Humans are semiotic novices and so we tend to be awkward, confused, overwhelmed, misguided in our uses of semiotics.
We often reify semiotics and/or fixate on them as if they were the real thing rather than the thing itself.
The Zen story that it is the moon that is indicated by the finger pointing at it and not the finger is a good way of making the above point.
When semiotics are reified or taken to be the thing instead of the thing, then poses, styles, stories, mental fixations, needs for status and status symbols, many “personality” traits, and many other symbols become more important than they should.
When this happens people get “stars in their eyes” and sometimes even glow with an imaginary inner “light” that is their fixation on the reified semiotic or some aspect of their reified “self.”
To a large extent, human societies are ruled by people who fixate on reified semiotics—money, power, false histories, false reasons for wars, the importance of their “noble lies,” their public images, their selves, their society’s aggrandizement, etc.
Since humans are novice semiotic beings, it all but follows that we would be led by hearty novices, many of whom are blinded by the semiotic “lights” burning in their own minds rather than the actual societies they “lead.”
Most humans live in a semiotic environment that we treat in much the same way we treated the natural environment within which we evolved. We struggle and strive for reified semiotics rather than actual food and shelter in the natural world.
In FIML practice, a central point is how semiotics function in real-time.
It is also important to understand what they are and how they are connected to larger semiotic networks, but it is of central importance to see how they are actually functioning.
This is why FIML is more a practice than a theory. Once you see how your psychological morphemes are functioning in real-time, you can devise your own theories about yourself if you like.
A simple way to state the theory of FIML is “suffering is caused by constant failure to understand rel-time semiotics and if people have a method (such as FIML) to understand them, they will reduce their suffering.”
A more positive way to say that is FIML optimizes communication between partners and, by extension, improves communication with non-partners, thus greatly improving psychological health.
“Personality” is largely a small set of rules used to interpret self, others, the world, communication. These rules are used to reduce ambiguity and to provide a sort of fictional stability.
Since humans classify a great deal of existential information as stories, we tend to make stories about ourselves and others, or accept stories like that, as if they were real. Once again we see a reification of a semiotic (narrative).
In truth, we don’t know much about the past or present and even less about the future. In truth our lives and the lives of others are hugely ambiguous, ill-defined, unknowable.
That’s how it is. At least you can gain a much better level of certainty with your FIML partner, though even FIML analyses have limits. They work well on a human scale and we have nothing better, but even they are not perfect; nothing ever will be.
Much better is much better than no change at all.
FIML practice leads to less dependency on external social definitions (semiotics) and more rootedness in the experiences of your own life.
To be clear, semiotics are good. We learn from them and use them to think and communicate. Semiotics raise us out of ignorance into knowing and out of isolation into communication.
But once they have raised us, they frequently trap us. For example, you learn some things about history and politics and then decide you are a liberal or a conservative. Then what happens?
Most people get trapped in their semiotic “choice.” They can’t absorb counter-information or new information. They become trapped in the semiotic network of their political suasion.
Personal stories, personalities, our stories about others, the world, history, and so on are formed in much the same way. At first the semiotics raise us out of ignorance but eventually they trap is in another sort of ignorance.
Humans behave within their semiotic environments often worse than wild animals. We fight, destroy, cheat, lie, harm, and kill both with semiotics and because of semiotics.