Sorting for sameness or difference is one of the metaprograms.

What is ‘knowing’? Tracing something alien back to something one is acquainted’ and familiar with. First principle: what we have got used to we no longer consider a riddle, a problem. The feeling of the new, of the discomfiting, is dulled: everything that happens regularly no longer seems questionable to us. This is why the knower’s first instinct is to look for the rule – whereas, of course, finding the rule doesn’t yet mean anything at all is ‘known’! – Hence the superstition of the physicists: where they can stand still, i.e., where the regularity of phenomena allows them to apply abbreviating formulas, they think knowing has taken place. They have a feeling of ‘security’, but behind this intellectual security is the soothing of their fearfulness: they want the rule because it strips the world of dreadfulness. Fear of the unpredictable as the hidden instinct of science. Regularity lulls to sleep the questioning (i.e., fearing) instinct: to ‘explain’ is to show a rule in what happens. Belief in the ‘law’ is belief in the dangerousness of the arbitrary. The good will to believe in laws has helped science to victory (particularly in democratic eras).

Notebook 5, summer 1886 – autumn 1887 paragraph 10


Within NLP we prefer direction rather than goals or worse outcomes. If you make a goal too specific you only increase the chance of failure. With direction you give maximum freedom to the force that drives us.

Two Kinds of Causes which are confused.— It seems to me one of my most essential steps and advances that I have learned to distinguish the cause of an action generally from the cause of an action in a particular manner, say, in this direction, with this aim. The first kind of cause is a quantum of stored-up force, which waits to be used in some manner, for some purpose; the second kind of cause, on the contrary, is something quite unimportant in comparison with the first, an insignificant hazard for the most part, in conformity with which the quantum of force in question ” discharges ” itself in some unique and definite manner : the lucifer-match in relation to the barrel of gunpowder. Among those insignificant hazards and lucifer-matches I count all the so-called “aims,” and similarly the still more so-called “occupations” of people: they are relatively optional, arbitrary, and almost indifferent in relation to the immense quantum of force which presses on, as we have said, to be used up in any way whatever. One generally looks at the matter in a different manner: one is accustomed to see the impelling force precisely in the aim (object, calling, etc.), according to a primeval error,— but it is only the directing force, the steersman and the stream have thereby been confounded. And yet it is not even always a steersman, the directing force… Is the “aim”, the “purpose,” not often enough only an extenuating pretext, an additional self-blinding of conceit, which does not wish it to be said that the ship follows the stream into which it has accidentally run? That it ” wishes ” to go that way, because it must go that way? That it has a direction, sure enough, but— not a steersman? We still require a criticism of the conception of “purpose”.

Gay Science paragraph 360


Distortion is one the three categories of language patterns in the metamodel. In this category you find: nominalization, cause and effect, mind reading, complex equivalence and lost performative.

The continual transitions do not permit us to speak of the ‘individual’, etc.; the ‘number’ of beings is itself in flux. We wouldn’t speak of time at all and would know nothing of motion if we didn’t, in a crude way, believe we saw something ‘at rest’ alongside things in motion. Just as little would we speak of cause and effect, and without the erroneous conception of the ’empty space’ we would never have arrived at the conception of space itself. The principle of identity has as its background the ‘appearance’ that things are the same. A world of becoming could not, in the strict sense, be ‘grasped’, be ‘known’; only inasmuch as the ‘grasping’ and ‘knowing’ intellect finds an already created, crude world, cobbled together out of deceptions but having become solid, inasmuch as this kind of illusion has preserved life – only to that extent is there such a thing as ‘knowledge’: i.e., a measuring of earlier and more recent errors against one another.

Notebook 36, June – July 1885, paragraph 23