The Meta Model Distortions

Lost Performatives – Not my Beliefs

Lost performatives are when someone is talking about a personal belief, but presents it as though it was a universal truth. We then accept it as true without questioning it as we would if we heard it as someone’s personal opinion.

Things like clichés and new age rhetoric that “everyone” knows is true. Even though some of these truisms are useful, the origin is lost, so they are disconnected.

Some examples

  • Vitamins are an essential part of our diet.
  • You need eight glasses of water a day.
  • You need a good suit to be successful
  • Boys will be boys
  • The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach
  • Good mothers don’t work full time
  • Knowledge leads to power
  • If its meant to be, it will happen
  • Behind every successful man is a woman.
  • Things always work out in the end
  • Always be the first to arrive and the last the leave.
  • Always be the last to arrive and the first to leave.
  • God is on our side
  • If you want to lose weight cut down saturated fats
  • If you want to lose weight cut down carbs
  • If you want to lose weight don’t eat potatoes
  • Bottled water is better than tap water.
  • Soy is good for menopause.
  • Fish oil is good for your heart.

The danger of some of these lost performatives is they bypass our reasoning filters. We can take on these ideas as beliefs and delete perfectly good solutions to our problems.

We don’t think which circumstances they apply to. We don’t consider whether they apply to all people.

The origin is important. How many of these studies are promoted by people with a vested interest? Of course, the company is going to say their product is good for you. What are they going to say instead -humans can’t actually digest our stuff, we only used to feed it to pigs but we can get heaps for it if we tell you its healthy? It would be refreshing, but unlikely.

Recovery Questions

  • Who says?
  • For who is this true?
  • According to who?

We want to find out where the belief came from, whether the strategy is based on something solid.

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