The Miltonmodel
The Miltonmodel

The Miltonmodel is the model in NLP for influencing people. It is named after Milton Erickson, the famous psychiatrist who thought up hypnotherapy. It was named after him because no-one has so many publication where it clearly states that one shouldn’t manipulate other people while at the same time he manipulated so many people.  The Miltonmodel consists of the reversed metamodel, indirect elicitation patterns, metaphor and ambiguities.

That in the ‘process of the whole’ the work of mankind is of no account, because there is no total process (conceived of as a system -) at all: – that there is no ‘whole’, that no evaluation of human existence, of human goals can be made with a view to something which doesn’t exist … – that necessity, causality, purposiveness are useful illusions – that the goal is not the increase of consciousness but the enhancement of power, an enhancement in which the usefulness of consciousness is included, with pleasure as much as with unpleasure – that one does not take means as the highest measure of value (thus not states of consciousness, such as pleasure and pain, if consciousness is itself a means -) – that the world is not at all an organism, but chaos: that the development of ‘mental life’ is a means for the organisation to gain relative permanence … – that all ‘desirability’ is meaningless with respect to the total character of being.

Notebook 11, November 1887 – March 1888 paragraph 74

Not enough! – It is not enough to prove something, one has also to seduce or elevate people to it. That is why the man of knowledge should learn how to sounds like folly!

Daybreak paragraph 330

The difference between the metamodel and the Miltonmodel

In the quote below, if you replace “science” with the metamodel and realize that the conjurer is the hypnotist using the Miltonmodel, you get a very good explanation of the difference between the Miltonmodel and the metamodel.

The conjurer and his opposite. – What is astonishing in the realm of science is the opposite of what is astonishing in the art of the conjurer. For the latter wants to persuade us to see a very simple causality where in truth a very complicated causality is at work. Science, on the contrary, compels us to abandon belief in simple causalities precisely where everything seems so easy to comprehend and we are the fools of appearance. The ‘simplest’ things are very complicated – a fact at which one can never cease to marvel!

Daybreak paragraph 6

To be Profound and to Appear Profound. — He who knows that he is profound strives for clarification; he who would like to appear profound to the multitude strives for obscurity. The multitude thinks everything profound of which it cannot see the bottom; it is so timid and goes so unwillingly into the water.

Gay Science paragraph 173

More seriously. – One takes an obscure and inexplicable thing more seriously than a clear and explicable one.

Human, All Too Human, part 1, paragraph 532


If one wants to make rapport, one can mirror the other person. But mind you if you start to copy them exactly this will only irritate the other.

Empathy. – To understand another person, that is, to imitate his feelings in ourselves, we do indeed often go back to the reason for his feeling thus or thus and ask for example: why is he troubled? – so as then for the same reason to become troubled ourselves; but it is much more usual to omit to do this and instead to produce the feeling in ourselves after the effects it exerts and displays on the other person by imitating with our own body the expression of his eyes, his voice, his walk, his bearing (or even their reflection in word, picture, music). Then a similar feeling arises in us in consequence of an ancient association between movement and sensation, which has been trained to move backwards or forwards in either direction. We have brought our skill in understanding the feelings of others to a high state of perfection and in the presence of another person we are always almost involuntarily practising this skill: one should observe especially the play on the faces of women and how they quiver and glitter in continual imitation and reflection of what is felt to be going on around them. But it is music which reveals to us most clearly what masters we are in the rapid and subtle divination of feelings and in empathising: for, though music is an imitation of an imitation of feelings, it nonetheless and in spite of this degree of distance and indefiniteness often enough makes us participants in these feelings, so that, like perfect fools, we grow sad without there being the slightest occasion for sorrow merely because we hear sounds and rhythms which somehow remind us of the tone-of-voice and movements of mourners, or even of no more than their customary usages. It is told of a Danish king that he was wrought up to such a degree of warlike fury by the music of his minstrel that he leaped from his seat and killed five people of his assembled court: there was no war, no enemy, rather the reverse, but the drive which from the feeling infers the cause was sufficiently strong to overpower observation and reason. But that is almost always the effect of music (supposing it capable of producing an effect at all – ), and one does not require such paradoxical cases to see this: the state of feeling into which music transports us almost always contradicts the real situation we are apparently in and the reasoning powers which recognize this real situation and its causes. – If we ask how we became so fluent in the imitation of the feelings of others the answer admits of no doubt: man, as the most timid of all creatures on account of his subtle and fragile nature, has in his timidity the instructor in that empathy, that quick understanding of the feelings of another (and of animals). Through long millennia he saw in everything strange and lively a danger: at the sight of it he at once imitated the expression of the features and the bearing and drew his conclusion as to the kind of evil intention behind these features and this bearing. Man has even applied this interpretation of all movements and lineaments as deriving from intention to inanimate nature – in the delusion that there is nothing inanimate: I believe that all we call feeling for nature at the sight of sky, meadow, rocks, forest, storms, stars, sea, landscape, spring, has its origin here – without the primeval habit, born of fear, of seeing behind all this a second, hidden meaning, we would not now take pleasure in nature, just as we would take no pleasure in man and animal without this same instructor in understanding, fear. For pleasure and pleased astonishment, finally the sense of the ridiculous, are the later-born children of empathy and the much younger siblings of fear. – The capacity for understanding – which, as we have seen, rests on the capacity for rapid dissimulation – declines in proud, arrogant men and peoples, because they have less fear: on the other hand, every kind of understanding and self-dissembling is at home among timid peoples; here is also the rightful home of the imitative arts and of the higher intelligence. – If, from the standpoint of such a theory of empathy as I have here suggested, I think of the theory, just at this time much loved and sanctified, of a mystical process by virtue of which pity makes two beings into one and in this way makes possible the immediate understanding of the one by the other: when I recall that so clear a head as Schopenhauer’s took pleasure in such frivolous and worthless rubbish and passed this pleasure on to other clear and not-so-clear heads: then there is no end to my amazement and compassion! How great must be our joy in incomprehensible nonsense! How close to the madman does the sane man stand when he pays heed to his secret intellectual desires! – (For what did Schopenhauer really feel so grateful and so deeply indebted to Kant? The answer was once revealed quite unambiguously: someone had spoken of how Kant’s categorical imperative could be deprived of its occult qualities and be made comprehensible. Thereupon Schopenhauer burst out: ‘The categorical imperative comprehensible! What a fundamentally perverse idea! What Egyptian darkness! Heaven forbid that it should ever become comprehensible! For that there is something incomprehensible, that this misery of the understanding and its concepts is limited, conditional, finite, deceptive: the certainty of this is Kant’s greatest gift to us.’ – Let us ask ourselves whether anyone who feels happy in believing in the incomprehensibility of moral things can be sincerely interested in acquiring a knowledge of them! One who still honestly believes in inspirations from on high, in magic and spiritual apparitions, and in the metaphysical ugliness of the toad!)

Daybreak paragraph 142


Within NLP miscommunication is as important as communication. We think we understand each other, but in reality there is misunderstanding due to the processes of deletion, distortion and generalization. Interesting is that even though misunderstanding is central in NLP almost no NLP practitioner realizes that there is very good chance that he misunderstand Richard Bandler.

What, in the end, is base? – Words are acoustic signs for concepts; concepts, though, are more or less determinate pictorial signs for sensations that occur together and recur frequently, for groups of sensations. Using the same words is not enough to get people to understand each other: they have to use the same words for the same species of inner experiences too; ultimately, people have to have the same experience base. This is why a people in a community will understand each other better than they understand people belonging to other groups, even when they all use the same language. Or rather, when individuals have lived together for a long time under similar conditions (of climate, soil, danger, necessities, work), there arises something that “understands itself ” – a people. In all souls, an equal number of frequently recurring experiences have gained an upper hand over ones that occur less frequently: understanding takes place faster and faster on this basis (the history of language is the history of a process of abbreviation); and people join closer and closer together on the basis of this understanding. The greater the danger, the greater the need to agree quickly and easily about necessities. Not to misunderstand each other when there is danger: people require this in order to interact with each other. In every friendship or relationship, people still put this principle to the test: nothing will last once the discovery is made that one of the two feels, means, senses, wishes, fears something different from the other when using the same words. (Fear of the “eternal misunderstanding”: this is the benevolent genius that so often keeps people of the opposite sex from rushing into relationships at the insistence of their hearts and senses – and not some Schopenhauerian “genius of the species” –!) What group of sensations in a soul will be the first to wake up, start speaking, and making demands is decisive for the whole rank order of its values, and will ultimately determine its table of goods. A person’s valuations reveal something about the structure of his soul and what the soul sees as its conditions of life, its genuine needs. Now, assuming that needs have only ever brought people together when they could somehow indicate similar requirements and similar experiences with similar signs, then it follows, on the whole, that the easy communicability of needs (which ultimately means having only average and base experiences) must have been the most forceful of the forces that have controlled people so far. People who are more alike and ordinary have always been at an advantage; while people who are more exceptional, refined, rare, and difficult to understand will easily remain alone, prone to accidents in their isolation and rarely propagating. Immense countervailing forces will have to be called upon in order to cross this natural, all-too-natural continuation of the same thing, people becoming increasingly similar, ordinary, average, herd-like, – increasingly base!

Beyond Good & Evil paragraph 268


Mistakes are good in NLP. We like people to make mistakes. Preferably, every mistake only once. If people try to avoid making mistakes they limit themselves unnecessarily. One of the basic ideas in NLP is that there is no failure only feedback.

Against remorse. I don’t like this kind of cowardice towards one’s own deed; one should not desert oneself when attacked by unexpected disgrace and distress. Extreme pride is more fitting here. In the end, what good is it! Remorse can’t undo any deed; neither can ‘forgiveness’ or ‘atonement’. One would have to be a theologian to believe in a power that cancels guilt; we immoralists prefer not to believe in ‘guilt’. We hold that every kind of action is at root identical in value – likewise that actions directed against us may yet, considered economically, be useful and generally desirable actions. – In individual cases we’ll admit that we could easily have been spared a particular deed – only circumstances favored our committing it. – Which of us, favored by circumstances, wouldn’t already have run the entire gamut of crimes? ,One should therefore never say: ‘You shouldn’t have done this or that,’ but only ever: ‘How strange that I haven’t done that a hundred times,’- In the end very few actions are typical actions and really abbreviations for a personality; and considering how little personality most people have, a man is rarely characterized by a single deed. A deed of circumstance, merely epidermal, merely a reflex triggered by a stimulus: before the depths of our being have been touched by it, consulted on it. A rage, a grasp, a knife-thrust: what is there of personality in that! – The deed often brings with it a kind of fixed stare and unfreedom: so that the doer seems transfixed by the memory of it and sees himself as no longer anything more than an appendage of it. This disturbance of the mind, a form of hypnosis, is what one must combat most of all: after all, a single deed, whatever it may be, is zero compared to the entirety of what one has done, and may be counted out without falsifying the calculation. The fair interest which society may have in calculating our whole existence in just one direction, as if its whole aim had been to produce one single deed, should not infect the doer himself: unfortunately this happens almost constantly. That is because every deed with unusual consequences is followed by a disturbance of the mind: regardless even of whether those consequences are good or bad. Look at a man in love who’s gained a promise; a writer applauded by the whole house: as far as their intellectual torpor is concerned, they differ not at all from the anarchist surprised by a raid. – There are actions that are unworthy of us: actions that, if we took them as typical, would push us down into a lower species. Here the one mistake to be avoided is taking them to be typical. There is the converse kind of action, of which we are unworthy: exceptions born of a special plenitude of happiness and health, our highest tidal waves, driven that high by a storm, a chance: such actions and ‘works’ are not typical. One should never measure an artist by the yardstick of his works.

Notebook 10, autumn 1887 paragraph 108