How Your Friends And The Media Use Neuro-Linguistic Programming To Control You

You may be wondering, “what is neuro-linguistic programming?” To put it simply, NLP consists of a combo of verbal and physical cues that cause you to react/think/feel in a very specific way. NLP comes with a number of positive effects, but it also ranks among one of the most effective mind control tactics of the 20th century.

When done correctly, NLP relies on confusing and vague language to disorient a target and convince them into doing something they might not otherwise consider. It’s akin to hypnotism but slightly more scientifically proven and less overt, which makes it all the more dangerous.

Neuro-linguistic programming emerged as a light version of mind control techniques used by the CIA on MK-Ultra victims in the '50s and '60s. While the CIA inundated those poor souls with extreme amounts of drugs and verbal cues, NLP users simply overwhelm their victims with vague phrasing and physical cues. While it sounds like the stuff of sci-fi movies, this mind control seems to actually work, and how the media may be using NLP to control everyone you know. 

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming Emerged In The '70s

    Neuro-Linguistic Programming Emerged In The '70s
    Photo: A Clockwork Orange / Warner Bros.

    Neuro-Linguistic Programming (or NLP for short) arose in the '70s as a technique invented to "reprogram" one's brain to fix your personal problems, or perhaps more accurately, your personal inhibitions. Do you drink too much? Despise working out but still want to make sure you get to the gym? Constantly procrastinating? Well, the reprogramming aspects of NLP might make it so your brain forces you to, basically, be better.

    NLP emerged in the 1970s from the work of Richard Bandler and John Grinder, two young college students with a shared interest in neuroscience, computer technology, and hypnosis who wanted to explore the connections between human thought, communication, and behavior. They developed the technique as retaliation against the psychotherapy movement; Bandler considers the process of addressing and exploring trauma as "just cruel."

    When the Human Potential Movement boomed in the late '70s, Bandler and Grinder leaned into the process and began marketing NLP as a way for people to improve business dealings, claiming "If any human being can do anything, so can you." 

  • NLP Workshops Make For Big Business

    Even though Richard Bandler and John Grinder went their separate ways in 1980, Bandler still makes a lot of money teaching people how to "improve" themselves with NLP. The Independent reports "intimate" three-day courses cost around $13,000 and the NLP business is allegedly a multi-billion dollar industry.

    The workshops are three-day intensives that take place in a hotel and run participants through a series of seminars promising to change their lives by the end of the weekend. If you attend one of the NLP workshops you'll find Bandler and his crew giving speeches on altering reality, influencing people to increase sales, and improving your mirroring techniques. 

    One of these workshops in Orlando, FL, attracted 100 visitors, some of whom came from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.


  • NLP Provides A "Subjective Reality"

    NLP Provides A "Subjective Reality"
    Photo: Inception / Warner Bros.

    NLP involves a series of verbal and physical cues used by business executives, sales associates, pickup artists, and pretty much anyone who gives off a predatory vibe. The core tenants of NLP revolve around creating a "subjective experience," meaning everyone takes away something different from an engagement. Furthermore, NLP teaches that because experiences are subjective you can learn to act them out before they happen in order to find a structure or pattern in those experiences. When it comes to subjective experiences, if you want to never hear the word "No," then you can supposedly teach yourself to remove it from your senses. 

    Bandler and Grinder weren't the first people to come up with a concept like "subjective reality" and they definitely weren't the last. Around the same time NLP was in its test phase, an Englishman named Peter J. Carroll was developing what he called chaos magic, which is pretty much all about changing your reality by putting out a specific vibe. Later down the line, Rhonda Byrne created The Secret in 2006. This self-help method calls for using positive thinking to effect your life; in turn, this was influenced by 1910's The Science of Getting Rich.

    Outside of the realm of self-help, some argue the Trump administration relies on tactics similar to NLP's technique of subjective reality. According to these people, by suggesting extreme measures such as the Muslim ban or a massive wall on the border, Trump takes the public's concerns and elevates them a step further, thereby making the public respond in desperation.

  • NLP Teaches How To Model Behavior

    NLP Teaches How To Model Behavior
    Photo: The Double / StudioCanal

    One of the largest tenants of NLP is the concept of "modeling" behavior. While similar to creating a subjective reality, this is a full physical and mental technique.

    The basic idea behind this concept involves finding someone whose behavior or performance you wish to copy, figuring out what they do well, then slowly changing your behavior to match theirs. For instance, if you want to be as cool as David Bowie you must identify all the ways in which David Bowie is cool then adopt his personal mannerisms and style.

    Once you begin achieving similar results to the person you chose to emulate, then you figure out what you don't need from them and cut it out until you're just adopting the specific mannerisms you need for success. 

  • The Milton Model Makes People Do Things They'd Normally Refuse

    The Milton Model is a linguistic technique used in NLP to convince a party to do something they normally would refuse. Used correctly, the Milton Model may help someone over their fear of flying, getting in front of crowds, and it can even help people stop smoking. But like every form of mental pseudoscience, it carries a vast potential for harm.

    The user of the Milton Model attempts to lead someone to a conclusion they may not want to make by use of mirroring techniques like eye contact, pacing, overloading the conscious mind with nonverbal communication (touching your hand or leg), and vague suggestions that play into your subconscious. By keeping the conversation nebulous, the listener digests the information in a way they feel most comfortable.

    This kind of mind control technique turns up all the time in advertising. By being purposefully vague, advertisers bombard you with a ton of useless information and let you attempt to sort it out. Advertisers love using non-specific language to guide customers towards making a purchase they wouldn't normally make. How many times have you found yourself suckered into an ad because of the copy? Probably more times than you're willing to admit. 

  • Non-Specific Language Lets You Fill In The Blanks

    Non-Specific Language Lets You Fill In The Blanks
    Photo: I Heart Huckabees / Fox Searchlight Pictures

    Whether or not you knew of NLP prior to this article, you know non-specific language is often used by people who want to get something out of you. Cult leaders, politicians, and advertising agencies make use of ambiguous language and out-of-context phrases in order to allow their future followers to fill in any blanks with their own preferred result. Naturally, this makes non-specific or ambiguous language incredibly dangerous.

    Even in NLP guidebooks, you find sentences like "everyone already has everything they need to achieve what they want." While the book doesn't mention what specifically a reader has or wants, it sure does make them feel better about themselves and therefore more apt to spend money.

    If you find yourself in a scenario where someone uses ambiguous language on you, don't be afraid to tell them to be more specific. By doing this, you're not just changing the tone of the conversation, you're forcing the person to be concise about what they're thinking.