The Ethical Skeptic (TES) has written a very good essay: The Distinction Between Comprehension and Understanding. I want to use a schema presented in his essay to describe what FIML is, how to see it and understand it. Comprehending it requires doing it and reaping its benefits.
TES provides this illustration of the layers of thought and psychology that culminate in comprehension:
I might not use a hammer to represent comprehension but since we have a hammer, it would represent FIML’s ability to smash through the dogma of psychology, our ordinary understanding of psycholinguistics, the simplicity with which we view real-time speech, and our ignorance that there exists anything profound in being able to analyze real-time, real-world speech as it is happening.
FIML is a method, a technique. It has no content save what you bring to it. FIML works with and reveals the profound subjectivity of the individual. Since basic FIML cannot be done alone but only with a partner, it also reveals the profound subjectivity of your partner. In doing this, it smashes the dogmas of psychology and virtually all public/common notions about what the human mind even is.
The difficulties of FIML are fundamentally two: 1) seeing it at all and 2) doing it. FIML is not something people normally ever do. I have been writing, reading, and thinking about FIML for many years and have never seen any reference to anything like it anywhere in the history of the world. If you know of one, please tell me. I will be delighted.
FIML is probably hard to see because all languages everywhere contain a very strong proscription against questioning anyone in the moment in order to begin a sober analysis. People just don’t do that. Getting that close and personal about something someone has just said (or did) is instinctively perceived as disrespect, argumentativeness, stupidity, rocking-the-boat, etc. FIML 100% is not that, but since no one has cultivated the habit or acquired the training to do it, no one can even see it let alone do it.
Most of us can see moments of speech and change our minds quickly if we are ordered, instructed, or want to curry favor. I guess that is a starting point, but none of that is FIML. FIML begins with a subjectively felt (or comprehended) need to find out if you have interpreted something correctly. Very ordinary, right? Yes, it is in “slow-time,” but not in real-time.
When done in real-time, the emphasis is on the one asking the question because this one has noticed an interpretation arising in their mind that may be wrong. The interpretation could be completely new or more likely habitual. By frequently noticing these interpretations and then asking your FIML partner about them (using FIML rules) and listening to their reply, you will gradually begin to see a true picture of your actual profound and marvelous subjective mind as it moves through and responds to its living existence.
FIML is no more difficult to learn than playing a musical instrument, riding a motorcycle, or cooking. Once both you and your partner understand what FIML basically is and why it is so necessary, you will progress quickly and gain many insights into your behaviors and thinking processes. At some point, you will achieve a kind of mutual comprehension of each other that is very clear and beautiful and cannot be gained in any other way.