Neurolinguistic Programming

Thom Hartmann program, 18 January 2005

Key

see,  hear,  feel,  framing

... Our NLP class this afternoon, we're going to be comparing, you know, what was it about, what was it about JFK and, and Churchill and George W. Bush that was consistent and what was different and how, in their, in their, in their techniques of communication, what can we learn from this. ...

... Our tools for activism, it's Tuesday afternoon, second half of the second hour, of our, of our program, of our 3 hour program, and, and our, our tools for activism course is traditionally at this moment, so I want to just share with you a, a concept that everybody understands intuitively and yet most people have never really thought about, you know, at the level of intellect, at the level of mind.

And that is that we are all made up of multiple persons, right. We, there is not simply a 'me'. There, there are multiple 'me's. Now, you say, "Wait a minute, I thought that was multiple personality disorder". Ah, no. Multiple personality disorder is when the different parts of a person, when, when one of those different parts takes the center stage and causes amnesia about all the other parts, or disconnects from all the other parts, and then another part takes center stage and causes amnesia from all the other parts. But normally we, we are, multiplex, there's not a good word for it. We, we are complex, comprehensive persons. For example, I am a father. I'm a, you know, I am, so, I am one person to my children. I'm a son. I'm somebody else to my mother and father. I'm a husband. I'm somebody else to my wife, my wife. I'm a friend. You know, I have friends. I'm a competitor in, in the world of business. I am a partner, I've had business partnerships. I'm a partner with my wife actually in this business. I'm a performer. Right now, and when I give speeches and things. And I have the capability of being a variety of things: loving, vengeful, righteous, compassionate. I mean, there's all these different aspects to all of us.

And when we assume these roles with others there are different skill sets that come along with them. It's not just a role, it's not just a matter of putting on masks, as it were, or acting out roles. It, it, it really is a matter of historic pieces of us coming to the fore. We can be wounded by some people we can't, with certain words that other people, if they said those words, wouldn't wound us at all, because of the nature of our relationship with those persons, people, and the part of us that is talking to them. Now this in a nub itself is a huge piece of neurolinguistic programming, NLP, and there's a whole book about this called "Core Transformation" if you really want to get into this stuff. I'm not going to go that deep into it right now in this, 'cause that, that gets into the kind of therapy side of it. But I want to talk about the political part of this.

Each part of us brings the resources along with it that it has the best access to. So the, the self-righteous part has certain resources, the compassionate part has certain resources, the intellectual part has certain resources, different parts of us have certain resources. And in politics, if you are a politician or a political party, and you want to talk to individuals, particularly to mass, large number of individuals, it's best to talk to a particular part of people.

There are some parts that we all have in common, or that most of us have in common. Those few among us who don't have some of those parts are generally referred to as sociopaths. But there are many parts that we all have in common. We all have the ability to empathize, we all have ability to, to experience what it might be like to be another person, to a certain extent. To feel compassion. To feel love in the, in the, in the sense, you know, the Greeks had all these different words for, you know, eros, agape and so on. They had different words for love. We only have one word in English, unfortunately. But to feel what we used to call brotherly love. To feel love for another person in, in the context of caring, consideration.

And so, in, in politics, when you, when you want to talk to a person, or to a group of people, if you identify the part that you are speaking to and you identify the message that you're delivering and make them congruent then your message will have much more impact. In the last election George Bush consistently did this. He was very good at it. And he mostly only talked to a few parts.

In fact, Mark Crispin Miller, who was one of the most brilliant minds of our day, wrote an extraordinary book called "The Bush Dyslexicon". And Mark was on this program. I interviewed him a year or so ago and we correspond from time to time. And, and Mark pointed out in that book, and as I recall, he pointed out on this radio program, that these were the parts of George Bush that are really the most powerful parts. That Bush does not fumble sentences, does not screw up, you know, syntax, does not garble, does not make, is not inarticulate when he's speaking from his vengeful part, from his angry part, from his revenge part. When he's talking about vengeance, he is very articulate. But when he tries to speak from his compassionate part or from his understanding part then it starts to fall apart. And Miller suggests that that means that those parts don't have relative equality within, within Bush's personality. But whether or not that's the case, and I, I agree that it probably is, but setting that aside for the moment, what George Bush did throughout the campaign was he talked mostly to the vengeful or fearful parts of us. Now, you could argue that the reason for this is that there's a huge vengeful and fearful part of George. And, in fact, those are the parts that dominate his personality. Maybe.

There's also, there's also a, a frat boy part of him. A, you know, the drunken frat boy part, the part who makes jokes particularly at the, at the expense of others. The rich drunken frat boy part. And really, those are the 3 parts that we see the most of George Bush in public. And, and he speaks to those parts in other people. And I think it's, for example, here is, here is George Bush on the campaign trail speaking to the drunk frat boy part in his audience, as it were. "He even used the same words Howard Dean did back when he supposedly disagreed with him. No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops." Yeah, there you go. It's that, it's that kind of subtle sarcasm. See you want, you want your message to be congruent with the part that you're communicating it to, right.

Now Martin Luther King, who we talked about extensively yesterday, and Jesus, and many other, many other moral leaders talked to our compassionate part and the parts of us that seek justice, not revenge, but justice. And did so brilliantly. And, and, you know, I played some clips yesterday of Martin Luther King, we don't need to revisit those. Unfortunately, John Kerry did not do this in the, in the last election. His, his messages were a little more confused. John Edwards, however, did. This is a fascinating thing, how the message, and the part that they were speaking to, was consistently congruent.

So, what a politician needs to do, what a political party needs to do, my advice to the Democratic party... the Republicans already understand this stuff, they've got NLP practitioners, folks like Frank Luntz and what not consulting with them and have, I mean, Newt Gingrich, have for decades now they've been using this stuff since Ronald Reagan, these tools for communication. My advice to the Democrats, the Greens, is call out the part of people that you, to whom you want to speak. Like for example JFK did with our hopeful parts while Nixon was calling out our fearful parts - fearful of the cold war, fearful of the communists - and JFK was calling on our positive parts. Call out the part you want to speak to.

Let's first just, you know, get a couple of other clips from this last election. Just notice this, here. [Senator Kerry - ed.] "Of all the wrong choices that president Bush has made the most catastrophic choice is the mess that he has made in Iraq." Now see, without, without defining a part, without defining a message, that was really just the intellectual part. Intellectual part doesn't have the juice and the resources of the other parts. "It's absolutely essential," Now this is Dick Chaney, and he's speaking to the fearful part. "that 8 weeks from today on November second we make the right choice, 'cause if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that, that we'll get hit again, that we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States." and perhaps we made the wrong choice, assuming that that choice was actually made. That's a whole 'nother discussion.

And then here's John Edwards responding to, to Dick Chaney's calling out the fearful part by saying, you know, you shouldn't be calling out the fearful part. This is, this is the, this is the part seeking justice, I would say. "What he said to the American people was, 'if you go to the polls in November and elect anyone other than us then, and another terrorist attack occurs, it's your fault'. This is un-American." 'This is un-American', the part seeking justice so the message, the tonality, the inflection, the delivery was consistent with the message.

Consider Winston Churchill. This is May 19th, 1940. England is being bombed, Churchill has just been inaugurated as prime minister. This is his first speech after Chamberlain had resigned. Winston Churchill speaking to the British people, and notice he's, of course the British people are all living in this part of fear and Churchill is going to speak to this part then draw from them, draw into them the part that says, 'no, no, righteous', the righteous part. And there's absolute consistency between his tonality and his message.

"Side by side, the British and French peoples have advanced to rescue not only Europe but mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. Behind them - behind us - behind the armies and fleets of Britain and France - gather a group of shattered states and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians - upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must, as conquer we shall." So there you go. Speaking to the, the part of, you know, taking fear and converting it into power, into energy.

Now here's the flip side of that, this is George Bush from the last camp-, or not from the last campaign, from his speech prior to the invasion of Iraq. This was a speech that he gave where he said that Osama bin Laden had thousands of tons of anthrax and on and on and on, and, and then he ties it back into 9/11, which the marching orders in the Bush campaign, of course, the Bush administration for the last 2 years have been, and they're continuing to do this. But whenever you discuss Iraq or Saddam Hussein, always bring up 9/11, even though there's no connection between the two. And here he, here he goes. What part of us is he speaking to, and notice the tonality. "We've experienced the horror of September 11th. We have seen that those who hate America are willing to crash airplanes into buildings full of innocent people." And then he, he just has gone through this long speech about how Osama bin Laden hates America and has all these weapons, has, has chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons. Bush continues, "Our enemies would be no less willing, in fact they would be eager to use biological, or chemical, or a nucular [sic] weapon ". This is speaking to the fearful part and making it even more fearful. "Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

And for many people there is that fearful part and that fear was met. Now here's, here's John Kennedy speaking to the fearful part. This again, during the cold war, but saying something quite different. He's, he's raising us just like Churchill did. "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty". To assure the survival and the success of liberty. Ending on a positive note. And here again, as well, Jack Kennedy from the, his fourth debate with Richard Nixon. This, Kennedy, now notice again that Nixon was trying to sell fear. You know, the commies are going to get us. Here's Kennedy. "I believe it incumbent upon the next president of the United States to get this country moving again," Now, now notice the use of, of visual metaphor which is coming in just a second, but here's kinesthetic metaphor; 'moving' again. He's going to use multiple - visual, kinesthetic and auditory. "to get our economy moving ahead, to set before the American people its goals, its unfinished business," So, there's setting out setting out the vision. "and then throughout the world appoint the best people we can get, ambassadors who can speak the language, not merely people who made a political contribution, but who can speak the language ..." People who can actually, which is, you know, modern problem. "I believe that this party, Republican Party, has stood still really for 25 years; its leadership has. It opposed all of the programs of President Roosevelt and others, for minimum wage, and for housing, and economic growth, and development of our natural resources, the Tennessee Valley and all the rest. And I believe that if we can get a party which believes in movement, which believes in going ahead, then we can reestablish our position in the world." There you go, we can reestablish our position in the world. Ten minutes before the hour...

... Song (Come and Get it) : "If you want it, here it is, come and get it, Make your mind up fast." And welcome back, Thom Hartmann here with you. We're just wrapping up this, this tools for activism session and the point, the point that I think is so well made by this.

The Republicans, under the Bush administration in particular have, have focused virtually all of their messages around fear. 'Look out! Osama's going to get you'. 'Look out! Saddam is going to get you'. 'Look out!' The, the war on drugs, the war on... Lyndon Johnson, at least, when he declared a war on poverty, was not, you know, 'Look out! poverty's going to get you'. I mean it was framed in a more positive context although the language was unfortunate. And now, it's 'Look out! Social Security is', you know, 'is in crisis!' And it's always, it's always appealing to that, that frightened part.

Democrats need to be appealing to the hopeful part. Here, again, just, I'm going to play John Kennedy here for you. Listen to his use of kinesthetic, that is feeling-based words; how we can bear things, we can do things, the touchy-feely stuff, and his use of visual imagery. How the world sees us and what we must do. This is just... "And I believe that if we can get a party which believes in movement, which believes in going ahead, then we can reestablish our position in the world, strong in defense, strong in economic growth, justice for our people, guarantee of constitutional rights, so that people will believe that we practice what we preach." This, once again, "And then around the world, particularly to try to reestablish the atmosphere which existed in Latin America at the time of Franklin Roosevelt. He was a good neighbor in Latin America because he was a good neighbor in the United States, because they saw us as a society that was compassionate, that cared about people, that was moving this country ahead. I believe it my responsibility as the leader of the Democratic Party in 1960 to try to warn the American people that in this crucial time we can no longer afford to stand still. " Now there, he just used the word 'warn', but notice how he uses it. " We can no longer afford to be second best. I want people all over the world to look to the United States again, to feel that we're on the move, to feel that our high noon is in the future... I don't believe there's any burden or any responsibility that any American would not assume to protect his country, protect our security, to advance the cause of freedom. And I believe it incumbent upon us now to do that." To move forward, to hold that vision. To hold a positive vision. Even in the context of a warning, a positive vision.

This is, this is a, an aspect or dimension of framing, but it's one that has to do with reaching the, the, the core part of people that is most easily encouraged, enthused, engaged, and getting them out there. This is something the Democratic party, the Green party, and activists among us, you can do it, you can do it. This is another tool for making change, for healing the world...

Transcription Queries

Clip is of Senator Kerry? ( 103:30 )

Is this the Badfinger version of "Come and Get It? ( 115:30 )

Words after 'is in crisis!'? ( 116:30 )

Words after 'This is just'? ( 117:00 )

© 2005. Copyright Thom Hartmann.