One of the four requirements for well-formed goals is that you must know what you will hear, feel, see, taste and smell when you reach your goal. In other words, we want the results of NLP to be sensible. That means both smart and perceptible.

The proof of a prescription. – In general, the validity or invalidity of a prescription – a prescription for baking bread, for example – is demonstrated by whether or not the result it promises is achieved, always presupposing it is carried out correctly. It is otherwise now with moral prescriptions: for here the results are either invisible or indistinct. These prescriptions rest on hypotheses of the smallest possible scientific value which can be neither demonstrated nor refuted from their results: – but formerly, when the sciences were at their rude beginnings and very little was required for a thing to be regarded as demonstrated – formerly, the validity or invalidity of a prescription of morality was determined in the same way as we now determine that of any other prescription: by indicating whether or not it has succeeded in doing what it promised. If the natives of Russian America have the prescription: you shall not throw an animal bone into the fire or give it to the dogs – its validity is demonstrated with: ‘ if you do so you will have no luck in hunting’. But one has almost always in some sense ‘no luck in hunting’; it is not easy to refute the validity of the prescription in this direction, especially when a community and not an individual is regarded as suffering the punishment; some circumstance will always appear which seems to confirm the prescription.

Daybreak paragraph 24


Many processes within NLP are ridiculous. This is done on purpose. For the more laughter there is in the world, the better it is.

Pleasure in nonsense. – How can man take pleasure in nonsense? For wherever in the world there is laughter this is the case; one can say, indeed, that almost everywhere there is happiness there is pleasure in nonsense. The overturning of experience into its opposite, of the purposive into the purposeless, of the necessary into the arbitrary, but in such a way that this event causes no harm and is imagined as occasioned by high spirits, delights us, for it momentarily liberates us from the constraint of the necessary, the purposive and that which corresponds to our experience, which we usually see as our inexorable masters; we play and laugh when the expected (which usually makes us fearful and tense) discharges itself harmlessly. It is the pleasure of the slave at the Saturnalia.

Human, All Too Human, book 1, paragraph 213


The idea within NLP is that if you can laugh at your problem your problems disappear. Only when people take their problem seriously problems remain. So many NLP techniques have an inherent ridiculousness on purpose. As soon as there is laughter in the room, things start to get better.

Taking Things Seriously. — The intellect is with most people an awkward, obscure and creaking machine, which is difficult to set in motion: they call it “taking a thing seriously” when they work with this machine and want to think well — oh, how burdensome must good thinking be to them! That delightful animal, man, seems to lose his good humor whenever he thinks well; he becomes serious! And “where there is laughing and gaiety, thinking cannot be worth anything” — so speaks the prejudice of this serious animal against all “Gay Science” — Well, then ! Let us show that it is prejudice!

Gay Science paragraph 327

In the field. – ‘We must take things more cheerfully than they deserve; especially since we have for a long time taken them more seriously than they deserve.’ – So speak brave soldiers of knowledge.

Daybreak paragraph 567


NLP is all about state. What state you are in and how you can change from being in a state you dislike to a state that you prefer. Each state is defined by its complete set of submodalities.

Sympathetic resonance. – All stronger moods bring with them a sympathetic resonance on the part of related sensations and moods: they as it were root up the memory. Something in us is provoked to recollection and becomes aware of similar states and their origins. Thus there come to be constructed habitual rapid connections between feelings and thoughts which, if they succeed one another with lightning speed, are in the end no longer experienced as complexes but as unities. It is in this sense that one speaks of the moral feelings, of the religious feelings, as though these were simple unities: in truth, however, they are rivers with a hundred tributaries and sources. Here too, as so often, the unity of the word is no guarantee of the unity of the thing.

Human, All Too Human, book 1, paragraph 14


NLP is often thought of as a form of psychotherapy. Nothing can be further away from the truth. In fact NLP has been developed in the seventies as a criticism of psychotherapy.

Where are the new physicians of the soul? – It has been the means of comfort which have bestowed upon life that fundamental character of suffering it is now believed to possess; the worst sickness of mankind originated in the way in which they have combated their sicknesses, and what seemed to cure has in the long run produced something worse than that which it was supposed to overcome. The means which worked immediately, anesthetizing and intoxicating, the so-called consolations, were ignorantly supposed to be actual cures; the fact was not even noticed, indeed, that these instantaneous alleviations often had to be paid for with a general and profound worsening of the complaint, that the invalid had to suffer from the after-effect of intoxication, later from the withdrawal of intoxication, and later still from an oppressive general feeling of restlessness, nervous agitation and ill-health. Past a certain degree of sickness one never recovered .- the physicians of the soul, those universally believed in and worshipped, saw to that. – It is said of Schopenhauer, and with justice, that after they had been neglected for so long he again took seriously the sufferings of mankind: where is he who, after they have been neglected for so long, will again take seriously the antidotes to these sufferings and put in the pillory the unheard-of quack-doctoring with which, under the most glorious names, mankind has hitherto been accustomed to treat the sicknesses of its soul?

Daybreak paragraph 52


Time is especially important within NLP. The brain creates something called a time line which is a visual and spatial representation of time.

The logic of our conscious thinking is only a crude and facilitated form of the thinking needed by our organism, indeed by the particular organs of our organism. For example, a thinking-at-the-same-time is needed of which we have hardly an inkling. Or perhaps an artist of language does: reckoning back with the weight and the lightness of syllables, reckoning ahead, and at the same time looking for analogies between the weight of the thought and the phonetic, or physiological, conditions of the larynx: all this happens at the same time – though not consciously. Our feeling of causation is something quite crude and isolated compared to our organism’s real feelings of causality. In particular, ‘before’ and ‘after’ is a great piece of naivety. Finally: we first had to acquire everything for consciousness: a sense of time, a sense of place, a sense of causality; it having long existed, and far more richly, without consciousness. And what we acquired was a certain simplest, plainest, most reduced form: our conscious willing, feeling, thinking is in the service of a much more comprehensive willing feeling thinking. – Really? We are still growing continually, our sense of time and place, etc., is still developing.

Notebook 34, April-June 1885 paragraph 124

Our subjective experience of time can be influenced by NLP and hypnosis.

The length of the day. – When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.

Human, All Too Human, part 1, paragraph 529