How people are

An interesting essay appeared online a couple days ago. The main thrust of the essay, Signaling bias in philosophical intuition by Katja Grace, is nicely stated in its first paragraph:

Intuitions are a major source of evidence in philosophy. Intuitions are also a significant source of evidence about the person having the intuitions. In most situations where onlookers are likely to read something into a person’s behavior, people adjust their behavior to look better. (Emphasis added)

The essay makes many good points about how we judge, or interpret, philosophers. For example, “…people treat philosophical intuitions as evidence about personality traits.” And “People are enthusiastic to show off their better looking intuitions. They identify with some intuitions and take pleasure in holding them.”

If this is true of professional philosophers who, we can assume, are more careful about their thoughts and their expression than most people, how much more is it true for non-philosophers?

Yesterday I wrote on this site:

Normal people live in vague worlds where they grope toward each other like ghosts in the fog. How can we understand each other or ourselves if we do not pay attention to the small signals that are, arguably, the most important units of interpersonal communication? (Source)

I felt a camaraderie with Grace for I believe that virtually all people, not just philosophers, “are enthusiastic to show off their better looking” sides. I also strongly believe that as I do that toward you and you toward me, our authentic beings are lost in the fluff.

FIML practice has been designed to allow partners to send signals to each other that are profoundly more authentic than the simplistic “better looking” ones we normally exchange. FIML does this by providing a method for partners to examine in real time the small signals that are the “psychological morphemes” of interpersonal communication.

Please take a moment to read Grace’s essay, which is far more nuanced than what I have suggested.

3 comments on “How people are

  1. Amedar says:

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  2. Edwin Santiago says:

    It’s good to have someone around to poke holes in your B.S. if you get good at it and can approach the task with some compassion instead of grumpy synicism then people will appreciate it and hopefully benefit. There’s a line in the “Guide to the Bodhisattvas way of life” that says something like “may even a persons dislike for me be a cause of their enlightenment”. Sometimes what’s right is not what’s liked – but building this skill makes you far more authentic and valueable than another someone who’s afraid to do so.

  3. ABN says:

    FIML is normally done with a neutral tone and attitude. The idea is for partners to focus mainly on the small emotional signals that occur in ordinary conversation. If something your partner says gives you a strange or negative feeling, quickly do a FIML query to find out what was in their mind. Very, very often you will find that they did not mean what you thought they meant and thus your emotional jangle was a mistake. In the terms of the post above, partners are closely examining the small signals that pass between them; these signals constitute “psychological morphemes” that can be observed and reinterpreted. By “psychological morpheme,” I mean the smallest discernible meaningful unit of a person’s psychology, of their emotional/intellectual make-up. “Psychological morphemes” appear very quickly and often signal the start of an emotional reaction. FIML is designed to identify these morphemes before their full-blown interpretation/reaction begins. If this is understood, partners will find themselves, as you say, actually taking great delight in discovering mistaken interpretations of the signals they are sending and using. This is a delight because partners’ minds become clearer while communication between them becomes much more efficient and satisfying. Rather than depending on guesses or “intuition” about what they mean, partners will be able to directly clarify any signal that comes up.

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