1 Chunking Down on the Chunk Size

In this move, which we call Chunking Down, we reframe by becoming more specific about the details that make up either the EB or the IS of the formula. In doing this we here test the reality of the belief and simultaneously employ the basic meta-modeling process itself (i.e. we keep asking, "specifically how"). Meta-model the language of the belief itself. Make it your aim to index its referents (i.e. find the referential index) to person, place, time, event, etc.

As we chunk down to the component pieces of a belief system that links together EB and IS, we find ourselves in the role of a modeler. Modeling refers to discovering and specifying the sequential pieces that make up the structure of a piece of subjectivity.

What will this lead to? We will first pull it apart in terms of modalities (VAK and A) then submodalities (the representational qualifies, properties, or distinctions of its pictures, sounds, sensations, etc.). Then we will note its syntax (structure and order), other influencing criteria or meta-level awarenesses, and so we will specify the very strategy that makes the magic formula of belief work. And whether you know it or not, this brings us to the heart of NLP—which exists as the art and science of modeling excellence.

We "chunk down" on the chunk size of the information coded in the belief inside the magic box because beliefs, as generalizations, tend to involve a lot of fluff (i.e. over-generalizations and vague expressions). This means that most beliefs, by their very nature, lack specificity. And no wonder—we created them by generalizing! Further, a lot of black magical beliefs depend on vagueness to carry the magic. "Boys shouldn't cry." Pretty vague, wouldn't you say? No specifics about who, when, where, in what circumstances, says who, for what purpose, etc. "You can't change beliefs."

So chunking down on the "chunk" size of that information typically causes the belief to dissolve and vanish. Think about the Wicked Witch of the West melting into the castle floor when Dorothy threw clear, sparkling, clean water on her in the presence of her monkey-guards. Hear her shrieks, "I'm melting... melting..." What did I ever do to deserve a fate like this?!"

When we chunk down by asking questions of specificity it often makes us feel as if we had thrown magic fairy-dust into the air and uttered something like, "Begone you vague fluffy bugger!"

(A) "Saying mean things makes you a bad person."

"Saying what 'mean' things specifically? What makes a thing said 'mean? What specifically do you mean by this term 'mean'? How does the mere saying of words to convey ideas and symbols correlate with the negative emotional state that we refer to as 'meanness'?"

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"Which cancer or cancers specifically cause death? How specifically do those cancers cause death? Overwhat period of time? Depending on what other contributing factors? So how does remission play into this understanding?"

If you have already received training in the Meta-Model, you will find these de-framing patterns a cinch. If not, then just keep in mind the specificity question, "How specifically?"

Also, if you find the term "chunk size" as new or odd, then it might help to know that it came from the information processing field. It refers to the size of information that we process. A "chunk" may refer to a big chunk or a small chunk. And we use the term also to refer to the direction we move mentally when we grab a hold of ideas, we may go up or down the scale from specificity to abstraction.

Chunking down refers to moving down the abstraction scale, moving to more and more specifics and details (Appendix C). In Chapter Seven, we will ascend the heights as we do outframing. There we will chunk up the scale from specificity to greater and greater abstraction. In NLP, the Meta-Model of language comprises the chunking down process and the Milton Model (after Milton Erickson) subsumes the chunking up process. So the questions of the Meta-Model chunk down. And the language of the Milton Model chunk up.

Consider the linguistic category of "an airplane." The word "transportation" chunks up from "airplane." It represents a more global and abstract word. "Transportation" describes a class wherein "airplane" functions as a member of that class. "Airplane" describes a form of "transportation," but because we have many ways to experience "transportation,"other than flying in an airplane, it exists at a higher level. To chunk down from "airplane," we could talk about a Cessna plane. Now "airplane" becomes the class word and "Cessna" functions as a member of that class.

In communication, our ability to chunk up and to chunk down plays a crucial role in the process of understanding a person or a concept. It invites us to ask the question, at what level of abstraction or specificity does this person speak and think? At what level of abstraction and specificity do I think and speak? When we fail to take this into consideration, we invite misunderstanding. Then people can speak at different levels using similarwords and yet hear and make sense of the words differently. They can't level with each other because they do not operate on the same level. Korzybski described words that have different meanings on different levels as multi-ordinalterms (a distinction I (MH) have added to the Meta-Model, see Appendix B and The Secrets of Magic).

The NLP model also describes the difference of chunk size as a Meta-program. This means that some people think more globally (at a higher chunk level) than others. Others think more specifically in details (at a much lower chunk level). As such these styles of processing information and levels operate as a neurological filter that creates different styles of perception. (For an entire work on Meta-Programs, see Hall and Bodenhamer (1997) Figuring Out People: Design Engineering With Meta-Programs.)

This distinction provides us some rather profound opportunities in moving up and down the scale of abstraction/specificity so that we can get on the same channel as the person with whom we talk. If we detect that the person speaks globally, generally, and with a gestalt picture of the whole, then we will want to chunk them down.

(C)"Your being late means you don't care about me." "How specifically does my being late carry all of that meaning—that I don't care about you? How late do I have to arrive for it to mean this—30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 1 hour? How many minutes late suddenly translates into the meaning that I don't care aboutyou? How do you know that at twelve minutes I care, but that at thirteen I don't?

"So, if I arrived late by nine and a half minutes, then you will know that I still care about you?

(D) "Stress causes me to eat chocolate."

"How much stress do you need to experience in order to begin to eat chocolate? If you feel pressured to get up and get to work does that do it? If someone says, 'Let's go out on the town!' does that do it?' "Does eustress as we as distress cause you to eat chocolate?"

"How specifically does feeling stressed cause you to eat chocolate?"

"If you ate just one small piece of chocolate, does that mean you feel stressed?"

(E) "I can't really make a difference because management doesn't walk their talk."

"Do you think management never does anything it says? Incredible. ... Oh, well how much of its talk does it carry out? How do you know how much of its non-walking to use to feel down and depressed?" "What specifically does management need to do in order for you to believe that you can make a difference?"

(F) "I can't buy your product because it costs too much."

"How much makes up this evaluation of 'too much?'" (It costs five dollars too much.) "So if it only cost four dollars, would that be too much? What about four dollars and one penny? Would that be too much?" "By lowering the price, I then can count on your purchasing the product?" To elicit this conversational reframing pattern, use the elicitation questions that move a person down the scale of abstraction specificity:

"How specifically?" "What specifically?" "When specifically?" "With whom specifically?" "At what place specifically?"

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  • Melba
    How to reframe by chunking?
    3 years ago

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