A favorite saying within NLP is: “we like what if familiar, yet we learn from what is unfamiliar”.

The psychological explanation: to extract something familiar from something unknown relieves, comforts, and satisfies us, besides giving us a feeling of power. With the unknown, one is confronted with danger, discomfort, and care; the first instinct is to abolish these painful states. First principle: any explanation is better than none. Because it is fundamentally just our desire to be rid of an unpleasant uncertainty, we are not very particular about how we get rid of it: the first interpretation that explains the unknown in familiar terms feels so good that one “accepts it as true.” We use the feeling of pleasure (“of strength”) as our criterion for truth. A causal explanation is thus contingent on (and aroused by) a feeling of fear. The “why?” shall, if at all possible, result not in identifying the cause for its own sake, but in identifying a cause that is comforting, liberating, and relieving. A second consequence of this need is that we identify as a cause something already familiar or experienced, something already inscribed in memory. Whatever is novel or strange or never before experienced is excluded. Thus one searches not just for any explanation to serve as a cause, but for a specific and preferred type of explanation: that which has most quickly and most frequently abolished the feeling of the strange, new, and hitherto unexperienced in the past — our most habitual explanations. Result: one type of causal explanation predominates more and more, is concentrated into a system and finally emerges as dominant — that is, as simply precluding other causes and explanations. The banker immediately thinks of “business,” the Christian of “sin,” and the girl of her love.

Twilight of the Idols, The Four Great Errors, paragraph 5

The Origin of our Conception of “Knowledge” — I take this explanation from the street, I heard one of the people saying that “he knew me,” so I asked myself: What do the people really understand by knowledge? what do they want when they seek “knowledge”? Nothing more than that what is strange is to be traced back to something known. And we philosophers — have we really understood anything more by knowledge? The known, that is to say, what we are accustomed to so that we no longer marvel at it, the commonplace, any kind of rule to which we are habituated, all and everything in which we know ourselves to be at home: — what? is our need of knowing not just this need of the known? the will to discover in everything strange, unusual, or questionable, something which no longer disquiets us? Is it not possible that it should be the instinct of fear which enjoins upon us to know ? Is it not possible that the rejoicing of the discerner should be just his rejoicing in the regained feeling of security ? . . . One philosopher imagined the world “known” when he had traced it back to the “idea”: alas, was it not because the idea was so known, so familiar to him? because he had so much less fear of the “idea” — Oh, this moderation of the discerners ! let us but look at their principles, and at their solutions of the riddle the world in this connection ! When they again find aught in things, among things, or behind things that is unfortunately very well known to us, for example, our multiplication table, or our logic, or our willing and desiring, how happy they immediately are! For “what is known is understood”: they are unanimous as to that. Even the most circumspect among them think that the known is at least more easily understood than the strange; that for example, it is methodically ordered to proceed outward from the “inner world”, from “the facts of consciousness” because it is the world which is better known to us! Error of errors! The known is the accustomed, and the accustomed is the most difficult of all to “understand” that is to say, to perceive as a problem, to perceive as strange, distant, “outside of us”. . . The great certainty of the natural sciences in comparison with psychology and the criticism of the elements of consciousness — unnatural sciences, as one might almost be entitled to call them — rests precisely on the fact that they take what is strange as their object: while it is almost like something contradictory and absurd to wish to take generally what
is not strange as an object. . . .

Gay Science Paragraph 355


Although NLP is often mistaken for an intellectual mind game, the body is in fact very important to NLP practitioners. There is a variant of NLP called Patterns of Physical Transformation (PPT) that does with hands and muscles what NLP does with words.

Morality and physiology
– We find it ill-considered that precisely human consciousness has for so long been regarded as the highest stage of organic development and as the most astonishing of all earthly things, indeed as their blossoming and goal. In fact, what is more astonishing is the body: there is no end to one’s admiration for how the human body has become possible; how such a prodigious alliance of living beings, each dependent and subservient and yet in a certain sense also commanding and acting out of its own will, can live, grow, and for a while prevail, as a whole – and we can see this does not occur due to consciousness! For this ‘miracle of miracles’, consciousness is just a ‘tool’ and nothing more – a tool in the same sense that the stomach is a tool. The magnificent binding together of the most diverse life, the ordering and arrangement of the higher and lower activities, the thousand-fold obedience which is not blind, even less mechanical, but a selecting, shrewd, considerate, even resistant obedience – measured by intellectual standards, this whole phenomenon ‘body’ is as superior to our consciousness, our ‘mind’, our conscious thinking, feeling, willing, as algebra is superior to the times tables. The ‘apparatus of nerves and brain’ is not constructed this subtly and ‘divinely’ so as to bring forth thinking, feeling, willing at all. It seems to me, instead, that precisely this thinking, feeling, willing does not itself require an ‘apparatus’ but that the so-called apparatus, and it alone, is the thing that counts. Rather, such a prodigious synthesis of living beings and intellects as is called ‘man’ will only be able to live once that subtle system of connections and mediations, and thus lightning-fast communication between all these higher and lower beings, has been created – and created by nothing but living intermediaries: this, however, is a problem of morality, not of mechanics! Nowadays we’ve forbidden ourselves to spin yarns about ‘unity’, the ‘soul’, the ‘person’: hypotheses like these make one’s problem more difficult, that much is clear.And for us, even those smallest living beings which constitute our body (more correctly: for whose interaction the thing we call ‘body’ is the best simile -) are not soul-atoms, but rather something growing, struggling, reproducing and dying off again: so that their number alters unsteadily, and our living, like all living, is at once an incessant dying. There are thus in man as many ‘consciousnesses’ as – at every moment of his existence there are beings which constitute his body. The distinguishing feature of that ‘consciousness’ usually held to be the only one, the intellect, is precisely that it remains protected and closed off from the immeasurable multiplicity in the experiences of these many consciousnesses and that, as a consciousness of a higher rank, as a governing multitude and aristocracy, it is presented only with a selection of experiences – experiences, furthermore, that have all been simplified, made easy to survey and grasp, thus falsified – so that it in turn may carry on this simplification and making graspable, in other words this falsification, and prepare what is commonly called ‘a will’ – every such act of will requires,so to speak, the appointment of a dictator. However, what presents this selection to our intellect, what has simplified, assimilated, interpreted experiences beforehand, is at any rate not that intellect itself; any more than it is the intellect which carries out the will, which takes up a pale, watery and extremely imprecise idea of value and force and translates it into living force, precise measures of value. And just the same kind of operation as is enacted here must keep being enacted on all the deeper levels, in the behavior of all these higher and lower beings towards one other: this same selection and presentation of experiences, this abstraction and thinking-together, this willing, this translation of always very unspecific willing back into specific activity. Along the guiding thread of the body, as I have said, we learn that our life is possible through an interplay of many intelligences that are very unequal in value, and thus only through a constant, thousand-fold obeying and commanding – speaking in moral terms: through the incessant exercise of many virtues. And how could one not speak in moral terms! – – Prattling in this way, I gave myself up dissolutely to my pedagogic drive, for I was overjoyed to have someone who could bear to listen to me. However, it was just then that Ariadne – for this all took place during my first stay on Naxos – could actually bear it no more: ‘But, sir,’ she said, ‘You’re talking pigswill German!’ – ‘German’, I answered untroubled, ‘Simply German! Leave aside the pigswill, my goddess! You underestimate the difficulty of saying subtle things in German!’ – ‘Subtle things!’ cried Ariadne, horrified, ‘But that was just positivism! Philosophy of the snout! Conceptual muck and mish-mash from a hundred philosophies! Whatever next!’ – all the while toying impatiently with the famous thread that once guided her Theseus through the labyrinth. – Thus it came to light that Ariadne was two thousand years behindhand in her philosophical training.

Notebook 37, June – July 1885 paragraph 4


Richard Bandler, the creator of NLP, is a genius. Not only in coming up with NLP as a methodology, set of techniques and attitude. But also when you see him work with people it is pure genius.

My conception of genius. — Great men, like great ages, are explosives in which a tremendous force is stored up; their precondition is always, historically and physiologically, that for a long time much has been gathered, stored up, saved up, and conserved for them — that there has been no explosion for a long time. Once the tension in the mass has become too great, then the most accidental stimulus suffices to summon into the world the “genius,” the “deed,” the great destiny. What does the environment matter then, or the age, or the “spirit of the age,” or “public opinion”! Take the case of Napoleon. Revolutionary France, and even more, prerevolutionary France, would have brought forth the opposite type; in fact, it did. Because Napoleon was different, the heir of a stronger, older, more ancient civilization than the one which was then perishing in France, he became the master there, he was the only master. Great men are necessary, the age in which they appear is accidental; that they almost always become masters over their age is only because they are stronger, because they are older, because for a longer time much was gathered for them. The relationship between a genius and his age is like that between strong and weak, or between old and young: the age is relatively always much younger, thinner, more immature, less assured, more childish. That in France today they think quite differently on this subject (in Germany too, but that does not matter), that the milieu theory, which is truly a neurotic’s theory, has become sacrosanct and almost scientific and has found adherents even among physiologists — that “smells bad” and arouses sad reflections. It is no different in England, but that will not grieve anybody. For the English there are only two ways of coming to terms with the genius and the “great man”: either democratically in the manner of Buckle or religiously in the manner of Carlyle. The danger that lies in great men and ages is extraordinary; exhaustion of every kind, sterility, follow in their wake. The great human being is a finale; the great age — the Renaissance, for example — is a finale. The genius, in work and deed, is necessarily a squanderer: that he squanders himself, that is his greatness! The instinct of self-preservation is suspended, as it were: the overpowering pressure of outflowing forces forbids him any such care or caution. People call this “selfsacrifice” and praise his “heroism,” his indifference to his own well-being, his devotion to an idea, a great cause, a fatherland: without exception, misunderstandings. He flows out, he overflows, he uses himself up, he does not spare himself — and this is a calamitous involuntary fatality, no less than a river’s flooding the land. Yet, because much is owed to such explosives, much has also been given them in return: for example, a kind of higher morality. After all, that is the way of human gratitude: it misunderstands its benefactors.

Twilight of the Idols, Skirmishes of an Untimely Man, paragraph 44


More and more NLP training programmes claim that NLP benefits your health. Most of the time it is wrong to make health claims in regard to NLP. NLP is not about a cure for problems, but education. Even when NLP rightfully is about health most of the time it a kind of middle of the road health. But that is not the kind of health Nietzsche is talking about.

Great Health. — We, the new, the nameless, the hard-to-understand, we firstlings of a yet untried future — we require for a new end also a new means, namely, a new health, stronger, sharper, tougher, bolder and merrier than any health hitherto. He whose soul longs to experience the whole range of hitherto recognized values and desirabilities, and to circumnavigate all the coasts of this ideal ” Mediterranean Sea,” who, from the adventures of his most personal experience, wants to know how it feels to be a conqueror and discoverer of the ideal — as likewise how it is with the artist, the saint, the legislator, the sage, the scholar, the devotee, the prophet, and the godly Nonconformist of the old style: — requires one thing above all for that purpose, great health — such health as one not only possesses, but also constantly acquires and must acquire, because one continually sacrifices it again, and must sacrifice it ! — And now, after having been long on the way in this fashion, we Argonauts of the ideal, who are more courageous perhaps than prudent, and often enough shipwrecked and brought to grief, nevertheless, as said above, healthier than people would like to admit, dangerously healthy, always healthy again, — it would seem, as if in recompense for it all, that we have a still undiscovered country before us, the boundaries of which no one has yet seen, a beyond to all countries and corners of the ideal known hitherto, a world so over-rich in the beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the frightful, and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our thirst for possession thereof, have got out of hand — alas ! that nothing will now any longer satisfy us! How could we still be content with the man of the present day after such peeps, and with such a craving in our conscience and consciousness? What a pity ; but it is unavoidable that we should look on the worthiest aims and hopes of the man of the present day with ill-concealed amusement, and perhaps should no longer look at them. Another ideal runs on before us, a strange, tempting ideal, full of danger, to which we should not like to persuade any one, because we do not so readily acknowledge any one’s right thereto: the ideal of a spirit who plays naively (that is to say involuntarily and from overflowing abundance and power) with everything that has hitherto been called holy, good, inviolable, divine ; to whom the loftiest conception which the people have reason- ably made their measure of value, would already imply danger, ruin, abasement, or at least relaxation, blindness, or temporary self-forgetfulness; the ideal of a humanly superhuman welfare and benevolence, which may often enough appear inhuman, for example, when put by the side of all past seriousness on earth, and in comparison with all past solemnities in bearing, word, tone, look, and pursuit, as their truest involuntary parody, — but with which, nevertheless, perhaps the great seriousness only commences, the proper interrogation mark is set up, the fate of the soul changes, the hour-hand moves, and tragedy begins. . .

Day Science paragraph 382


When one does NLP one has to pay homage to Richard Bandler, the genius who created NLP in the seventies. Nevertheless, most NLP trainers rather try to minimize the role Richard Bandler plays in the development of NLP.

Learning to do homage. — One must learn the art of homage, as well as the art of contempt. Whoever goes in new paths and has led many persons therein, discovers with astonishment how awkward and incompetent all of them are in the expression of their gratitude, and indeed how rarely gratitude is able even to express itself. It is always as if something comes into people’s throats when their gratitude wants to speak so that it only hems and haws, and becomes silent again. The way in which a thinker succeeds in tracing the effect of his thoughts, and their transforming and convulsing power, is almost a comedy: it sometimes seems as if those who have been operated upon felt profoundly injured thereby, and could only assert their independence, which they suspect to be threatened, by all kinds of improprieties. It needs whole generations in order merely to devise a courteous convention of gratefulness; it is only very late that the period arrives when something of spirit and genius enters into gratitude. Then there is usually someone who is the great receiver of thanks, not only for the good he himself has done, but mostly for that which has been gradually accumulated by his predecessors, as a treasure of what is highest and best.

Gay Science paragraph 100


As a NLP trainer one is often better at the stuff you are teaching than the people you teach too. Especially on the subjects of decision making, feeling good, communicating well and achieving goals. For that reason it is important to make sure that in your training their is enough room for self-irony so to overcome any distance between you and your audience.

The inhumanity of the sage. – Since the progress of the sage, who, as the Buddhist hymn says, ‘walks alone like the rhinoceros’, is heavy and crushes all in its path – there is need from time to time of a sign of a conciliatory and gentler humanity: and by that I mean, not only a swifter progress, a politeness and companionableness, not only a display of wit and a certain self-mockery, but a self-contradiction and an occasional regression into the nonsense currently in vogue. If he is not to resemble a steamroller which advances like fatality, the sage who wants to teach has to employ his faults as an extenuation, and when he says ‘despise me!’ he pleads for permission to be the advocate of a presumptuous truth. He wants to lead you into the mountains, he wants perhaps to put your life in danger: in return he is willing, before and afterwards, to let you take revenge on such a leader – it is the price at which he purchases for himself the pleasure of going on ahead. – Do you recall what went through your mind when once he led you by slippery paths through a dark cavern? How your heart, beating and discouraged, said to itself: ‘this leader might do something better than crawl about here! He is one of those inquisitive kinds of idlers: – does it not already do him too much honor that we should appear to accord him any value at all by
following him?’

Daybreak paragraph 469


What sometimes happens is that after NLP training or coaching one’s life improves considerably and a negative reaction to this sudden change is coming from friends and family. What is happening is that they themselves have issues and the person who has overcome his problems is now a mirror to them showing them that they have some responsibility for their misery. For that insight they blame the other person.

One’s own path. – If we take the decisive step and enter upon the path which is called our ‘own path’, a secret is suddenly revealed to us: all those who have hitherto been our friends and familiars have imagined themselves superior to us, and are now offended. The best of them are lenient with us and wait patiently for us soon to find our way back to the ‘right path’ – they know, it seems, what the right path is! The others resort to mockery and act as though one had become temporarily insane, or they make spiteful allusions to the person they suppose to have misled us. The more malicious declare us to be vain fools and seek to blacken our motives, while the worst former friend of all sees in us his worst enemy and one thirsting for revenge for a protracted dependence – and is afraid of us. – What are we to do? My advice is: to inaugurate our sovereignty by promising all our acquaintances a year’s amnesty in advance for all their sins.

Daybreak paragraph 484


Laughter plays an important part in NLP.

The Olympian vice. – In spite of that philosopher who, being a true Englishman, tried to give laughter a bad reputation among all thoughtful people –, “laughter is a terrible infirmity of human nature, and one that every thinking mind will endeavor to overcome” (Hobbes) –, I would go so far as to allow myself a rank order of philosophers based on the rank of their laughter – right up to those who are capable of golden laughter. And given that even gods philosophize (a conclusion I have been drawn to many times –), I do not doubt that they know a new and super-human way of laughing – at the expense of everything serious! Gods like to make fun of things: it seems as if they cannot stop laughing, even during holy rites.

Beyond Good & Evil paragraph 294



NLP stands for Neur-Linguistic Programming. For that reason language is very important in NLP. Everything that you have learned from experience is somehow coded in the brain. The complete set of this code in NLP is called the world model. Whatever you say is coming from this world model. For that reason a NLP practitioner is very good at listening for in the way you phrase stuff, you can hear where the world model of a person is rich, poor or too poor or too rich. The idea of NLP is enrich someone’s world model so that he gets more options in life and more freedom to chose between these options. If someone has a problem, this only means that his world model is not rich enough to find the solution. So NLP solves problems by enriching world models. For that reason if a NLP practitioner gets someone to speak differently about his problems a first step towards a solution has been made.

At long last, let us contrast the very different manner in which we conceive the problem of error and appearance. (I say “we” for politeness’ sake.) In the past, alteration, change, any becoming at all, were taken as proof of mere appearance, as an indication that there must be something which led us astray. Today, in contrast, precisely insofar as the prejudice of reason forces us to posit unity, identity, permanence, substance, cause, thinghood, being, we see ourselves somehow caught in error, compelled into error — so certain are we, on the basis of rigorous examination, that this is where the error lies. It is no different in this case than with the movement of the sun: there our eye is the constant advocate of error, here it is our language. In its origin language belongs to the age of the most rudimentary psychology. We enter a realm of crude fetishism when we summon before consciousness the basic presuppositions of the metaphysics of language — in plain talk, the presuppositions of reason. Everywhere reason sees a doer and doing; it believes in will as the cause; it believes in the ego, in the ego as being, in the ego as substance, and it projects this faith in the ego-substance upon all things — only thereby does it first create the concept of “thing.” Everywhere “being” is projected by thought, pushed underneath, as the cause; the concept of being follows, and is a derivative of, the concept of ego. In the beginning there is that great calamity of an error that the will is something which is effective, that will is a capacity. Today we know that it is only a word. Very much later, in a world which was in a thousand ways more enlightened, philosophers, to their great surprise, became aware of the sureness, the subjective certainty, in our handling of the categories of reason: they concluded that these categories could not be derived from anything empirical — for everything empirical plainly contradicted them. Whence, then, were they derived? And in India, as in Greece, the same mistake was made: “We must once have been at home in a higher world (instead of a very much lower one, which would have been the truth); we must have been divine, because we have reason!” Indeed, nothing has yet possessed a more naive power of persuasion than the error concerning being, as it has been formulated by the Eleatics, for example. After all, every word and every sentence we say speak in its favor. Even the opponents of the Eleatics still succumbed to the seduction of their concept of being: Democritus, among others, when he invented his atom. “Reason” in language — oh, what an old deceptive female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar.

Twilight of the Idols, ‘Reason’ In Philosophy, paragraph 5


One of Richard Bandler’s favorite sayings is: “Freedom is everything and love is all the rest.” These are the two values of NLP: freedom and love.

Love. Is the most astonishing proof wanted of how far the transfigurative force of intoxication can go? ‘Love’ is that proof, what’s called love in all the languages and mutenesses of the world. Intoxication here gets the better of reality in such a way that, in the consciousness of the lover, the cause seems obliterated and something else located in its place – a quivering and a sudden gleam of all the magic mirrors of Circe. Here man or animal makes no difference; even less do spirit, goodness, probity … One is made a fine fool of if one is fine, a gross fool of if one is gross; but love, and even love of God, the saintly love of ‘saved souls’, at root remains one thing: a fever that has reasons to transfigure itself, an intoxication that does well to lie about itself. And anyway, when one loves one is a good liar, to oneself and about oneself: one strikes oneself as transfigured, stronger, richer, more perfect, one is more perfect … Here we find art as an organic function: we find it embedded in life’s most angelic instinct: we find it as life’s greatest stimulus – art, thus, sublimely expedient even in its lying … But it would be a mistake to stop at love’s power to lie: it does more than just imagine, and actually alters the ranking of values. And not only does it change the feeling of values … The lover is more valuable, is stronger. With the animals, this state produces new substances, pigments, colors and forms: especially new movements, new rhythms, new calls and seductions. With man it’s no different. The economy of a man is richer than ever, more powerful, more whole than the non-lover’s. The lover becomes a spendthrift: he’s rich enough for it. He now dares, becomes an adventurer, becomes a donkey of generosity and innocence; he believes in God again, he believes in virtue because he believes in love. On the other hand this idiot of happiness grows wings and new capacities, and even the doors of art open up to him. Discount from poetry in sounds and words the suggestion of that intestinal fever – and what remains of poetry and music? … L’art pour l’art, perhaps: the virtuoso croaking of abandoned frogs despairing in their swamp … All the rest was created by love …

Notebook 14, spring 1888 paragraph 120