Tag Archive for Gregory Bateson

Presupposition #1: The map is not the territory

A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for it usefulness.

– A. Korzybski, Science and Sanity

We are map makers constructing representations or depictions of our experiences. The mental maps we create of the world are not true or reality – they are based on reality. As human beings we do not respond directly to the outside world but we do to our mental maps, representations or depictions. We make our maps and models by using our sensory representations–pictures, sounds, feelings, smells and tastes. The models that we create to guide us in the world are based on our conditioning and experience. Each of our models, or maps, of the world are unique. We experience our own personal reality, and then we respond to and deal with that reality accordingly.

A representation is not what it represents; one is a symbol for the other. This distinction may been insignificant on the surface. However, as we explore the process by which maps, models, and representations are built, it will become clear that the relations ship which exists between map and territory, when examine din detail, has an effect on the very structure of reality as we may know it.

 – A. Korzybski, Science and Sanity

No two people have exactly the same experiences. So our representations of the world determine which experiences and responses we will have. Some aspects of our maps may are out of our conscious awareness. Still, they determine how we will perceive the world and what choices we will have available-or not-as we interact with and within that world.

This is key. This what is available out of learning and being able to do NLP – having the ability to change your experience in any area of your life. If you are aware of your map of reality, you can change it and have exactly what you want.

To change our experience we must change our maps!

When interacting with others it is very important to remember that we operate from within our own maps of reality. Our personal maps form “bubbles of belief” around us. These bubbles filter our experience. They organize the meaning of our experience in relation to what we already know. Our bubbles of beliefs separate us from and connect us to the reality of others (Connect if our beliefs are similar, separate us if our beliefs are different.). Frequently, when we look out from inside our personal bubbles, we only see our own reflections. 

A model is a symbolic representation that depicts structure of our reality. Each of us builds models or representations of the world. And, it is through these models that we organize and communicate our personal experiences. The process of modeling allows us the ability to have an infinite variety of experiences. And if we are using a model for our personal realities then those realities can be interpreted, understood, and utilized. Modeling is way we transform the chaotic into the structured and make sense of our worlds.

A model is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, but can be evaluated only as to its usefulness in making available specific outcomes. Models inherently provide both limitations and resources. 

– Kostere and Malatesta, Maps, Models and the Structure of Reality

The magic lies in the very structure and syntax of our words, pictures, sounds, sensations, smells, etc. Because our maps govern all our experiences, if we change the map, our experience changes. This means our personality, awareness, emotion and abilities to do a new skill come from our maps. These maps also drive our ability to influence, persuade and transform.

Fritz Perls, Virginia Satir and Milton Erickson did not work on the everyday life experiences of people. Instead they worked on changing these people’s internal models of the world. As a NLP practitioner this is the charge. This is why it is so difficult to quantify what can be accomplished through NLP because the change is so deeply personal. 

Our maps occur inside our mind-body systems. So to create influence, persuasion and transformation in others we must be able to change the receiver’s neuro-linguistic maps.

It is Korzybski that we can thank for his observations of our internalized maps realty. He analyzed how our nervous system interacts with our worlds at various different levels. He figured out our sense receptors are designed to leave out many characteristics and generalize about the information missing. He even showed how different levels of the brain made different kinds of mental maps about things.

But Gregory Bateson in 1972 asked if we create internalized maps, what gets mapped on these maps? He later answered the difference. So that our mental world is just maps of maps of maps for infinity… the map is not the territory because the territory never gets in to our minds because the process of representation will always filter out the territory.

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com

What is NLP? Definition #4

NLP is… A toolbox of techniques for expanding perceptions, changing behaviour, redefining capabilities, revising beliefs, updating identity, & extinguishing personal coherence & well being.

Gregory Bateson said that in processes of learning, change and communication, there were natural hierarchies of classification. He also said that it was the confusion of these logical levels that often creates problems. The reason for each level to exist was to organize the information on the level below it. So, if you would change something on one level it wouldn’t affect the upper levels, but would cause change in the lower levels in order to support the change at the higher level.

Robert Goldson devised a hierarchical list of logical levels of change. So the higher on the list, the harder to create the change. And, the higher the change on the list creates change and support for changes lower on the list. The list was as follows: (high) Identity, Belief, Capacity, Behavior, and Environment (low). John Grinder said this was illogical. However, in NLP we tend to use what works… and this logical levels of change, works.

Understanding the logical levels of change creates a context for thinking about NLP techniques.  It also provides a framework for gathering and organizing information, so we can identify to the best point to intervene in making change. As humans, we do not change in bits and pieces, but organically. Learning and change can take place at any level or levels.

Identity change deals with your sense of self  – your values, your purpose, who you are.

Belief change deals with what you believe is true about life: the ideas that determine your daily behavior. Beliefs can be values, permissions, necessities or limitations.

Capacity change deals with the sets of behaviors, skills and strategies we use to function in our daily life.

Behavior change deals with the specific actions we carry out regardless of our capacity.

Environment change deals with what we react to – our surroundings, the people and the events that make up our experience.

So you may have noticed that after attending a seminar or reading a self-help book the processes doesn’t work after a week. It is precisely because behaviour is a lower level of change. And, to change a behavior permanently one must also make the belief and capacity level changes. Belief and Identity level changes are difficult to create with out specificity. When an author is writing and book or a speaker is running a seminar, it is difficult for them to create enough specificity for your unique belief system to create that level of change. At the most they could make some capacity level change.

If we don’t change identity or belief, it can clash with a new capability. The system in those instances will throw it out due to cognitive dissonance. NLP starts with behavioural and capacity change to figure out what’s not working. It then goes to belief and identity to create the sustained change.

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com 

What do you want? Success? Money? Happiness?

(Please make sure to see and do therapeuticnlp twitter feeds for Steps 1-15)

Every NLP session I do starts out with the question “What do you want?” In fact the whole session is about what the client wants. We spend 2.5 to 5 hours (depending on the client) clarifying that question and creating change around the answer.

Over the past 2-3 days, I’ve asked you to look at one word. The word “success.” And, what it means to you.

Notice how it is not the same as the word “successful.” “Successful” has it’s own pictures sounds and feelings that are distinctly different. Trying to communicate to someone the difference between these 2 words is a lesson in futility and is why paraphrasing back what some else says doesn’t work. (STOP USING ACTIVE LISTENING as a process for communication – it doesn’t work! It just puts people on the defensive.) We have visceral experiences for words. Actually it’s the other way around. We have names for our visceral experiences. One person’s use of a label for their visceral experience doesn’t necessarily equate to another’s visceral experience where they use that same label.

Now back to the exercise…

So when you are clear about your goal, crystal clear about the visceral experience related to your “success”, you can have yourself experience it: You can do this by remembering a time when your life was like that – where you felt “success.” If you have never experienced it, you must have someone in your acquaintance you know who has experienced your “success.”

Once you can locate that experience, you want to imagine yourself experiencing that exact “success.” What is it like hear all those things, that people are saying to you while you are experiencing “success”? What is like to see and have the experience of “success” you previously described? How does your breathing change in this experience of “success” in comparison to your life currently? What is different? What is new? What are your emotions? How does your body feel? Is there tightness, or stiffness anywhere?  Are you light or heavy on your feet? How does the air feel different around you? What is easy for you now that was not previously?

Being able to get answers for these signals that your unconscious brain has processed the information we’ve given it so far. If you don’t get answers to theses immediately – like you have to search for the answer, you are experiencing something Gregory Bateson (an early NLP developer and contributor) would call an “ecological objection.” This means something in your system is not wanting you to make a change. If this happens go back and explore who might have and issue with you having this “success” in your life. If there is someone, would that affect your relationship with them? is there something you could do to make a difference for them, to say make them feel safe no matter how much you change? Then go back and imagine your clear visceral experience of “success” and repeat the instructions in the above paragraph.

This is the first step, in being able to have your “success.” The next step is setting your world up so you can have that. So, what do you now need or want to set that up? Let me know.

Tracy Joy is an NLP practitioner, author, and speaker in Vancouver, Canada. She is an international business expert in the area of human systems analysis and thinking change. If you have brain questions, send them Tracy and she’ll answer them on this blog. She can be reached through www.TherapeuticNLP.com