In some ways FIML practice is a science.
Partners seek the best data available to determine what is being said and/or how they are communicating with each other. Their communication becomes highly objective in the sense that each partner trusts the other’s description of what they said more than their own subjective/emotional impression of what they think they heard. Based on this data, partners are able to continuously upgrade their understandings of each other.
FIML uses an extrinsic formula—the rules of FIML practice—to make this happen, and in this it also resembles science. FIML has an objective, clearly stateable and testable method or procedure for attaining its results. FIML results are also objective in that great satisfaction and better communication are measurable. FIML can be falsified by having many partners do it and not get good results, and in this it is also scientific.
In some ways, though, FIML is turned 180 degrees away from science. This is so because FIML does not have any extrinsic belief or value system that requires submission of the intrinsic, individual, unique mind of either partner. Partners who do FIML can only look to themselves to free themselves from the constraints of extrinsic beliefs, values, semiotics, behaviors, ideas, concepts, and so on. (This does not mean abandon the extrinsic, but rather become free of the constraints of the extrinsic. FIML practice, by paying close attention to speech moments, will help partners do this because they will see precisely where the rubber of extrinsic values meets the road of their self expression and/or listening.)
The FIML method gives partners the tools they need to perceive the thusness of their unique individualities. The thusness or suchness of being cannot be apprehended through extrinsic semiotics, but can only be experienced by the individual.
Science, in general, does not give us insight into our suchness. Yet FIML practice and Buddhist practice, by using methods that are similar to those of general science, can. FIML differs from science in that it does not make any claims about what is objectively true “out there.” But FIML does claim that partners will vastly improve their communication with each other, and following that vastly improve their understanding of their existence, the suchness of their unique being.
FIML may constitute an improvement on traditional Buddhist practices because FIML uses objective rules to unite two people in the pursuit of truthful communication. It is different from the traditional practice of one person pursuing “truth” alone in that FIML provides the means for each partner to constantly check his or her work against the other partner. An individual alone is easily subject to fantasy and illusion. FIML is also different from traditional group practices where a group is led by a master or guru. In these practices, the master may be subject to the limitations of solitary practice while the group may be misled by that. Additionally group members will have a very strong tendency to base their understanding on extrinsic semiotics provided by the master, not the true suchness of their individual being.