Double BINDS – Logic Types (Part 2)

DB mouse trap IT’S A MOUSE TRAP
& I’m the mouse!


SITE: Magic & Cognitive Dissonance

REVIEW: DMs, Parts 1


RECEIVERS of DMs are inevitably torn between the demands of conflicting logic types. They find themselves in a painful & enraged state IF they try to understand & please a Sender, because no matter which way they turn, the R is not just continually in the wrong, but also always bad. (see Ss & Rs in ‘DMs -#2’)
*Logical Types: a category of Bertrand Russell’s hierarchy, whereby any Class of objects (Animals) is identified as a higher logical type than the elements of that class or set (cat, horse, koala….- see DM, #1)
EXP: ‘Context’ (the forest) is of a higher logical type than ‘Words’ (the trees). Likewise, the word ‘cat’ cannot scratch you but the animal can, so the word ‘cat’ & the actual cat are of two different logical types.

• Messages are made up of words + the context that modifies them (DBs, #1), so identifying the level of each statement becomes especially important when one can’t tell if a statement refers to the whole set or some part of it.
EXP: When speaking of ‘man’ – is it about one male human (lower level – narrow focus), or humanity as a whole (higher – wide focus)?Complex systems

● DBs are best understood in a larger framework, as part of Cybernetics & Complex Systems Theory, which shows the inter-dependence of message components, providing an order to what looks like chaos  (if you’re a Newtonian). The mind itself, & therefore human communication, function inter-actively, like all ecosystems . CIRCLEs—>

● According to Bateson, every organism is set in its own specific “context”, not just as background, but shaping & shaped by it. That context is embedded in a larger one, which in turn is related to its own context as well as still wider ones…. like stealthy Ninja Russian Nesting ninja nesting dollsDolls – into infinity. (See Frames”, DMs #7).  Therefore DBs can be understood – but not embraced – if one steps back to look at the bigger picture. So: We’re not just the genetic product of our 2 parents, but of their parents, & they of their parents…… as well as by the effects of country & culture on each family member who preceded us.

• There are as many variations of the bind structure as there are egos. One way to categorize the sequence of the game is:
> Conflict, dilemma, impasse, paradox (More…..) . Another way is:
> Withdrawal, aggression, superior/inferior, authentic/bullshit binds.

NORMALLY, context & body language (meta-language) allow participants to decipher the type of interaction they’re part of – not just the ‘words’.  EXP: As two puppies are playing, they growl & nip at each other gently. But their tails are wagging & their ears are NOT back.
Lower level message: “I am threatening you – I will bite you”
Higher level message: “This is play fighting – I won’t hurt you.”

IN CONTRAST – A basic feature of DBs is Level-confusion, because the contradictory statements are expressed on different Logical Levels of Abstraction in ‘orders of message’ – causing the bind.
DBs No exitEXPs
● Paradoxes are a special kind of contradiction, where the incompatible statements exist on different “logical levels.” That is, one of the statements is part of the context of the other – which is a logical no-no. CHART

● A lose-lose evolutionary DB is the rhino horn – meant for protection & to enhance ‘desirability’, for procreation. But the very same feature has become the cause of near extinction, the horn being harvested for the human desire for sexual potency. Ironic, especially since it only works for the rhino!

● Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” has another lose-lose, where the need of the individual and its physical characteristics are mutually incompatible, one being on a more abstract level than the other:
A: If the bread-and-butter fly, which lives on weak tea with cream, does not get its food, it dies – AND/BUT
B: If it does gets its food, it dies, because its head is made of a sugar lump, which will dissolve in the tea.

• MORE Confusion: If a R objects to OR ‘outs’ the distortion of a DM, the DB can be reinforced by disqualifying them, making whatever the R says seem unimportant & to be ignored, by changing (twisting, negating) :
— the subject, or evading it in some other way
— the meaning or context of what was said
— ‘reality’,  by doubting the validity of what was said
— the balance of power – the S claiming a higher status & so being of higher value. More DB from NLP Institute

Q & A Confusion: Head-scratching is inevitable when a Q. is asked on one logical level but answered on another. This kind of confusion is the basis of much humor.
EXPs: In ‘DMs, Part 1’ – the ANS: “Elephíno” works on two levels of ‘orders of message’ at the same time, incorporating both Lower-order (literal: a+b=c) & Higher-order meaning (implied: “hell if I know what….”).

• The same as in the Abbott and Costello routine “Who’s on First”.
This is NOT a Q, only a statement of fact, but is heard as a Q, so the response is another Q (“I don’t know, who IS on first?”). If said in a direct way, the higher-order Q. would be: “Who is the guy on first base?” & the lower order A. would be: “Mr. Who is on first base.”

ACoAsDiscrepancies in Levels of Communication is one reason we go BLANKlevels of logic when someone responds to us from a different Logic Level than the one we are coming from, or says something completely out of context. We were taught to not pick up on twisted communications, having nothing to do with our intelligence. We know these people are ‘off’’, but not having learned to ‘hear’ distortions, we’re stumped! Sadly – we can often figure it out later & know what we could/would have said, but then it’s too late to defend ourselves, point out the inconsistency or ask for clarification. This can be very frustrating & enraging – but never let it take you all the way to S-H!

In this example, if you were the questioner, & received this response, what could you say in return? Some possibilities:
“You just asked another question,  That’s not an answer, What’s wrong with my Q?, I’m interested / curious / worried…..”.
In other word, we don’t have to be stumped, or blank out. By not giving up or disappearing (on ourselves), we may get useful / important info about the other person – OR we can decide to withdraw as an act of self-care, if the person is hostile or consistently unable to communicate. We don’t have to chase the unavailable, but also don’t have to take it personally!

NEXT: DBs – (Part 3)


5 thoughts on “Double BINDS – Logic Types (Part 2)

  1. What has been on my mind these days is when people put me in a double bind and then claim that I’m putting them in a double bind. If I’m friendly, I’m punished with attacks on my boundaries, but if not, then I’m punished with condemnation for being rude. If I explain my viewpoint, I’m accused of being manipulative because someone else came up with the notion that I was saying what I was saying to get them to do something for me (nope), but if not, then I’m accused of being secretive and refusing to explain myself. But people like that tend to accuse me of putting them in a double bind, because when they do these things, I get angry, and they are imagining (no matter what I say) that I would somehow also get angry if they left me alone (nope). My current reaction is to make a mental note to avoid anyone who has ever done that to me. Trying to reason just doesn’t work. I feel freer now.


  2. I had an insight reading this. One of the people in upper management in my office sends double messages every chance she gets. If you leave yourself vulnerable (showing even a small lack of confidence) in any way, she’ll pick up on it and put you in a double bind. What’s really interesting is her reaction to you when you don’t fall for any of it. If you react by not reacting – in essence by staying unfazed and confident (I tell myself that these games are about her, not me) – then she suddenly changes her tone towards you and treats you with respect. The insight I had is that when she treats you with respect, it is STILL a game on her part. She’s not treating you that way because she actually respects you (and herself). She’s treating you that way because you gave her no choice. She would look quite childish if she continued her games when you don’t react. The other insight I had is that this explains to me why my mom is not to be trusted on the occasions that she treats me with respect. Even on those rare occasions, her respectful treatment is part of a bigger game. It’s not real respect. She remains unsafe. Poor kids – they just shut down.


    • I know people like that, I think. When they act like they respect you, and you’re thinking, oh, good, they’re getting the picture, we’re going to get along fine from now on, they might really be taking offense that they have t respect you and counting it toward an entitlement )or need?) to treat you worse some other time.


  3. Shana – it’s very empowering to see the games people play, in their many forms, so we don’t have to get caught up in them. It also eliminates self-hate!


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