For something to appear in consciousness it must also appear in working memory. We interact with the (long) moments of real-life in real-time through our working memories.
The post below describes how psychological morphemes that appear in working memory can help us transform the psychological systems they are associated with. It discusses a study which “…shows that removing a key word from a linguistic network will cause that network to fracture and even be destroyed.”
This last point is key to using working memory to achieve deep psychological transformation. ABN
Networks of words, semiotics, and psychological morphemes
On this site we have claimed many times that words and semiotics are
held together in networks. We have further hypothesized that
“psychological morphemes” are also held together in networks.
A “psychological morpheme” is the smallest meaningful unit of a
psychological response. It is the smallest unit of communication that
can give rise to an emotional, psychological, or cognitive reaction.
Of course word networks, semiotic networks, and emotional, psychological, and cognitive networks all intertwine with each other.
FIML practice is designed to help partners untangle unwanted emotions from these intertwined networks. FIML practice focuses on psychological morphemes because they are small and thus rather easily understood and rather easily extirpated from real-time contexts (when partners are interacting in real life in real-time).
The hard part about FIML practice is it is done in real life in
real-time. But the easy or very effective part about FIML is that once
partners learn to do it, results come quickly because the practice is
happening in real life in real-time. It is not just a theory when you do
it in that way. It is an experience that changes how you communicate
and how you understand yourself and others.
In FIML practice partners are mindful of their emotional reactions
and learn that when one occurs, it is important to query their partner
about it. They are mindful of psychological morphemes and as soon as one
appears, but before the morpheme calls up a large network leading to a
strong reaction, they query their partner about it.
This practice leads, we have claimed, to a fairly smooth and
effortless extirpation of unwanted psychological responses. This
happens, we believe, because the data provided by the partner that
“caused” the reaction shows the partner who made the FIML query that the
psychological morpheme in question arose due to a misinterpretation.
Seeing this repeatedly for the same sort of neurotic reaction causes
that reaction and the psychological network that comprises it to become
A fascinating study from the University of Kansas by Michael Vitevitch shows that removing a key word from a linguistic network will cause that network to fracture and even be destroyed. An article about the study and a link to the study can be found here: Keywords hold vocabulary together in memory.
Vitevitch’s study involves only words and his analysis was done only
with computers because, as he says, ““Fracturing the network [in real
people] could actually disrupt language processing. Even though we could
remove keywords from research participants’ memories through
psycholinguistic tasks, we dared not because of concern that there would
be long-term or even widespread effects.”
FIML is not about removing key words from linguistic networks. But it
is about dismantling or removing psychological or semiotic networks
that cause suffering.
Psychological or semiotic networks are networks rich in emotional
meaning. When those networks harbor unwanted, inappropriate, or mistaken
interpretations (and thus mistaken or unwanted emotions), they can
cause serious neurotic reactions, or what we usually call simply
We believe that these mistaken interpretations and the emotions
associated with them can be efficiently extirpated by revealing to their
holder the “key” psychological morphemes that set them off.
My guess is the psychology of a semiotic network hinges on repeated
reactions to key psychological morphemes and that this process is
analogous to the key words described in Vitevitch’s study.
Vitevitch did not remove key words from actual people because it would be unethical to do so. But
it is not unethical for consenting adults to help each other find and
remove key psychological morphemes that are harmfully associated with
the linguistic, semiotic, cognitive, and psychological networks that
make up the individual.
The essay was first posted May 21, 2014.