Personality as strategy

Personality can be understood as a kind of strategy or pragmatic functionalism.

This aspect of it can be conscious, semi-conscious, or non-conscious and is most common or apparent in social milieus.

Personality is a unifying principle or unifying group of principles and ideas that guides the individual in all settings.

Personality must also comport with the individual’s understanding of ethics, morals, philosophy, eschatology, and so forth.

While it may benefit me in some ways to lie, lying does not comport with my ethics so I won’t do it in most situations, though I may wander into or toward gray areas sometimes.

A major aspect of personality is how big that gray area is (if the individual perceives it at all) and how often it appears in real-world situations.

The dictates of culture, or cultural norms, are also standards that lie at the heart of how a person’s strategy for functioning in the world works.

In this context, narcissism or narcissistic behavior can be analyzed fairly simply.

A conscious narcissist is someone who uses the unifying principle of self-interest as a strategy or guide, often at the expense of sound ethics and fairness toward others.

A semi-conscious narcissist is one who does this in a more muddled way.

A non-conscious narcissist is one who does this out of training, lack of awareness, or cognitive decline due to substance abuse or injury.

The first kind—the conscious narcissist—can change easily if conditions are right. So can the second kind—the semi-conscious narcissist—though good conditions will be harder for them to find.

The third kind is less likely to change because the cause is organic. This kind illustrates the raw functionalism of personality. A simple principle such as relentless self-interest is easier to hold in the brain than a more complex one that factors in fairness and ethical standards.

Many other personality traits can be analyzed and understood as practical strategies that are used by the brain to guide the organism. In some cases, these strategies are complex with varying ties to ethics and fairness.

In other cases, these strategies are the simple standards that remain after organic damage in the brain has occurred. I am pretty sure this is one reason the Buddha made the fifth precept “refraining from irresponsible use of alcohol.”

Masters Of Reality

Good interview from 2010.

Getting into the head of the man behind the best work of QOTSA, Kyuss, UNKLE & more

CRAVEONLINE: What’s the secret to being a great producer?

CHRIS GOSS: Letting a band play.  Letting them run wild. It’s like being a great jailer in a way and allowing people to open and try anything they want to try. Most restrictions bands have are self-imposed and I try to tell them to do whatever they want. If they want to make a turn and do something from left field I’m all for it. I’m not into repeating what someone has done before. Open the floodgates of creativity and I don’t care if the beats are perfect or everything is perfectly in tune, in fact I loathe that attitude. I don’t tune the vocals and all that crap so it’s pretty old school the way I produce records. I’m looking for brains man.


A semitotic analysis of dolls

The video below—White Girls Black Dolls: Destroying White Bias —is an analysis of the semiotics of dolls.

A doll can be a powerful cultural sign—a semiotic—that can be manipulated to achieve various effects.

Since semiotics (and dolls) can be manipulated and are manipulated by people, semiotic analyses of this kind should say who is doing the manipulating and why.

This video claims that a great deal of the manipulation of white/black cultural semiotics is and has been done by Jews. This is a reasonable claim supported by evidence, some of which is presented in the video.

Senator Joe McCarthy is mentioned in this film. His reputation as a maniac who wantonly destroyed the careers of innocent people is false. His reputation has been manipulated in ways not dissimilar to how dolls are manipulated.

There really were communist spies in the US government. They really were doing harm. You can check this claim by looking into documents released from the Venona project and the Soviet archives. It is most likely that McCarthy was being fed true information by J. Edgar Hoover.

There are a couple of books that exonerate most of what McCarthy said and did (he did go too far sometimes), but even with all this evidence it will be a long time before the semiotics of his reputation change. Most people will see him as an archetype of badness for long time to come.

Obviously, this prevents us from understanding who those communist spies were and what they were doing, but that is another story. Semiotic manipulation can hide things as well as direct our attention toward things.

You cannot possibly understand cultural life today without having a rich appreciation for how and why the signs and symbols—the semiotics—of culture are consciously manipulated by people, people who often have bad motives or at least motives that are not in your best interest.


Self-deception begins within seconds of listening or speaking.

Once committed to an interpretation or tending toward one, the brain builds on it quickly.

Once an interpretation has been built upon, the brain remembers it as what truly happened even if that is false.

This is normal. The human brain has evolved to use self-deception.

This probably happened because truer forms of communication are complex and use a lot of time. They can also be confusing and difficult.

Confusion, difficulty, and complexity interfere with social cohesion and motivation.

Strong self-deception deceives others better than weak self-deception or no self-deception. In this way, it promotes social cohesion and motivation.

Self-deception can be observed and understood if it is caught quickly. The best way to catch it is through a technique like FIML.

Self-deception is a kind of neurosis, delusion, false cognition. Nevertheless, we are so used to it, we can feel lost without it.

If self-deception is discovered many times through FIML practice, it does not present as a philosophy or attitude or whole picture of the mind. Nor does it present as a neurosis, delusion, or false cognition.

Rather it presents as a composite of many pixels—many small instances—of observed and corrected mistakes.

Thus seen as an aggregation of many small instances, self-deception gradually is lessened.

Donald Trump Q&A Press Conference In Charleston, South Carolina ( 2-15-’16 )

In my view, Trump is the only interesting candidate. The others are just a rehash of the same-old same-old.

You can see how well Trump deals with real-world issues by how he is handling the RNC and the GOP establishment.

The other candidates’ qualifications are professional office-holding with terrible results and lofty speech-making, with the same results.

Sanders’ candidacy is noteworthy because he is not part of the establishment, or doesn’t appear to be. But he’s just another Obama.

Self-deception and communication, a hypothesis

The hypothesis:

If we accept that humans have evolved to use self-deception in communication

Then self-deception must work within (and through) normal human communication limits

And if this is so, then there must be “smallest units” of self-deception that are accessible to observation and understanding

I propose that one of these “smallest units” is tone of voice and that the other is memory fabrication

Memory fabrication could also be called “reality fabrication,” “insistence on a single interpretation,” or “false assertion” or even “false confession.”

Though false confessions are common, as a society, we are puzzled by them and even have a legal system that puts great weight on them.

The link just given will provide background on this aspect of “reality fabrication.” A strong or clever person can often cause someone to falsely confess even to a serious crime.

A narcissist could probably be defined as someone who is especially susceptible to false assumptions about themself and others. (Themself is a good word, dating back to the 14th century.)

Tone of voice is a communication element that typically produces almost instantaneous reactions in listeners.

When the human capacity for “reality fabrication” meets tone of voice in the moment, self-deception frequently arises.

For example, I cut my finger and speak in frustration to you when I drop the band-aide you handed me. Then you react to my tone of voice.

Most of us most of the time will stop at this point and recognize that any emotions that have been generated are based on a transient problem and are best ignored.

Sometimes, though, a situation like this can lead to further emotional confusion during which one or both parties will begin to self-deceive concerning whose “fault” it is, what happened, why, etc.

I am certain you will be able to find many more example of these small units in your own life if you pay close attention to the moment a discordant tone of voice arises either in yourself or in your partner.

I believe these are some of the smallest units of self-deception. By paying attention to them we can watch ourselves begin a process of more complex self-deception.

Self-deception is an important part of human psychology, but we do not have to allow ourselves to be led around by it. Just as I can control through understanding my instinctual desires for excitement and sexual stimulation, I can also control through understanding and observation my instinctual tendency to self-deceive.

When FIML partners are both able to do this, they will gain great insight into how and why they are the way they are. It will also be much more fun to talk together.


Here is some more relevant information: The way you sound affects your mood.

Repost: Microaggression and FIML

I have been seeing a lot of stuff about microaggression recently.

The term interests me because FIML is all about micro impressions.

When done with a caring partner, FIML is designed to correct mistaken impressions or interpretations that often derive from micro impressions and/or manifest as micro expressions.

Anyone who has done FIML for more than a few months surely must be aware that we create wrong impressions of even our most trusted partners frequently.

A wrong impression often snowballs, leading to a wrong interpretation that after festering can be much harder to correct than the original micro impression.

So between friends, and especially FIML partners, the perception of micro aggression can and should be noticed and dealt with immediately or as soon as possible. It is basic to FIML practice that even a single uncorrected wrong impression can lead to serious divisions between people.

In this sense, I heartily accept the idea of microaggression being a thing. In fact, I believe it is such a thing that it happens all the time, especially if you mean micro mis-impressions and not just microaggression.

But the term microaggression means something different from the above, though the central concepts are related. Wikipedia has this short definition of microaggression:

…the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

The main difference is “without conscious choice of the user.” FIML is all about being conscious. Both parties being conscious.

If I perceive something in your speech, demeanor, or behavior that makes me think that maybe you are disrespecting me or mad at me or or suspicious of me or something like that, then if you are my FIML partner I am basically required to ask you about it if there is time.

In FIML, the asking is done without prejudgement. I simply ask “what was in your mind when you made that expression or said those words or did that thing.” Your answer must be honest. If you don’t trust your partner to be honest, you can’t do FIML (though you can start trying and see if either or both of you changes).

If your partner answers honestly and you do not perceive an iota of what you thought was in their mind, that part of the event is finished. If when the person spoke or acted they had no nothing about doing what you thought they might be doing, you are done with it. You no longer have any right to further impute your thing onto them.

You can if you want, and this is encouraged, continue to discuss the matter. For example, you might say: “From your response, I can tell that you were not disrespecting me and I am delighted to find that out. That’s a huge relief for me because I have spent much of my life reacting to people who do that as if they were disrespecting me. It’s weird to hear that I am wrong in this case and it makes me wonder if I have been wrong in other cases.”

Then the two of you can discuss that. I know one person who frequently reacts to educated northeast American accents as being “imperious” or “arrogant” when they are not. (Don’t get me started on all the many phrases and attitudes in culture that wrongly limit speech and thus culture itself—“condescending,” “know-it-all,” “argumentative,” “imperious,” etc.)

So, if two friends are having problems between themselves with microaggression, they are prime candidates for FIML practice. Of course, any two friends who are having any problems with micro impressions (all friends all the time) are prime candidates for FIML. (You cannot but have these problems.)

But microaggression as the word is being used today is not something FIML can deal with directly because it is

…the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

The important words here are “known social norms,” “without conscious choice” leading to “discrimination.”

I don’t know how to unpack that. From a FIML point of view, my guess is behaviors that could potentially be identified as “microaggression” according to that definition would be in the range of dozens per day per every person in the world. Maybe more.

An example many readers will remember is Michelle Obama reacting to a customer in Target asking her to hand them something they could not reach.

I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.

If even the president’s wife can get something so ordinary so wrong, you can see the scope of the problem. In the same interview, the president himself mentioned being “mistaken for a waiter.”

Both later downplayed their comments because they had to. Microaggression is an inherently super-ambiguous term open to a multitude of interpretations every time it is used.

In FIML, we find that micro-mistakes are real and dangerous. They are not ignored but addressed immediately because they can be so serious. Relevantly, in my experience with FIML a great many micro-impressions that I form are simply dead wrong. Most of them are wrong. I can’t enter that as evidence because the world does not have enough FIML practitioners for me to do a study on it. However, I do suspect that a great many micro-impressions of or impressions of microaggression are wrong.

Many of us laughed or thought it was ridiculous for Michelle Obama to bristle at having a short person ask her for help because we all have been on one side or the other of an exchange like that and thought nothing of it. I have been mistaken for a store employee or construction worker more than once and never thought anything of it, except maybe to feel slightly flattered that someone thought I looked like I knew what I was doing.

Another problem with the notion of politicizing microaggression (because that is what the term is about) is whose microaggression against whom?

I have strabismus, lazy eye. Even though the condition has been surgically corrected, I still cannot maintain a direct friendly gaze for long periods of time. This means that many people are led to misinterpreting my micro expressions (I start to look down) as me being bored, tired, or not friendly when all that is happening is my eye is so tired it starts to blur and needs to look away.

I know this from years of experience and because some people tell me what they are thinking. One in twenty or twenty-five people have strabismus. Add in other eye conditions with similar problems and you will get much higher percentages. Add hearing problems, attention-deficit problems, autism problems, and so on and you can include most people in the world having difficulties with micro-expressions and how they are being interpreted by others.

If someone from a different culture or race or neighborhood interprets my strabismus as microaggression (boredom with them or condescension toward them rather than simple fatigue), they will get it all wrong. And there is little or nothing I can do about it.

I even tell people about strabismus sometimes. I explain what it does. They say they understand, but very few of them really do. Only very close friends or people who have similar eye problems understand well enough that it stops being an issue with them.

Moreover, strabismus and other eye problems can lead to problems with facial recognition. So the person in the store that asked Michelle Obama for help may have also had facial recognition problems. I have that problem, too, and I seriously doubt that I would recognize Michelle Obama if I saw her in Target.

So, sorry, I don’t have any really good answer to how to understand microaggression or deal with it. On a personal level with friends or FIML partners, micro-impressions are what we want to work with as much as we can. On a societal level, you can hardly do anything about it. A super-smart person might be able to become aware of a good many of the difficulties faced by people in the world, but even that person will miss many of them or misinterpret what they perceive even if they “know” the right thing to do.

At the abstract heart of the problem there is probably a measurement or resolution problem. Simply stated, no person can ever possibly do perfect microanalyses all the time in all situations with all people. Far from it. Thus, it is a sort of “reverse microaggression” to demand or expect that they can or will or should.

I suppose we can and should become more aware of how complex people are and how difficult it is to know even one other person well, or even to know yourself well. But nothing that I can think of will ever relieve us of the difficulty of dealing with the immense number of micro-impressions we all give and receive every minute of every day.

Heroin: Blame It On America

Any politician who claims to care about the drug overdose deaths sweeping the nation, but does not demand that we build a wall, deport illegal aliens and end the anchor baby scam, is a liar.

In 2014, more people died from drug overdoses than any year in U.S. history: 47,055. That’s more than die in car accidents — and it’s not even close.

This is a huge, horrible problem — and it’s a problem caused entirely by the fact that Mexico is on our southern border.

link to original