Not Like Progress

NLP stands for Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

As with all good abbreviations each word is misleading - there's no basis in neurology, not much to do with language, and there's no sense in which the brain can be programmed like a computer. If there were, there'd be no such thing as a teacher.

It's composed of large sections of Scientology, fragments of misunderstood Chomskyian linguistics, a smattering of cod Freudian psychology, and elements taken from EST.

EST is an expensive crank therapy based on the idea that if a lot of people shout abuse at you for several hours, you'll eventually have a miniature nervous breakdown, which will in some way liberate you from "old" ways of thinking, which will in some way turn you into middle manager better at manipulating other middle managers. NLP makes the same basic promise, but tries to offer variations for everyone.

It was originally formulated by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Bandler now spends his time increasing his multimillionaire fortune suing everyone (including Grinder) who teaches NLP without buying his permission. He uses the cash to keep up the most amazing cocaine habit.

The premises of NLP are that:
(1) The mental processes of the best people in any field can be modelled,
(2) You can reprogram your behavior to mimic these processes,
(3) This will make you just as successful as them, regardless of your circumstances.

If you want to know whether NLP or the methods of any other self-perfection cult are effective, you have two options. You can either spend years wading through hundreds of arcane abstractions before asking yourself whether they add up to anything...or you can look at its master practitioners, and ask yourself whether they fulfil the method's promise.

Scientologists are supposed to have perfect mental and physical health. Objectivists are supposed to be completely rational, whatever that means. NLPers are supposed to be able to read your inmost desires and manipulate you any way they wish.

In fact Scientologists tend to be mental wrecks, Objectivists are preening jerks, and NLPers are among the most lonely, hated and ineffective people you'll ever meet.

And the most gullible, obviously.

1 comment:

  1. Scientologists are mental all right!

    Those EST idiots obviously stole their material from boot camp!

    And who in their right mind would follow the teachings of a crackhead?

    If I wanted someone to read my innermost desires, I'd find a fortune teller...It's cheaper and at least I'll get a good laugh out of the whole deal.