Working memory is key to deep psychological transformation, Part 2

Part 1

In science, working memory is generally thought of as either:

  • …the sketchpad of your mind; it’s the contents of your conscious thoughts.”   (Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory)
  • Or “…a core component of higher cognitive functions like planning or language or intelligence.”   (Christos Constantinidis, a professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest School of Medicine) [Source for both]

Obviously, both versions are valuable and probably both are roughly true. Some “contents” of working memory are indeed sketchpad-like—a crack in the sidewalk or a passing bird—while others clearly are “core components of higher cognitive functions” and, I would add, long-term memory including all psychological factors.

Our psychology—be it “natured” or nurtured—functions in real-life in real-time because we remember it. It bears on us because it is in our minds, because it colors our minds, shades our thoughts and actions.

Working memory is key to understanding human psychology because it shows us how we really are functioning, thinking, acting, feeling in real-time.

Working memory is also fleeting. If you want to use working memory to understand your real-life psychology, you have to be able to analyze it in real-time. This means you have to capture its contents and examine them as near to their appearance in working memory as possible.

You can do this alone with good effect, but when you do it alone you are prone to self-referential bias and other mistakes. When you do it with another person, they can help you avoid self-referential mistakes as well as other less serious ones.

This is how FIML practice works and why it is done the way it is. FIML analyzes data discovered in the working memory.

So how do you do that? You do that by immediately noticing when something significant about the other person’s speech or behavior enters in your mind or arises in your working memory. Generally, that something will have psychological impact on you, though you might just be curious or notice it for other reasons.

Whether working memory is an independent sketchpad or a component of higher functions, analyzing whatever you feel like analyzing in it is valuable. Sometimes even very little things can have great psychological import.

Analyses of working memory through FIML practice are most productive when they entail what I have called “psychological morphemes.”

Psychological morphemes are the smallest units of human psychology. Metaphorically, they are a word or a letter as compared to a phrase, a paragraph, or even a book. They are the building blocks of larger psychological structures and also may occur as unique isolates.

Whenever a psychological morpheme appears in working memory, it is always interesting. Psychological morphemes almost always signal the onset of a larger psychological interpretation, one either stored in long-term memory or one arising just now.

By working with any and all psychological morphemes as they appear in your and your partner’s working memories and by working with them repeatedly, both partners will come to understand that some of these psychological morphemes have deep roots in their cognitive systems while others do not.

For example, a fleeting expression or tone you observe in your partner may cause you to feel jealous or disrespected. Do FIML immediately and find out what it was.

It’s either true or false or in-between. If you have a good and honest relationship with your partner, most of the time you will find a negative psychological morpheme that appeared in your working memory was false and that it is part of a psychological habit of yours that has deep roots in other cognitive functions.

A great benefit of FIML is repeated analyses of mistaken psychological morphemes leads to their extirpation, sometimes quickly sometimes more gradually. A second benefit of FIML is it makes all communications between partners much clearer and more satisfying. A third advantage is most of these gains lead to better understanding and competency with all people.


Sexy NSA Commercial With Sasha Grey

(I am a little bit proud that this was first posted July 13, 2013. Still true today. ABN)

The NSA database shows once again that it is technology that moves the world more than ideology. I doubt there is anything anyone can do to stop this database or others like it, here or abroad.

We can maybe hope that those who have access to databases of this type are completely honest and that they function within perfect systems that have no corruption, but historically that is highly improbable.

Big databases like the NSA’s (and we know there are more of them) create a form of international competition akin to the arms race. If we don’t get ahead of others, they will get ahead of us.

In the near-term, our best hope is probably for even more technology in the form of accurate lie-detectors that can be used to keep all of us honest, including those with access to the database. I do believe that the database has rendered our traditional form of government obsolete and that there is no turning back.

In the long-term, the database will surely look passe, even puny. Isn’t it likely to be a precursor to the even larger database that will house our electronic/digital “selves” once we have achieved a non-biological stage of evolution (if we haven’t already)? Will we need or even want privacy then?

For today, a conundrum in the database arms race is that the NSA has in one way made us “safer” by staying ahead of other countries (I guess), but it has also made us less safe because no database like that can be made perfectly unhackable.

The database should make it clear to even more people that we fundamentally have no idea how our government works or who controls it to what purpose. Rather than look behind the scenes for who has the “real” skinny, as we naively did twenty years ago, now we must wonder if anything known to the public has any bearing at all on what is really going on.

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First posted July 13, 2013

Working memory is key to deep psychological transformation, Part 1

Part 2

Working memory is the part of you that organizes and executes action in real-time. All real-time actions—save stupor or deep sleep—require working memory.

Working memory is where your life meets the world, where your existential rubber meets the real-time road.

Working memory is the spear point of the mind as it does life. For this reason, it is the single best key to understanding human psychology. And through this understanding to change it for the better.

Working memory shows you how you really think, feel, or perceive. Properly observed, it does not lie. Working memory happens too quickly to lie.

If you can observe your working memory as it performs—in a flash—a significant psychological act, you will have an accurate handle on the deep memories that comprise your psycho-spiritual makeup.

Working memory is quick. It’s “contents” or “the items it entertains” come and go quickly. Its “contents” can be perceptions, memories, judgement, sensations, words, emotions, almost anything.

Working memory is obviously linked long-term memory though how it is linked is not clear to science.

Phone numbers, remembered or not, typically come up in this context. But the connection between working and long-term memory is much more than just that.

Long-term memories—your psychology or life experiences—deeply color working memory. And this coloring changes in different contexts.

When we access long-term “psychological” (aren’t they all?) memories, they are huge; they are large systems of associations and neurons. This is why overemphasizing long-term memories and that aspect of psychology does not provide full insight into the workings of the mind.

For that we need the spear-point—working memory—to show us precisely where the contact points really are, precisely how we engage with the real world.

I bet most readers have no idea how to analyze their working-memories, how to accurately access them for psychological insight.

Part 2

Double-bind, no-win as key to figuring out real-world narcissism

I believe I am well-suited to providing a key to figuring out if you are being tormented by a narcissist or are caught up in a narcissistic social structure, family or otherwise.

My qualifications are I was uniquely incapable of figuring this stuff out for many years. Being uniquely incapable qualifies me because I really know what it’s like to be abused by narcs for long periods of time, decades of time. I was also a serial fool, falling for more than one narc, more than one narc situation.

Cut to the chase: The key to figuring out narcissists and narcissistic situations is the double-bind, the no-win. Narcs put you in double-binds and enjoy watching you squirm. That’s how you can identify them.

I was raised in a narcissistic home. As Scapegoat, I accepted the program since that was all I knew. As a kid I had no clue.

Looking back, I do remember the frustration of being trapped in no-win situations. But at the time, I had no concept that these situations had been created or managed by one or more of my narc family members.

The key to understanding why narcs use double-binds is understanding that at their core narcs are very simple. Narcs want narcissistic supply. If you don’t give them supply, they will get mad at you. If you do give them supply, they will act like they like you.

Like or don’t like. That is the core of a narc’s social psychology. It is two-polar.

If you are a Golden Child (GC), the narc will like you till they don’t. If you are a Scapegoat (SG), the narc will probably always hate you though they do enjoy watching you suffer and may appear to like you when you do.

A GC’s ‘s life is dedicated to avoiding narc anger while feeding the narc with supply. An SG’s life is filled with being caught in some kind of double-bind. The best an SG can do is not be noticed.

GC’s have it worse than SG’s because a GC is raised to be especially shallow. Very hard for them to get beyond that.

The presence of a GC and SG in the typical narcissistic family structure is a result of the narcissistic parent’s or parents’ need to either like or hate. So they like one child and hate the other. It really is that simple.

So, if you think you are dealing with a narcissist, the way to tell is they will put you in double-bind, no-win situations. No matter what you do, you will be wrong. You may not notice what’s happening at first, but you probably will feel it. You will feel frustrated, nervous, anxious, sad, or have a nagging sense that something’s not right. Once you are sure of what you are seeing, get the fuck out of there. It’s almost impossible to fix a narc.

If you are in a GC or similar position with a narc (even as an adult), it will be harder for you to see what is happening, but you may be able to see other people being trapped in double-binds.

One more point—narcs are very good good at impression management and torturing select people. It can be very hard to see what they are doing because most of what they do may be done behind your back. A full-on narcissist is a very simple (two-polar) but vicious individual. There is no point in hating them, let alone challenging or trying to fix them. Their simple two-polar nature makes it almost impossible for them to change.