Study supports FIML practice

This study—Neural Correlates of People’s Hypercorrection of Their False Beliefs—supports the contention that FIML practice can produce deep, wide-ranging, and enduring changes within the brain/mind of practitioners.

The basic finding of the study is:

Despite the intuition that strongly held beliefs are particularly difficult to change, the data on error correction indicate that general information errors that people commit with a high degree of belief are especially easy to correct. (Emphasis added.)

According to the study, this happens due to:

…enhanced attention and encoding that results from a metacognitive mismatch between the person’s confidence in their responses and the true answer.

This is exactly what happens when a FIML query shows the questioner that his/her assumptions about what their partner’s thoughts or intentions were were wrong.

Initially, FIML partners may experience some embarrassment or disbelief at being wrong. But since FIML queries are generally based on negative impressions, after some practice being shown to be wrong will typically produce feelings of relief and even delight.

A FIML query will generally arise out of a state of “enhanced attention” and usually further increase it by being spoken about. Incidentally, this is probably the most difficult aspect of FIML practice—controlling the emotions that accompany enhanced attention, especially when that attention concerns our own emotional reactions.

With continued practice of FIML, however, even strongly held erroneous interpersonal beliefs will be fairly easily corrected whenever they are discovered during a FIML discussion. Correcting core false beliefs (mistaken interpretations) has a wide-ranging, beneficial effect on all aspects of a person’s life.

Since the hypercorrection effect discussed in the linked study only occurs during moments of enhanced attention, the FIML technique of focusing quickly on good data agreed upon by both partners can be seen as a way of inducing states of enhanced attention that will lead to deep changes in both partners. This technique (using good data) also turns the discussion from one about feelings to one about “information,” which the study finds makes errors “especially easy to correct.”

Furthermore, since FIML practice tends to deal with very small incidents, the enhanced attention FIML induces works like a laser that quickly and painlessly excises erroneous thoughts and feelings while they are still small and have not been allowed to grow into full-blown emotional reactions.

Semiotics and stress

A common explanation of human stress includes physical stress (heat, cold, etc.), hierarchical stress (low status, competition, etc.), and lack of social support (horizontal communication, belonging).

Supposedly, humans and other primates tend to stress themselves because we are smart enough to have a lot of free time (time not spent gathering food). As the neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky puts it:

“If you live in a baboon troop in the Serengeti, you only have to work three hours a day for your calories, and predators don’t mess with you much. What that means is you’ve got nine hours of free time every day to devote to generating psychological stress toward other animals in your troop. So the baboon is a wonderful model for living well enough and long enough to pay the price for all the social-stressor nonsense that they create for each other. They’re just like us: They’re not getting done in by predators and famines, they’re getting done in by each other.” (Source)

Sapolsky makes good points but I want to add something to what he says.

Humans are “semiotic primates.” That is, we live as much or more in a semiotic environment as a natural one.

This means that we stress ourselves not just by our place in a natural hierarchy, but also by how we understand where we are, what we are hearing and saying, and what others are hearing and saying when around us.

Since most humans have no way of fully adjusting their interpersonal communication, the semiotic environments they live in are ambiguous, frequently mistaken, sometimes dangerous. Our intimate semiotic environments are typically unsatisfying or stressful because the communication upon which they are based and which defines them is rarely, if ever, optimal.

When interpersonal stress is relieved through one of the three ways mentioned in the first paragraph above, people may exercise more, work harder to climb the hierarchy, or seek out more horizontal support from a club or temple.

Exercise is good, climbing the hierarchy is OK if that’s what you want, and adding social support never hurts. None of these methods will optimize interpersonal communication, however. They are substitute semiotics of a different kind.

The reason this is so is the core stress-inducing problem most people have is poor intimate interpersonal communication with their primary interlocutor.

It’s not bad to think of yourself as having a psychology and a psychological history, but this line of thought rarely, if ever, leads to optimal communication with your primary interlocutor. When we psychologize ourselves, we tend to generalize ourselves and others. We see ourselves as defined by theories (extrinsic semiotics) rather than by the the dynamic reality of our moment-by-moment interactions with the person(s) we care about most.

FIML optimizes communication between primary interlocutors and in so doing relieves some of the most deleterious human stressors by removing them as they arise. If your intimate interpersonal communication is good, you won’t care very much about where you are on the hierarchy.

Why so much Jewish fear and loathing of Donald Trump?

There is some anxiety among Jews about Donald Trump’s candidacy. In fathoming why this might be, one could perhaps start by asking how Trump departs from the ideal presidential candidate. For Jews, the ideal candidate is (1) predictably and fanatically pro-Israel; (2) predictably liberal/left on social issues, particularly anything related to immigration and multiculturalism; and (3) in need of big campaign money contingent on satisfying (1) and (2).

Source

This analysis by Kevin MacDonald is well-worth reading. ABN

Disruption of neurotic response in FIML practice

By analyzing minute emotional reactions in real-time during normal conversation, FIML practice disrupts the consolidation, or more often the reconsolidation, of “neurotic” responses.

In FIML, a neurotic response is defined as “an emotional response based on a misinterpretation.” The misinterpretation in question can be incipient (just starting) to long-seated (been a habit for years).

The response is disrupted by FIML practice and, thus, tends not to consolidate or reconsolidate, especially after several instances of learning that it is not valid.

A neurotic response is a response based on memory. The following study on fear memories supports the above explanation of FIML practice.

Memories become labile when recalled. In humans and rodents alike, reactivated fear memories can be attenuated by disrupting reconsolidation with extinction training. Using functional brain imaging, we found that, after a conditioned fear memory was formed, reactivation and reconsolidation left a memory trace in the basolateral amygdala that predicted subsequent fear expression and was tightly coupled to activity in the fear circuit of the brain. In contrast, reactivation followed by disrupted reconsolidation suppressed fear, abolished the memory trace, and attenuated fear-circuit connectivity. Thus, as previously demonstrated in rodents, fear memory suppression resulting from behavioral disruption of reconsolidation is amygdala-dependent also in humans, which supports an evolutionarily conserved memory-update mechanism. (Source: Disruption of Reconsolidation Erases a Fear Memory Trace in the Human Amygdala)

FIML practice works by partners consciously and cooperatively disrupting reconsolidation (and initial consolidation) of neurotic memory (and associated behaviors). FIML both extirpates habitual neurotic responses and also prevents the formation of new neurotic responses through conscious disruption of memory consolidation.

FIML probably works as well as it does because humans have “an evolutionarily conserved memory-update mechanism” that favors more truth. Obvious examples of this update mechanism can be seen in many simple mistakes. For instance, if you think the capital of New York State is New York City and someone shows that it is Albany, you will likely correct your mistake immediately with little or no fuss.

Since FIML focuses on small mistakes made between partners, corrections are rarely more difficult than the above example though they may be accompanied by a greater sense of relief. For example, if you thought that maybe your partner was mad at you but then find (through a FIML query) that they are not, your sense of relief may be considerable.

The quintessence of interpersonal cooperation

FIML is the quintessence of interpersonal social behavior. FIML is the quintessence of interpersonal cooperation. As such, it transforms what we call “personality” by altering the basis of experience.

If social behavior is understood quantitatively, then “more social” means more social contacts.

If social behavior is understood qualitatively, then “more social” becomes “better social”; i.e. more honest, true, profound, fulfilling.

It is not possible to have high-quality interpersonal interactions without a precise way to manage and correct errors in communication as they occur. What we loosely think of as “personality” is based on interpersonal experiences. Change the experiences and you change the personality.

Roger Williams

Roger Williams (c. 1603—1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church in America, the First Baptist Church of Providence. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. Williams was arguably the very first abolitionist in North America, having organized the first attempt to ban slavery in any of the original thirteen colonies. (Source)

This Wikipedia article is worth reading. Williams was a strong and early advocate of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. His ideas probably influenced the principles expressed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Buddhists, and others, would do well to reflect on the great importance of the First Amendment, which reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“Religion” means something different today than it did during Williams’ life, but Williams’ underlying belief that each individual must be free to follow their own religious convictions is as fundamentally important today as it was back then.

American Buddhists obviously benefit from these protections, but even hard atheists and those who dislike all religions should ponder the profound importance of the individual right to believe what you want and to profess your beliefs without interference from the state.

Good discussion on government corruption and how and why it is covered up

There is a lot of information on the nuts and bolts of corruption in the US government in this video. The discussion includes James Corbett, Sibel Edmonds, Wayne Madsen, and Peter B. Collins.

The posted title of this video is Pedophiles Run the Government and No One Gives a Damn. I don’t care for this title because pedophilia in itself is not morally wrong unless acted on. As for why no one gives a damn, well, we do, but know they have us cornered. All societies everywhere in history have been cruel or corrupt. There is nothing humans can do, given present technology, to change this.

Marijuana legalization favored by a majority of Americans

The very long time it has taken to change marijuana laws is a lesson in why you always want to be careful when enacting new laws.

A recent Gallup poll shows the move to legalization of pot is gaining. From the article linked below:

  • Majority favors legal marijuana for third consecutive year
  • Younger generations more supportive than older generations
  • Older generations more supportive than they were in the past

Source: In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use

Hero worship, entrainment, academia, and culture

I confess that I look at the Daily Mail almost every day.

It lets me feel that I am in touch with something common—common people and common emotions generated by uncommon people.

Today I learned that Taylor Swift earned $1million a day this year…, making her the highest paid musician in the world. I also read about the much more ordinary safest diner in the most dangerous neighborhood in America, a story about a guy who is not afraid to live and work in Detroit and how he is supported by his tough clientele, many of whom get murdered.

These two kinds of stories typify the contents of the Daily Mail and reveal something about how humans think and feel.

Taylor Swift’s primary audience is teenage girls and younger. They worship her. Jovica Trpcevski, the owner and cook at John’s Grill, is more like us as are his clientele, though Trpcevski also commands loyalty and allegiance from his “fans.”

All of us at one time or another follow some celebrity, musician, author, thinker, religious figure, or news analyst or are impressed with or proud of some local person who is doing something we can’t.

Swift’s audience illustrates hero worship, or whatever it is, in its most basic form. The developing young brain is captivated by music and the style of someone more mature and cannot get enough. Trpcevski’s fans are older, wiser, and more jaded, but are still capable of a similar bond, a similar entrainment of the brain on a social or local community vibe.

This is what people do. We adulate and follow other people, usually famous people. Trump is better at getting that entrainment than Jeb. Chomsky was better than Skinner. For many today, the Buddha is doing it better than Jesus.

The followers of others—including Trpcevski’s fans—also conform to each other. They form groups whose members imitate each other as much as their star.

And it’s not just teens and tough guys who do it. Academics do it as much as teenage girls and with far worse effects. The toxicity of the PC atmosphere in American academia should be obvious to anyone who has gone near it.

…the image of a cowering cuckold is far more appropriate for the vast majority of academics than that of a dashing rebel against the establishment.

That quote is from Liberal Bias in Academia: Will Being Self-Conscious About It Help? The answer to that question is no because:

“…academics censor each other… they create a climate of conformity where if you want to get on in an academic career, you don’t stick your neck out and you don’t say anything controversial.”

Students pick up on this and begin to follow suit. Before long, debating, challenging and wrestling with ideas and truth claims becomes obsolete, replaced by a classroom full of silent witnesses who refuse to contest the academics teaching them…

“Then there’s no need for external restraints on academic freedom because academics are doing it for themselves – they’re restricting their own academic freedom.”

Students who don’t conform are self-selecting themselves out of university. (Ibid)

No hope for academia, most religion, most culture, most anything. It’s what we do.We conform and restrict our own freedom due to biological and social pressures. It starts early and often lasts a lifetime.

I do think we can break the spell by understanding that we learn from the Swifts and Trpcevskis of the world and from the others who are learning from them along with us. But after we learn, we can move on and think for ourselves.

Possible signs of intelligent alien life discovered

Astronomers have discovered a star that shows possible signs of having an alien structure around it.

The structure could be caused by a neighboring star pulling a string of comets close to it, but “this would involve an incredibly improbable coincidence,” one of the astronomers said. See here: Astronomers may have found giant alien ‘megastructures’ orbiting star near the Milky Way.

Another possibility is that the scientists have found a Dyson sphere or Dyson cluster, “a hypothetical megastructure that encompasses a star and captures most or all of its power output.”

Dyson spheres or clusters, if they exist, are built by civilizations far more advanced than ours.

Here is a study on the phenomenon: Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 – Where’s the flux?

And another article: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy.

Repost: Stress voice

This post provides a concrete example of what FIML practice does and why it is needed. Stress voice is an involuntary intrusion of instinct into speech. In some contexts, this is a very good thing. In many other contexts, it can be a very bad thing because it alerts us to dangers that do not exist while generating the illusion that they do. ABN

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Humans are semiotic animals that respond to human signals as primary percepta.

Some obvious examples are sex in advertising, pictures of hamburgers, people enjoying a natural view from a balcony in a hotel brochure. Each of these relies on an “instinct”—sex, hunger, an animal’s response to nature—while at the same time signaling a complex human contribution to the basic signal.

Another type of human signal that arouses instinct is tone of voice. A good example of this is the “stress” or “alarm” voice that is used by most if not all mammals and birds.

The basic instinctive stress or alarm voice is a shriek. If words are used, the shrieking tone will be accompanied by rapidly spoken words—“stop! stop! stop!” or “Watch out! it’s falling” or “get down! get down!” etc.

In basic situations involving real danger, the alarm voice is very important. We definitely want to have both the voice and the sudden energized response it draws from us.

In many situations, though, the stress voice can cause problems when it arises due to simple miscommunication. For example, I say or do something different from what you asked or implied and it causes you—virtually involuntarily—to use an alarmed tone that involves a bit of a shriek and rapid words.

For example, you asked me to cut some mushrooms for a broth we are making. What you meant is you want the mushrooms to go into the clear broth after it has been made but I toss them into the pot with the chicken bones and vegetable scraps that will be strained and thrown away.

When you first see what I have done, you experience slight confusion, even cognitive dissonance, and say in an alarmed voice, “What are you doing with the mushrooms?”

In turn, I respond directly to your stress voice and to the now evident miscommunication with my own confusion and stress voice, “I thought you wanted them in the broth!”

If we are friends, this minor contretemps will probably be easily overcome and we may even laugh about it. If we have had many unresolved contretemps of this type, however, one or both of us may escalate the problem by being accusatory or even abusive.

Even though the mushroom contretemps is very simple and insignificant, it can still be dangerous even between good friends because this type of contretemps can quickly get blown out of proportion due to the primal, instinctive quality of the stress voice.

Similar problem situations might be miscommunicated directions while driving or working, messed up meeting times, or getting the wrong thing from the store.

These problems are generally easy to resolve, though they may still generate discord or stress both because a confusing miscommunication happened and also because the stress or alarm voice just is that way; it causes stress or alarm in and of itself.

If you can see and deal with concrete situations such as the ones described above, imagine how similar situations may arise in less concrete forms and how they can be even more dangerous and lead to even more serious problems.

Miscommunicated emotional, sexual, psychological, or intellectual signals can also give rise to primal stress or alarm tones and, in turn, generate further stress and alarm. Contretemps like these can be much harder to pinpoint, analyze, and understand than simpler ones involving concrete communication about mushrooms or directions.

In FIML practice, if partners can mutually understand a few concrete contretemps and how and why they generate stress and confusion and use these forms as basic paradigms for more complex contretemps, they will go a long way toward removing stress and confusion that is entirely blameless, unconscious, unmotivated, and unintended by either of them.

Repost: Neurosis as a semiotic phobia

Human beings are semiotic entities. We largely live in and react emotionally to semiotics. Virtually everything we think, feel, and believe is built on a foundation of signs and symbols—semiotics.

A recent German study elegantly shows that people with arachnophobia see spiders more quickly than people who do not fear spiders.

The study can be found here: You See What You Fear: Spiders Gain Preferential Access to Conscious Perception in Spider-Phobic Patients. An article about the study is here: Phobias alter perception, German researchers say.

The authors of the study say that there probably is “an evolutionary advantage to preferentially process threatening stimuli, but these effects seem to have become dysfunctional in phobic patients.”

I would argue that “these effects” have also migrated into human semiotics and are similarly dysfunctional. That is, humans perceive some signs and symbols as more threatening than they are. For some of us these signs and symbols can seem so threatening we become “phobic” or neurotic about them.

For example, insecure people may become hypersensitive to signs of rejection. People who have been abused or tortured may perceive signs that seem ordinary to others as serious threats. If the person who tortures you also smiles, you will probably see human smiles as being dangerous when to others they indicate kindness.

Once a semiotic becomes associated with strong emotions, and this can happen in many ways, we will tend to see that semiotic as an emotionally charged sign from then on.

FIML practice is designed to interrupt our emotionally-charged responses to semiotics the moment those responses occur. By doing this repeatedly with the same sign, FIML practice can extirpates the neurotic response to that sign.

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Edit: Extirpating semiotic “phobias” or neuroses should be easier to do in most cases than extirpating phobias based on visual perceptions of things, such as the spiders discussed in the linked study. This is likely due to the more direct connection between emotional or limbic responses and the visual cortex. Complex semiotics are signs and symbols built on top of other signs and symbols, and thus their “architecture” is more fragile than direct visual perception and probably simpler to change in most cases. Human facial expressions probably fall somewhere between complex signs and direct visual perception. A good deal of what we call “psychology” are networks of complex semiotics. When a network becomes “neurotic” it is probably true that it contains erroneous interpretations of some or all of its semiotics. That said, a complex neurosis than involves many semiotic networks may be more difficult to extirpate than a straightforward phobia like arachnophobia.

Not all contretemps are the same

Edit 10/07/15: The post below describes a fairly simple problem that is nonetheless difficult to describe. This difficulty illustrates how fundamental linguistic imprecision is to human “psychology,” emotion, communication, and thought.

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Not all contretemps are the same. Some are easier to fix than others.

In FIML practice, a contretemps is defined as a misunderstanding within a conversation that arises from misspeaking, mishearing, or miscogitating.

Most contretemps arise due to the speaker or listener attributing a mental state to the other person. I hear a tone in your voice and thus attribute a mental state to you. It may be the case that I heard correctly. More often it is the case that I heard incorrectly.

Either way, a FIML query and discussion will usually put the matter to rest fairly quickly. The discussion that follows the resolution of the contretemps may use a lot of time but it is almost always pleasant and well-worth the effort because discussions of that sort tend to illuminate much more than just the contretemps in question.

It is a basic assumption of FIML practice that many/most contretemps are features of language and language use itself and not due fundamentally to human “psychology” or “personality.” Of course contretemps run all through what we call “psychology” and influence it a great deal, but many/most verbal (conversational) contretemps are just normal clunky things that are features of language.

They arise due to the ambiguities of words and phrases, the crudeness of our speech apparatuses, the dimness of our brains, poor hearing, and contextual misunderstandings, to name just a few of the reasons.

Once a simple mistake—a misunderstood tone of voice, reference, or context, for example—has been identified, it is usually a fairly simple matter to dismiss the emotions it may have aroused and move ahead with the conversation. These kinds of mistakes are characterized by some sort of mistaken attribution of a mental or emotional state by one of the participants in a conversation aimed at the other participant.

There is another sort of contretemps, however, that is more difficult to identify and fix. This sort of contretemps does not involve attributing a mental or emotional state to the other person. Rather, it is characterized by trying to prevent an emotional state from arising or from trying to prevent the conversation from going in one direction or another for whatever reason.

An example of this sort of contretemps might be something like this. You buy some bread and explain that it is different from the kind you usually buy because they did not have that kind. I look at the bread, and seeing that it is lighter than what we normally get, say this bread is too light, while fully knowing what you have said about why you bought it. No problem so far. You say, “Well…” as you begin to formulate a more complete response. Still no problem.

But then I add, “But I am not complaining!” My “intention” (if you can call such a swift response intentional) is merely to prevent you from thinking I am complaining about your having bought the bread. But my tone may not have come out right. This may be the start of a problem if you think that my tone implies that I think you are being defensive due to how you said “well….”

Was my tone wrong or did you hear it wrongly? Only the partners themselves can determine this, assuming both are well-meaning and reasonably intelligent (and sober).

The deeper FIML problem here is that tone of voice is very hard to catch and it is very hard for you to query me because things are moving very quickly. If you did query me I would honestly say that I did not think you were being defensive. I would honestly say that I just wanted to prevent your feeling defensive and/or to simply clarify that I am not complaining, this being a fairly normal thing for people to say though it can often be ambiguous and lead to a complex contretemps such as the one we are discussing.

When I say that I am not complaining, you hear it as me assuming that you have taken my complaint about the bread (a genuine problem we both recognize, though we are not all that clear on that either) as being a complaint about you or your shopping.

This kind of contretemps can be very hard to get to the bottom of because it involves several layers of miscuing based on a reasonable misattribution of my statement I am not complaining.

The basic problem is one speaker (me) is trying to guide the conversation or prevent it from going in some direction while the listener understands that effort to be an implied accusation of their planning to do just that, of their intending to do that.

If you pay attention to how you and your partner speak to each other, I can all but guarantee you will have contretemps of this sort. A well-meaning general intention to guide or prevent or indicate something is mistaken as an attribution of a mental or emotional state by the listener.

Kind of involved and messy isn’t it? It happens because languages are difficult to use well and we make many mistakes.

It must be emphasized that FIML partners are not seeking to adhere to some external social standard (which doesn’t really exist, especially in precise matters or with respect to complex interpersonal subjects and extensive discussions) but rather to hone their own standards to the point where there are fewer contretemps and the ones that do occur (as they absolutely will) can be resolved as efficiently as possible.

The sort of contretemps described above can be very difficult to identify and correct because it moves very quickly and is based on underlying assumptions that are not easy to identify on the fly. FIML practice, generally, is difficult not because people are stupid, have bad personalities, or screwed up psychologies, but because it is completely and utterly impossible not to make many mistakes in listening, speaking, and thinking whenever we use language.

If you try to gloss over too many mistake (now and then it’s OK to gloss over some of them) by pretending there is some “standard” you know about and that your partner is just an ass, you will only compound the problem. It is very difficult to be a fully functioning human being for many reasons and one of the biggest lies in language itself and how we normally (mis)use it.

A moral argument against veganism

This post argues against veganism and in favor of the consumption of meat and dairy products.

The moral argument for eating meat and dairy products is simple. If we eat them, we contribute to the economy that gives these animals life. Since their lives have value to them, it is better for them to exist than to not exist. And also, if their lives have no value to humans (for food or other uses), then these animals will cease to be so numerous and will probably become extinct.

The moral argument for veganism is generally based on not killing. But if we don’t slaughter cattle for food, soon there will be no cattle. Veganism, to put it strongly, is arguing in favor of cattle genocide.

The vegan argument is based on the belief that the animals’ lives have value to the animals. If the animals themselves did not want to live, the vegan argument would not be strong. But if we accept that the animals’ lives have value to them, then raising them for meat or other uses benefits the animals as well as humans.

The strongest argument for meat eating asks that the animals be treated humanely while alive and slaughtered humanely when the time comes. But even if the treatment and slaughtering of these animals is not perfect, it can still be reasonably argued that it is better for them to have existed than to not have existed.

An argument for limited humaneness—that is, “just humane enough to make their lives worth living to them”—does not appeal to me but is probably sound, though clearly it is morally weaker than an argument for greater humaneness.

An objection to this overall argument might be that it is somehow wrong to raise a sentient being knowing that you intend to kill it. But when we take a pet into our home, we all know that the chances are we will kill it when it becomes too infirm to continue. Many people, myself included, argue in favor of euthanasia and even suicide for people who have reasonably concluded that their lives are no longer worth living.

When and if we have widely available lab-produced fake meat that involves no killing, would it still be morally right to raise animals for slaughter? My answer is yes and for the same reasons—those animals are being given a chance to exist and it is better for them, from their point of view, to exist than to not exist.

To some extent, the above arguments appear to support the Buddhist Theravada position that lay Buddhists can eat meat. And that monastics can also eat meat if the animal was not killed for them, if they did not see the animal being killed, and if they did not kill the animal themselves.

The Buddha ate meat and made these rules for monastics and himself. Mahayana Buddhism developed a vegetarian tradition because mendicancy was not feasible in China and other northern areas. Indeed, Mahayana Buddhists who consume dairy products and/or eggs are actually participating in industries that slaughter animals, for dairy cows and chickens are slaughtered as soon as they cease to be productive.

Based on the argument presented in this post, Mahayana Buddhists are right to consume dairy and eggs and wrong to eschew meat if there are not other factors (health, personal  taste, environment) being considered.

I have not covered environmental factors in this post because they bring in many other considerations that distract from the basic moral argument.

As for fish, it seems to me as of this morning that eating “wild caught” fish is not morally well-supported because our eating them does not support their existing. Wild fish would be better off without us eating them. Farm raised fish and hatchery fish, of course, would be better off existing before being slaughtered in the same way that beef cattle are.