Beliefs

In summary, complex equivalences and cause-effect statements are the primary building blocks of our beliefs and belief systems. They are the basis upon which we choose our actions. Statements such as "If X = Y then do Z" involve initiating a causal action based on the perception of an equivalence. It is ultimately these types of structures which determine how we concretely apply what we know.

According to the principles of Sleight of Mouth and NLP, in order for 'deeper structures' such as values (which are more abstract and subjective) to reach the tangible environment in the form of concrete behaviors, they must be linked to more specific cognitive processes and capabilities through beliefs. At some level, each one of Aristotle's causes must be addressed.

Thus, beliefs are the answers to questions such as:

1. "How, specifically, do you define the quality or entity you value?" "What other qualities, criteria and values is it related to?" (Formal Causes)

2. "What causes or creates this quality?" (Precipitating Causes)

3. "What consequences or outcomes result from that value?" "What is it leading to?" (Final Causes)

4. "How, specifically, do you know if some behavior or experience fits a particular criterion or value?" "What specific behaviors and experiences accompany this criterion or value?" (Constraining Causes)

For example, a person may define "success" as "achievement" and "self satisfaction." The person may believe that "success" comes from "doing your best," and that it leads to

"security" and "acknowledgment from others." The person may know that he or she has been successful when the person "feels a certain sensation" in his or her "chest and stomach."

(Formal Causes)

e.g.. "Achievement" "Self Satisfaction"

Definition

What is it? "What else is it related to?"

(Precipitating Causes)

(Precipitating Causes)

What causes it ? e.g.. "Doing your best"

Evidences

How do you know it is there?

e.g., "A feeling in the chest and stomach" (Constraining Causes)

(Final Causes) Conscqucnccs

What does it lead to?

e.g.. "Security" "Acknowledgment from Others"

Beliefs Connect Values to Various Aspects of Our Experience

In order for a particular value to become operational, this entire system of beliefs must be specified to some degree. For a value such as "professionalism" to be enacted behaviorally, for example, one must build beliefs about what professionalism is (the "criteria" for professionalism); how you know it is being enacted (the "criterial equivalences"); what causes it; and what it leads to. These beliefs are as significant as the value itself in determining how people will act.

Two people can share the same value of "safety," for example. One person, however, may believe that safety is caused by "being stronger than one's enemies." The other person may believe that safety is caused by "understanding and responding to the positive intentions of those who threaten us." These two will seek safety in quite different ways. Their approaches may even appear to contradict one another. The first one will seek safety by building power (having "a bigger stick" than those he or she perceives as an "enemy"). The other will seek safety through communication, gathering information and looking for options.

Clearly, an individual's beliefs relating to his or her core values will determine the person's "mental map" with respect to those values; and thus, how the person attempts to manifest those values. In order to adequately teach or establish values, all of these belief issues must be appropriately addressed. For people in a system to act coherently with core values, they must all share certain beliefs, as well as values, to some degree.

Sleight of Mouth patterns can be viewed as verbal operations that shift or reframe the various elements and linkages which make up the complex equivalences and cause-effects which form beliefs and belief statements. All Sleight of Mouth patterns revolve around using language in order to relate and link various aspects of our experience and maps of the world to core values.

In the model of Sleight of Mouth, a complete 'belief statement' must minimally contain either a complex equivalence or cause-effect assertion. A verbalization such as, "People don't care about me," for instance, is not yet a full 'belief statement'. It is a generalization related to the value of "caring"; but does not yet reveal the beliefs associated with the generalization. To elicit the beliefs related to this generalization, one would need to ask, "How do you know that people don't care about you?" "What makes people not care about you?" "What are the consequences of people not caring about you?" and "What does it mean that people don't care about you?"

Such beliefs are often elicited through 'connective' words, such as: "because," "whenever," "if," "after," "therefore," etc. -i.e., "People don't care about me because. . ." "People don't care about me if.. "People don't care about me therefore. . ."

Again, from the NLP perspective, the issue is not so much whether one has found the "correct" cause-effect belief, but rather what types of practical results one is able to achieve if one acts "as if' a particular equivalence or causal relationship exists.

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