Neuro Linguistic Programming

from the above site ...

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) studies the structure of how humans think and experience the world. Obviously, the structure of something so subjective does not lend itself to precise, statistical formulae but instead leads to models of how these things work. From these models, techniques for quickly and effectively changing thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that limit you have been developed.

Once again, in English, please. "Buy our books. Come to our seminars."

Could someone slap the Web designer who made that monstrosity? It's liable to give me a neuro-linguistic breakdown.


So, these models being neither "statistical" (even though humans are manyfold and diverse) nor "precise" in nature, are... what, then?

And whose thoughts and beliefs that are limiting me is it that get changed? Mine? Other people's?

It's been shown that NeuroLinguisticProgramming is bogus. But it was awfully popular. To this day I keep myself from crossing my arms, and I'm careful not to raise my eyes when I'm thinking. Instead, I raise my whole head. -- SunirShah

There are many distinct aspects to NLP. Which do you believe have been shown to be bogus, and can you provide citations?

I'll see if I can find the sources again. If I don't, you can retract what I said, but I'm fairly sure NLP is bunk. And since NLP says no-one is wrong, I'm right, NLP is wrong... -- ss

Sunir takes a whack at why NLP is bogus.

Apparently, no one has showed NLP is valid nor sound. Technically, the burden of proof is on the NLP folk. From the NLP FAQ (

Q: Does NLP really work? Has it been scientifically validated?

A: It's difficult to prove that something doesn't work or doesn't exist. (e.g. Smoking has not yet been "scientifically proved" to cause cancer.) There is massive anecdotal evidence that NLP works. Few studies have been done on particular aspects of NLP with mixed results.

It is false that you can't prove something doesn't work. I don't even understand the smoking comment, as that is looking for a positive result (which has been shown). Consequently, I hold at least the FAQ to be bogus as it was obviously written by a non-rigorous individual. I continue to search for evidence of NLP as anything other than snake oil. (But I'll keep looking for more on the debunking, as the FAQ is too lame to be meaningful). -- SunirShah

More excellent stuff from the Skeptic's Dictionary:

You know what? I think I'll stop there. NLP gives me the same headache I get when reading about Scientology. The technical term is kooky.

I think the translation is something like this:

We don't have any idea of how the brain works, so we made some guesses. The guesses don't actually many any concrete predictions that we could test, or anything, but they make us feel good. Using these untested guesses, we made up some theories about how you can solve all your personal problems by auto-hypnosis. That'll be $99.99, please.

In a taped lecture, Richard Bandler tells the story of how the name "Neuro Linguistic Programming" came about. The story goes that he was trying to talk his way out of a traffic ticket, using the books that happened to be in the passenger seat as inspiration. One was a PDP-11 programming manual. (He doesn't say what the other ones were about, but that's an easy guess.) -- DaveSmith

I've listened to a number of motivational tapes by Anthony Robbins; he talks about NLP a lot. Basically, it's a theory of how you learn emotions and behaviors. It's pretty good motivational stuff, but calling it a soft science is giving it a lot of credit. ;-> -- JeffGrigg

NLP is not a science, it is a practical discipline that draws on ideas from different branches of psychology & linguistics (plus some from systems thinking) and adds some ideas of its own. The important question in my mind is not 'is it a valid science' but is it useful for me. I have done the NLP practitioner course and I can say catogorically that for me it is very useful.

I see an analogy here with XP - a lot of critics of XP say that it has not been scientifically validated. This is true, but if the practices work for you, does it matter?

It is also true that NLP training costs, but so what? The practitioner course I went on (20 days, and very intensive) cost about the same as some 5 day programming courses I have been on, and was far more useful (to me - YMMV). -- DaveKirby

I agree. DaleCarnegie's book HowToWinFriendsAndInfluencePeople is not 'science' either, but its techniques and theories are extremely valuable. Geez, under this level of scrutiny, a good deal of psychology isn't science either. -- RobHarwood

I agree also, that, in linguistics we form the structure of the mind, as every simple or complex symbol will cause inherent structures to be formed in the mind. As such, humans, and even all animals incl. insects and other animate or even inanimate beings have formed out their intelligence not only by application and exercise of the body but also by their ways of conversation, resulting in multiple-layered structures that intersect and finally form new structures that lead to recognition of the surrounding and perhaps the self. Yet, I also presume that the mind operates mostly in non-existence, and every thought is just on the brink of the event horizon of something even greater and finally forms from that same event horizon. As such, the mind is operating in singularity. How can one program a mind or even control singularity? Surely through exercise, but yet, we finally have to cope with said singularity in that we have to find thoughts where there are none. We have to make up ideas where there is nothing. And as such, the mind of all animate and inanimate beings, operate on that said Nothingness. How is your opinion to that? I mean, even the native americans knew of a ghost or even multiple ghosts or a hierarchy of ghosts that are within all of that exists and even all of that does not exist. And they also knew that, prior to semi-extinction, one can only find the true nature of one's self by also experiencing his or her body, as most of the intelligence does not lie in the brain but that every cell in one's body carries along as much intelligence as every specialized neuron in one's brain and that every cell in one's body accumulates to the intelligence that we try to measure.

Yet, the above and NLP in general is far to complex to be grasped by a single human alone, given that we need far more information, especially in respect to the organization of the mind or brain as a whole. Considering the brain, we find that we derive our brain from our anchestors, the cell, the fish, the first land-based animals and so on. We find evolution in our brain, comparing it to the brains of for example birds and other higherly structured animals. Mankind is what we think to be the current superstructure of what we find in nature, not naturally the best structure but the brain was developed so that we could actually overcome the limitations of said animals. Yet, it also implicate selfishness and irresponsibility. And, society programs our brains as such that we become irresponsible. Now, programming the mind or the neurons that make up one's mind, is always a two-fold thing. First, one can program his or her brain by oneself or let it be programmed, aka mind-control. Yet, the mind also controls the functions of the body, as we found out not so long ago. As such, we also have a mind-control unit directly in all of our brains, that controls functions of the body and functions of the brain likewise.

Programming that mind-control unit is the ultimate goal for humanity, at least in my believe. And, considering current and past tendencies in society, society is also on it's way to finally mind-control people as individuals of that people strive to also mind-control themselves, or rather super-control their mind-control, aka self-experience and self-control. And, frankly speaking, what is language and programming in language other than trying on controlling something? And also, considering past literature, we find Orson Wells to be not directly an advocate of mind programming or mind control, the same with Anthony Burgess.

Subsequently, when one tries to program his or her selves' mind-control unit by experiencing and making and doing and learning, he or she will actually find out about the true nature of the mind, i.e. he or she will or may find out about the singularity in which we all live.

Yet, I found out about this whilst thinking about artificial intelligence and meta physics. Not being an expert in these fields, but I think that I am on the right path, especially with that I found out that there is ultimately no free-will. And, come as it may, neuro-scientists also proclaim that there is no free will at all, even that the mind operates both in the future and the past. So, how will you program something that is not yet already available, aka future? The now is an illusion, we all could come to an agreement on that I believe, the past is our experience, but from which experience do you derive your future from, and, how can one program the future?

If we all try to control but not the mind but also the future, how can we live happily? How could we live in randomness or chaos, as that is what drives evolution onwards. If we control our mind, we could eventually see into the future, and believe me I and most of you have, but if we try to control that future, we will become zombies in our own bodily shells, aka GhostInTheShell.

-- CarstenKlein

Quoting from the above, yet a little off-topic:

We cannot prove by not finding any citations of people who have thought that NLP is either bogus in itself or completely true.

Why not accept the fact that people, writing in this same Wiki and those who have found out about NLP, have made up their minds in that they believe NLP is bogus in itself or is not. Yet, I don't believe that NLP is bogus, in fact it is existent and absolutely and necessary to form one's mind and structure. As with the mind-controlling unit that every one of us inherently has in his or her minds.

Not that I believe that everything I said above is absolutely true, but that is to you to evaluate.

-- CarstenKlein

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