Friday, December 22, 2006

NLP: Logical Levels is NOT Logical Levels


I like to write this article to clarify the misunderstanding long ago. What makes me stop my procrastination is reading a book on NLP in a book shop this afternoon.

The author of the book states in his book that the "Logical Levels" was designed by Robert Dilts, who based on the theory of Bateson. This statement is wrong. He hasn't done enough homework for his book.

It further states that Bateson created something called "Neuro-Logical Levels" and Robert Dilts designed the "Logical Levels" from this in early 90's. This is totally wrong!

1. Bateson is one of the 4 original experts being modeled by Bandler and Grinder in the 70's. The result of these modeling is the birth of NLP. But Bateson had never written anything called "Logical Levels".

2. It is correct that Robert Dilts created the "Logical Levels". He also says that this was adapted from Bateson's work. But Bateson never did anything on "Logical Levels".

3. Mr. Dilts created the "Logical Levels" in the mid-80's.

"Logical Levels" is neither logical nor they are "levels"!

1. They are not logical. If something is logical, they must have logical relationship between them. There is absolutly no logical relationship amongst the 6 levels of Dilts' "Logical Levels". Two things are considered to have logical relationship, if either they are equal to each others (i.e. an equivalence relationship) or one causes another one (i.e. a cause & effect relationship), or one includes another one (i.e. an inclusive relationship). But none of the above exists in those 6 levels.

Can you say a Behaviour can equal to/cause/include an Environment? Or can you say a Capability can equal to/cause/include a Behaviour? (You can be capable of doing something, but you can NOT do it!) The answer is "No".

2. They are not levels. Levels imply that some levels are more "X" than another one. More important, more effective, etc. But can you say that any one level in the "Logical Levels" are more whatever than the other ones? No.

Dilts explains that the higher levels are more influential than the lower ones. It is not 100% true. Sometimes when you change the "lowest" level of Environment, you behave differently to fit the new Environment. You might develop new Capabilities to face the new challenges. Meeting different people in the new Environment can also change some of your Beliefs. Many people change into a different person (i.e. Identity) when they are away from their "bad" friends in the new Environment. When many of your new friends belong to one religion, you might even gradually become part of them (i.e. Spiritual).

In Dilts' Model of "Logical Levels", the higher levels are more difficult to be changed. Sometimes it is very difficult to change the Environment and people rather change their mind (i.e. Beliefs). Don't you see there are so many people have great aspirations at the beginning of their career but life is so hard that most of them change their mind to be mediocre?

Don't you see so many people who find dieting (Capability) so difficult that they simply believe dieting is useless?

Furthermore, "Logical Levels" is not NLP!

To be NLP, it must come from Modeling. However, according to Dilts, "Logical Levels" is adapted from or inspired by, but not modeled from Bateson! We can model from a real person or even from their writings. We model how someone doing something and then create the model of how he/she did it. But Bateson has never written anything about those "Logical Levels". So, it can't be a result of modeling.

But why so many people talk about "Logical Levels"? Because Dilts is a famous person in the NLP field and Bateson is a great scholar. To be honest, I admire Mr. Dilts very much and I agree with most of his ideas in NLP. He is a great contributor to NLP.

But why you (i.e. Keith To) still talk about "Logical Levels" in your training?

Because it is useful! The fact that "Logical Levels" is not logical, levels and NLP doesn't make it useless. It is a great invention of Mr. Dilts! "Logical Levels" is not logical, levels and NLP when you see them as "Logical Levels". But when you see them as 6 separate "Frames of Reference", they are very NLP ("Frame" is a very important model of NLP) and they are very useful in both discovering and influencing.

When I teach "Logical Levels" in the Behaviour Module of the NLP Practitioner Program, I actually use them as frames with different perceptual positions. Remember my teaching of 6 Positions X 6 "Levels" = 36 Points of View? I am treating the "Levels" as "Frames" so that we can "view" more!

My idea behind writing this article is to clarify the potential limiting belief behind "Logical Levels". If you want to change something, it is OK and effective to change it at any level you see appropriate. It doesn't matter that it must be at a higher level above your problem! They are just different frames to see your problem!

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