Monday, August 14, 2006

NLp and the Landmark Forum

This is something i posted to a yahoo group a while back. It's been on my mind so i cut and pasted it here for all to see. The one change i remember that i wanted to make was the use of the word "metaphysics", i wanted to substitute it with the word "ontology". There apparently is a big difference between what these two words refer to. Metaphysics is well, metaphysicx. Ontology is a sub-set of metaphysics that deals with the 'beingness' of humans.

I'm actually currently participating in "Landmard Education". I took
the Landmark Forum in Aug 2004, and I am currently a coach in one of
its programs. So take my information as pertaining to the Landmark
Forum in its current form, not the Est training, which by the accounts
of many people is vastly different from the current Landmark Forum.

I've also been wondering about the commonalities between LE/Est and
NLP. Apparently both had some involvement with the Esalen institute
(where Gregory Bateson resided in his later years). I was actually
going to email Steve A to inquire as to whether he knew/knows about
any associations bewteen the two. I figured that this was somewhat
plausible as Grinder and Bandler were reportedly voracious about who
and how many people they modeled. An aside: I was talking to one of
the professors or whatever from the Gestalt institute in cleveland and
he said that B&G modeled one of the heads of their Gestalt center, but
couldn't grasp the complexity of what she did (i say that tongue in
cheek, but he didn't), and that conversation had me think it plausible
that B&G were more voracious in their modeling than i had previously

Back on topic. . . from a philosophical stanpoint, the Landmark Forum
is a metaphysical conversation while NLP is an epistemological
conversation. I've found that realizing this difference pretty much
gives rise to cognitively similar systems, but vastly different

Both systems subscribe to something like the Korzybsian distinction
between map and territory (in Landmark parlance that's 'your story'
and 'what happens/ed'). Both systems understand that language creates
reality (through sorting, filtering and pointing). Both utilize the
difference between descriptive and evaluative language. Landmark also
emphasizes the category and use of 'declarative' language (i
will/shall make this happen). Both systems have significantly
atemporal patterns: in NLP we have timeline therapy and in LE we
have 'distinguishing the past as the past' and both of these can be
seen as variants of Korzybski's 'time-indexing' [not time-binding i

A few more broad categorical generalizations: Landmark's interactions
deal mostly with philosophical stances (eudaemonia) while NLP
demonstrates and teaches people how to manipulate your own brain to do
things. Landmark's focus is on a person's "way of being" while NLP
focuses on a "how a person functions". Both systems have their
strengths, and i think they dovetail wonderfully.

For me, Landmark encourages one to create their own goals, purpose and
individual teleology, while NLP teaches you how to solidify,
communicate and enact those goals. I found NLP lacking in helping me
clarify and push me to think what i wanted to create in my life,
whereas i find Landmark lacking in telling me the details of how to
make it happen on a minute-by-minute basis. Metaphorically speaking,
it's the difference between being a leader (LE/compass) and a manager
(NLP/map). Leaders select directions, managers show you how to get

I think another 'one-up' Landmark has on NLP is that its trainings are
relatively cheaper and 'closer to home'. What i mean by that is i
don't have to shell out five grand for a one-time seminar which by
many reports may or may not be worth it and then be relatively
divorced from 'the work' and 'the practitioners' until i proceed to
the next level (master prac). Whereas with Landmark, i have a 'center'
in that i can go to for various seminars (applications), as well as a
community of like-minded people. Also with Landmark, all of the senior
leaders i've come across are acroos-the-board high-quality and i'm
aware of the intensity of their leadership track(ing) to insure high-
quality trainings. And at Landmark i experience an almost ferverent
interest for people to heal and develop their relationships with their
families, friends and communities.

Co-incidentally, if you believe in co-incidences, the NLP book that
most closely relates to Landmark Education is Steve's Transforming
Your Self. I found it to be a relatively literal description on how to
do what Landmark's programs encourages you to do. That being said, i
would still suggest/endorse anyone taking the Landmark Forum, there's
a vast difference between the words on a book and the territory of
live training.

One other difference i see between is NLP trainings seem geared toward
creating practitioners 'only'. So there's a bit of purity of the work,
but personally, my own 'do this for what' isn't answered by the broad
promises of 'communicate better' and 'run your own brain' and etc.
Some/most people don't want the level/intensity of practitioner
training. I mean, really, it's real inconvenient to become a
practitioner. What's up with a small application workshop in 3 or so
days that gets my whole life clicking? This is coming from some one
who did a 14 day training with Meta-States people. I really didn't get
the passion to deal with life powerfully from that training, whereas
after taking the LF i saw where i wasn't being passionate about
different areas of my life. Landmark presents seminars geared
specifically to different ares of your life, with the possiblity of
further development and education in being a practitioner/leader in
the field.

Well, there's the kitchen sink!

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