ISIS fighters

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a friend regarding the current state of ISIS and how to stop it.  It was a great conversation because we did not completely agree!  Seeing something from another’s perspective is how mature people grow!  I promised to send my friend a perspective written by Dr. Michael Hall on how to defeat terrorism.  Then I thought this might be something you may be interested in.

The following are two of Dr. Hall’s newsletters (Meta Reflections) from Janurary.  I believe it will be worth it to take the time to absorb this information and implement it for yourself.


Meta Reflections 2015  #2 / January 8, 2015



 Another act of terrorism!  12 dead, many more wounded.  Another deadly Islamist massacre at a Paris satirical magazine by two brothers with connections to terrorist organizations.  And why?  They wanted “revenge” against cartoonists for using humor against their religion.  They even murdered a Moslem man who apparently begged for his life!

A report said that the brothers, Cherif and Said Kouachi, were known to French intelligence.  Cherif had even been convicted of funneling young French jihadists to Iraq and is a follower of the then-leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

So, how can Neuro-Semantics (NLP) help?  What can we do in the field of NLP and Neuro-Semantics to defeat the mentality that leads to terrorism and especially Islamist terrorism?  Here are a few recommendations:

 First, Publicize that “the Map is not the Territory.”

Whatever idea that any person has about God, religion, life, the after-life, etc. is an idea.  And as an idea, it is a human idea, and not the territory.  That means it is not real.  Now if your mental map about God is so fragile that you have to go and get revenge because someone believes something different from you and expresses doubt or sarcasm about your belief— you must have a very low view of your God’s ability to take care of himself!  Your god is that small?  That weak?  That incompetent?  Do you need to send your god to an empowerment workshop?  If you have god who needs your help defending him, I’d recommend upgrading and getting a more powerful god!

Helping people realize that their mental maps are just that—fallible human understandings about something—enables people to stop treating their beliefs so seriously.  In Neuro-Semantics we say, “When you get serious, you’ll get stupid.”  The next step is this: When you get seriously stupid and then get serious about that— fanatically serious— then you get sick.  And a religion that is beyond humor, a religion that forbids humor and jokes, a religion that seeks revenge if someone laughs or teases something about their religion — that person doesn’t have a Religion, they have a Disease.

“He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision.” (Psalm 2)

Whatever anyone says or writes or draws is just a map and “the map is not the territory.”  It is just a map and therefore not real, just a construct of their understanding.  Now if you get upset by their words, and suffer from word-phobia, you need a therapist or coach.  The last thing you need is a gun or a sick religion that validates you to act out your immaturity.

Second, Distinguish the Freedom of Speech from Your Self

Apparently these two brothers engaged in identification.   They identified their religion with the words of those who don’t share their religion.  This amounts to the childish and primitive thinking of identification: “What you say about me is what I am or will become, so stop!   If you don’t stop then I will kill you.”  They also identified themselves with the words and pictures that sarcastically  made satire comments about their religion.  This amounts to the irrational thinking: “If you disagree with me, mock me, make fun of my beliefs and religion, then that makes me and my religion wrong.  Hence, I kill you.”

Korzybski in Science and Sanity noted that all identification is a form of unsanity and can easily lead to insanity.  He urged to avoid identifying one thing with another thing and urged to stop using the “to be” verb and that when you do so, do it with consciousness of what you are doing!   Fanatics identify their religion with what people say about it!  How silly.  Sounds like what happens on first-grade playgrounds.  “If you call me certain words, I have to hit you.”

This was the state of the world during primitive times.  Then over the centuries we humans grew up and realized that to have a healthy civilization, there are certain inalienable human rights— among them is freedom of speech.  I don’t have to agree with everything you think or say.  But I defend your right to think and say what you believe.

Third, the Relevancy and Ecology Challenge.

Whenever I hear about “religious” people shooting and killing or going to war against other people, I wonder if they are actually “religious” or if they are actually a fanatic nut who uses some religion to confirm their prejudices and hatred.  True spirituality makes people more compassionate, humane, and loving.  If you believe in a God and believe that human beings are “created in his image and likeness” then you do not go around killing and destroying the height of God’s creation.

This violates the principles of relevance and ecology.  In every true religion there is a command against killing.  It was one of the Ten Commandments of Moses: “Thou shall not kill.”  Healthy religion and spirituality is respectful.  It honors the sacred right of people to live their lives and to be responsible for themselves.  Murder and assassinations violate the ecology of true spirituality and its relevance.

 Meta Reflections 2015  #3 / January 12, 2015


 While I was out of the country and off in China on our PCMC Training in Guangzhou, on January first the President finally spoke out against radical Isalmic extremism.  I missed it at the time.  Then this past week, after the Terrorism in Paris, I came across it.  Now if you are thinking I’m speaking about the America President, then sadly no, it was not President Obama.  He does not seem to be courageous enough for that.  But the President who has shown the courage to do that is none other than the new President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.  On New Year’s Day, a day which coincided with the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, he spoke out against Islamic extremism.  He said:

“We need a revolution of the self, a revolution of consciousness.”

Having written a few days ago about how Neuro-Semantics can fight terrorism, here is an example of a leader speaking up to separate the radical misuse of a religion, Islamic extremism for Islam itself.

CNN reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for a “religious revolution,” asking Muslim leaders to help in the fight against extremism.  In a speech, he said they had no time to lose:

“I say and repeat, again, that we are in need of a religious revolution.  You imams are responsible before Allah.  The entire world is waiting on you.  The entire world is waiting for your word … because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands. …   We need a revolution of the self, a revolution of consciousness and ethics to rebuild the Egyptian person—a person that our country will need in the near future.”

This was the man who was elected in May after leaving the military to run for the office.  President El-Sisi, a pious man and the former defense minister, led the ouster of Mohamed Morsy, the Islamist who was Egypt’s first democratically elected President.  CNN reported that he has long positioned himself as a more secular option, and defender against extremist views.

“It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. Impossible that this thinking —and I am not saying the religion—I am saying this thinking.

. . . This is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!  Does this mean that 1.6 billion people (Muslims) should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—  that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live?  Impossible!?”

While el-Sisi’s speech included some powerful language, H.A. Hellyer, a non-resident fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and research associate at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, said the President has made similar statements in the past.  Hellyer said:

“There is little to suggest (el-Sisi) is interested in some sort of Lutheran reformation of Islam.  By all accounts, he’s quite comfortable with the prevailing leadership of the Azhari establishment.  If anything, he wants to empower it further in order to push forward a counter-narrative against radical Islamism.  The real question is: How credible can such a state-empowered counter-narrative be?” Hellyer said.

Then on Tuesday, the President visited the main Coptic cathedral in Cairo to attend a Christmas mass and make a short speech.  He is the first president to attend such a mass since the revolution.

“We will build our country together.  We will accommodate each other.  We will love each other,” el-Sisi said in that speech.

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While we don’t know how this will play out over time, it is a good start.  We need more healthy Muslims to speak up against those who misuse Islam for politics.

The great news is we have a lot of really great people in Egypt, Neuro-Semantic Trainers and Meta-Coaches.  In February, I’ll be returning to Cairo and will be with Mohamed Tarek of Lucid Trainings and an Assist Team of Meta-Coaches, where we will do the Coaching Mastery for the ACMC credentials.


  1. Michael Hall, Ph.D.

                Neuro-Semantics Executive Director 

                Neuro-Semantics International

P.O. Box 8

Clifton, CO. 81520 USA                            

                1 970-523-7877 

Dr. Hall’s email:



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