Perspective Two

Perspective Two connects you to other people’s desires. It often involves the use of what NLP calls other position—a projecting of consciousness into the space of the other in order to imagine, from their point of view, what they think. I tend to discuss this perspective in terms of the other’s desire because I think the main thing you want to know about another’s thoughts is what she wants, and most particularly what she wants from you.

When straightforwardly expressed, Two-consciousness is centered squarely in the other. Some would call it thinking with the heart. It’s an empathy that makes you feel connected to and responsible for each other. This direct sort of Two-consciousness dominates in the altrustic and caring types.

Thinking psychoanalytically, we see that Perspective Two develops when the child recognizes that the mother desires something other than him. Her gaze is turned elsewhere. As every mother knows, her young child often finds it totally unacceptable if her entire attention is not trained on him. But it does happen. To solve this problem, he puts himself in her place in order to find out what she wants—how she wants him to be. Maybe, by giving her what she wants, he can draw her gaze back in his direction.

But at some point, in the logic of the budding psyche, there can appear to be dangers to attracting and holding the gaze of the mother. Practically speaking, there is the danger of being overwhelmed by the duty of fulfilling her desire. Not to mention the dawning realization that if the child is able to project his consciousness into her mind, then she can do the reverse. She can possess him with her thoughts! Granted, you probably don’t remember thinking this. Nevertheless, that this fear of possession is both real and intense is evidenced by its frequently showing up as the theme of horror movies, such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan depicted the fantasy of the possessive mother by the sinister image of the praying mantis.

Given the danger of engulfment and possession, you would think that we would all be spurred to abandon Perspective Two at the first opportunity. But there is a paradoxical reason to cling to a strategy of monitoring the mother’s thoughts—let us say, her mental condition. A mother’s excessive neediness or negativity may activate a child’s sense of responsibility for her happiness for the simple fact that having an unhappy mother threatens the child’s well-being. Complicating matters, the child may feel she has to compensate for a father who is missing or otherwise not doing his job of keeping the mother off his back. But whatever the reason behind a stuck Two pattern, it keeps the mother nearby, while at a reasonably safe distance.

For you, this childhood drama may have been less intense and is probably long since forgotten, but it nevertheless left you with a highly useful ability to project your consciousness into other position and emerge with invaluable information. How else could you know how your audience is responding to you? Or what your market will buy? Or even how to love?

Structure Five-Six

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