Metaprogram Question

This question was originally posted to the Apt Open Learning site.

I have taken the liberty of moving it to this new site specifically for NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP) and closely allied subject material. (PT, 3 Mar 2012)

The following comment was received as a reply to the Welcome! First Post! post on the Apt Open Learning site.. Given the topic, I have taken the liberty of moving it to this page dedicated to NLP and other change methodologies (PT, 27/2/2012)
Lead on!!
Received this this am. from the NLP association in NZ
A nice little starter?Ros Lee 9:07am Feb 27
Is there an analogue metaprogram for Purpose? It seems to me when considering power, affiliation and achievement as motivations that purpose doesn’t really fit well into any of them. Or perhaps fits into all of them. Or sits above them all. So you can be motivated by power and purpose. Or can you? Are they both/and or either/or? Is that where I need to be thinking more about the metaprograms relevant to Spiral Dynamics. I have a sinking feeling we did cover that in Trainer but I was probably in a trance at the time and the information has not yet come to mind. Or perhaps I am living under a rock. Hmm, someone help me out here please.

2 thoughts on “Metaprogram Question

  1. Hi Ros,
    Good question. Interesting and challenging.
    If we have a look at an early definition from Tad James and Wyatt Woodsmall (“Time Line Therapy and the Basis of Personality”, Meta Publications, Cupertino, CA, 1988), they suggest that metaprograms are “the deepest level, content-free programs that filter our perception” (p. 11). In this, the metaprograms “serve the purpose of deletion and distortion, and they maintain or break our generalisations” (p. 11). More loosely, we can think of them as what you pay attention to.

    I’m not aware of any research that suggests how these filters develop. That is not saying that there isn’t any research; it’s just saying that I’m not aware of any. I have seen a suggestion from a prolific writer in the NLP area suggesting that metaprograms are “solidified beliefs”, if I remember it correctly. However, I couldn’t work out what the writer had in mind; but it didn’t make a lot of sense at the time and still doesn’t to me. (Maybe I’m missing something.)

    In discussions with my teacher, we concluded that there is little doubt that metaprograms are related to values. For example, if you value peace and harmony, it’s possible that you will filter for ways of achieving harmony. However, that’s not the only possibility; you could also filter for ways of avoiding disharmony. Where you end up on the scale of towards harmony or away from disharmony will be influenced by your belief, for example, in how well you can manage conflict. Your sense of identity will also have an effect, in my view.

    Now, back to the specifics of your question. Remember that McClelland posed power, affiliation and achievement as motivations; we might say values. But we can also understand how they cause filtering: if you value affiliation, you are probably more likely to filter for ways of affiliating. But, then, you have to remember means and ends values. If you value power, affiliation could be a means value in gaining power.

    None of this has answered the question about purpose yet. But, here I think is the issue. It depends what your purpose is. There’s a big difference between “having an easy life”, for example, and “being an inspirational change agent”. You would have to model the individual to find out what they meant by their statement of purpose (even if they have one). If you think of Dilts’ model, which I refer to as Domains of Intervention, then the “inspirational change agent” is clearly linked to the Identity domain while, without further modelling, the “easy life” purpose appears more obviously linked with belief, abilities and behaviours. Caveat: remember you would have to meta model and calibrate the person to determine how they have constructed their purpose.

    So, at this stage, I don’t see purpose as being a metaprogram. One option to trance yourself with, if it were to be a metaprogram, is what is the other end of the analogue continuum – no purpose? Could be.

    At this stage, I’ll sit with purpose being a different logical type to metagprograms, but it is something which will have a huge influence on the metaprograms that come into play in any given context.

    Peter Thompson (3 Mar 2012)

  2. Hi,
    Joseph here,
    Very interesting- I’m with Peter, a little 😛
    From my perspective, purpose is meaning driven, so is not a filter in itself, yet sure acts as one once you have taken that meaning to mind and body and plopped it out through your neurology often enough 😛
    As to origin on meta-programs- well, there is a lot in that- taking all Maslow’s positions on instincts and instinctoids (BTW i understand you can get cream for these) and putting that to one side- Meta-programs and gifted in early childhood as state and meta-state experiences that habituate (via self-reflexive consciousness) over time and now run us, mostly out side of awareness 🙂 (Damn).


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