so that the hospital can force the child to receive chemotherapy treatment what is the hospitals intention? Are they working in the best interests of the child? Have they respected the rights of the parents to choose their health care provider? Have they considered the potentially dangerous side effects of the chemotherapy? Are they after the business? Is there a question of morality in the sense that the hospital staff have stolen a child away from her parents so that they can benefit financially?
Example - People Trafficking: What is the intention of the asylum seeker? What is driving them? What do they hope to gain in the long term from moving to another country?
Example - People Trafficking: What is the intention of Karapanagiotidis, the founder and CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) in Melbourne Australia? What drives him? What is his background? In what way do his child hood experiences motivate him to help asylum seekers? Where is his allegiance? Is it to Australia or foreign nationals? Can he hold the same compassion he has for foreign nationals for the different subcultures in Australia.
Abstract up to higher frames of mind [hierarchy of ideas] using meta questions such as, "For what purpose? What is important to you about that? Once you get that then what do you get to have and to experience? When did you decide that? What does that mean to you? etc" Elicit values, beliefs, decisions, intentionality, meaning and higher frames of mind. Get the thought behind the thought. Get the thought that drives the action. Read more about Meta Stating.
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Are we talking about facts or are we talking about ideas? Use the NLP Meta Model questions to focus in and gather high quality specific information. How do you know something to be true?
Example - Climate Change: Climate change is a hot topic but there seems to be so many opinions, so how do we, the ordinary man and woman, how can we find out what is true, what is a half-truth and what is a fabrication?
A body of scientists have convinced government and industry that carbon dioxide and other green house gases cause global warming yet some scientists like Professor Ian Plimer argue that carbon dioxide does not.
On the Internet you will see articles that claim that volcanoes emit more carbon dioxide than human activities yet other articles claim the opposite. Some articles claim that Antarctic ice has been increasing, others say the opposite. Some say that the Earth goes through natural cycles of warming and cooling, and that these changes are caused by something that occurs in our Solar System. Some say that it is not possible for man to influence the weather, while others say that since the Industrial Revolution green house gases have had a significant effort upon the Planet. So who do we believe?
Perhaps a better question is to ask, "Do we just accept what we are told or do we learn to challenge each and every statement such that we might be better armed to make an informed decision? We might never know what is true but knowing that we 'don't know' is a better state of mind that to erroneously think that we do.
The NLP Meta Model keeps the spirit of questioning alive in our minds. We could ask, "According to whom? What is the evidence for that? Which volcanoes specifically? Human activities specifically? When? In the present time frame or in the past? " We could even ask, "What do you mean by greenhouse gases?" We also need to find out what other people think? Who are these people and what is their model of the world? Can we double check the source of information? Is it reliable, accurate and based upon sensory derived evidence or upon an idea held in the mind? And the process of inquiry continues.
What are the consequences of taking action and of not taking action? What are the immediate, short term, mid term and long term consequences? Every decision you make will lead you towards either a negative or a positive future. [Negative or positive compelling futures (Richard Bandler)] Too often people act without thinking of the possible consequences. For example, you take a drug - it might be fun in the moment but what is the possible consequence? You sleep with an attractive person - there is a possible consequence. Some people live very much in the 'now' while others are better at long term planning. Whether you live for the moment or plan for the future there is still a consequence for every action, and every action is preceded by a thought process.
Example - Fluoridation: What are the possible long term consequences to the environment and to the health of the community from adding chemicals to the water supply?
Example - People Trafficking: What could be the long term consequences for Australia from allowing tens of thousands of people with a totally different ideology to land on her shores and take up residence?
Example - GMO's: What are the possible consequences of releasing GMO organisms into the environment? What are the consequences of polluting the gene pool with GM pollen?
Example - Climate Change: What is the consequence of taking action? What is the consequence of not taking action?
Example - Vaccinations: What could be the consequences of not getting vaccinated? What could be the consequences of a vaccine shot? Do the medical staff inform patients of possible adverse reactions before receiving the shot? Are vaccines actually tested against a saline-based placebo or just a different vaccine? These are some of the questions that need to be addressed.
Who stands to benefit? This is an important question and the answers may help us in understanding what motivates people.
Example - Fluoridation: Who stands to benefit from fluoridating town water supplies? Children's teeth? The dental industry? The chemical industry who dispose of toxic waste? The companies who fluoridates the water? The medical industry who sell their products and services to people who have been harmed by fluoridation? (Fluoridation chemicals may be contaminated with heavy metals.) Some people claim that fluoride has a narcotising effect upon the brain? Would this benefit a government or not? Does the government benefit in some way from conspiracy theories?
Example - People Trafficking: Who stands to benefit from people trafficking? The asylum seekers do as long as they arrive safely and do not spend time in a detention centre. Then there are the people in the business of people trafficking; those who recruit the passengers and sell the tickets; the ship owners and captains and crew; and then those people who build a career out of legally assisting asylum seekers. The country of origin may benefit in some small way from lowering their population. Some ethnic/religious groups may have an agenda to increase their numbers in another country.
Example - GMO's: Who stands to benefit the most from GM organisms? Biotech companies like Monsanto do but what is their model of the world? Industry bodies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) support the biotech industry and push aggressively for acceptance of GMO's. The US government also uses their might to influence foreign governments that they should accept GMO's. Some farmers benefit from planting GM crops but who stands to lose? There are claims that GMO's may be harmful to health. Farmers worldwide have become indebted to Monsanto. Small traditional style farms and organics farms are threatened by GM. GM may have some benefits but who stands to benefit and who stands to lose?
Example - Climate Change: Regards the climate change debate who stands to benefit? Scientists build careers and gain recognition. Fossil fuel industries and those that rely upon fossil fuels stands to lose but who stands to benefit? There is now an entirely new industry of renewal energies and building regulations that promote a more healthy sustainable lifestyle. If we get cleaner air then we all benefit. Governments also benefit from a carbon tax.
At some point we may need to examine a way of thinking, a philosophy, a policy, a law, a behaviour, a product, a service, etc and run some checks. We are looking for harmony, balance, congruence or conflict. An ecology check in NLP parlance refers to making checks within an individual or organisation to maintain balance and harmony.
For example, in respect of our own thought processes we can ask ourselves, "Does this way of thinking serve me? Do I feel a sense of alignment or am I in two minds?"
In respect of a company policy we can ask, "Who does this policy serve? Are the members of the company in alignment with this policy? Are there members of the public who might object to this policy? Are there regulatory bodies that might object to this policy?
In respect of a government policy we can ask similar questions like, "Who will benefit and who will suffer as a result of this policy? Is the general community in alignment or will the policy create division?"
Regarding the news media, what is their source of income? What does the media stand to gain or lose? Does the news media benefit most from peace or conflict? What makes the most compelling news story?
Regarding government, who does the government serve? Who do they answer to? Who keeps the government in power? Do politicians benefit most from peace or conflict?
Regarding the medical profession, who do they serve? Do they work for the patient or the pharmaceutical industry? Does the medical profession benefit most from the patients good health or bad health?
Most importantly check your sources of information and get a second and third opinion, keeping in mind who these people are and what their model of the world is.
Example - Individual versus Group: Is it a question of the greater benefit to the group versus the rights of the individual? Who is the individual? Who is the group? Who are the individuals that govern that group? What is their investment? What is their model of the world? What do they stand to gain or lose? Who do they serve?
Example - How often do governments create conflict or a sense of urgency in order to take action? How often are new laws to 'protect the people' rushed through parliament after a violent incident? When there is conflict in the world how many people run a process of inquiry and how many blindly accept what they are told by the news media?
One of the most important questions to keep in mind is, "Who stands to benefit from the conflict within society and between nations?" For example, in a war between two or more groups, who funded the war and what do they have to gain in addition to profits from the sale of weapons?
Example - Rwanda: Prior to German and Belgian colonisation a Tutsi monarchy ruled over the country. Belgian rule recognised and reinforced the divide between the Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority, even going so far as creating separate identity cards. When the Belgians left they handed rule back to the Tutsi but their economic 'ecology' had been destroyed by the colonialists and with a downturn in the economic climate, tensions were created in Rwanda which were expressed in the genocidal conflicts.
Example - Population: In cases of over population, were there groups in the past who were against birth control and who encouraged large families? If so, then what was their intention? If you have one group where families have two children and both parents work, and then another group where the family has six children and only one parent works, then over a period of time one group will have a greater population and the other will have more wealth. Which group will have the biggest environmental footprint? Which group will have the numbers to win an election in a democracy? What are the distinctions between the groups that are small in numbers but have wealth and the groups that are large in number but are poor? What is there attitude towards each other?
Example - Third World Poverty: Regarding third world poverty, who destroyed the original economy? (The colonialists?) Was this out of ignorance or a systematic method to destabilise an economy and make the country dependent upon trade with the West?
Example - Monsanto: The biotechnology company Monsanto is set to win the World's Food Prize for creating GMO's. (2013) The founder of Syngenta, the same biotech giant that is joining Bayer in suing Europe to keep selling bee-killing pesticides, will also win the prize. The herbicide Roundup that is used with GM crops has resulted in mutant super weeds. Farmers worldwide have become indebted to Monsanto. There are claims that 270,000 Indian farmers trapped in debt for buying seeds and chemical have committed suicide between 1995 and 2012. What is missing in this story? Ecology and balance.
Metaphor, similes and analogy are constructed by searching for relationships between ideas at different logical types at the same or different logical level. [Hierarchy of Ideas]
Definition - Metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that stands for one thing is used to stand for another. For example, he is a lion.
Definition - Simile: A simile is a figure of speech where two things are compared with the word 'like'. For example, he is like a lion.
Definition - Analogy: With an analogy we are looking for a one to one relationship between the elements of one system with another system, similar to an isomorphic metaphor. For example, the fuel pump in an internal combustion engine is analogous to the human heart. They both share a primary role in distributing fuel to a body/motor.. Or, the predatory behaviour of the telemarketer is much like that of a lion that is relentless in running down its prey.
Example - People Helping: Some people just have to save every stray cat and bring it home. Their focus is on the immediate present and they act out of empathy, kindness and love. They may do a second position shift, that is put themselves in the position of being a stray cat - such that they get the feeling for what it could be like to be hungry and homeless. [Self / Other Meta Program] Sometimes a people helper may put too much energy into helping others at the expense of their own health, their own family, their own community and their own country.
They may overlook prior cause and consequence. For example, what is the situation that has led to the stray cat problem? If you save stray cats will that stop the flow of stray cats? And what is the consequence of saving many stray cats? [Metaphor] What are the costs involved? How does it effect the ecology of your life style and that of the community?
Sort for sameness and difference. [Meta programs] Sort for what is right and what is wrong. Sort for benefits and consequences. Find an example that does not match. Was there ever a time when 'A' did not equal 'B'?
Example - Vaccinations: Was there ever a time when vaccinations did not work? Was there ever a time when vaccinations had a serious side effect? Was there ever a time when the vaccination actually caused the disease it was meant to protect against?
Example - Chemotherapy: Was there ever a time when chemotherapy actually caused cancer? Was there ever a time when chemotherapy harmed the patient?
Example - Government: Has there ever been a time when a government staged an attack against its own people in order to influence public opinion?
Example - Monsanto: Monsanto is staged to get the World Food Prize for Agriculture in 2013 but what is the other side of the story?
Prophecy is a prediction of the future made under divine inspiration. It is a statement not grounded in sensory based evidence and yet how often have we heard scientists and experts make predictions that sound much like religious prophecy?
For example, dire predictions about the effects of global warming have in some cases turned out to be wrong. When data did not fit the global warming model it was redefined as climate change and now we hear the term, global warming pause. The question is not whether climate change is a fact or not just that the alarmist predictions seem to have more benefit for the careers of scientists, politicians and industry leaders than it does for the people.
Al Gore's film, An Inconvenient Truth, showed images of rising oceans destroying coastal towns but what is the distinction between prediction and prophecy?
At the time of the fears of a world wide avian flue pandemic (2010), a scientist declared on Australian national television that, "when the avian flue pandemic hits...". She delivered the statement in no uncertain terms that there would be an avian flue pandemic. [Presupposition] How could she be so sure? Was it based upon sensory based evidence or an idea held in mind? And when the pandemic never occurred did she go back on television to give a retraction?
So who are these people that seem ever ready to warn us of the worst case scenario? What motivates them? What is missing in their lives? What are their needs for power, money, recognition and prestige? Who do they serve? Who are the people in the mainstream media that exploit the need of the scientist for public recognition? (The media make the choice of who they interview and the content that is broadcast.) Who are the politicians, industry leaders, religious leaders, oligarchs and others who stand to benefit from conflict in society? Does the mainstream media benefit more from peace or conflict, and who owns the mainstream media companies?
Fear and greed are the primary tools of the priests. (Not all priests just some priests) They install the fear of hell and promise treasures in heaven. One bumper sticker reads, "Don't let my car fool you, my treasure is in heaven." In one context we might smile when we read that message; we might agree with it but could a belief in an afterlife be used to recruit someone to commit a terrorist act?
How do fear and greed affect our state of mind, our intention and the meaning that we hold in respect of an action? Why does the property developer go to great efforts to get elected to the local council and why do people take out insurance policies? So much of human behaviour can be reduced to pain or pleasure, love or hate, fight or flight, fear or greed.
This inbuilt mechanism is, and has been exploited by the priests, politicians and merchants for thousands of years. The priest indoctrinates the small child - they tell them what to believe and make it a sin to question authority and the scriptures. And isn't this what the doctor does when they tell you, "Trust me I am a doctor?" [Authority sort - Internal / External]
In Hindu culture the priest tells the people that the reason they are poor in this life is because of bad deeds in a previous life, and the reason why others are wealthy is because of their good deeds in a previous life. In one respect we could say the positive intention is to help people accept their current situation but on the other hand it also conveniently maintains the status quo.
The priest cuts the roots of inquiry into existence such that people can be exploited by the politicians and merchants. The merchant sells a physical product but the priest sells an intangible. As we chunk down to sensory based data we come out of trance but as we chunk up to higher levels of abstractions we go deeper into trance. [Hierarchy of Ideas / Meta Model]
The field of spirituality has been exploited by the priest for thousands of years. Whereas the merchant sells a physical product, the priest sells an intangible. Priests, politicians and even marketers tend to talk in abstractions - they use nouns that are unspecified. Like security, health, education and freedom. But to understand a nominalisation you have to hallucinate and in doing so you enter a trance state. There is nothing remarkable about this - we do it every day. But there are times when it may be important to come out of trance, lest you find yourself buying a product that you never really wanted. [NLP Meta Model]
Example 1. Someone claims to have seen an angel. Not a problem. Most of the time we just accept the statement but at times it may be useful to gather more information. When the person saw the angel did they have open or closed eyes? Did they actually see the angel in physical reality or was it an image in their mind? Identify the representational system - was it an image, a voice or a feeling? Was it a metaphor? Was it an understanding? [Submodality distinctions]
Elicit the sequence of steps involved. [Strategy] Where were they, what were they doing, what was their frame of mind, and what occurred precisely up to the point when they saw the angel? What did they experience first, an image, sound or feeling? What did they experience second? Were they awake, asleep, in a coma, in meditation, on drugs or other? Had they been fasting; were they in isolation or with a group; were they physically exhausted? What was their emotional and physical state? Gather as much information as you can about this person and their model of the world?
Example 2. A man has a dream. He tells his fellow soldiers about the dream. He is charismatic. Eventually the soldiers come to believe in the man and they go to war.
Example 3. A man claims to hear God speak to him. He gathers a group of passionate followers to share his message. [Authority Sort - Internal / External] Elicit the sequence of steps and submodality distinctions. Use the NLP Meta Model to gather and map out the structure of how the man experiences God. For example, location of voice, volume, tonality, tempo, language, accent, gender, and specific words used. How did he know that it was God and not the Devil, an entity or his own internal dialogue? What is the mans preferred representational systems - visual, auditory or kinaesthetic? And in what representation system was the message received?
Is there a question of morality? Is there something which you feel to be fundamentally wrong? There are many instances of politicians and business people having been involved in activities which are plainly wrong and even though there may be a lot of media attention nothing much changes.
Yet by contrast in Australia a requirement to gain employment with some types of businesses, or gain entrance to an industry association, or to work with children is to have a clean criminal record. [Analogy]
What are the questions that need to be asked? What is the question that you are not allowed to ask? Is political correctness required? Why? Who is driving that attitude? Does that create a blind spot? What are you not seeing or hearing - what is missing? Are there other sources of information? In respect of a television documentary what relevance is there between the film footage, the images and the voice over, the commentary, and the topic of discussion? At an educational institution who chose the curriculum? What is included and what is excluded? Who made that decision? In a book did the author acknowledge all sources of information in the bibliography?
Example - product labelling: We read a list of ingredients on a consumer product. Are they the only ingredients? Are there other ingredients that have not been listed? If so, then why have they not been listed and what are they? For example, toxic industry waste added to fertilizer. (link no longer available 15th Jan /2022)
Example - shampoo: You read the list of ingredients on a bottle of shampoo. There might be some ingredients that you recognise as being harmful but what are the contaminants that typically come with those ingredients? Dioxane perhaps? Chemicals are rarely 100% pure - they most always will contain some impurities. Should the dangerous impurities be listed?
Example - MSG: You might want to avoid MSG in your diet so you read the product label. No MSG listed but did you ever stop to wonder what was combined with the other ingredients? Perhaps a sneaky way of getting MSG into the product is to use another ingredient that naturally contains high levels of MSG, like soy sauce?
Example - pure water: There are some impressive methods for treating waste water and turning it into drinkable water. Often the term 'pure' is used. But what is meant by 'pure'? Is it an absolute or a matter of degree? If pure means 100% pure then why is the term 'ultra pure' used? So what are the impurities in pure water? [Meta Model Questions]
Opportunities abound for the inquiring mind, for example. What is that new car smell? What makes the shampoo foam? Where does the tarmac on the road come from? What happens to the rubbish that you put in the garbage bin? What is that poison that people spray on their lawns? What are the chemicals that you can smell when you walk through the make-up section of a department store? What do people say in their prayers?
I believe that one of the most important qualities that we can develop is the art of stepping back to become a dispassionate observer. For example, at a business meeting the team leader says to the group, "Put your thoughts out onto the table. Now let's step back and take a good look at it." This process of putting all aspects of a discussion out on the table, getting some distance and taking a good look at it, allows us to step out of our emotions and become a dispassionate observer.
In doing so we depersonalise the topic of conversation. It now becomes a topic that we can hold a fascination with; that we can bring curiosity to; that we can bring awareness to; that we could bring compassion to. In fact, the ability to hold compassion for all living beings is essential if we are to bring some peace to the planet. We start by holding compassion for our friends and loved ones; then we practise holding compassion for our enemies, and most importantly we learn to hold compassion for ourselves.
In this process, transformation can occur as understandings arise at the level of the unconscious mind that allow us to see the relationship between ideas and events from a bigger frame of mind - from a clearer frame of mind - unhindered by our likes, dislikes and prejudices.
To wrap up this article I'd like to recount a Sufi story that I heard Osho tell back in the 1980's. Two men live in a forest. Both are physically handicapped in some way. One is blind, the other is crippled and they argue constantly but one day there is a fire. The context dictates that they need to make a decision quickly. [Away from negative motivation] Their options are simply to hold onto their differences and die in the flames or to embrace their differences and combine their resources such that they might work as a team and flee the flames. The blind man had legs and the cripple had eyes. So the blind man hoisted the cripple onto his shoulders who was able to give directions and show the blind man how to run away from the fire.
The metaphor is that the mind is to legs as the heart is to eyes - the mind is to doing as the heart is to being. To resolve conflict and find peace we need to respect and harness the resources of both left brain and right brain, of mind and heart, and of Eastern and Western ideologies.
It is worth contemplating on the quote from the British Neuroscientist, Iain McGilchrist who said that, "The left brain has an extraordinary capacity for denial." In his book The Master and his Emissary he describes some interesting differences between the left and right brain hemispheres.
Neuroscientists demonstrated that when the right hemisphere is deactivated the left brain is only able to see half the picture. But when the left hemisphere is deactivated the right brain can still see the entire picture.
This might sound like being too left brained is the problem and that being more right brained is the solution but there are still problems in being too much oriented to the left or the right hemisphere. What is required is a more whole brain attitude. So how do we wake up the whole brain and become more conscious? We do it by inviting a process of inquiry into existence. __ © Author Abby Eagle
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