Our Middle Name Is Linguistics – As In Neuro Linguistic Programming Part 2
In Part 1 of this article we considered how frustrating it could be when you’re trying to communicate something only to be interrupted half way with the words “I know what you mean!” while you could not even finish what you wanted to say. Since you know fully the person interrupting you has no clue of what you actually wanted to say (because they haven’t heard you completely), this can leave you with a feeling of upset and certainly with incompleteness. Plus, you know very well they don’t know what you mean!
We also addressed the fact that with the masterful usage of words, our minds, emotions and behaviors can be manipulated in a desired direction without our consent and many times unquestionably without our knowledge. Unless we begin to learn for ourselves some things….
Did You Know That Words Used In A Certain Order And Sequence Modify Your Thinking?
You read this correctly. Words used in a certain sequence and order can make you change your mind. Now is this good or bad? Well, it depends if it is for or against your benefit. I have written elsewhere about the NLP Communication Model (you can read about it here) and how our Internal Representations – inside our heads – define for us (individually) how we experience events and situations.
Well, the internal representations and thus our emotions and behaviors can be changed by the masterful use of language.
The Intriguing Connection between Language, Emotions and Behavior
Language is a way of describing and also labeling experience. Any experience cannot be described until you call it something. You use words to describe it. Without these words to describe it, it just sits there in your memory as a blob of something. But then you use words and you may say something like: “Boy, is it hot today! I just stepped out to get the mail and I feel like I have been knocked in the head.” Now your experience of high temperature outside and its effects on you has a description and a label. It is called “so hot… it knocked you in the head”. Until you described it, it was just an “ummm”, or maybe a grunt or a moan but nothing specifically defined.
Since language describes our experience, it can also shape and create how reality is experienced. You may not have thought of this before but…
Language Can Enhance Or Limit Your Perception Of Reality
Let me say this again: Language can enhance or limit your perception of reality. Which means that with language one can manipulate someone’s internal representations, and therefore that person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. What do you think that the new “art and science” of spin is doing? Why do you think advertisements or slogans work?
Words flow from one to another and in this flow they lead the mind into a certain direction. They affect the mental images we create to represent to ourselves what has been communicated.
We perceive reality through the capacity to skillfully use language. Now think of what’s happening to people’s ability to speak in a capable manner when the amount of characters used in a text message is maximum 160. How restricted, and limited and constrained is that form of communication? And since that communication becomes a reflection of the mind and vice-versa, think of how confined and inhibited and impeded are the functions of thinking? How restricted is the emotional and behavioral experience …. 160 characters???
But it gets even worse: now we’re supposed to use stickers in text messages instead of words to “simplify” things and have more fun. If we keep going down this path, in a not too long of a time we will not be able to speak to each other. We will become unable to directly communicate to each other face to face. What will happen to our thinking then?
“Whereof one cannot think thereof one cannot speak” is a paraphrase of a great writer from the 20th century. His name was Ludwig Wittgenstein and he was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. And indirectly he wrote a lot about NLP thinking without ever calling it NLP. His writings depict much of what later was to become the discipline of neuro-linguistic programming.
Not having any knowledge or comprehension of how to use words purposefully, and therefore not understanding the construction of language with its presuppositions and hypnotic patterns, usually leads to misrepresentations, distortions and perversions of the message. The result? The result is experienced by people all the time: misrepresentations, distortions and perversions of the interpretation of reality.
Let me put it bluntly – with skillful use of words, you, the listener, the reader of the magazine, or the TV viewer can have your experience of life mis-shaped and manipulated to the point to which what you call “reality” can be but a fake replica created in a language lab. A simulacra. It can get much worse when images are used in conjunction with words, but for the purpose of this article we will talk only about words and language. The idea of language being used “on you” to create the reality you hold in your mind seems impossible to many. And yet…
Language is the weapon of Public Relations industry. It is the weapon of advertisers and creators of commercials and surely it is the language of spin. It is the weapon of newscasters and reality show makers. In this way, your limits of what you can do or not are formed and positioned firmly in place. Your beliefs about yourself and about the world around you are molded and circumscribed by others. You end up seeing the world through the lens of the language used by “language scientists” (read spin doctors here) and created in a “scientific language lab”.
What’s The Way Out?
Learn what language is about and how it is used. This is our middle name: neuro linguistic programming. This is what we teach in our NLP Trainings. This is also the easiest way to familiarize yourself with the techniques used in language so you can direct your mind purposefully in the direction you choose. In this way you are best able to protect and enhance it for better intellect and capacity. Once you learn these new skills, you will discover many things used daily in magazines and television shows, newscasts and websites, Facebook messages and tweets and you will be shocked of what you discover.
But once you know, once you have the knowledge and the understanding, you automatically put up a firewall of protection. The cliché says “The mind has no firewall.” I disagree. The firewall exists: it is called knowledge. The more you know, the safer you are.
Until next time, be well.