Simplicity and complexity in the public and private spheres

I will contend in this post that human communication tends to be simple unless agreements to be complex have been previously made and rules for greater complexity have been previously established.

Human communication can be understood in fractal terms. Conditions that characterize the small world of a single person can be understood as a fractal of the conditions that characterize the world of many people (communities, cultures, nations, etc.).

This can be easily seen in the ways public figures present simple stories about themselves to communicate with many people. And it also can be see in the ways individual people present simple stories about themselves to communicate with whatever social group they may be part of.

A successful public figure is almost always someone who presents a simple picture of themselves while associating themselves with simple views—liberal, conservative, party boy, sensitive babe, intellectual, etc.

For not famous individuals, the story is much the same—simple concepts are the norm. In most social settings, most people want to know others and be known themselves in simple terms, such as nice guy, good personality, reliable, good-looking, etc.

I don’t think there is much we can do with present technology to make the public communications of public figures more complex. The race for president or events in Paris will be displayed and spoken about in simple terms no matter what. Mainstream essays or talk shows that examine the candidates or the terrorists with more complexity will only add a bit of dressing to the already simple narratives, changing nothing for the vast majority of people.

Good science is based on previously establish rules and agreements to be complex and therefore good science does not shy away from complexity. One joins the scientific community and is expected to endure a long apprenticeship learning the rules of science before one is allowed to speak as a scientist. In the ideal, this is very good. In practice, not so much due to human failings and human tendencies to reduce complexity to simple expediency by cheating, lying, being biased, being paid for holding a view, etc. The same can be said about any field.

On an individual level, how do we introduce more complexity to our understandings of ourselves and others? If I expect you to see me in the simple terms of what my personality is or what my simple biography is and if you expect me to see you in similarly simple terms, how can we change that to add complexity and greater enjoyment?

In most cases, you can’t because it is too unsettling for most people to even contemplate doing that. In some cases, though, it can be done by making prior agreements to be more complex and by establishing rules for how to delve into and handle that complexity.

I do not believe it is possible to communicate with satisfying complexity with others unless you first establish clear rules and agreements with them.

If you want, you can make up your own rules and agreements. Or you can use the FIML rules and agreements, which can be found at the top of this page and which are discussed in the majority of posts on this site.

I strongly urge readers to do FIML or something like it. It will gradually free you from a veritable prison of delusive simplicity in both the ways you interact with others and with yourself.

The New York Times’ 9/11 Propaganda

The New York Times led the propaganda behind 9/11 and the 9/11 Wars. It did so by ignoring many of the most relevant facts, by promoting false official accounts, and by belittling those who questioned the 9/11 events. The Times eventually offered a weak public apology for its uncritical support of the Bush Administration’s obviously bogus Iraq War justifications. However, it has yet to apologize for its role in selling the official account of 9/11, a story built on just as many falsehoods. Instead, the newspaper continues to propagandize about the attacks while putting down Americans who seek the truth about what happened.

link to original

It has always amazed me that the NYT, which is based in NYC, has not produced a single decent investigative report on 9/11. It is alarming that this one paper is still the main “official” arbiter of what issues are important for the USA and how they should be interpreted. The NYT is the paper that is read by members of Congress and largely provides them with a scripted “reality” they are all but forced to support. The NYT script is also largely followed by all other mainstream news outlets in the USA, so no matter what you read or watch in mainstream journalism, you are getting a good deal of NYT spin.

I am solidly in the camp that 9/11 has never been honestly investigated by any “official” US institution or pursued even close to adequately by mainstream media. Kevin Ryan, and many others, have done a great deal of the investigative work on 9/11 that the NYT has failed to do. His blog and books are all well-worth reading. There are hundreds of fascinating 9/11-related stories that could fill the pages of the NYT for years, but that is not going to happen any time soon. I also recommend looking into the anthrax attack that happened shortly after 9/11. Graeme MacQueen’s The 2001 Anthrax Deception: The Case for a Domestic Conspiracy is an excellent summary of that event. ABN

Semiosis, symbiosis, and optimization

In this post, I want to avoid words like psychology, personality, instinct, normal, abnormal, etc. to describe human beings. I want to throw out all of those usual ways of thinking about people and replace them with just three terms–semiosis, symbiosis, and optimization.

In this context, semiosis means all symbols, meaning, language, philosophy, belief, value, etc. An easy way to grasp semiosis is to equate it with the way an individual’s culture, or subculture, works within their mind. Symbiosis denotes relations to other people. An easy way to grasp symbiosis is to equate it with an individual’s social group(s)–their marriage partner, family, friends, clubs, religious groups, job, etc.

All humans are a combination of some sort of semiosis and symbiosis as defined above. What we want to aim for in our lives is optimization of our semioses and symbioses. The only way I know how to do this is with FIML practice because only FIML practice gives partners the tools to grasp and manipulate–to understand and improve–their semioses.

The main area where this optimization occurs in FIML practice is in the symbiosis of partners’ semioses. Semioses are shared. Partners share in a symbiotic relationship the semioses they both carry around in their heads. FIML partners must become conscious of this level of human interaction because it happens whether you are conscious of it or not. If partners are not conscious of it and/or can’t deal with it, they will not be able to optimize their relationship (or their own lives). Rather, they will be forced to cling to public semiotics, private neuroses, or most commonly both.

If partners are optimizing the symbiosis of their shared semioses, their core behaviors will spring from dynamic principles rather than static codes, vows, or agreements. FIML is nearly contentless in that it does not tell partners what to think but rather how to observe and analyze their shared semioses.

Now, as an example, let’s say you experience a mix-up with your partner. Something didn’t go right; one of you misspoke or did something bothersome; then you had an argument or at least difficult emotions arose. So what should you do? At times like these, many people will separate for a while to cool down and then gloss over whatever it was when they get back together later on. At that point they will rely on some sort of static notion of their relationship and on that basis try to recapture good feelings. This technique works to a point, but it is not the best because it does nothing to optimize the relationship. It just covers up the problem. When you avoid a problem, you underscore your inability to deal with it while allowing it to grow.

A much better way for partners to deal with a problem like the one above is recognize that it is definitely going to affect your shared semiosis. Once you both accept this fact, you will probably find it easier to stick with the issue. Rather than separating for a while, face the issue and start a FIML discussion by analyzing what has happened and why. Even if it takes you an hour or more to reach a resolution, it will be well worth it because you will be optimizing your relationship. By doing a FIML discussion, you will avoid hiding from a problem while profoundly increasing your mutual understanding.

This is how mutual transformation often works in the real world. If you do small things like this enough, both you and your partner will become convinced that you can really live and interact on a higher level than what you probably had thought possible before.

Mutual transformation

The right goal of interpersonal relations should be mutual transformation. To be more precise, mutually beneficial mutual transformation.

Most of us would agree with this and most of us would hope that that is what we are doing in our important relationships. But are we?

I am sure many of us have joined groups or pursued friendships where we felt that this was what we were doing–often both parties have felt this way–only to discover that, eventually, something goes wrong and the mutual part or the transformational part gets lost or damaged.

This happens because one or both parties begin seeking stasis rather than transformation. Or one or both become selfish rather than mutual. And these sorts of outcomes occur because–assuming both parties were sincere in the beginning–they cannot maintain mutual understanding. They develop “artistic differences,” as the saying goes, or become “incompatible” in one way or another.

Sometimes people part ways and sometimes they soldier on, accepting the moderate warmth of stasis over the coldness of loneliness and starting over.

If we base our relations on emotions only–love, affection, friendly feelings–and fail to make them  consistently mutually transformational, they are bound to founder or become unsatisfying. One way people try to get around this is to make their relations mutually beneficial in material ways. All this does is mutually trap people in material conditions and a material outlook.

Children often form mutually transformational relationships with each other because they are growing quickly and have loads of new material to digest and understand. Isn’t that one of the main reasons we sometimes miss being kids, being able to act like kids? We miss childhood not just because we had less responsibility then but also because we grew along with our friends in ways that were mutually transformational. Of course, it was never all like that. But life for most of us surely does get flatter or more static as we become adults. Where kids are dynamically socializing, adults too often are socialized into static subcultures that do not even permit transformation. As adults, we have to play the angles, get along, be careful what we say, etc. Being a “mature” adult usually means being socialized into a static subculture that requires us to maintain the same beliefs and practices for years, if not decades.

You cannot expect mutual transformation in most jobs or in most clubs or in most religious groups or in most groups of friends. Why? Because groups usually are held together by static semiotics–they have rules, codes, beliefs, attitudes, required behaviors. And those things foreclose transformation away from those things.

Mutual transformation is a good standard for assessing what is happening in your life. It can help us gain insight into a wide range of human relationships. Mutual transformation depends on equality and lateral communication. Equality and lateral communication is fundamental to finding your way out of the overweening semiotics of whatever culture or subculture you belong to. Cultural semiotics are mental events. They happen within our minds. How can you transform them or transform yourself out of them if you cannot grasp them and discuss them with your most intimate friend?

Mutual transformation requires that both parties be able to change. Rather than be unwilling to admit we are wrong, we should be delighted to discover that we have been wrong because now our lives have one less error in them. Politics is generally boring largely because politicians almost always have to be consistent and never admit fault. That is the opposite of mutual transformation, personal growth, or real Buddhist practice.

The purpose of FIML practice is to help partners mutually transform themselves. FIML gives partners the tools to use language in ways that transform both of them for the better. In a way, FIML lets us be kids again–kids with adult brains that have at last come to understand how to use our minds and tongues to speak honestly, creatively, wonderfully to each other.

Why so much Jewish fear and loathing of Donald Trump?

There is some anxiety among Jews about Donald Trump’s candidacy. In fathoming why this might be, one could perhaps start by asking how Trump departs from the ideal presidential candidate. For Jews, the ideal candidate is (1) predictably and fanatically pro-Israel; (2) predictably liberal/left on social issues, particularly anything related to immigration and multiculturalism; and (3) in need of big campaign money contingent on satisfying (1) and (2).


This analysis by Kevin MacDonald is well-worth reading. ABN

Roger Williams

Roger Williams (c. 1603—1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. Williams was arguably the very first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to ban slavery in any of the original thirteen colonies. (Source)

This Wikipedia article is worth reading. Williams was a strong and early advocate of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. His ideas probably influenced the principles expressed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Buddhists, and others, would do well to reflect on the great importance of the First Amendment, which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“Religion” means something different today than it did during Williams’ life, but Williams’ underlying belief that each individual must be free to follow their own religious convictions is as fundamentally important today as it was back then.

American Buddhists obviously benefit from these protections, but even hard atheists and those who dislike all religions should ponder the profound importance of the individual right to believe what you want and to profess your beliefs without interference from the state.

Good discussion on government corruption and how and why it is covered up

There is a lot of information on the nuts and bolts of corruption in the US government in this video. The discussion includes James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds, Wayne Madsen, and Peter B. Collins.

The posted title of this video is Pedophiles Run the Government and No One Gives a Damn. I don’t care for this title because pedophilia in itself is not morally wrong unless acted on. As for why no one gives a damn, well, we do, but know they have us cornered. All societies everywhere in history have been cruel or corrupt. There is nothing humans can do, given present technology, to change this.

Marijuana legalization favored by a majority of Americans

The very long time it has taken to change marijuana laws is a lesson in why you always want to be careful when enacting new laws.

A recent Gallup poll shows the move to legalization of pot is gaining. From the article linked below:

  • Majority favors legal marijuana for third consecutive year
  • Younger generations more supportive than older generations
  • Older generations more supportive than they were in the past

Source: In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use

Hero worship, entrainment, academia, and culture

I confess that I look at the Daily Mail almost every day.

It lets me feel that I am in touch with something common—common people and common emotions generated by uncommon people.

Today I learned that Taylor Swift earned $1million a day this year…, making her the highest paid musician in the world. I also read about the much more ordinary safest diner in the most dangerous neighborhood in America, a story about a guy who is not afraid to live and work in Detroit and how he is supported by his tough clientele, many of whom get murdered.

These two kinds of stories typify the contents of the Daily Mail and reveal something about how humans think and feel.

Taylor Swift’s primary audience is teenage girls and younger. They worship her. Jovica Trpcevski, the owner and cook at John’s Grill, is more like us as are his clientele, though Trpcevski also commands loyalty and allegiance from his “fans.”

All of us at one time or another follow some celebrity, musician, author, thinker, religious figure, or news analyst or are impressed with or proud of some local person who is doing something we can’t.

Swift’s audience illustrates hero worship, or whatever it is, in its most basic form. The developing young brain is captured by music and the style of someone more mature and cannot get enough. Trpcevski’s fans are older, wiser, and more jaded, but are still capable of a similar bond, a similar entrainment of the brain on a social or local community vibe.

This is what people do. We adulate and follow other people, usually famous people. Trump is better at getting that entrainment than Jeb. Chomsky was better than Skinner. For many today, the Buddha is doing it better than Jesus.

The followers of others—including Trpcevski’s fans—also conform to each other. They form groups whose members imitate each other as much as their star.

And it’s not just teens and tough guys who do it. Academics do it as much as teenage girls and with far worse effects. The toxicity of the PC atmosphere in American academia should be obvious to anyone who has gone near it.

…the image of a cowering cuckold is far more appropriate for the vast majority of academics than that of a dashing rebel against the establishment.

That quote is from Liberal Bias in Academia: Will Being Self-Conscious About It Help? The answer to that question is no because:

“…academics censor each other… they create a climate of conformity where if you want to get on in an academic career, you don’t stick your neck out and you don’t say anything controversial.”

Students pick up on this and begin to follow suit. Before long, debating, challenging and wrestling with ideas and truth claims becomes obsolete, replaced by a classroom full of silent witnesses who refuse to contest the academics teaching them…

“Then there’s no need for external restraints on academic freedom because academics are doing it for themselves – they’re restricting their own academic freedom.”

Students who don’t conform are self-selecting themselves out of university. (Ibid)

No hope for academia, most religion, most culture, most anything. It’s what we do.We conform and restrict our own freedom due to biological and social pressures. It starts early and often lasts a lifetime.

I do think we can break the spell by understanding that we learn from the Swifts and Trpcevskis of the world and from the others who are learning from them along with us. But after we learn, we can move on and learn more independently and stop being afraid of wearing the wrong clothes to the concert or thinking wrong thoughts in the classroom.

Is nihilism the only escape from the death grip of culture?

If you read modern philosophy, it sometimes seems that culture is an iron cage and nothing can fix it or help us escape.

I do agree that cultures basically all suck after a certain point.

We need them to learn language, ideas, and many kinds of training. But beyond that they typically only stifle individual development while forcing irrational conformity to norms that are self-policed by the members of the culture itself. That’s one of the worst things about it.

But should that make us nihilists?

I don’t think so because culture only looks depressing when viewed on its own terms, as a big thing (many people) that holds together many smaller things (individual people).

Individuals can escape through FIML practice or something very similar. And this is so because FIML allows individuals to communicate with much greater accuracy than that allowed by culture itself.

That is all it takes for two people to get out or get beyond the nihilistic death grip of culture. You really have to do something to make FIML work, but it is not that hard and it is much better than the usual alternatives.

The sexualization of women in China

In the West, the term sexualization is normally used in the negative. It is normally considered a bad thing to sexualize women, children, and I suppose men or animals when that happens.

Westerners see sexualization as a form of “objectifying” or “pornifying” people, reducing whole persons with complex psychologies to little more than objects of sexual pleasure.

I have no argument against the term when used that way in the right context.

Sexualization in China, however, (as an idea not the term) has a very different context than in the West, particularly the sexualization of women.

In the West, women benefited from various long traditions that worshiped them, Romanticized them, restricted men to one wife (not the case in China), prevented cousin-marriage, and sexualized them in the sense that they were and are considered beautiful and desirable by most men.

This is not the case in China. In traditional China, women were treated more as chattel, as son-makers, as workers, slaves, servants, or prostitutes. Few were deeply appreciated and openly admired for their physical beauty. There was no concept of Romantic love or deep pair-bonding between a man and a woman as in the West.

So if you come across a story about a Chinese pageant that sees models compete for best cleavage as I did today, it is best to understand it in a different context than you would in the West, for these pageants have a different purpose than they do in the West, at least in part.

Of course, some aspects of the Chinese pageant may be even raunchier than in the West, but at least one aspect has the purpose of overcoming Chinese cultural features that have for centuries deeply under-appreciated women by what are now modern standards.

There has been an effort for some time in China to raise the level of appreciation Chinese men have for women by portraying women as beautiful and desirable through media exposure and beauty pageants. Less than thirty-five years ago all women in China wore the same Mao clothes and before that dress was mostly traditional staid clothing that covered and de-emphasized female physical beauty. Confucius was not a sensualist.

The sexualization of women—even through cleavage contests—is serving to raise the standards of the whole society for when women are desired they will be valued and not be so much abused.

The above comments can be disputed in many ways, but the gist is correct. My information on the propaganda of creating a “modern” sense of the beauty of women comes from discussions in China many years ago with people who I believe knew what they were talking about. These efforts began in the 1980s and 90s with the new policies that opened China to the world.

I am sure the pageants mostly run on their own steam now, but the need is still there. To this day many women in China and Southeast Asia are kidnapped to feed the amazingly large industry of bride-selling in China. Buying a kidnapped “bride” and chaining her to a bed so she can produce a son, obviously, is not based on appreciating her beauty. That whole villages support the practice shows that it is deeply entrenched in the culture.

To me it seems a bit odd that the beauty of Chinese women is promoted by using Western lingerie and other styles, but it is easiest to import something and that is the state of a lot of world culture today.

The US gov’t on cannabis

A new page at a dot gov address has actually posted positive information about cannabis, including its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects as well as pain relief, improved mood, improved sleep, and improved sense of well-being.

The page can be found here: Questions and Answers About Cannabis.

I wonder if Buddhists who broadly interpret the fifth precept to be about “intoxicants” or even sensory indulgence and not booze (as it is stated in the tradition) will reconsider their positions.

I am not advocating the use of illegal drugs and do understand the desire to make Buddhism look “nice” for lawmakers who have no understanding of human liberty or the true effects of cannabis, but times are changing.

I am good with Buddhists saying whatever they believe about cannabis, but am not good with them claiming it is proscribed in the fifth precept. More on that subject here: Are We Misunderstanding The Fifth Precept?

Please remember that the five precepts are for lay followers, not monastics who may live by different rules depending on their ordination vows.

As society becomes more rational about cannabis, we can probably assume that it will become more rational about psychedelics as well, as they similarly almost certainly do more good than harm.

Personal freedom, liberty, civil rights, personal autonomy, or bodily integrity—no matter what you call it, each person’s right to have maximum freedom and control of their own body is fundamental to the American value system.

A very simple example of what FIML does

This is a simple, concrete example that is best understood as a material analogy for what happens in a FIML discussion or query.

I wanted some fresh local yogurt and we also needed some cheese. The place that sells the yogurt I like has only a few kinds of very expensive cheese.

My partner and I discussed the merits of going to the yogurt store and paying extra for cheese versus driving to a different store that has a better cheese selection but does not have the fresh yogurt.

Since the yogurt store was on the way to the cheese store, we stopped in but found that they were out of yogurt and also had no cheese.

Oh well. We went to the cheese store and got the cheese and a couple of other items we needed.

In the car we noticed that our having stopped to look for the yogurt in the yogurt store made it possible for us to dismiss that option completely from out minds. Had we not stopped, we might have wondered if we had missed a chance to get the fresh yogurt and probably would have wondered about it.

Our ability to dismiss the yogurt option and not have it be a small shadow in our minds was gained only because we had actually stopped at the yogurt store. If we had not stopped and gone only to the cheese store, we would not have known that the yogurt store didn’t even have any yogurt.

Like I said this is a very simple example.

Now, consider that instead of yogurt or cheese we are working with emotions and human perceptions. A FIML query works in a way that is analogous to stopping at the yogurt store.

Yes, it cost us some energy to stop at the store, but it saved us the energy of thinking that the yogurt was a possibility.

If instead of yogurt, I am wondering if my partner disapproves of something I said, I can ask her (stopping at the yogurt store) or refrain from asking her (not stopping).

If I ask her, it costs us both some energy, but saves me some worry and possible defensive behavior which will likely snowball and cost us even more energy.

Please put in your own emotions or concerns into this example. Isn’t it better to ask about them than not ask?

When we have many small things in our minds that we never ask anyone (including our partner), we begin living in a fantasy world or a world that is simplified to conform to simple standards made up by other people.

FIML clears up problems by catching them when they start. The FIML technique is designed to facilitate quick interventions so snowballing never gets started.

It’s not hard to do FIML if you understand what its purpose is. The hard part about doing FIML is it goes against a great deal of normal human training. Rather than ask, most of us will skip going to the yogurt store.

When we do that hundreds of times with someone, small divisions get larger and larger. When they get really big it is very hard to analyze them and we become their victims.

Cooperative narcissism and meta-communication

I think we can describe virtually all group cohesion as “cooperative narcissism.”

Groups are pretty much all self-aggrandizing and almost all of them show callous disregard for other groups, unless they are connected in a narcissistic super-group.

Sports teams are a very basic example of narcissistic groups; players and fans revel in their selfishness and contempt for competing groups. That we generally consider those emotions to be playful and healthy demonstrates my point.

Another example might be a parent who dedicates excessive time and energy to a group outside of the family. To the extent that that parent’s participation in that group is excessive it is narcissistic. Excessive in this context would entail some degree of self-aggrandizement and callous disregard for the family. Some degree in this context is open to question but often can be decided.

Once again in this context, the family itself might be considered a narcissistic group if it demands an excessive degree of group allegiance from the parent. What excessive means here can often be reasonably decided.

The reason I raise the above topic is I think that most groups most of the time have so much difficulty with honest meta-communication they simply cannot allow it.

Groups, of course, excel at the meta-communication we call conformity. Honest meta-communication that does not support conformity, though, usually causes discord. Generally it is perceived as being disruptive, aggressive, rude, “other.” We like those who are like us and dislike those who are not.

Honest meta-communication is not only dangerous for group cohesion but also for interpersonal bonding. This is so because virtually all interpersonal bonding is a type of group bonding. We like the same things, believe the same things, so we can bond; we are friends because we already are members of the same group(s).

When people are very close and have formed their own group that is stronger than any other group they feel they belong to, meta-communication is much less likely to produce discord.

For example, my partner can say she doesn’t like my shirt or the way I cut my hair without bothering me at all. In fact, I am grateful if she tells me that because I trust her and can easily fix the problem. If she criticizes me for something I can’t fix, that’s another matter (and another subject for another day).

If a new friend or colleague criticizes my shirt or hair, I probably will not take it in the same spirit as I did when the comment came from my partner. Rather than feel grateful (which I still might do), I am more likely (than with my partner) to hear my colleague’s comment as aggressive, rude, or disruptive. Rather than strengthen our bond, it can damage it.

This is a basic reason why so many groups and so much human communication is so dissatisfying, so dukkha. As such, we simply cannot say interesting meta things to most people without risking strife.

Some other examples of dangerous meta-communication that should be neutral but are not for people with strong beliefs or group allegiances are:

  • doubting the veracity of religion or science
  • saying anything bad or good about vaccines
  • saying anything bad or good about political parties, political philosophies, or politicians
  • saying anything bad or good about ethnicity or ethnic history, regions or regional histories or politics, symbols, flags, etc.

Lists like this could go on for miles. And that is because most people normally organize their minds along lines like that. When you engage in meta-communication about any subject that organizes someone’s mind, they will have trouble with it. Propaganda even uses that basic reaction as part of its basic formula.

Cooperative narcissism very often exists in intimate relations between two people. This happens because the dominant means (conformity, agreement, general semiotics) people use to communicate within groups are brought into the intimate relationship as a “natural” part of it.

The problem with that is it is much too confining for individual minds. This point is probably obvious to many readers. But I wonder if those same readers have a means to overcome it. How many intimate partners can do clear meta-communication with each other extensively without causing discord?

I bet it is not so many. The reason there are often problems in this area is partners restrict themselves to doing meta-communication on meso and macro subjects only.

“I think you are this kind of person.” “I believe your personality is thus and so.” “I think you are like this because you have that background.” Etc.

These sorts of meta-conversations can be fun and informative, but they also tend to go in circles while generating massive misunderstandings. At worst, we come to believe them—to reify “main points”—and bind each other to forms and stereotypes that are not deeply real.

The way out of this problem is to escape through micro communication. As long as two people have a prior agreement (as in FIML practice) to honestly do micro corrections on as much of their communication as possible, they will overcome the problems of cooperative narcissism and the damage it does to human communication at all levels.