Positive intention

One of the most common mistakes about NLP is made in regard to the NLP presupposition that “There is a positive intention motivating every behavior; and a context in which every behavior has value.”, most commonly described as “every action has a positive intention”. The wrong interpretation here is that most people ascribe to the idea of a “positive intention” that said intention is an intention for the good, or even worse the greater good of society.

Of course in most cases there is nothing like this intention for the greater good. Most positive intentions people have, are egoistical intention that only further their own agenda. Positive here means that people’s actions are motivated by what they want rather than what they don’t want. The context in which people’s action have a value often is only the context of what the person involved wants for himself. To be blind for this is a mistake.

‘Man’s actions are always good.’ – We do not accuse nature of immorality when it sends us a thunderstorm and makes us wet: why do we call the harmful man immoral? Because in the latter case we assume a voluntarily commanding free will, in the former necessity. But this distinction is an error. And than: we do not call even intentional harming immoral under all circumstances; one unhesitatingly kills a fly intentionally, for example, merely because one does not like its buzzing, one punishes the criminal intentionally and does him harm so as to protect ourselves and society. In the first instance it is the individual who, to preserve himself or even merely to avoid displeasure, intentionally does harm; in the second it is the state. All morality allows the intentional causing of harm in the case of self-defense: that is, when it is a matter of self-preservation. But these two points of view suffice to explain all evil acts perpetrated by men against men: one desires pleasure or to ward off displeasure; it is always in some sense a matter of self-preservation. Socrates and Plato are right: whatever man does he always does the good, that is to say: that which seems to him good (useful) according to the relative degree of his intellect, the measure of his rationality.

Human, All Too Human, book 1, paragraph 102

There is something in the morality of Plato which does not really belong to Plato, but which only appears in his philosophy, one might say, in spite of him: namely, Socratism, for which he himself was too noble. “No one desire to injure himself, hence all evil is done unwittingly. The evil man inflicts injury on himself; he would not do so, however, if he knew that evil is evil. The evil man, therefore, is only evil through error; if one free him from error one will necessarily make him — good.” — This mode of reasoning stinks of the rabble, who perceive only the unpleasant consequences of evil-doing, and practically judge that “it is stupid to do wrong”; while they accept “good” as identical with “useful and pleasant,” without further thought. If you start off with the assumption that this is the origin of every system of utilitarianism, and then follow the scent: one will seldom err. — Plato did all he could to interpret something refined and noble into the tenets of his teacher, and above all to interpret himself into them — he, the most daring of all interpreters, who lifted the entire Socrates out of the street, as a popular theme and song, to exhibit him in endless and impossible modifications — namely, in all his own disguises and multiplicities. In jest, and in Homeric language as well, what is the Platonic Socrates, if not — “Plato at the front, Plato at the back, Chimaera in the middle.”

Beyond Good & Evil paragraph 190

Wickedness is rare. – Most people are much too much occupied with themselves to be wicked.

Human, All Too Human, Part 1, paragraph 85

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