NLP and the 7 Steps to Highly Effective Hating!
NLP is often thought of as a collection of techniques for fixing problems. And, yes, it does have lots of very useful tools and techniques for this.
But at its core NLP is about modelling i.e. identifying the automatic steps a person follows through to do something that's useful (so that we can improve this) or something that gets in their way (so we can help them change what they do).
Take hatred - hating others - for example.
Many consider this to an automatic or unconscious emotion which we 'get' and then have to learn how manage or control.
Yet, if we use NLP to model hatred we find that there are a number of pieces which need to in place in order to be able to effectively hate.
The following ironical article looks at the results of modelling 'how to hate'.
'I want to keep hating'
There is a story about the poet and essayist Charles Lamb in 18th century London who had a long-running conflict with another author. The two had never met - the conflict had been carried out through gossiping about one another and in letters to newspapers.
When a friend offered to introduce him to his protagonist Lamb hastily declined saying “I want to go on hating him, and I can't do that to a man I know.”
The more we know someone the more difficult it is to hate them - and the less we know them the easier it is to hate them.
Let's get them hating
So when our leaders, governments and/or elements of the media wish to whip up support for their latest adventure they first have to de-humanise the target group.
They must do this because, if we were to focus on the 'individuals' within the target group, we might begin to recognise how the world appears through their eyes. And this would get in the way of our hating them.
So manipulators of public opinion must ensure that we do not see things through the eyes of the targeted group - or even want to do so.
Soon, if we are actively acquiescing in the process, we no longer see them as people but as 'the enemy'. They are now dehumanised and separate from us ordinary, normal people and, in time, they become the 'unknown'.
This activates our deep-seated prejudices and fear of the unknown and rather than recognising them as flesh-and-blood individuals we perceive them as the unknown-and-to-be-feared.
How to be systematic about hating - as explained through NLP
As with all other human processes there is a quite systematic process to developing - and maintaining - enmity.
And when we use NLP to model the process how we acquire, develop and maintain hatred for others we find there seven key steps.
Step 1 - Look through your own eyes only
The first step in hating is to avoid considering what the situation looks like from the view point of our new 'enemy-to-be'.
This is a critical step because as Charles Lamb recognised it is very difficult to hate someone if we step into their shoes and see the world through their eyes and feel as they feel.
Most of us find this step quite easy. We are innately selfish and since birth we have refined our ability to only look at situations through our own eyes and through our own needs. Different Perspectives Model.
Step 2. Keep it simple with 'black-and-white' thinking
Decide that there are absolute standards of right and wrong. And that you are right and that 'they' are wrong.
This is another easy step since it requires very little thinking. You simply take a stance, decide that is the right way, and stick to your guns(!)
By reducing everything to simplistic, black and white terms we avoid the tedium of having to consider that such absolutes can change depending on how a person perceives a situation.
Step 3. Whip up your emotions
Become so passionate about your stance that you immerse yourself in your own feelings about the situation. This works because becoming very emotional about something blocks rational or objective thinking. And, once again, we can avoid inconvenient details that might contradict our stance.
Now Steps 1 through 3 work quite well on their own but sometimes it’s useful to have some 'rational evidence' for your stance - in case people oppose your view. The next steps provide this 'evidence that I'm right and they're wrong'.
Step 4. Carefully select your evidence
Remember we are aiming at simplified, black and white thinking. So we don't want to cloud the issue with too much factual information.
So you must carefully select evidence to support your view and ignore anything that might oppose it. This is not as difficult as it may sound so long as you go about it in a systematic manner. Here's how
(a) First select your target group - and identify particular behaviours of theirs which support your stance.
(b) Now look out for two or three examples of individuals from this group engaging in such behaviours.
(c) Generalise: conclude that these individuals are typical of the whole group.
(d) Finally, begin gathering for evidence to support your conclusion. Don't worry. This won't take long, although you do need to be careful to avoid paying attention to any contradictory evidence as this could undermine your righteous outrage. Just decide this is..... Fake News.
Step 5. Avoid critical thinking
This is another really easy step. Critical thinking generally requires that you apply a blend of active questioning self talk and visualising to examine an issue from a number of angles.
Far too much effort! Avoid this hassle by simply filling your mind with prejudice as in Step 5. Although there is still a risk that the occasional critical thought might slip through your defences.
Happily there is a very effective way of guaranteeing non-critical thinking about your prejudices. Join a group which shares your views! In this way you will have constant access to ready-made slogans, encouragement and even selected evidence to support your views. With luck you may even get to share in the heady excitement of taking part in a few demonstrations (demon-strations?).
Now, you really can't beat a good noisy demo for developing a solid belief in your cause. The crowd creates a nice group-think process in which you'll all unquestioningly think and act in unison. A further bonus is that the sloganising and chanting actually blocks active thinking - something that crowd-control experts like Hitler, Mussolini, and many since then have used to good effect!
And, if you are really lucky, you'll get some people who oppose your cause coming out to shout at you. Lucky? Of course! Having to defend one's belief is a great way of strengthening them! If everybody agreed with you might begin to question your beliefs. But when you have to defend your views against unbelievers this strengthens your belief. So the people who actively oppose you are your best allies - they are reinforcing your prejudices!
By the way, there are lots of other ways of getting confirming support for your attitude, especially if you don't have ready access to a group. You can choose to read only those newspapers, books and magazines which support your views. Or carefully select which radio and TV programmes you attend to and search the web for supportive websites, email lists, and newsgroups.
(The essential ingredient in Step 5 is to avoid arduous thinking - so it is wise to avoid using the NLP Meta Model.
Step 6. Talk! Don't listen!
Be sure that you do as much talking as possible when with people who disagree with you. This is an important step because if you were to begin listening to what your opponent had to say this could undermine your certainty in your own stance. (Doing nearly all of the talking also helps with Step 7, by the way).
So, if possible, keep talking so they can't get a word in. If this is proving difficult begin shouting. On the rare occasion when this, too, fails and you have to be silent you can sub-vocalise your prejudices and, rather than listen to them, mentally rehearse what you are going to say when they shut up.
Incidentally, if you want to see some experts in the this skill watch how politicians handle TV interviews and, especially, discussions with their opponents. Excellent role-models.
Step 7. Goad them into over-reacting
This is a marvellous technique but unfortunately it does require some planning and some strategic thinking - and it does take some practise. You set up a situation in which you provoke the other party into acting in ways that support your prejudices (see Step 4) One simple way of doing this is to use Step 6 to frustrate them.
In a confrontation, say on a TV show, make sure they become so frustrated with your shouting or at your refusal to answer direct questions that they lose their cool and become angry or aggressive. This is great tactic because the more frustrated they become the more you relax and look calm and collected.
Then, when they finally lose it and become aggressive, you only need to give the audience and camera your most innocent I-told-you-so look. (Don't reserve this technique for special occasions; it works equally well in everyday life).
It's quite easy, really
Yes, I agree these steps can appear complicated, at first. But, trust me, you can quickly get the hang of it. Millions of others are doing this every day - just stick at it for a few days and you'll find it's easy, just so long as you avoid rational thinking.
Let's say you are learning to hate, say, Purple People…
Look for a few examples of Purple People acting badly and decide that this is typical of the whole group. As mentioned above you must be very careful to use Step 4 here i.e. select your evidence.
You could ruin your ability to hate them if you fell into the trap of thinking that the actions of a few might not be representative of the millions in the whole group. (This is the NLP Meta Model category of 'Generalisations').
Incidentally, TV news and documentary footage can provide lots of such examples - and, if you'res in a hurry, try YouTube. The producers will have reduced hours of footage down to a few sound/vision bites which they have selected to sum a complex situation.
It's bit like a like fast-food version of thinking. You can switch on and pick up a freshly prepared prejudice-to-go.
It's better than thinking...
Finally, this has not been a complete list and there are many refinements that I can add. However it is a good start in developing the ability to hate. The individual steps work in synchrony and the true hating-expert will have developed such unconscious-competence that their skill appears slick and completely natural.
So if you are a beginner to the hating game accept that real skill in this area does take a little practise - but rest assured that it's a lot easier than having to think for yourself…
As the British philosopher Bertrand Russell said "Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do..."
(Edited from the Pegasus NLP Newsletter 15 April 2002)
The Pegasus NLP Newsletter
Most articles on this site were first published in the Pegasus NLP Newsletter.
This has been published regularly since February 2000 - and you can subscribe to the newsletter here
And there will be no spam - I promise. You have trusted me with your email address I will use it for the Newsletter and for nothing else - and it will never be shared with anyone else. Ever. (Reg Connolly, founder of Pegasus NLP.)