Posted by: KabeCicero | December 30, 2009

Language, Wholeness AND Magical Questions

From the Dao comes one,
from one comes two,
from two comes three,
and from three comes the ten thousand things.

The Universe seems to be complete and undivided in it’s wholeness. When we name things we create distinctions and pairs of opposites. These pairs can be balanced, one can dominate the other, or the other can dominate the one. From these distinctions and relationships we construct the web of reality as contained in language. I sometimes say that all language is arbitrary and that language cannot contain any truth. Now that’s a pretty bold and kind of weird statement – pointing at and explicating the paradox it contains.
I do have a passion for language…its uses…its functions…its beauty. Language can trap you and it can set you free. Language can be a tool for rebuilding neurologies and creating transformation. Language is a pre-requisite for the social functioning of the species…AND…it’s always just a “pointing to”.
Now, the difference that makes THE difference is the form of what it is pointing to, and how the language form needs to be organized to point “there”. Whether “there” is within an individual, a group or globally all-encompassing.

Three Magical Questions

In relation to data expressed in language there are some questions I often apply to widen the frame and scope
of consideration, illuminating what’s not being said, a systemic perspective and at the same time pointing
towards a wholeness beyond language.
The man I call my mentor, Dr. Joseph Riggio, has come up with what he calls “The Ultimate Meta-Model Question”,
referencing the Meta-Model in NLP created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. Josephs question asks “What has to be true for “that” to be true?”. Answering this question also reveals a “hidden” data set and encourages consideration of a systemic perspective…

My magical questions are;
“What’s the starting point?”
This includes identifying the context, implicit criteria, and the boundary conditions set within the presented information.

“In relation to what?”
This is about narrowing in on the trajectory of movement related to the starting point, both historical and future.

Informing all this is the knowledge and insights about how words have different semantic loading and connotations
for all individuals. Applying all of this what we start to sketch out is a kind of holographic representation that reveals both the extended shape and form of the data presented as well as the angle of approach and the resulting perspective contained…as well as an infinite number of variations related to the same data set…its potential relationships and trajectories…the arbitrariness of it all…and the immense power as well.

Makes sense, right?


  1. Frankly, not a lot. But I am sympathetic – you do indeed have a passion for language, perhaps a little too much.

    While it’s true that by naming we create a distinction between the named and the unnamed I don’t think that we should make too much of the fact. After all it is simply to distinguish the things we’re interested in from the rest that we bother to give names in the first place. Maybe this is too simplistic. But I’m reminded of Wittgenstein’s general point that our problems with language arise when we press it into service beyond its natural function.

    • Thanks for your comment Harry – I loved it =).

  2. Hi,

    I enjoyed the posting. Can you provide an example of applying to two questions that you posed? This may bring additional depth and may more clearly point to an example of the utility and application of those questions.



    • Hi T, thanks for your comment I appreciate it. Can you come up with an example?

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