June 1, 2015

While I am sure there is the full range of political views held by NLP-people in general, having explored the basic psychological principles and premises within the NLP models and the Humanistic Psychology of Self-Actualization from which it came, there seems to me to be some preferred views politically. These are implied by the models or I could say that the models seem to privilege and promote a particular political perspective. I can’t here write everything about this. Yet I have written many chapters about this in the latest book, Political Coaching. There you can find chapters on the political psychology and philosophy of Self-Actualization.

What then is the NLP model and what is presupposed in the NLP model? In Meta Reflection #7 this year I noted that NLP is a communication model, a modeling model, and a self-development model. Originating long before Bandler and Grinder, it started from the Human Potential Movement and therefore involves several assumptions about people and about human nature.

∙ It assumes that people are responsible beings. They are people who can access their abilities to respond (mentally, emotionally, verbally, and behaviorally) and they are not inherently victims.

∙ It assumes that people have all the resources that they need to live fully. They are not broken, but they can be traumatized and hurt. They may not be accessing their inner resources, but they could. They may not have their resources sequences or developed, but they could.

∙ It assumes that people can be held accountable for their responses. They are ultimately responsible and accountable for developing their skills and making the most of their lives.

∙ It assumes that people are people and there is no status hierarchy of people. We are all equal in being human beings and that differences in skills, knowledge, and experience define what a person can and cannot do.

∙ It assumes that people can learn and that they are responsible for learning to do the best with what life has provided them.

Let’s now ask, “What political philosophy does this all suggest?” “What is implied politically in terms of the way we construct governments?” “What does this imply about how we should invent ever-better government structures and policies for managing our life together as people?”

∙ First it implies a democratic philosophy of equality of person’s before the eyes of the law. We all know that people are not literally equal. We are different from each other in many ways. Yet in spite of those differences mentally and emotionally, in terms of talents and temperments, in terms of predispositions and attitudes, we can treat each other as equal human beings. And we can set up our societies and establish laws so that people are treated as equals before the eyes of the law and treated as persons without regard to where born, economic status, education status, color of skin, ethnicity, etc. This is the ideal.

∙ Second it implies an enabling and facilitating of self-development and self-reliance. Humanistic or Self-Actualization Psychology holds a high level belief in people. People can be and are wired to develop, grow, learn and to become independent. This then enables them to connect and to become inter-dependent in healthy and productive ways. This means that people should not become dependent on society and treated as victims of history or other forces. Government should generate laws and structures that encourage, teach, and support self-reliance and should seek to avoid as much as possible treating people as if they were children or incompetent by nature and needy for government hand-outs and support. Support should be for the truly needy and for those without any chance of development. Support for most should be short-term and with an eye on getting off of support. When people are healthy and developing, they want to be independent.

∙ It implies the responsibility of balanced finances. For government it means treating the people’s money as they treat their own personal budgets— spending only what they have and not borrowing into incredible debt. Governments in Greece, Italy, and other European countries have been failing for this very reason. Politicians, all too often, seem to think that they money they spend is unlimited. They seem to forget that it is the people’s money and not their money. That’s because government gets its money by taxing the people.

∙ It implies that the human way is that of learning and developing. We are not born knowing or competent. We become. We have to learn and develop and that requires teaching, mentoring, training, coaching, consulting, etc. A healthy republic requires informed citizens. They have to also learn how to be a productive member of a society and to enter into “the democratic agreement” of adding their voices and cooperating when the vote goes against them. That does not mean a majority rule in a spiteful way against a minority, but take time to consider and fully hear the voice of the minorities. Then we can have what is called a deep democracy. If government should invest in anything other than defense and protection against crime and enemies, it is education. It is to a government’s welfare to have as much transparency of information and citizens who can do critical thinking.

Self-Actualization Psychology— the psychology of NLP and Neuro-Semantics believes in the bright side of human nature while simultaneously recognizing that human nature can go wrong, that people can be hurt and traumatized, and therefore create highly distorted forms of humanity. Therapy along with a thorough education and continuous adult education is the solution. A society can be no healthier than its citizens. So when we have toxic beliefs and habits in a society, this lowers the quality of understanding and intelligence, which lowers the democracy, which lowers the quality of life. And that’s why we have recovered the original psychology of NLP and make it dominate in all of our Neuro-Semantic trainings. We want the highest values and meanings for people’s lives which they can then implement in their best performances and relationships. That’s what we are about.

L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.