17.49, Tuesday 18 Feb 2003 Link to this post

Okay, concept. Neurolinguistic programming says that your worldview is holistic, which is fair enough. A metaphor is likely to be pervasive across how you act, which (I'd say) is why cause-and-effect models from nature are so seductive. They make sense at a deep level in our world view. Anyway. NLP as applied to sales techniques says that you can pick up verbal and non-verbal cues to deduce aspects of a person's world view, and then deliberately mirror that. They'll vibe with you nicely, and you make the sale.

So a key (or at least popular) point from NLP is that people are either visual, aural or tactile. You can pick this up - and mirror it back to them - in a number of ways:

  • Visual people say "I see what you mean" and look straight ahead when they're thinking hard, regarding what you say.
  • Aural people say "I hear what you're saying" and look to the side when they're in thought.
  • Tactile people look down when thinking and say things like "that feels right".

There's a lot more about how to pick up these signals and words.

Concept 2. People in 1930s photographs looked different. Not just clothes, but expression, big ears, Roman nose. In contrast, the young beautiful people now are snub noses and tiny-faced.

There's not a difference in the distribution of face-types, it's just that the fashion of beauty changes and so different people, as they're growing up, are being told they look great. They have more experiences of head turning, people trying to get into their pants. And so on. And so forth. The kind of experiences that make you think that your appearance is valuable, in fate. The kind of experiences that give you confidence, push up your public profile, cause you to push to the front of crowds, get in front of cameras -- be more visible for your era, in other words.

My point. What if the same is true for modes of thinking? Maybe the 1980s were really visual, the 1720s extremely tactile. These things must go in waves, in fashions: people are educated by bright people; bright people have a mode of thinking; the brightest people learn from their peers... who think like themselves.

Example. Roman and italic type started to be used together in the same line at the same time black notes began to accompany white notes on the piano, both products of the same Baroque mindset. Another example of cross-metaphors: Typography recedes onto the page. It's subtle, you don't notice the form, so it has to look comfortable. In the old days, fonts were round and squat, like the women. It's beauty again! Voluptuous, ideal women, pleasing the eye. Reflected in the archetype of the type of the time. In the 1920s, fonts like flappers. In the 1980s, tall, slim, spindly. Heroin chic?

This isn't idle speculation, this is testable.

Consider haircuts. Haircuts also have fashions. But haircuts also have perspectives. Some haircuts look great from the front, some from the side, some from the top.

We have to look at two things. Look at the literature. See how people are talking in any given era -- are they visual, aural or tactile people? Then look at the haircuts. If I'm right then the most common haircut of the time should look best from whatever perspective is dominant from an NLP perspective. That is, in an era dominated by the aural thought type, people's hair should look best from the side.

There's a thesis in this, I just know it.