Games as semiotic focus

Define a game as “a set of rules that focuses and directs thought, feeling, intention.”

Most human games are overwhelmingly involved with human semiotics. Human feeling, thought, and intention overwhelmingly operate within and are defined by human semiotics.

Humans are semiotic animals who live within semiologies as much or more than their natural environments. Few of us can even comprehend our natural environments save through a semiotic system.

A semiology is a signal system, a system of signals. Humans need and want their signal systems to be organized; from this arises culture and psychology.

From this arises the many games of human semiotic organization. Humans crave meaning—a synonym for semiotic organization and focus—and thus play games (as defined above) with their intentions, thoughts, emotions, behaviors, instincts, perceptions, desires, and so on. Without meaning, focus, purposive semiotic organization, life is dismal and many humans destroy themselves and others for this alone.

Human semiotic organization can be beneficially reorganized in two basic ways:

  • Through general thought, which mainly changes how we focus and what we focus on. This region of organization includes all culture and science, including mainstream psychology and its treatments.
  • Through analysis of the most basic elements of semiotic organization, individual semiotics and semiologies. To do this at the individual level, two individuals are needed because you cannot successfully analyze your own semiotics by yourself. This is so because a great number of human semiotics are fundamental to both psychology and communication. They do not exist independently.

The goal of reorganizing individual semiologies is to optimize them. As individual semiologies optimize, individual psychologies inevitably optimize apace. Much is possible at this level that is not possible at the general level of psychological theory.

Reorganization at this level is done through individual semiotics, the actual signals of individual communication and psychology alike. To play this game—the game of semio-psychological reorganization and optimization—you have to have rules. Here they are.

Me on the outside vs me on the inside

This image was used on a social anxiety site to illustrate what it says. My take on it is virtually everyone in the world is like this if you expand social anxiety to mean inner confusion.

Under current worldwide social norms, inner confusion reigns because there is no way for individuals to communicate with profound authenticity, no way to connect on authentic levels. The closest most people can get is shared ideals, shared vows, shared beliefs, all mere pale shadows of true authenticity.

Those who lack profound authentic communication must needs necessarily also lack authentic self-knowledge. You cannot know thyself all alone. You must be able to communicate it, communicate with it, interact with it to know it. And you must be able to do this with a knowing other who is doing the same with you. This is so because our psychologies are based on interpersonal communication. There is no other way.

FIML practice can correct virtually all interpersonal communication problems between two people. FIML optimizes interpersonal communication and by so doing optimizes self-knowledge as well.

Real-time, real-world analysis of interpersonal communication

…From this, you can see that a percept is a “thing” in the mind, an electro-checmical “structure” with imagery, thought, and emotion. Based on what is known about the physical, brains (like all matter) are fields or fields intersecting; superimposed fields with remarkable stability and complexity.

If we consider the brain as some sort of field array and its particles as excited points on it, we can see how “mind” could be retained in the field array even though its brain particles have become unexcited through changed attention or death. (Source)

Is the greatest emotion taking pleasure in correcting our own mistakes?

Surely it’s in the top few.

In the Buddhist tradition, shame is sometimes called the greatest emotion because shame makes us open to changing for the better.

But shame can also be felt and avoided or hidden or misdirected. Shame here generally means something bothers our conscience.

Correcting our own mistakes often follows shame but not always. Someone may tell us of a mistake that does not make us feel ashamed.

Taking pleasure, even delight, in correcting our own mistakes is very close in time and psychology to actually making the correction.

Whether it is the greatest or not, the emotion that accompanies self-correction is well-worth cultivating.

Facial expressions as tools for social influence

“This paper is an attempt to bring the field up to a scientific understanding of human facial displays, and to restore continuity with modern views of animal communication,” Fridlund said. “From preschool on, we see smiley faces with the word ‘happy’ written under them. We see sad faces with the word ‘sad’ written under them. That may not be the best way to understand facial expressions. A monkey at the zoo that smiles at you is not necessarily happy — it is giving a ‘submissive threat grimace.’” (Source)

The paper: Facial Displays Are Tools for Social Influence

Brain waves may focus attention and keep information flowing

We can’t see it, but brains hum with electrical activity. Brain waves created by the coordinated firing of huge collections of nerve cells pinball around the brain. The waves can ricochet from the front of the brain to the back, or from deep structures all the way to the scalp and then back again.

Called neuronal oscillations, these signals are known to accompany certain mental states. Quiet alpha waves ripple soothingly across the brains of meditating monks. Beta waves rise and fall during intense conversational turns. Fast gamma waves accompany sharp insights. Sluggish delta rhythms lull deep sleepers, while dreamers shift into slightly quicker theta rhythms.

Continue reading…

Psychology as “signs of something else”

When we see a human behavior as a “sign of something else” we begin magnifying it.

When we live in a culture where people normally do this, we tend to think it is right to do this even to ourselves.

People often feel relieved when their “signs of something else” have been analyzed—either professionally or by self-administered questionnaires—to reveal what that “something else” is.

Once analyzed and categorized, the “something else” itself becomes a sign, or a meta-sign, a diagnosis that explains behavior while directing us to a cure based on whatever that “something else” is.

The DSM reads like a Ptolemaic system of circles and spheres. In it signs are identified, quantified, and classified to indicate what they stand for, what their “something else” is.

Professionals are needed to do this work of course, and though the manual rests on “scientific” tests and other measurements, it changes every few years and very few people are getting better because of it. Moreover there is very little consensus among thoughtful people, including psychologists, about what the classifications of “mental illness” or “personality disorder” actually mean.

This is a sure sign that something is wrong.

I submit that what is wrong is our systems of classification of mental disorder do not describe the actual disorders because these descriptions exist on a different level from the disorders themselves.

It is widely observed than many disorders as currently classified blend into each other, share attributes, are co-morbid. It is also widely known that when disorders are extreme, sufferers can exhibit symptoms of all of them.

This indicates that the human mind is a complex system that becomes disordered by over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing parts of its system.

And this may be why drugs, psychedelics, shock therapy, or shamanic rituals sometimes help. Because they reset the entire system.

If you don’t want to use drugs, can’t get psychedelics, don’t want to undergo shock therapy or shamanic ritual, I suggest you try FIML practice. If you have a good partner, are fairly intelligent, and want to truly optimize your psychology (not just terminate your ambiguous disorder), FIML will probably do this for you. In fact, even if you can get psychedelics, FIML is better.

A disorder is unique to its system and though we can speak of some generalities that may apply to it, these generalities exist at a different level from the disorder itself and cannot provide a cure.

To cure a disorder the disorder must be experienced as it is happening by the sufferer. If too much of the disorder is revealed at once or the sufferer is simply confronted with its classification, more harm than good may result. If small bits of the disorder are revealed over a longish period of time, however, the sufferer will much more easily be able to correct the disorder.

In my view, all people everywhere are deeply disordered and thus all people everywhere would benefit from FIML practice. People who may not benefit from FIML include, among others, those who cannot self-observe, who are severely alcoholic, whose disorder prohibits self-analysis (narcissism, for example) and, sadly, those who cannot find an honest partner.