Forum Message

Topic: What is the definition of variables?
Posted by: Thomas
Date/Time: 08/05/2002 14:43:20

What are the variables

John and Carmen,

In Whispering you mention that the early modeling by Bandler and Grinder resulted in the explication of a set of variables, some of which may be used for design. You mention one example: State.

(I always wondered what the word 'state' meant. I have imagined that it meant what one takes it to mean in an everyday sense of the word. “Today I am in a lousy state”, or “today I am in a great state” I have also thought that maybe it means the same as in cybernetics, i.e. state is that which defines what output will result from a given input.)

But perhaps even more I wonder what are the variables, referred to. If I start to speculate about this I would go: Hm, lets see, those variables should be the variables that make up the different models in nlp. So from the metamodel we can certainly pick a number of variables … Unspecified verb, unspecified noun, generalization, deletion, lost performative, a great deal of different kinds of presuppositions, and the semantically illformed stuff: mind-reading and cause-effect.

The questions which now arises, since I am not in posession of a clear definition of the present use of the word variables are: Are those metamodel distinctions in some way part of the set variables? Can they be used for design?

tentatively hunting for further variables I turn my attention to the modalities. V, A, K, O, G … Those are certainly variables given a fairly common use of the word … for instance the word variable may apply to V, which may stand for ten zillion different pictures. Is that one example of what John and Carmen means by the term? Can the modalities be used for design? Of course …

What else is there? Oh, the submodalities, those are of course possible to consider as variables, and of course they can be used for design.

More: State, physiology, breathing (how many ways of breathing are there? 20000?)
Are these the variables refered to?
Can these be used for design? Most definitely!

1. 2. 3. position.
Can these be considered to be variables - I think so … can they be used for design? Most definitely!

Anchors … I can certainly see how thinking in terms of anchors can be useful in design. To call them variables seems to me a stretch, but then again to call them anchors was once a stretch.

Accessing cues … timelines … frames …

Of course these possible examples of variables may also be used for modelling. And this I guess is the sense in which most people with a brief exposure to nlp use the term modelling. I.e. if I figure out in which sequence my model accesses the different sensory systems in his thinking, then I have created a useful model of the way he thinks, and thus I have created a model. It may be only a strategy elicititation, but it is also a small example of modelling. I believe this has been the source of some confusion.

- In fact I know it has been the source of some confusion, at the very least in one person: me - because it took a long time before I understood that when John complained about the lack of modelling this was not the kind of modelling he was referring to. And likewise when Richard complained about the fact that people thought they were modelling when in fact they were just eliciting strategies. Now, personally I think that modelling by using such variables may very well be called modelling - and that it is quite useful to draw a clear distinction between this kind of modelling and other kinds. In order to draw such a distinction a simple way may be to explicate what the variables are.

I am also curius about a particular design issue. In whispering one can read the following: “The new code /…/ is an excellent example of pure design, a pure manipulation of these variables.” p.51. In many cases I can appreciate this. Especially if one also takes Bateson into account and start asking; “how can I operationalise Batesons thinking, using the nlp-variables?”
But there is one case where I am absolutely clueless. It regards the new code games. How on earth does one go from the set of (to me admitably unexplicit) variables to the alphabet game?
I can certainly appreciate that the alphabet game can be talked about usefully by using terms such as left/right hemisphere, breathing, physiology, anchoring, 

As the reader may appreciate I am explicating my thinking regarding the ‘variables’ precisely because I lack a clear definition of what is referred to, I think that it should be obvious from the above that I have been implicitly trying to elucidate what may be meant by the term 'variables' with the help of three criteria
1-they are in some way distinctions which are explicit within the field of nlp
2-they may be considered variables - in the common sense of the word - at least with some mindstretching
3- they may be useful in design

As you may understand I would still appreciate clarification.

And yes, there is another set of variables I have been looking for - for a long time. In your tapestry seminar you mentioned that there is a great number of partitioning devices which you have found useful. I believe the number was 50 or 70. But I never found the list with them on your website.

All the best

Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
What is the definition of variables?08/05/2002 14:43:20Thomas
     Re:What is the definition of variables?08/05/2002 22:46:32John Grinder and Carmen Bostic
          Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?20/05/2002 02:46:03Thomas again
               Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?20/05/2002 06:01:31John Grinder and Carmen Bostic
          Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?30/08/2002 01:08:41John Cox
               ReRe:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?30/08/2002 02:43:04james
               ReRe:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?30/08/2002 02:44:07james
               Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?30/08/2002 18:12:06John Grinder and Carmen Bostic St. Clair
                    ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?30/08/2002 23:04:05kc
                         Re:ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?31/08/2002 01:05:32Carmen Bostic St. Clair and John Grinder
                              ReReRe:Re:ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?31/08/2002 14:52:16kc
                                   Re:ReReRe:Re:ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?31/08/2002 20:56:48John Grinder
                                        ReRe:Re:ReReRe:Re:ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?02/09/2002 14:56:05kc
                                        ReRe:Re:ReReRe:Re:ReRe:Re:Re:Re:What is the definition of variables?05/09/2002 05:07:39kc
                         To: KC, Re: Epistemology01/09/2002 05:24:20nj
                              Re:To: NJ, Re: Epistemology02/09/2002 16:01:44kc
                                   To:KC,Re: Epistemology02/09/2002 19:51:53nj

Forum Home