Recently I was driving on one of the long and open California Highways, lost in my own thoughts, as I heard a low and raspy voice tearing through the thin garments of my mental imagery. The radio station I happened to be on presented seemingly rational and specific arguments against the evolution theory, and in the defense of creationism.
“How peculiar,” I thought to myself, “to attempt and resolve such a complex matter in an ‘either or’ fashion proved to be misguided in the past, didn’t it?”
As I was contemplating the issue, two key laws of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, also known as NLP and Neurolinguistics, came to mind: Law of Requisite Variety and Hierarchy of Ideas.
The Law of Requisite Variety has been adopted by social science from cybernetics. In simplified form it means that the one with the most flexibility of behavior will control the entire system. For example, children many times exhibit vastly larger flexibility of behavior than adults. Screaming bloody murder, throwing yourself on the floor, and rolling across the aisle while kicking the floor in order to get the toy or candy of one’s present desire would meet the definition of behavioral flexibility.
Since most of us had the pleasure to be either participant or a sympathetic observer of these behavioral fireworks in local supermarkets, it is rather clear that in most cases the children were in charge of the situation. One of my friends mentioned an instance in which her 3-year old son decided to exercise his lungs and rolling abilities in the living room, while demanding desert instead of the dinner. She decided to join the festivities and outdo the behavioral flexibility of her child by rolling harder and screaming louder. A moment later she noticed her son stopped the show and was staring at his mother with bafflement and concern. In this case my friend exhibited larger behavioral flexibility and got back in charge of the situation.
Hierarchy of Ideas is another important NLP law, which states that the one who controls the level of abstraction in the communication, controls the communication itself. Any issue that comes to mind can be “chunked down” toward more specificity, or “chunked up” toward more generalization and abstraction. For example, let’s take a car as an example (I love my car). To “chunk down” toward more details you could ask “Which car specifically do you have? Honda, Beamer, Mazda?” And to “chunk up” toward more abstraction you could ask “What is car an example of?” Well, a car could be an example of transportation.
The beauty of NLP is in its vast scope of applications, from therapy and business, to arguments with your spouse and customer service. After all, Neurolinguistics is a study of communication, and we communicate all the time. So let’s get back to the specific argument of creationism vs. evolutionism, while we are putting our flexibility hat on, and getting ready to move these supposedly opposite issues toward higher level of abstraction. First, shall we agree that instead of only two possible standpoints of either evolution or creation there could be more possibilities and combinations? Let’s see.
What is the purpose of creationism?
I would say the purpose of it is to understand the world around us in its entire diversity, as well as our place in it.
And what would be the intention of that?
Perhaps, to understand the laws of creation and the laws of the Divine.
To understand the Laws…for what purpose?
To get a glimpse into the Divine, and ultimately, a better understanding of ourselves, humans.
What is the intention of better understanding ourselves?
To be more in charge of ourselves, our destiny, and the world around us.
And what would be the purpose of that?
To understand and strive toward actualization of our true potential, to be a harmonious part of creation (in Divine’s grace), and ultimately, to be happy.
Now, let’s examine the scientific side of things. What is the purpose of the evolution theory?
The theory attempts to explain the world around us and its origins, including the origins of humans.
For what purpose?
Possibly, to understand ourselves and the world around us.
And what is the intention of that?
Perhaps, to master ourselves and our world.
For what purpose?
To fulfill our potential, our creative genius, and ultimately, to be happy.
As we engage in this Hierarchy of Ideas game, keeping our “Law of Requisite Variety” and flexibility hat on, we discover something interesting. There is really no conflict between the ideas of Creationism and Evolution, is there?
On one hand, the Divine does not operate with a magic wand, and things do not just pop out of the blue, do they? (Well, except your In-Laws). The Divine operates through Laws and Principles, which science explores through a variety of methodologies and tools.
On the other hand, scientific methodology is clearly limited and science always has a list of phenomena which it cannot adequately and fully explain at this time. There is no need to look far – human body and mind have plenty of yet resolved mysteries and abilities beyond current scientific understanding, such as The Placebo Effect. Once we agree to keep an open mind and an attitude of curiosity, we make the first step toward deeper understanding of ourselves and our world.
This is the attitude from which the entire body of knowledge currently known and NLP, or Neurolinguistics, was born.