One of the most important modalities within NLP is the auditory system.

The desensualization of higher art. – By virtue of the extraordinary exercise the intellect has undergone through the artistic evolution of modern music, our ears have grown more and more intellectual. We can now endure a much greater volume, much more ‘noise’, than our forefathers could because we are much more practiced in listening for the reason in it than they were. Because they at once inquire after the reason, the ‘meaning’, and are no longer content to know that a thing ‘is’, all our senses have in fact become somewhat blunted: a fact betrayed by, for example, the complete dominance of the well-tempered tonal system; for ears that can still hear the subtle distinction between for example C sharp and D flat are now exceptional. In this matter our ears have become coarser. Then, the ugly side of the world, the side originally hostile to the senses, has now been conquered for music; its sphere of power especially in the domain of the sublime, dreadful and mysterious has therewith increased astonishingly: our music now brings to utterance things which formerly had no tongue. In a similar way, some of our painters have made our eyes more intellectual and have gone far beyond that which was formerly called pleasure in form and color. Here too the side of the world that originally counted as ugly has been conquered by artistic reason. – What will be the consequence of all this? The more capable of thought eye and ear become, the closer they approach the point at which they become unsensual: pleasure is transferred to the brain, the sense-organs themselves grow blunt and feeble, the symbolic increasingly replaces the simple being – and along this path we thus attain to barbarism as certainly as along any other. For the moment we still believe: the world is uglier than ever, but it signifies a more beautiful world than there has ever been. But the more attenuated the fragrant odor of ‘significance’ becomes, the fewer there will be still able to perceive it: and the rest will finally be left with the ugly, which they will try to enjoy directly – an endeavor in which they are bound to fail. Thus there is in Germany a twofold current of musical evolution: on the one hand a host of ten thousand with ever higher, more refined demands, listening ever more intently for the ‘meaning’, and on the other the enormous majority growing every year more and more incapable of comprehending the meaningful even in the form of the sensually ugly and therefore learning to seize with greater and greater contentment the ugly and disgusting in itself, that is to say the basely sensual, in music.

Human, All Too Human, book 1, paragraph 217


One of the NLP basic presuppositions is: “All distinctions human beings are able to make concerning our environment and our behavior can be usefully represented through the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory senses.” Or to put it in different terms: within NLP we can express all that is human in terms of the five senses. A different name for a sense is a modality as this a mode that data from the outside world enters your subjective experience. The most important modalities are visual, auditory and kinestetic. The less important modalities are olfactory and gustatory.

Why we are not Idealists.— Formerly philosophers were afraid of the senses: have we, perhaps, been far too forgetful of this fear? We are at present all of us sensualists, we representatives of the present and of the future in philosophy, according to theory, however, but in praxis, in practice. . . . Those former philosophers, on the contrary, thought that the senses lured them out of their world, the cold realm of “ideas,” to a dangerous southern island, where they were afraid that their philosopher-virtues would melt away like snow in the sun. ” Wax in the ears,” was then almost a condition of philosophizing; a genuine philosopher no longer listened to life, in so far as life is music, he denied the music of life — it is an old philosophical superstition that all music is Sirens’ music. — Now we should be inclined at the present day to judge precisely in the opposite manner (which in itself might be just as false), and to regard ideas, with their cold, anaemic appearance, and not even in spite of this appearance, as worse seducers than the senses. They have always lived on the “blood” of the philosopher, they always consumed his senses, and indeed, if you will believe me, his “heart” as well. Those old philosophers were heartless: philosophizing was always a species of vampirism. At the sight of such figures even as Spinoza, do you not feel a profoundly enigmatical and disquieting sort of impression? Do you not see the drama which is here performed, the constantly increasing pallor — , the spiritualisation always more ideally displayed? Do you not imagine some long-concealed blood-sucker in the background, which makes its beginning with the senses, and in the end retains or leaves behind nothing but bones and their rattling ? — I mean categories, formulae, and words (for you will pardon me in saying that what remains Spinoza, amor intellectualis dei, is rattling and nothing more! What is amor, what is deus, when they have lost every drop of blood ? . . .) In summa : all philosophical idealism has hitherto been something like a disease, where it has not been, as in the case of Plato, the prudence of superabundant and dangerous healthfulness, the fear of overpowerful senses, the shrewdness of a shrewd Socratic. Maybe we modern are not healthy enough to need Plato’s idealism? And we don’t fear the senses because –

Gay Science paragraph 372


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


All NLP techniques consists of the manipulation of submodalities. Submodalities, or qualities as they are called in philosophy, are properties of the five modalities. So if you see something what you see is either in color or black & white, two dimensional or three dimensional, it has a size etcetera. The same goes for hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling something. Submodalities are they way meaning is coded in our brain. For each different meaning we know there is a specific combination of submodalities that represent that meaning inside our brain. The most important submodalities are visual, auditory and kinestetic.

Qualities are our insurmountable barriers; we have no way to stop ourselves feeling mere quantitative distinctions to be something fundamentally different from quantity, namely to be qualities, no longer reducible to one another. But everything for which the word ‘knowledge’ makes any sense refers to the realm where there can be counting, weighing, measuring, refers to quantity – while conversely all our feelings of value (i.e., all our feelings) adhere to qualities, that is, to the perspectival ‘truths’ that are ours and nothing more than ours, that simply cannot be ‘known’. It is obvious that every being different from us feels different qualities and consequently lives in another world from the one we live in. Qualities are our real human idiosyncrasy: wanting our human interpretations and values to be universal and perhaps constitutive values is one of the hereditary insanities of human pride, which still has its safest seat in religion. Need I add, conversely, that quantities ‘in themselves’ do not occur in experience, that our world of experience is only a qualitative world, that consequently logic and applied logic (such as mathematics) are among the artifices of the ordering, overwhelming, simplifying, abbreviating power called life, and are thus something practical and useful, because life-preserving, but for that very reason not in the least something ‘true’?

Notebook 6, summer 1886 – spring 1887 paragraph 14

Might not all quantities be signs of qualities? A greater degree of power corresponds to a different consciousness, feeling, desiring, a different perspectival view; growth itselfis a craving to be more; the craving for an increase in quantity grows from a quale; in a purely quantitative world all would be rigid, unmoving, dead. – Reducing all qualities to quantities is nonsense: what follows is that one thing and another stand side by side, an analogy.

Notebook 2, autumn 1886 – autumn 1886 paragraph 157


The visual system is one of the more important modalities within NLP.

Man is a creature that makes shapes and rhythms; he is practised at nothing better and it seems that he takes pleasure in nothing more than in inventing figures. Only observe how our eye occupies itself as soon as it receives nothing more to see: it creates itself something to see. Presumably in the same situation our hearing does just that, too: it practices. Without the transformation of the world into figures and rhythms there would be nothing ‘the same’ for us, thus nothing recurrent, and thus no possibility of experiencing and appropriating, of feeding. In all perception, i.e., in the most original appropriation, what is essentially happening is an action, or more precisely: an imposition of shapes upon things – only the superficial talk of,impressions’. In this way man comes to know his force as a resisting and even more as a determining force – rejecting, selecting, shaping to fit, slotting into his schemata. There is something active about our taking on a stimulus in the first place and taking it on as that particular stimulus. It is in the nature of this activity not only to posit shapes, rhythms and successions of shapes, but also to appraise the formation it has created with an eye to incorporation or rejection. Thus arises our world, our
whole world: and no supposed ‘true reality’, no ‘in-themselves of things’ corresponds to this whole world which we have created, belonging to us alone. Rather it is itself our only reality, and ‘knowledge’ thus considered proves to be only a means of feeding. But we are beings who are difficult to feed and have everywhere enemies and, as it were, indigestibles – that is what has made human knowledge refined, and ultimately so proud of its refinement that it doesn’t want to hear that it is not a goal but a means, or even a tool of the stomach – if not itself a kind of stomach! – –

Notebook 38, June – July 1885 paragraph 10