It is almost universally true that our ability to convey (speak) interpersonal information is much cruder than our ability to think it or know it. Another way of saying approximately the same thing is our ability to introspect on our own psychological condition is greater than our ability to convey (speak) it interpersonally.
The root of this problem is language and how we use it. The trunk and branches are something else, which we will discuss later. At the root is language.
Not only are we less adept at speaking inner truths than thinking them, but so are our significant others. This compounds the problem so that both speakers and listeners are greatly impeded from full mutual understanding of personal, introspective information/knowledge/understanding.
Ignore for a moment deep truths. It is almost universally the case that we do not even know many shallow truths about each other because generally, without FIML, we have no way of being certain about what we are hearing or how we are being heard even by the people who are most important to us.
If even these people, or this person, cannot fully know us and we, similarly, cannot fully know them, how can we fully know ourselves?
We can’t. This is why everyone is so damn crazy. In place of crystal clear interpersonal communication (which promotes clear introspection), people are forced to import general standards from outside of themselves. Rather than know themselves and their partners and be able to mutually communicate and share this knowledge, they have to use imported signs, symbols, packaged emotions, fantasies, and so on.
Some of the signs and symbols might be religious, racial, ethnic, nationalistic, political, philosophical, or even psychological. Shared general truths about subjects external to the self are not deep interpersonal truths. They may feel that way because there is nothing else, but they are not.
When two people who do not practice FIML (or something similar) speak together, they necessarily spend a lot of time guessing what the other person means. To make this easier to do, they establish ways of sharing general semiotics (ideas, feelings, symbols, stories, roles, identities, etc.); they agree to feel certain ways about their shared semiotics and largely ignore the rest.
How does FIML practice change all this?
More precisely, how does FIML practice consummate our ability to convey (speak) interpersonal information with as much subtlety as our ability to think it or know it? How does FIML practice allow us to convey (speak about) our introspection on our own psychological condition with as much facility as we can think about it?
FIML does this in two ways:
- It gives us complete control over every moment of any FIML conversation so that misunderstandings and/or ambiguities cannot gain ground.
- It draws a clear border between what a person wants to say or does not want to say.
By doing just these two things, FIML removes the need for partners to cling to semiotic elements that have been imported into their minds from the general culture(s) outside of them. And this allows partners to speak with great clarity and accuracy about what is actually happening in their minds while they are speaking. And this stops the formation and/or perdurance of both personal and general/semiotic neuroses.
In this context, neurosis is defined as an ongoing mistaken interpretation. Neuroses are formed during interpersonal interactions. When they are stopped from forming and/or perduring because a better/truer interpretation is clearly presented, they disappear rather quickly. When FIML partners succeed in conveying (speaking) interpersonal information with as much skill and accuracy as their ability to think it or know it, they will know a state of greatly reduced suffering and greatly increased enjoyment of themselves and each other.
As for the trunk and branches of the general problem described above–when we cannot speak truthfully and with crystal clarity to our primary interlocutors (SOs, close friends, etc.) our ability to introspect is damaged. Rather than work with the liberating data that arises in FIML practice, we are forced to import into our deepest selves the same unsatisfying semiotics described above. And this will cause anxiety and depression because some part of us knows it just isn’t so.
FIML practice supports traditional Buddhist practice by giving partners a practical method for dealing with the delusion and suffering that constitute the First Noble Truth.