From: L. Michael Hall
2021 Neurons #78
December 6, 2021
FACTS CAN TELL YOU WHAT TO DO
The Transition from Is to Ought
First, the is. What exists—where, when, and in what way. What we can assert as a true and valid statement about the data we discover in the world. Normally facts point to grounded sensory-based information. Yet Maslow also noted that they also point in a direction, i.e., they are vectorial.
“Fact just don’t lie there like pancakes, just doing nothing; they are to a certain extent signposts which tell you want to do, which make suggestions to you, which nudge you in one direction rather than other. They ‘call for,’ they have demand character, they even have ‘requiredness’ as Kohler [co-founder of Gestalt] called it.” (Farther Reaches of Human Nature, 1971, p. 26, italics added)
The discovery of facts, truth, and reality depends on what is, that is, on what exists. When you know what is, often you then know what to do. In fact, Maslow suggested that the facts, the is, can tell you want to do. He illustrated by referring to carving a turnkey.
“Carving a turkey is made easier by the knowledge of where the joints are, how to handle the knife and fork —that is, by possessing fully knowledge of the facts of the situation. If the facts are fully known, they will guide us and tell us what to do. But what is also implied here is that the facts are very soft-spoken and that it is difficult to perceive them. In order to be able to hear the fact-voices, it is necessary to be very quiet, to listen very receptively. ... If we wish to permit the facts to tell us their oughtness, we must learn to listen to them in a very specific way...” (Ibid., p. 120)
Now “to listen very receptively,” in NLP terms, is “losing the mind and coming to one’s senses.” It is coming into an uptime state (rather than down inside oneself) and into sensory awareness. Then you can more cleanly see and hear reality for it is rather than for what you wish it to be. As Maslow was modeling fully functioning people, he noted that the self-actualizing person is “a good perceiver of reality and truth” and has a “clear perception of facts” because he accepts reality for what it is. He places no demands on reality. This enables her to see what is the case and to end up be superior in perception of reality and in the ability to reason.