16 A11 Other Abstractions

As previously noted, when we "chunk up," we move up to higher level principles, understandings, and meanings that the belief system containing the magic meaning formula (EB=IS) may suggest, imply, or create. Accordingly, all of the meta-moves (Mind-Lines #13-#17), with regard to the belief system itself, have moved us up one logical level. We have moved up and set a new frame-of-reference. This has affected, qualified, tempered, and modulated the belief system. In doing so, we thereby test the belief and set a larger frame that will transform it in various ways.

And yet we have not "shot the wad." In terms of other concepts, ideas, beliefs, understandings, etc. that we can bring to bear upon a belief, we have in fact only scratched the surface. In the Meta-States Model, we recognize this infinity of choices when we note that for whatever thought-emotion we experience, we can always then generate a thought-emotion about it.

So consider the All Other Abstractions Mind-Line as a catch-all category for any and all other concepts that you might think of using to outframe the belief.

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

"So the way I talk to you totally and completely determines my moral character? Does the character of one statement always have this kind of effect on one's identity and being?" [Abstracting using Identity, #17, and Morality.]

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"So one single mutation of a small part of a system will automatically cause destruction to ensue to the entire system? Does this describe how parts of systems inevitably work?" [A concept about how systems operate.] As we noted in the chunking down pattern, a person who thinks in specific details, and does so most of the time, will rarely think globally. With that person we will need to reframe their statements by chunking up. Doing this will present them with new choices that make sense to them.

(C) 'Your being late means you don't care about me."

"Certainly I can agree that my general and typical behavior towards you says something about how I feel towards you. But how have you decided that one or several actions have this level of global meaning that I don't care about you?" This reply reframes both EB and IS. The word "behavior" chunks up the action coded in the verb phrase, "being late." Similarly, "feel towards you" chunks up to a higher level of abstraction from the term "caring." We would also chunk up if we said,

"So, if for whatever reason, I showed up very late (chunk up the lateness), that would mean that I care even less? So if I arrive a few minutes early, does that show I love you even more? Does this relationship of time and care always hold?"

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

"It sounds like unpleasant and negative emotions [an abstraction from 'stress'] cause you to do things you don't want to do [abstracted from 'eating chocolate']. So experiencing negative emotions really makes you a victim to your emotions?" [An even higher abstract concept on the entire statement.]

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

"So what management does, management's congruency or incongruency, plays the most determinative role in how you think, feel, and act as you move through the world? I just didn't know that management had that much power over your responses. Sorry to hear that you have given your power away."

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

"Well, we do often get what we pay for. And, if you really don't want the best product available, I can understand how you would let the price tag totally control your decisions."

To elicit this pattern, question what and how you can chunk up from the specific EB or IS in the belief statement to other higher abstractions or concepts. Think of a classification at a higher logic level to the terms in this statement.

"What higher level abstractions engulf the particular facets in the belief?"

"When you think about your belief in these larger level abstractions, does it still make sense and produce good fruit?"

#19 Ecology Framing

We have chunked up from the belief box where the original magic (i.e., the conceptual magic) began. Now with this meta-move to ecology, we can wrap other "ecology testing" ideas around the belief. Doing this enables us to thereby generate an even higher level construct of magic. And, we can do this not only for the belief formula (EB=IS), but also for all of the other ideas (Mind-Lines #5— #18) that we have used to encompass the belief. This means that with the Ecology Check Frame, we will not only make a meta-move, but that we can make two meta-moves. Let's go up and up and away to the overall meta-frame level where we can then evaluate all of these evaluations.

In NLP, when we take a meta-position to anything and evaluate our evaluations, we call that process "running an ecology check." Korzybski had a different phrase for this process. He called it a "second level abstraction" wherein we "evaluate our evalutions." Yet whatever we call it, this process refers to checking out the productivity, value, usefulness, etc. of a belief, behavior, emotion, etc.

Here we want to beam up to this meta-position and essentially ask, "When we construct this reality in this way and wrap our minds around it in this or that way— "Does it serve us well?" "Does it limit us or enhance us?" "Does it keep our whole system in balance and well-ordered, or does it throw things out of balance and endanger our overall well-being?"

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

'You really seem to believe that, but I wonder if viewing the world in that way really makes communicating and relating to others go better or whether it invites you to think of people in good and bad terms depending on how you evaluate their communications in terms of meanness or niceness?"

(B) "Cancer causes death."

"How well does this way of thinking serve you? Does it empower you to look for things that will help? Does it enable you to feel more positive and hopeful about life-two attitudes that always influence health and well-being?"

(C) "Coming in late means that you don't care about me!"

"What an interesting idea... but then again, has this idea ever caused you to argue with people, especially loved ones, about time and schedules so that you spent your time with them arguing, rather than enjoying their presence?"

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

'You seem to really believe that. Say, with that way of thinking do you tend to always eat chocolate when you feel stress? And if you do, does that really work for you?"

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

"That really doesn't sound like a way of thinking about things that does you very well. It sounds like it shuts down your creativity, perseverance, interferes with your good judgment, and heaven knows what other negative effects it has on your mind and body."

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

"Thinking about purchasing solely in terms of cost probably gives you eyes that sort exclusively for price tags. Does this enable you to purchase or enjoy the things that you want to in life without money grubbing about everything?"


Outframing — going above any and every frame that stands over a belief, over the magic box wherein lies our secret formula of meaning. Then, at that new place, setting up a frame to provide new references of meaning. And when we establish such higher meta-level ideas, emotions, beliefs, values, states, attitudes, etc. we bring new resources to bear on the magical formula.

And because this outframing actually describes a meta-stating process, you now know a lot about Meta-States. Of course, if you want to develop more knowledge and skill with Meta-States and meta-stating, see Meta-States (1995), Dragon Slaying (1996), NLR Going Meta (1998), and Meta-States Journal (1997, 1998).

Then with one fell swoop of your magic meaning wand—you can set up your frame as an umbrella over-arching everything underneath it. In that way your conversational mind-lines can embed within them and under them—the old limiting belief statement. In this way, we can leave the formula alone, stop fooling with it, and just contain it and temper it from a meta-level.

If we take these reframing forms and think about them as a dance (rather than a war), we will undoubtedly feel freer in using these movements and rhythms of thought and speech with elegance and grace. Then we can conversationally reframe with more gentleness. You now know many of the dance moves that we can make with people to help maneuver them into a more solution-focus orientation. And now for the last dance

"Magic lies hidden in the language we speak. In a process world of ongoing and ever-changing Events nothing inherently mea'nsanything,

And yet, magically, everything can mean something. Because with words and symbols at your command, you can cast spells as you weave together a web of words.

And so you link Internal States with Events in the world to thereby call forth neuro-linguisticmagic. Then for good measure you wrap your spell with higher level contexts and frames, meanings within meanings and those meanings embedded in yet higher meanings.

The spells you cast then lie at your command if only you pay attention to your magic wand of Symbolism and its Secrets about the Structure of Magic."

(Michael Hall The Secrets of Magic

Chapter 9

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