Ethnicity, spying, China and everywhere else

Moral universalism which currently governs a great deal of American social and political thinking is wrong.

Moral universalism is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for “all similarly situated individuals,” regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature. (Source)

Moral universalism is not only wrong it is also very bad and causes great harm, especially when it governs a nation’s social and political thinking.

I personally came to this point of view from long and intimate experience with several non-American societies, one of which is China.

Like virtually all societies in the world China does not practice or believe in universal morality.

Seriously, virtually no society in the world does except European and European-derived societies.

If you believe in universal morality and your adversary (yes, that is how they fundamentally see you) does not, you are a dead duck.

Chinese espionage, both online and old-fashioned, represents a serious threat to American security and prosperity, as Washington, DC, has stated many times. Cyber theft and online pilfering of American intellectual property was castigated as “the greatest transfer of wealth in history” by the director of the National Security Agency back in 2012, and things have only gotten worse since then, with China taking the lead in stealing our secrets for profit and strategic advantage. (The Unpleasant Truth About Chinese Espionage)

I got that from a recent article by John Derbyshire, Chinese Immigration DOES Pose A Security Risk.

His piece is well-worth reading. I discovered that he, like me, lived in China for a long time. I also discovered that he, like me, thinks that:

The moral of the story is plain. Because Communist China 1) has a hostile posture towards the U.S.A., and is unscrupulous about stealing military, diplomatic, and commercial data, and because 2) they almost exclusively use Chinese-Americans and Chinese in America to do so, by ethnic appeals and threats to loved ones in China, 3) nobody with any connections to China should have access to sensitive data.

Derbyshire believes that even he should be “barred from access to sensitive data.

If the ban includes him it would also include me.

So, should I be barred?

I would say only maybe. I think I should be looked at more closely than a Mormon from Utah. Derbyshire does have relatives in China and I no longer do.

Please take the time to read his piece and follow some of the links to other articles. It’s a big subject that both he and I, who have real experience in China, agree needs a sea change in attitude among Americans.

Lest anyone think the above is some sort of anti-Chinese screed, let me assure you I think the above is true for anyone from any society that is not European-derived and I am not so sure about many of them.

The truth is most humans are intensely loyal to their own kind, the opposite of universal morality, and nothing is going to change that any time soon.

Most societies teach their young a morality that treats their in-group very differently from out-groups. This is a fact of life on planet earth.

In Buddhism, statements like “all sentient beings are equal” are true at an ultimate level, not at the relative level of mundane activity, which is the level at which most human activity happens.

Buddhism also teaches “wise compassion.”

Wisdom is always the highest virtue in Buddhism. Compassion can be harmful, disastrous, if it is practiced unwisely.

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China orders female government workers not to talk to ‘handsome Western foreigners’ because ‘they are probably spies after state secrets

Northern Europeans less prone to “blaming the other”

Globalism

Globalism is depicted quite well in this cartoon.

Globalism appeals to a universalist ideology that sounds good but isn’t because it leads inevitably to the destruction of nations and the cultures that are manifested through them.

In Buddhist terms, globalism at best is unwise compassion.

The globalist movement of our times is largely funded by billionaires and groups not well-known to the public.

The money is used to foment revolutions, fund political candidates, and propagandize entire populations.

Most SJWs are unwitting tools of globalists.

This is why you need FIML

FIML not only accesses individual word maps but also the maps of all communicative signs.

Here is the brain model of semantic maps.

And here is the study: Natural speech reveals the semantic maps that tile human cerebral cortex.

Here is a brief article about the study: Scans Show ‘Brain Dictionary’ Groups Words By Meaning. From this article:

Gallant says the findings contradict two beliefs nonscientists commonly have about the brain. First, that only the left hemisphere handles language. Second, that the brain has localized regions that handle specific tasks.

Edit: When you frequently access your word maps with the help of your FIML partner, both of you will become much more conscious of how these maps are structured and how they function during acts of communication.

This allows partners to make conscious meta-decisions to change and improve these maps in any way they want.

The meaning held in semantic maps (or semiotic maps) is the very meaning of your life as you understand it.

Not only do your maps form the basis of your communication with others, they also form the basis of how you understand yourself. How you communicate with yourself.

Gaining access to these maps is extremely liberating because it allows a degree of control over your own mind that few of us ever experience.

When we say that FIML has no content, no required beliefs, this can be understood as meaning that FIML gives us access to our own maps and control over them.

What you do with this access is entirely up to you and your partner.

The right side of history

 

Edit 04/27/15: Trump passes Romney’s popular vote total, likely to break GOP record

That presents an uncomfortable reality for anti-Trump forces: they’re attempting to thwart the candidate who is likely to win more Republican primary votes than any GOP contender in at least the last 36 years, and maybe ever.
Trump is the only candidate in years who has actually done anything besides read speeches and hold office. In my view, this country would be nuts to miss an opportunity like this. ABN

Repost: Do we have an inner child or an inner dog?

Inner child is a widely recognized term that implies the presence in adults of unresolved problems or underdeveloped traits rooted in childhood.

Inner child further implies that full development of the adult requires “reparenting” or “retraining” the inner child as a way of resolving juvenile problems and advancing to full adulthood.

My FIML partner has been studying dog training and last night told me how much she thought effective dog training resembled FIML practice.

In a nutshell, FIML practice trains your inner dog, not your inner child.

For example, to stop bad behavior in a dog—say, barking at cars going by—its human trainer has to know how to intervene as quickly and as calmly as possible the moment that behavior arises. Quick intervention ensures that the dog knows what the trainer wants them to do. If you wait too long (as little as a few seconds), the dog won’t know what you want them to do. They will have forgotten the precise source of their behavior and thus any corrections they try to make will not address the root problem, which is they have interpreted a signal in the world (cars going by) as something they must react to.

When the trainer is calm and friendly as well as quick to intervene, they will prevent the dog from reacting to their (the trainer’s) excessive emotion, be it anger, panic, or an unskilled flustered state of mind.

The same sort of thing happens in FIML practice. When one FIML partner queries the other, the first thing they are doing is stopping their (own) inner dog before it starts behaving badly. They are intervening as soon as they feel their inner dog stir and start to rise from the floor (but before it starts barking).

The second thing they are doing is calmly asking their FIML partner a question about a very specific and precisely identified moment. They are gathering good data on that moment from their partner and will compare it to what their inner dog thought it saw or heard.

A FIML partner is in essence asking, should I be reacting right now as my inner dog is telling me or has my inner dog misinterpreted a signal coming from you?

The dog for much of its life has barked at cars going by, while the person for much of their life has reacted with sadness or anger to their interpretation of certain signs or signals (semiotics) coming from other people.

When you query your FIML partner about a sign that you have been reacting to for much of your life and discover that the sign you received was not the sign they sent, you will be like the dog who comes to understand that there is no reason to bark at cars going by, no reason to rise from the floor at all.

People are semiotic animals more than dogs, so we react very strongly to social semiotics. But we are just like dogs in that most of our reactions to semiotics can be changed without much effort as long as we arrest those reactions quickly and replace them with a more reasonable response.

My partner remarked last night especially on how easily a great deal of bad dog behavior can be corrected if the intervention of the trainer is quick and the dog is shown a more appropriate response. Oftentimes, just a few good interventions will correct the bad behavior.

What are some classic mistakes bad dog trainers make? They try to comfort or calm the barking dog by holding it and telling it everything is OK. That is, they treat it like a child. But all that actually does is reward the dog for the behavior they want to stop.

So if you reward yourself (your inner child) by indulging in childish feelings of abandonment when you misinterpret or over-interpret a sign of rejection, you are actually rewarding yourself for being wrong, for having an erroneous (or neurotic) interpretation of communicative signs.

It is better to treat your rapid and unthinking “limbic” responsivity like a dog than like a child. And rather than reparent your inner child, it is better to use good dog training techniques to retrain the actual semiotic responses that are the real roots of unwanted behaviors.

Narcissism, alcoholism, and malice

Narcissism is an interesting condition because it does not appear to have a large genetic component, if any, and it can be understood as a cognitive strategy.

Narcissism often co-occurs with alcoholism or is the result of alcohol addiction.

I think it is probably a mistake to say that narcissism leads to alcoholism because alcoholism so often begins in the late teens and early twenties when personality and cognitive strategies are not well developed.

We generally study language and cognitive development by studying growing children, but we can also gain valuable insights into language and cognition by studying how they decline in alcoholism and other degenerative conditions later in life.

My sense is that in alcoholics, narcissism can be understood as an overall cognitive strategy that works because it is a simple and relatively easy way to organize general cognition.

With fewer things to consider, the narcissist is better able to function while drunk or while suffering the neurotoxic effects of years of alcohol abuse.

Why are narcissists and alcoholics so often malicious?

I think the reason is much the same as the argument above: malice is a simple, self-centered response to poorly understood or completely misunderstood social stimuli.

Malice is a side-effect of the simplicity of the narcissist’s overall cognitive strategy which has placed enormous emotional weight on an inflated sense of self.

In terms of FIML theory, narcissism is a dominant network of semiotics centered around self-interest and self-aggrandizement. (Narcissism as a cognitive strategy)

I think FIML practice would be very difficult, maybe impossible, for mid-stage and beyond alcoholics due to reduced capacity for the meta-cognition needed for FIML.

A non-alcoholic narcissist or an alcoholic in the earlier stages of the disease would, in my opinion, benefit greatly from FIML practice if conditions are good.

Rather than being a mysterious force directing personality, I believe narcissism is cognitive strategy. As such it is based on self-centered heuristics that are founded on semiotic networks that can be perceived through FIML practice.

I also believe that these networks almost certainly will be identified by brain scans or other instruments within the next few decades.

Narcissism as a cognitive strategy

Narcissism can be understood as a cognitive strategy because it uses self-interest and a strong sense of self as central or unifying components of general cognition.

It is intellectually a fairly simple strategy as these central components are always close at hand and usually apparent to the narcissist.

Narcissism is often the choice of children and teens, though not always.

Many cultures are fundamentally narcissistic. In some ways, they all are though a non-narcissistic culture is possible.

In terms of FIML theory, narcissism is a dominant network of semiotics centered around self-interest and self-aggrandizement.

The value of seeing narcissism as a network of signals—both mental and emotional—is it allows us to quantify narcissism and view its smallest parts in detail.

Today, the only tool we have to do this is FIML practice, but I am confident that within the next 3-10 decades we will have instruments that are capable of measuring semiotic networks with enough detail and accuracy to replace FIML in many situations.

(See Researchers can identify you by your brain waves with 100 percent accuracy for more on this.)

In the case of narcissism, such measurements will be able to show where even very small signals are embedded in larger networks and how they function within those networks. They will also be able to show the size and outlines or architecture of those networks.

The defining feature of a narcissistic network is (it is) a reduced and magnified understanding of the self. It is reduced because too many cognitive signals are taken into it. It is magnified because almost everything is understood in those terms.

FIML practice is able to access narcissistic networks and open them up by working with lots of small signals over a medium-longish period of time.

The greater reliability of many FIML-corrected signals gradually overthrows the hegemony of the erroneous self-oriented network of narcissism.

Culture and psychology, a way out

That each human is unique is common knowledge.

That the uniqueness of each human scales down to even their smallest reactions to words, pictures, signs, symbols is also well-known.

Experimental support for this position can be found here: Researchers can identify you by your brain waves with 100 percent accuracy. The study this article is based on is here: A Novel Method for Very High Accuracy Event-Related Potential Biometric Identification.

By averaging individual EEG responses to 500 images, researchers were later able to identify individual people with 100% accuracy. The main expected use for this research is biometric identification of people wanting to enter secure spaces.

That this research also has implications for social-psychology is what I am interested in today.

If each of us is unique with unique responses to pretty much everything, how are we able to communicate?

We communicate with each other in cultural terms. That is, we use unifying cultural concepts to provide a sense of agreement. Some might say to manufacture an illusion of agreement.

Culture is a hierarchical group of unifying principles that organizes the minds of its members.

Similarly, what we call the “self” or the “ego” is nothing more than a unifying principle that organizes the mind of the individual.

It should not take too much effort to see that what people think of as their “self” is usually an imported hierarchy that comes from the individual’s understanding of the culture to which they belong.

Individuals tailor their imported “selves” in much the same ways that we decorate our rooms or choose our clothes. There is a good deal of leeway in how you construct yourself, but there are also serious limitations.

This why individuals in one culture differ from individuals in another. If they have commonalities, those are often shared cultural roots or instinctive human behaviors that find expression in all societies.

I believe the above view of culture and the individual’s role in it describes a dangerous trap.

This is so because the resonance between “self” and “culture” is a powerful tautology, based on illusions.

No matter how you change culture, the trap remains the same.

Change in culture means little more than a rearrangement of limited parts that will never come together as an enlightened whole because cultures are always lowest common denominators.

Make culture more “tolerant” and it will gradually be undermined and replaced by those who come into the tent under the new rules.

We see exactly this happening with SJWs whose demands for tolerance have morphed into totalitarian demands for tolerance as they define it.

Do as we say or be fired, ostracized, demonstrated against, beaten-up.

I do not see any way to get out of this problem except the Buddhist way. Renounce culture in most of its guises and as an individual withdraw from its worst bs as much as possible.

Culture, as much as the ego or self, is a fundamental delusion. It is the stuff of the first noble truth and it causes suffering.

As a Buddhist, I understand that culture is necessary for our educations up to a point. And I understand that the self is necessary for healthy individual development up to a point.

But once that point has been reached, I  renounce the totalitarianism of culture, the totalitarianism of the self, the totalitarianism of any lowest common denominator anything.

Notice I said totalitarianism of.

I can accept and function in a culture that allows great freedom of thought with few rules. I always gladly obey all the rules in national parks and adore the Bill of Rights, though sadly it is slipping away.

Similarly, I am good with a healthy persona restrained by the five precepts and used as a basis for social intercourse and freedom of thought.

The Alt Right Is Right

…Because of the dominance of the Left and its obsession with “White racism,” Cuckservatism in all its forms tries to fly under the radar of Political Correctness by aggressively signaling its moral abhorrence of “racism.” This makes Cuckservatives respectable upholders of the status quo—and “willing executioners” in the transformation of America into something that would be unrecognizable and abhorrent to the Founding Fathers. (Source)

Is consciousness continuous or discrete?

Is consciousness a continuous flow of awareness without intervals or is it something that emerges continually at discrete points in a cascade of microbits?

The Buddhist answer has always been the latter.

The Buddha’s five skandha explanation of perception and consciousness says that there are four discrete steps that are the basis of consciousness.

The five skandhas are form, sensation, perception, activity, consciousness. A form can arise in the mind or outside of the mind. This form gives rise to a sensation, which gives rise to perception, followed by activity (mental or physical), and lastly consciousness. In the Buddha’s explanation, the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly. They are not a continuous stream but rather a series of discrete or discernible moments. A form arises or appears, then there is a sensation, then perception, then activity, then consciousness. (The five skandhas and modern science)

The first four skandhas are normally unconscious. Buddhist mindfulness and meditation training are importantly designed to help us become conscious of each of the five skandhas as they actually function in real-time.

A study from 2014—Amygdala Responsivity to High-Level Social Information from Unseen Faces—supports the five skandha explanation. From that study:

The findings demonstrate that the amygdala can be influenced by even high-level facial information before that information is consciously perceived, suggesting that the amygdala’s processing of social cues in the absence of awareness may be more extensive than previously described. (emphasis added)

A few days ago, a new model of how consciousness arises was proposed. This model is being called a “two-stage” model, but it is based on research and conclusions derived from that research that support the Buddha’s five skandha explanation of consciousness.

The study abstract:

We experience the world as a seamless stream of percepts. However, intriguing illusions and recent experiments suggest that the world is not continuously translated into conscious perception. Instead, perception seems to operate in a discrete manner, just like movies appear continuous although they consist of discrete images. To explain how the temporal resolution of human vision can be fast compared to sluggish conscious perception, we propose a novel conceptual framework in which features of objects, such as their color, are quasi-continuously and unconsciously analyzed with high temporal resolution. Like other features, temporal features, such as duration, are coded as quantitative labels. When unconscious processing is “completed,” all features are simultaneously rendered conscious at discrete moments in time, sometimes even hundreds of milliseconds after stimuli were presented. (Time Slices: What Is the Duration of a Percept?) (emphasis added)

I, of course, completely support science going where the evidence leads and am not trying to shoehorn these findings into a Buddhist package. Nonetheless, that does sound a lot like a slimmed-down version of the five skandhas. Considering these and other recent findings in a Buddhist light may help science resolve more clearly what is actually happening in the brain/mind.

As for form-sensation-perception-activity-consciousness, you might suddenly think of your mother, or the history of China, or the spider that just climbed onto your shoulder.

In Buddhist terms, initially, each of those items is a form which leads to a sensation which leads to perception which leads to activity which leads to consciousness.

Obviously, the form of a spider on your shoulder differs from the form of the history of China. Yet both forms can be understood to produce positive, negative, or neutral sensations, after which we begin to perceive the form and then react to it with activity (either mental or physical or both) before becoming fully conscious of it.

In the case of the spider, the first four skandhas may happen so quickly, we will have reacted (activity) to it (the spider) before being conscious of what we are doing. The skandha of activity is deeply physical in this case, though once consciousness of the event arises our sense of what the first four skandhas were and are will change.

If we slapped the spider and think we killed it, our eyes will monitor it for movement. If it moves and we are sensitive in that way, we might shudder again and relive the minor panic that just occurred.

If we are sorry that we reacted without thinking and notice the spider is moving, we might feel relief that it is alive or sadness that it has been wounded.

In all cases, our consciousness of the original event, will constellate around the spider through monitoring it, our own reactions, and whatever else arises. Maybe our sudden movements brought someone else into the room.

The constellation of skandhas and angles of awareness can become very complex, but the skandhas will still operate in unique and/or feedback loops that can often be analyzed.

The word skandha means “aggregate” or “heap” indicating that the linear first-fifth explanation of how they operate is greatly simplified.

The above explanation of the spider can also be applied to the form skandhas of the history of China or your mother when they suddenly arise in your mind, or anything else.

We can also perceive the skandhas when our minds bring in new information from memory or wander. As we read, for example, it is normal for other forms to enter our minds from our memories. Some of these forms will enhance our reading and some of them will cause our minds to wander.

Either way, our consciousness is always slightly jumpy because it emerges continually at discrete points in a cascade of microbits, be they called skandhas or something else.

_________________

See also: How the brain produces consciousness in ‘time slices’

Psychological optimization

Why settle for not being crazy when you could be going for psychological optimization?

A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a diagnosis of a behavioral or mental pattern that can cause suffering or a poor ability to function in ordinary life.

Why settle for being able to “function in ordinary life” when you could have an extraordinary life?

Why take pills to get by when you could be optimizing your brain?

Humans go for optimization whenever we can. We optimize technology, our diets, our medical treatments, our educations, even our friendships.

Optimization : an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.

Hell yeah. That’s what you want for your mind, your life. Why settle for less?

OK, that does read like a sales spiel, but I will deliver.

All you have to do is put time and thought into the process of optimizing your psychology. An optimized psychology is an optimized brain and life.

First, you have to learn how to do FIML.

This requires about as much time and effort as learning to play a musical instrument at a beginner’s level. About as much time as it takes to learn to drive a car. Or to learn to play pool well enough to enjoy it.

FIML takes less time to learn than a semester at school, whatever grade. Less time than most job-training courses. Less time than becoming a decent amateur cook. Less time than buying a house or redoing your kitchen.

The hardest part about FIML is learning the technique through reading. Start here: How to do FIML.

The second hardest part is having a friend or mate who is willing and able to do it with you. Sadly, this is a deal-breaker for too many people.

I hate saying this, but it is fairly normal for people world-wide not to have a friend who is close enough to do FIML with. This is the result of so many non-optimized psychologies in this world.

Many people have five or more “good friends” and a loving spouse, but not even one of them willing or able to do FIML.

Their excuses will be they can’t understand it, don’t want to bother, don’t want to be that honest, don’t want that kind of relationship, don’t have the time, etc.

The result is they and you will continue to languish in less than optimal mental states. Moods, alcohol, pills, arguments over nothing, ridiculous misunderstandings, ominous silences, severance of ties, and worse will rule your world(s).

For most, the best relief they will find are self-help books based on generalities, career books about “getting ahead” as defined by more generalities, nonsense about “loving yourself,” low levels of religious belief and practice, exercise programs, etc.

You didn’t learn to drive a car that way. Driving a car requires interaction, observation, the help of another person.

Your psychology needs similar kinds of input.

Once you have learned to do FIML with a trustworthy partner, the practice will tend to self-generate because the insights gained will be real and have real and deeply felt benefits for both partners.

Besides the “how to” and FAQ links at the top of this page, most posts on this site describe some aspect of FIML practice.

For psychologists, I honestly do not see how you can claim to be able to treat other people if you have not done at least a few years of FIML practice or the like. Human interactions without any technique for consistent meta-control and understanding (which FIML provides) are 100% guaranteed to be riddled with misunderstanding and wrong views.

 

Interview with researcher David Nutt on the effects of LSD

From the interview:

…Why study the effects of LSD on the brain?

For brain researchers, studying how psychedelic drugs such as LSD alter the ‘normal’ brain state is a way to study the biological phenomenon that is consciousness. (Brain scans reveal how LSD affects consciousness)

The actual study is here: Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging.

Another article on this study can be found here: Brain scans show how LSD mimics mind of a baby.

Current scientific research confirms what many understood in the 1950s and 60s—that LSD used wisely often leads to good outcomes, increasing “creativity,” lessening depression, and removing addictive behaviors.

I know am a bit of a Buddhist heretic when I say that I am pretty sure the Buddha would have approved of or not disapproved of LSD. I say this because the fifth precept does not mention the abuse of any other drug but alcohol. For more on this topic see: Are We Misunderstanding The Fifth Precept?