How we process big ideas and the semiotics behind this

I want to discuss a few big ideas with the intention of showing how our internal or culturally underlying semiotics determine how easy or hard they are to accept.

Most thinking people can accept the possibility of atheism. And most atheists can accept the possibility of there being a God or gods or other realms. Atheists who are staunch physicalists may find it harder to do this, but most of them can.

Most thinking people can accept the theory of evolution.

Most thinking people can and do accept the scientific method. Fewer, but many, people understand the limitations of the scientific method.

The theory of evolution and the scientific method can both be stated briefly and in simple language. They are not hard to understand. The limitations of the scientific method require a bit more thought as do the nuances of evolution, but a crude understanding of either is not hard to achieve. Similarly, physicalism is not hard to state or understand.

The simulation argument (that we are living in a computer simulation) can also be stated briefly and is not hard to understand. Many people now accept this argument and admit that it is possible that we are living in a sim. In fact, some physics departments are actually studying the idea. Here is one example: Scientists plan test to see if the entire universe is a simulation created by futuristic supercomputers.

For most educated people in industrialized regions of the world, it is not difficult to accept or seriously consider any of the above theories or ideas.

All of the above ideas can be very revolutionary if you go from not accepting them to accepting them. They revolutionize our metaphysics, our sense of existential reality, our sense of what kind of a world or universe we are living in.

In contrast, ideas that are socially revolutionary are harder for many people to accept, or even consider.

It can be hard to have a calm discussion about inherent problems in the American capitalist system, for example. Or to have a reasonable discussion about the anomalies of 9/11. These subjects, though fascinating, are difficult for many people because they fundamentally threaten the power-and-money hierarchy upon which their social and psychological beings rest.

FIML is an idea that, like the ideas above, can be stated briefly in simple language. This does not mean it is not revolutionary. And this does not mean that FIML will not be difficult for many people to accept. It can be difficult because FIML practice revolutionizes interpersonal relations. I know that if it is done correctly it will bring about a revolutionary improvement. But viewed from a distance or as a mere idea, I also know that it will appear threatening or trivial to many people.

The sim idea was dismissed as trivial by many people just a few years ago. It has gained much wider acceptance since then. It is a delightful idea and not threatening or dangerous at all. It can renew your sense of who you are and where you are.

FIML practice is much like that. It is delightful and not threatening or trivial at all. It will renew your sense of who you are and how you relate to other people in wonderful ways. Just because an idea looks simple does not mean it does not have deep implications. If a new idea challenges our sense of who we are socially or psychologically, it will be more difficult to accept than if it challenges “only” our metaphysical or existential sense of who and where we are.

2 comments on “How we process big ideas and the semiotics behind this

  1. Ashana M says:

    The problem, it seems to me, with FIML is that most people lie or are unaware of their own state of mind when communicating a fair amount of the time. We are not entirely honest either with one another or with ourselves.

    • ABN says:


      FIML works because it helps partners identify and discuss “psychological morphemes” the moment the occur.

      You are entirely right that FIML will not work if either partner is dishonest or does not care about the other. It’s a sad commentary on our world that it can be very difficult to find a partner who is honest and caring, but that’s how it is.

      If either, or both, partners are “unaware of their own state of mind when communicating a fair amount of the time,” as you say, FIML can still work very well. In fact, I believe virtually all people are unaware of “their own state of mind” and the state of mind of their listener most of the time.

      FIML works well for people who are hazy about what they say and hear because gets them to stop and listen to what their partner is thinking/feeling. It is fairly easy to be honest about a single psychological morpheme. When partners identify the same morphemes arising again and again between them, they will gain insight into how mistakes and ambiguity are messing with their lives.

      When a single psychological morpheme is identified and discussed several times, it will tend to lose traction. A “psychological morpheme” is like an index in a library; it refers to a great many other things and generally calls them up very quickly. When a psychological morpheme is identified and discussed, It will tend to lose referential force; it will tend to not call up the library, and eventually it will go away because the individual who is experiencing it will see repeatedly that it is not true.

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