The primacy of internal speech

FIML practice will show partners again and again how poorly they speak and listen.

Rather than see this as bad news, why not see it as good news? It is a very important truth about how people are, how we communicate, and how intransigent our inner states can be.

A good example of what I mean can be found in how difficult it can be to transmit the idea of FIML, and the skills necessary for its successful practice, to other people.

Just the idea that we often listen and speak ambiguously and that this leads to huge problems can be hard to get across even to close friends. When you add the need to teach them a few new skills to accomplish FIML breakthroughs/resolutions, it’s a wonder anyone has gotten the idea at all.

One exception is a friend who was very quick to understand what we were telling her. She took up the practice immediately with her boyfriend and has done well with it ever since, or so she tells me. I suspect the reason she learned so quickly is she had already seen a good deal of the problem and may have even guessed some of the ways we have developed to fix it. She is the exception that proves the rule.

Others have had far more difficulty. One friend declared, “I totally get it, dude. But no way I can get [my SO] to do it with me. She would never do something like that.” I very much doubt that he got it at all, though I am pretty sure he was right about his SO—she is well set in her ways and very unlikely to listen to the likes of me about something so intimate and revolutionary.

Other friends say things like, “We already communicate so well.” No, you don’t. Or, “We trust each other completely, so there is no need for FIML.” Trust is an important part of FIML, but it won’t fix bad communication all by itself. Not a chance.

Some theories of language say that language is fundamentally an internal thing, a way firstly to think and only secondly to communicate. Judging by the friends I have discussed FIML with, this seems to be true. Language for all but one of them is fundamentally an internal process that can be touched by communication but rarely changed much unless there is extensive training.

The study of language and communication often involves children because they are learning how to do these things. I think it might be a good idea for someone to study language use in alcoholics rather than children.

Severe alcoholics experience declines in reasoning, communication, and self-understanding that are fairly consistently similar across the entire group. Thinking tends to become simpler, more self-centered and reasoning tends to be reduced in its aims and means. Advanced alcoholics, even recovered ones, tend to exhibit reductions in the quantity, quality, and useability of their core semiotics.

That is, their concepts of themselves and others are reduced from what they were before they became addicted to alcohol. They employ simpler semiotics to achieve a reduced understanding of people, events, dramas, and so on.

This simplicity can resemble the simplicty of small children who are first learning language. The difference is the alcoholic is going the other way—they are forgetting language, semiotics, and nuanced communication rather than learning.

Studies of the elderly or demented might also help us better understand how complex and richly communicative language develops out of or along with the primacy of internal speech.

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