5 Psych Disorders Have Common Genetics


This article is quite good. It describes a large study that seems to show fairly conclusively that five of our most important psychological disorders have a close genetic foundation. The five disorders are autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.

This supports the model that nature (genes) when stressed (nurture) can lead to a variety of psychological disorders, which when diagnosed by behavioral manifestations alone may seem to be very different.

In my view, a major psychological stressor that affects virtually all people is the low resolution of the language of interpersonal communication. In sensitive individuals, this stressor can and often does lead to psychological problems.

By “low resolution,” I mean that our language (gesture, symbols, words, semiotics) of interpersonal communication is crude compared to what our brains/minds are capable of. The crude nature of this language forces us to blur subtleties in communication, and this leads to confusion and dissatisfaction, which in turn may manifest as a psychological disorder.

No doubt, some instances of the five disorders described have a strong genetic foundation making them all but inevitable. But all things human can be understood as lying on a spectrum of varying degrees. Thus, most human beings at one time or another will experience aspects of one or more of these disorders due to problems in their interpersonal communications.

Edit. Here is another article on this subject: Same Genetic Basis Found in 5 Types of Mental Disorders.

Peace of mind

In my relationship with my partner, my peace of mind is very much dependent on her wisdom. And the same is true for her with respect to me.

This is why it is of paramount importance that FIML partners be able to depend on each other to bring up contretemps the moment they occur.

A contretemps is defined in FIML practice as a misunderstanding or potential misunderstanding that arises during interpersonal communication. It is often characterized by an emotional jangle, a sudden feeling of being insulted, demeaned, threatened, lied to, etc.

FIML practice is designed to catch contretemps the moment they happen.

Contretemps tend to happen due to how we habitually listen to other people. When we are able to examine all contretemps that arise in our interactions with our partner, we will soon discover that they tend to be of a few general types. Once we see this and understand that they are arising in our own mind and were not the actual intentions of the speaker, they will begin to occur less often and eventually stop.

Deep peace of mind comes in FIML practice when you are certain that your partner is able to recognize jangles and contretemps the moment they happen and that they will bring them up immediately. This is the wisdom of my partner that I depend on.

Peace of mind is knowing that your partner is not thinking some weird stuff about you, and knowing that they know neither are you thinking some weird stuff about them.

You can assert that you don’t think weird things about each other, you can vow not to do it, you can feel that your partner is not doing it, you can trust them, but there is no substitute for knowing that your partner is not doing it and knowing that your partner has the means to deal with any weird thought, no matter how trivial, the moment it arises.

Why we use the term semiotics

The reason we use the term semiotics on this site is when FIML partners do a FIML query, the data in their minds at the moment(s) in question is best described as raw semiotics. That is, it is the raw material that makes up the composite of consciousness at the moment(s) in question. This material, or data, can be sharply focused, vague, irrelevant to the subject at hand, emotional, associative, organized, disorganized, and so on. When partners get good at observing this data accurately and describing it to each other, they will find that much of it, if not all of it, is connected to a psycho-semiotic network that underlies awareness and gives rise to it. Understanding this network is extremely valuable and will provide partners with great insights into how and why they feel, think, and behave as they do. It is very difficult (and I think impossible) to understand this network through solitary pursuits only. The reason for this is a solitary mind will fool itself. In contrast, two minds working together will be able to observe this network with much greater accuracy. Language, semiotics, and emotion are fundamentally interpersonal operations, so it is reasonable to expect that deep comprehension of these operations will be best achieved through interpersonal activity.

Error correction

While reading David Deutsch’s The Beginning of Infinity, I came across the following sentence:

What is needed is a system that takes for granted that errors will occur, but corrects them once they do—a case of ‘problems are inevitable, but they are soluble’ at the lowest level of information-processing emergence. (p. 141)

This statement comes from the chapter “The Jump to Universality,” in which Deutsch argues that “error correction is essential in processes of potentially unlimited length.”

Error correction is fundamental to FIML practice. In fact, the nuts-and-bolts of FIML practice could be described as being little more than a method for correcting errors “at the lowest level of information-processing” during interpersonal communication. This level is “the lowest” because FIML deals primarily with very short segments of speech/communication. In many posts, we have called these segments “psychological morphemes” or the “smallest speech/communication error” we can reliably identify and agree upon with our partner.

If you try to tackle bigger errors—though this can be done sometimes—you frequently run into the problem of your subject becoming too vague or ill-defined to be rationally discussable.

I haven’t read enough of Deutsch’s book to be sure of what he means by “universality,” but I do think (at this point) that FIML is universal in the sense that it will clear up interpersonal communication errors between any two qualified partners. “Qualified” here means that partners care about each other, want to optimize their relationship, and have enough time to do FIML practice.

We all demand that our computers be error-free, that buildings and bridges be constructed without error, that science work with error-free data as much as possible. But when it comes to communication with the person we care about most, do we even talk about wanting a method of error correction, let alone actually using one?

You can’t correct big errors if you have no method for correcting errors that occur “at the lowest level of information-processing,” to use Deutsch’s phrase. Once you can correct errors at this level, you will find that you and your partner are much better able to tackle bigger questions/errors/complexes. This happens because having the ability to reliably do small error-correcting gives you the capacity to discuss bigger issues without getting lost in a thicket of small mistakes.

Your ability to talk to each other becomes “universal” in the sense that you can tackle any subject together and are not tethered to static ideas and assumptions about what either of you really “means.” As mentioned many times on these pages, FIML does not tell you how to think or what to believe. In this sense, it is a universal system that allows you and your partner to explore existence in any way you choose.

To use Deutsch’s words again, “error correction is essential in processes of potentially unlimited length.” Your relationship with your partner can and should be a “processes of potentially unlimited” growth, and error correction is essential to that process.

Buddhism and ethical signalling

Buddhism is very much a system of ethics. Buddhist practice is founded on the Five Precepts of refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and the irresponsible use of alcohol.

In most Buddhist traditions, these precepts are often taught as if they were fundamental to the workings of the universe. But how can morality be fundamental to the workings of the universe? How does it really even matter to human beings?

If we think of a human being as a signalling system, we may be able to show that ethical thoughts and behavior are of fundamental importance to the system itself.

Human signalling systems signal internally, within themselves, and externally, toward other people. Our most important signalling system is the one we share with that person who is most important to us, our mate or best friend. Let’s confine our discussion to this sort of primary signalling system.

If I lie to my partner or cheat her, I may gain something outside of our shared signaling system, but that signalling system will suffer. And when that shared system suffers, my own internal signalling system will also suffer because it will contain errors. It will no longer be in its optimal state. Similarly, if she lies to me or cheats me, our mutual signalling system will become less than optimal as will both of our individual, or internal, signalling systems.

My own signalling system cannot grow or become optimal without my partner treating me with the best ethical behavior she can muster. And the same is true for her with respect to me. And we both know this.

We would be good to each other anyway, but it is helpful to see that our being good to each other has a very practical foundation—it assures us optimal performance of our mutual and internal signalling systems.

FIML practice is designed to provide partners with a clear and reasonably objective means to communicate honestly with each other. FIML practice will gradually optimize communication between partners by making it much clearer and more honest. In doing this, it will also optimize the operations of their mutual and individual signalling systems.

To my knowledge, there is nothing like FIML in any Buddhist tradition. But if I try to read FIML into the tradition, I may be able to find something similar in the way monks traveled together in pairs for much of the year. I don’t know what instructions the Buddha may have given them or how they spoke to each other, but it may be that they did a practice with each other similar to FIML practice.

In any case, if we view human being as a signalling system, we may be able to claim that clear signalling—that is, ethical signalling—is fundamental to the optimization of that system.

Signal quality

Schizophrenia is characterized in part by difficulty in telling the difference between internal and external signals. My guess is that virtually all “normal” people are characterized by their difficulty in telling truthful signals from bullshit.

Normal interpersonal relations are conducted with signals that have low resolution. By that I mean, signal references are rarely unambiguous. In fact, they are very often not even truthful. An ambiguous signal will frequently be interpreted wrongly and lead to problems as serious as those that result from untruthful signals.

The same is true in the public sphere.

Because low signal quality in the social/interpersonal realm is so common, we typically do not identify it as a problem. Furthermore, because we don’t know what to do about it even when we do notice it, we largely ignore it. But that does not mean it isn’t a huge problem.

FIML practice can fix this problem for participating partners. In the future, brain scans may help fix it in the public sphere.