Everything is true: not everything is true; both, everything is true, and not everything is true; or, neither everything is true nor is everything not true. This is the teaching of the Buddha." Madhyamika Karika
For me, NLP is primarily an attitude. It´s a set of presuppositions about how to interact with the world and how the world is organized. And it is my experience, observation and belief that anybody who holds those presuppositions is a Neuro Linguistic Programmer, that all of this technology that has been developed in the world of NLP is the result of the application of those presuppositions to the world.
My primary goal is to teach the presuppositions within the context of whatever model or techniques we are studying. My interest is in people learning to perceive, understand and act in the world through the presuppositions that those techniques and models imply and require in order to be effectively used." David Gordon
In this article I want to reflect on some very fundamental presuppositions of NLP - its logocentric heritage - and to present in a non technical and introductory language the development of a very first step to a new framework of understanding, questioning, cooperation and invention for and about NLP.
If NLP is an attitude which produces some techniques and models, NLP requires today some self-reflecting applications of these techniques and models to NLP itself. The aim I am intending is to undergo some fixations in the set of fundamental presuppositions in how to interact with the world and how the world is organized.
An exercise in deconstruction and a short introduction of the DiamondStrategies shows how, with which exact methods, it is possible to surpass the logocentric obstacles of NLP. In contrast to Deconstructivism the DiamondStrategies focus simultaneously on theoretical as well as on very practical reasons and has developed in the context of Polycontextural Logics operative and formalised tools to surpass logocentric limitations. The freezing fixations of hierarchical binarism of NLP should be deliberated for an open game not only for an increase of choices as still now. But for an opening of the structural horizon of frameworks for the co-creation of worlds and love.
This process of permanent reflection-deconstruction and diamondization-, the attitude to the 'reflective fundamentals', deliberates the whole corpus of NLP and opens processes and structures of a manyfold of attitudes which enables to continue the revolutionary process of NLP.So the longing for a centre spawns binary opposites, with one term of the opposition central and the other marginal.
Derrida says that all of Western thought behaves in the same way, forming pairs of binary opposites in which one member of the pair is privileged, freezing the play of the system, and marginalizing the other member of the pair.
Deconstruction is a tactic of decentering, a way of reading, which first makes us aware of the centrality of the central term. Then attempts to subvert the central term so that the marginalized term can become central. The marginalized term temporaly overthrows the hierarchy.
Now, have a look on it! Our DiamondStrategies are a very simple but highly pragmatic and effective play of deconstructing our frozen thinking and feelings.
Let us play the game of the DiamondStrategies:
From the frozen habituts of our hierarchical thinking and feelings to the endless flow of inventing and co-creating our futures in the open chiasm of systems of multiple opposites.
Not only philosophy is a question of language and lanquaging, the same we have for conseilling, coaching and therapy. After Sigmund Freud Psychoanalysis is a talking cure. Our personal awareness is questioned by our concept of language and the ways of our languaging (Maturana). Language is not only a tool of communication it is more fundamentally the way of human beings live (Heidegger). We are living in (the cage/horizon of) our language. We get some first freedom from/in it if we play the full and non-restricted game of language and if we are subverting for a first step the order of the given logocentric hierarchical view of language and life. We do this in the system of language itself in using/playing it in a deliberated and non-logocentric way.
Also therapy maybe considered as a talking cure we don't feel restricted to spoken language. Every way of making distinctions and indications sequently and/or simultaneously is considered as a way of languaging. But we are not forced to restrict our life to dichotomic distinctions as the logocentric tradition and its digitalism is telling us.
Sara Diamond gives us some hints in Electro-Nomads:
A reduction to binaries is dangerous; even a feminist utopia infers dystopia; yet acknowledging the power of technology reorganised could be akin to ignoring the power of state. Utopia and dystopia are relationships to technology that artists have wholeheartedly embraced. Complexity is more valuable; the same fantasy can disable at one moment and enable at others. In constructing an appreciation/depreciation of cyberspace we need to overlay simultaneous moments of often contradictory analysis."
We should make some trainings to distinguish cognitively and emotively attributes or predicates from opposites or polarities. Ask yourself about the difference of attributes and opposites in our life. Mostly we are confusing them. But even in science there are many confusion about attributes and opposites esp. in form of reductionism. In mathematics the reduction of relations to predicates of predicates (second order predicates) has its one relevance not considered in this text.
Let us begin with some very elementary statements of an elementary exercise:
1. A rose can be red. And the Sentence The rose is red." can be true or false. be red" is a predicate of a noun (rose).
Predicates are for the sentences (linguistics), attributes belongs to things (ontology).
But left/right, true/false, light/shadow, sadness/happiness, associated/dissociated, closed/open systems etc. are not attributes or predicates which describes objects but there are opposites, polarities, dualities. The correctness of statements with opposites depends always from a point of view.
If you say The tree is left of the church." you don't say something about the tree and/or the church, but you are saying something about you and your point of view in respect to the church and the tree.
2. We are trained by our language to build sentences with subject and predicates so we give things names and some attributes.
We say: The rose is red; the wall is big; Life is expensive.
But also we say: I am charmer; I'm an alcoholic; I'm happy.
In this sense we think ourselves as a thing which has some attributes. If I say I am an alcoholic." I identify myself with this attribute. I am thought of as a (living) thing with the attribute be an alcoholic".
We are taught to use opposites as predicates or attributes and to affirm subjects to have predicates as if they were objects or things. It would be much better to make a difference between things and humans. As living systems humans don't have attributes they have different behaviours. We can make a distinction between our identity" (self, ego) and our behaviours. (But caution: A new opposite appears! What´s about domination, subversion, dissemination of the selves/behaviors binarity?) Humans surely have some attributes too (black hairs, big nose etc) but this has nothing to do with the fact to be alive. Here we would have to deconstruct the It is"/"I am"-Dichotomy. Remember: It is true/false, that I am X."
If I say I as an alcoholic haven't drunk much to day." I make a difference between myself and my behaviour as an alcoholic. I am not identical with my behaviour. So I also can say I as a human, am for the time an alcoholic but now I will change my behaviour and I will not be an alcoholic at all but also not a non-alcoholic." I reject the whole altrnative of both.
In our ordinary language but also in philosophical texts the two terms of a binary opposite are never of equal value. There is an asymmetry and hierarchy between the two terms. One is central the other one is marginal. So happiness is better than badness, light is better than shadows etc. And so on for man/women, form/content, spirit/matter, true/false. For NLP congruence is better than to be incongruent, associated/dissociated, trance/distrance and the deep structure dominates the surface structures, etc. The possible interplay between the sides or terms of the binary opposites is frozen and produce a hierarchical order in a semantical domain.
But we want to be free enough to choose (in) which system of order we want to play the game of life and we want to be free to play the double play of simultaneity of both.
There is now light without shadow. And there is now shadow without light. And so on.
If one side of an opposite is weak, then the other one is weak too. So, if you can´t be very unhappy, you cannot be very happy. And if you can´t be very happy, you can´t be very unhappy. Both belongs together like light and shadow.
Also deconstruction is not simply a method, Derrida gives us some general strategies of deconstruction":
In a traditional philosophical opposition we have not a peaceful coexistence of facing terms but a violent hierarchy. One of the terms dominates the other (axiologically, logically, etc.), occupies the commanding position. To deconstruct the opposition is above all, at a particular moment, to reverse the hierarchy." (Positions, pp. 56-57).
First we reverse the order of an identified opposite. We look at the order from the suppressed point of view. How looks the world if we are inverting the hierarchy of our system of thinking, feeling, decision making etc? This reverse of terms produces a subversion in the order of the deconstructed system.Deconstruction must through a double gesture, a double science, a double writing, put into practice a reversal of the classical opposition and a general displacement of the system. It is that condition alone that deconstruction will provide the means of intervening in the field of oppositions it critizes and which is also a field of non-discursive forces." (Marges, p. 392)
Second we take both side of an opposite as of equal value, we deconstruct the hierarchical order of the opposite. But we cannot do this in one movement, we need a duplication of the opposites, some parallelism. And this produces a displacement of the whole system to which the opposite belongs.
Finally: If you start with the classical opposite i.e congruent/incongruent" where congruent is valued as good and incongruent as bad and then reverse the order of the opposites, you have two different opposites with the same terms. You have not only a reverse of the opposite but a duplication and a displacement of the original" opposite. Congruent" in one opposite is different from congruent" in the other opposite; the terms are not identical but the same. Inside of the single opposites a hierarchy still remains. But between the opposites there is an exchange relation which de-freeze the play of binary opposites. This play is called a chiasm between two opposites. This chiasm enables the possibility of reflected states and some closure of description. The simple opposite congruent/incongruent" is transformed into: congruently incongruent, congruently congruent, incongruently congruent and incongruently incongruent.
You for yourself as a person you are not the one side and not the other side of the opposition (dichotomy, duality, polarity, alternative). You are neither A nor not-A (B). You are able to reject the whole opposition of A and non-A. Also we use here logical terms i.e. neither-nor", Rejection is understood as a translogical operation of rejecting the whole set of truth values as such and goes beyond logical negation.
You can behave as if you were identical with one of these sides-but it´s always your behaviour and not your identity. You can be identified with one of this sides but you are not identical with one of these sides. You have the freedom of choice to be identified temporally with one of this sides of the opposition and then to change the sides. But you are neither the one nor the other. You can reject the whole alternative of the situation and that is your sovereignty, your subjectivity, your ego. Purely deliberated from all your possibilities you are yourself constructed" as the pure potentiality of choices.
Because you can chose between the both sides of an opposite, you can not only oscillate between them, you are able too to take them both at once. So you can be both at once and now you are rich because you have the experience of being both. This is your great richness to be or to have all your possibilities at once. Not one after the other on a sequentiell chain but all together at once in the transjunctional parallelism of a cognitive and emotive network.
That's all you-all that is you: both at once (and much more).
And much more: because you have all four positions for you. To fulfil your real richness you need also the perfect poorness - that's the freedom to be poor or to be rich and neither rich nor poor and both rich and poor at once...
And Thinking and feeling: Thinking/Feeling - there is no feeling without thinking and there is no thinking without feeling etc. Don't stop the game here. You know it is endlessly. But you remember too that we are not playing a philosophical and deconstructive but a very pragmatic game of effectivness (for conseilling, consulting, coaching, therapy...).
And here is the high moment too where you can reject the whole DiamondStrategies of thinking and feeling and choose an other pathway of (re)organizing your life...
Describe your state or situation of the moment with a good, short but precise statement. It´s your statement of position, affirmation, it´s your starting point of the game. This sentence can be of all sorts of meaning. It must not be a hard problem statement or a strong limiting belief sentence etc. Also it must not be a statement of a negative situation. All sentences are of equal value if you think it´s your starting sentence.
Question1: What is the situation/constellation you want to explore/re-solve (to deconstruct or to diamondise)?
Go with your personal starting statement as deep as possible into your emotional and/or cognitive state. Ask yourself about your state formulated in your first starting statement. Elaborate the semantical and emotional context of this statement. Take your last/best sentence of your exploration of your feelings and thinking of your situation and write it down.
(It would be very good if somebody else would ask you this questions and would write it down for you. Also it is helpful to mark your positions on a plane: skulpturing your system.)
Create the opposite of your state, of your belief statement, of the sentence which describes your situation most concrete.
Question2: What is the opposite of your starting position?
Our language gives us a lot of possibilities to build opposites: logic, grammar, semantics, word games, phonetics, writing, gestures etc. It´s not only negation, you also have inversion of all sorts of order in a sentence or between sentences, dualities, reflections, mirroring and many other method of translating a statement into it´s opposites. Don't hesitate to build your own opposite of your starting point.
Position: Nobody loves me."
first opposite: Everybody loves me."
second opposite: Everybody hates me.",
third opposite: Everybody loves you." etc.
I would like this one as a nice opposite of Nobody loves me.": I love anybody."
A new opposite of I love anybody." could be Everybody hates me." What are the connections between the position and the opposites? You are discovering a Semantical Field of statements between position and its oppositions.
1. How do you feel with this statement I love anybody" in contrast to the first Nobody loves me"? Go deep into this state of I love anybody". Where at your body do you feel this state most intensive. What are your thoughts, pictures, feelings, emotions...? Describe it.
2. What do you feel now about your first statement Nobody loves me." from this new point of view? Describe it, go deep into this new state of feelings etc. and write it down.
Change your positions and feel what happens when you are changing from your position to the opposite of your position. Play this transition game so often till you feel and think very concrete the profound difference of both. You see, they have nothing in common, there are really radical different. One could be heaven the other one hell. There is no fuzziness or mediation or sublimation between them. They are strictly separated like the (strictly) true/false" of logic.
Change between your two states (position vs. opposition). Take position and all feelings for the one, and then take all feelings and surely also all thoughts for the other one.
Question3: What's your neither-nor of position/opposition?
Change and feel what happens when you are changing from position to the opposite. Play this transition game so often till you feel and think that both are equivalent (like light/shadow). Then you will feel immediately that you are free from both: you are not the one and not the other. This state of pure distance and sovereignty is also called Kenoma.
You as a subject, as a person you are neither this nor that. This insight and this feeling, that you are not identified with one of the sides of the opposite is your third position. Here you are free, you have the most possible distance to all of the world (the shit and the goodies of this world-and all other worlds too). Go into the feelings and thoughts and affects of this state. Describe it etc. Then, how do you see the two other positions, how do you feel them? Go back to the first and to the second. Describe what you are feeling in this transitions. Which do you like most? Play the game till you feel all three positions as equal. All three belongs to you.
But this is not all we can do. We can also have the opposite of this distance and sovereignty of the 'neither-nor'. It is the forth position of 'both-and-', an overwhelming experience.
Now you have often changed your positions and you had have very strong and tremendous feelings and insights in this three positions and transitions. You will discover that all this belongs to you. And not only one after the other but all at once. You are all this at once. You are both position and opposition. Both light and darkness at once.
Question4: What is your both-and of position/opposition"?
Describe this enormous feeling, go into it etc. And go back to the three other states and feelings. Go around your 4 positions. Formulate a good statement to this new position.
Then you make the complete trip: you go around the 4 positions in at least 6 primary steps, you have 24 permutations of your primary steps- that's your universe of experience(s) for this first step within the Diamond Strategies. I have named this brilliant experiences some years ago EmotionalSurfing.
1. Now you have 4 positions for you and for your first constellation and state: (position, opposition, neither-nor, both-and). You have 4 good statements (or space of semantical explorations with 24 permutations of it) for you - and you can freely change between all of them. All 4 positions are true" at once - and none of them is the ultimate truth for you and anybody else. This pure richness is also called Pleroma.
From a logical point of view you would have to decide for one truth. But life is not logic and you can have a network of propositions, positions, points of view, feelings etc. which are often logically fully contradictory but are opening a new space of exploration and a horizon of parallel possibilities.
2. You see I don't belief in classical logic for handling with complex and reflectional situations. On the other hand it is not enough simply to make statements about non-classical thinking and its logic. We need as in classical logics a formal and operative framework and its formal systems.
As the Buddhist motto at the beginning shows there is a field of possibilities which can surpass our linear thinking strategies. But all this Buddhist statements are formulated in the framework of classical logical connectives (and, or, non, true, false). A similar logical approach we find in (Varga, James, Hall). This is not necessary-in the framework of polycontextural logics we can go beyond this logical limitations in introducing new multi-negational and transjunctional operators.
We can play this game even further and we can build and construct networks of Diamonds. Because you can take all of the 4 positions as a new starting point for your quadruple (4) of questions and statements and feelings and insights and then ask the 4 questions again. Mostly you need more semantical and emotional space than only this primary 4 positions. To build a new opposite of an opposites you need some non-classical operators: a multi-negational system.
But remember-it´s long ago, you always lived in a one point universe. You have seen and lived your life from one and only one point of view and therefore you described and organized it with one and only one logical framework including only one logical operator of negation.
With the game of the DiamondStrategies you have deliberated yourself from your fixation on one point of view in describing, reflecting, feeling, deciding, organising etc. your life, your future of your organisation or company.
You have surely produced some great ideas, insights, feelings and wishes for your futures in applying the Diamond questions. This we can develop further and more direct with an other great strategy of (simple but powerful) questions.
All of the four positions of the first DiamondStrategies can be asked about the future possibilities, about perspectives, about horizons of new behaviours, of existential time/timing.
Question5: What enables me X?
Question6: What disables me X?
You can ask: What opens me this constellation X, what enables/disables me this statement X, which are the new possibilities for me, what new chances are opened/closed by this grounding or position X for me, the group, the company?
In contrast to the Core Transformation Questions (Connirea Andreas) we don't ask What for is this good for you?" because this is a question about attributes and not about behaviours or processes. And we also don't restrict to only one primary question. With the questions of enabling/disabling we open in both directions of life/dead new horizons of possible behaviours and futures on the basis of the groundings.
Take one of the 4 positions of the Diamond, go into the feelings etc. Then ask one of this questions about enabling/disabling. But don't wonder what happens!
1. If you are in a brilliant and wonderful mood and feeling and thought (in love, a good job, a brilliant decision etc) ask yourself: What am I disabling me with this feelings?"
What is the negative (the shadow) of this great positive feeling?"
What is closed for my future with this wonderful state (decision)?"
Write down your answer, say A. Then continue the questioning What am I disabling with A?" Answer B. And so on.
2. Otherwise for the negative feelings, for the shit of life:
What enables me this disastrous shit of life for my future?"
What new insights comes up in this terrible darkness?"
Write down your answer, say A. Then continue the questioning What enables me A?" Answer B. What enables me B?" And so on.
3. You can also freely alternate your questions about enabling and disabling.
What enables me A?" Answer B. What am I disabling with B?" Answer C. What am I disabling with C?" Answer D. What enables me D?" Answer E. And so on.
4. The neither-nor- of enabling and disabling
What neither enables nor disables me A?"
5. The both-and- of enabling and disabling
What both enables and disables me A?"
1. Multiple and chiastic core outcomes
The applications of the future questions opens at least a double core outcome. One for the enables" and one for the disables". Both are of the same relevancy as are the position and its opposite in the groundings and the same structural remarks holds about doubling, crossing, displacement and chiasmatic exchanges. Remember, with 4 or more states you have more exchange relations than isolated states.
2. Contexts of relativations
If you are in some emotional, cognitive, decisional deadlock or in a single ultimate core state you can also make the experience of relativising your situation and to go more profound into it if you ask the following two types questions:
First: What could happen what goes beyond my state?"
E.g. What is next of this brilliant core state, what goes beyond this state, feelings, decisions, etc?" or the opposite What in the darkness of my disaster could even be more disastrous for me than my disaster just now?"
With the first questions we suppose that there is no ultimate and last core outcome or deadlock. They exist only relative to a given context. To relativise a temporary core state or deadlock is something like a reframing procedure but in contrast to it, it is not restricted to a hierarchy of extensions.
Second: What are the opposites of my constellation?"
With the second question we change from the futures to the groundings. You simply apply one of the four Diamond questions to the results of the enabling/disabling questions. We postulate an exchange relation between the futures and the groundings. What is a future in one context may become a ground in an other context and what seems to be a future may become a ground. So you have simoultaneously the futures of the grounds and the grounds of the futures.
Now you have some insight into the Strategies of the Diamond Thinking. For your purpose you can now freely combine the two different attidudes of questioning of the DiamondStrategies with each other and build some tool boxes from the simplest to the most complex ones.
For beginning, learning and training, you can take the following elementary sets.
1. Take a single position and apply to this position the enabling/disabling questions.
2. Develop from a single position it's opposite(s).
3. Develop from a position the contra-position, as in (2) and then apply to this position and opposition the enabling/disabling questions.
4. Develop from a position the opposite, and then the (neither-nor-) and the (both-and-) of position and opposition.
Next step would be to develop the following settings.
5. Develop (4) and from them the network of some Diamonds out of Diamonds.
6. Take (4) and ask at all 4 positions the enabling/disabling questions.
7. Now you know to make more combinations at your will.
Trained now to use the DiamondStrategies as an interplay of Groundings and Horizons you can develop your own Diamond Attitudes beyond fundamentalism and relativism.
1. There is no necessity to be identified with the grounds or with the futures, neither with the grounds nor with the futures, nor with both at once or none of them. What seems to be a ground may become a future and what seems to be a future may become a ground. Both chiastic movements are simultaneously changing the meanings and relevancies of grounds and futures: grounds of futures and futures of grounds.
The DiamondStrategies enables us to train the art of living in between of grounds and futures and its connectives-the dance over the abyss of emptiness and wholeness; the charm of the chasmXthe chasm of the charm; the schisms of chiasms.
2. Technically you are able now to deconstruct all the techniques (i.e. Anchoring, Submodalities), sets of presuppositions (The map is not the territory."), models (i.e. Concepts of Modelling, Meta/Milton Model, VAKOG) and modellings of NLP in the pathway of this deliberating tiny exercise.2. Mathias Varga von Kibed: Ganz im Gegenteil ... Querdenken als Quelle der Veränderung. Edition, GC GGRAPHIC-CONSULT GmbH, München 1996
5. Kurt Klagenfurt: Technologische Zivilisation und transklassische Logik. Zur Technikphilosophie Gotthard Günthers. Suhrkamp Frankfurt/M., stw 1166, 142 S., 1994
6. Rudolf Kaehr: Disseminatorik: Zur Logik der 'Second Order Cybernetics'. Von den 'Laws of Form' zur Logik der Reflexionsform. in: Dirk Baecker (Hrsg.), Kalkül der Form, stw 1068 Suhrkamp 1993
8. N.S. Hellerstein: Diamond: A Paradox Logic. World Scientific Publishing, Series on Knots and Everything, vol. 14, 1996
9. Sara Diamond: Electro-Nomads - or an interactive society? in: Variant, issue sixteen winter/spring 1994
11. Holger Leinhos: H. Leinhos: Polykontexturales Handeln in beratenden und helfenden Kontexten. in: Kaehr, R., Ziemke, A. (Hrsg.) Realitäten und Rationalitäten.", Jahrbuch für Selbstorganisation, Duncker & Humblot Berlin 1996
12. Warren Hedges: Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends&Confound Enemies.http://www.sou.edu/english/hedges/Sodashop/RCenter/Theory/Howto/decon.htm
*This text originates from a letter to Ann Vance the friend of my friend Paula Larkin, both New Visions, Glasgow, Scotland.