Authors' Guide for the Reader/Preface to Whispering in the Wind (excerpt)

It is with great excitement and pleasure that we offer this book to the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) community. Its publication seems to us to be most timely. The legal controversies surrounding Neuro-Linguistic Programming have been recently settled in such a way that there are at present no further obstacles to an intelligent and appropriate professional development of this field that holds such great promise (see appendix A for documents detailing the legal settlements that have cleared the way for this development).

NLP has been carried on the wind to all corners of the earth in the short time it has existed. The initial work by its co-creators, John Grinder and Richard Bandler, was done in the mid - 70's in California. The patterning coded by them in their initial modeling of geniuses has been translated into many languages, adapted to a large number of cultures and integrated into countless domains of application. It has touched profoundly the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, making positive contributions to the quality of their lives.

Our motivations for writing this book are multiple. First, we were moved by a concern about the emphasis and direction that NLP has recently taken. In particular, we refer to the lack of modeling - the very activity that defines the core of this discipline NLP. Our thought was that if we could identify cleanly the primary strands of influence, both intellectual and personal, that shaped the context in which NLP was formed, it would give some depth to the enterprise. Further, there is nowhere available any published descriptions of the processes by which the initial modeling that created the field of NLP occurred. Similarly, the contexts in which these processes occurred have never been revealed. It hardly seems appropriate (and it is certainly not effective) to exhort people to do something without offering some guidance on how to accomplish it.

We begin by identifying the epistemology underlying the entire enterprise of NLP. We subsequently present the principle threads, both personal and intellectual, that were woven together to create this fabric of many colors.

We then select and describe a series of key incidents in the modeling activities that created NLP. Our intention for so doing is that by presenting such narratives, we could point to specific strategies (both literally and metaphorically) that have proven effective in the modeling of excellence. In particular, we develop extended descriptive narratives that define what philosophers of science refer to as contexts of discovery. Our intention, then in this enterprise, is to encourage others to think and act with clarity in responding to the tremendous opportunities that the technology called NLP offers to intrepid explorers. Such enlightened self-interest will hopefully drive the further development of the field as a natural consequence.

Without an appreciation of its foundation, historically and epistemologically, there is a tendency for a new discipline such as NLP to drift on the wind. We present a number of tether points, strong enough to resist inappropriate drift but with enough slack to allow flexibility and some grace in its movement.

Finally, we offer extended commentary on the practice of NLP and how we as a community might refine and extend such practice. These include specific proposals about how to improve the actual application of the patterning created through modeling processes. We conclude with a set of recommendations about how we might organize ourselves as a legitimate research community, and a commentary on its possible application to wider social contexts.

The discipline of Neuro-Linguistic Programming had a reasonably spectacular infancy and has, more or less, survived a tumultuous adolescence. We propose that it is now time to establish it as a professional discipline taking its rightful place along side other approaches to the study of human functioning. NLP has and will continue to contribute significantly to the study of human behavior and in particular, to that extreme form of human behavior we refer to as excellence. The field is far more important than the two men who founded it: it now has a life of its own. In part, what follows is an attempt to make transparent certain aspects of its creation and development if for no other justification than to allow it to move beyond the personalities of its co-creators.

Whispering is not a typical NLP book - in particular, those seeking another how-to presentation of NLP patterning of excellence should look elsewhere. The book assumes a certain level of familiarity with NLP patterning and concerns itself with larger and more profound issues - ones that, in our opinion, will determine whether NLP reinvigorates itself and continues to develop or simply is swept away on the wind.

Nor will we use this book to offer a report of the patterning in large organizations - corporations, institutes and governments - that has been the focus and principal activity of Quantum Leap and its principals, Carmen Bostic St. Clair and John Grinder during the last decade. Our intention here is quite different…