first posted APRIL 2, 2012
UPDATE: This video is thought provoking and surely valid in many ways.
I am going to align two core ideas presented in the video and briefly explain how they relate to FIML practice:
DNA can be spoken to
while the chemical structure of DNA molecules will be almost the same in virtually all organisms, the electromagnetic informational signals or holographic images that travel upon these molecules can be vastly different
a language/semiotic signal occurs in a context. when we correct a language/semiotic signal through FIML we prevent an error from changing the context, which it is liable to do.
by doing this many times, we strengthen a healthy (mutual & individual) mind context; strengthen its coherence and efficiency while also strengthening the method for doing this
in a wider sense, “correcting” for good ends could also be “manipulating” for bad ends.* in a narrow context between two people playing the FIML game, manipulative correcting for bad ends could happen but would be difficult to maintain over a wide/large interpersonal context though this is possible. an evil FIML partner is possible. it is also possible for both partners to be evil
that said it is easier to be good and more satisfying to be good, so more FIML partners will tend toward the good than the bad. good FIML partners will strengthen their shared holographic context and expand it in good ways
*scams, propaganda, cheating, etc
Metacognition means “awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes,” or “cognition about cognition,” or “being able to think about how you think.”
To me, metacognition is a premier human ability. How can it not be a good thing to be aware of how you are aware and how you think and respond to what is around you?
In more detail:
The term “metacognition” is most often associated with John Flavell, (1979). According to Flavell (1979, 1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables. (Source)
Most people do metacognition and are aware of doing it. We do it when we plan, make decisions, decide how to get from one place to another, how to relate to one person differently from another, and so on.
Where we don’t do metacognition is in real-time communication in real life, where it matters most. This is not because we are not able to do it. It is because very few of us have the right technique, Flavell’s “acquired knowledge” that allows us to do it.
If we have the right technique, we will be able to gain a great deal of knowledge about real-time cognitive process while also learning how to control them.
FIML practice is a metacognitive practice based on, to quote the above source, “acquired knowledge about cognitive processes… that can be used to control cognitive processes.”
In the case of FIML, the “acquired knowledge” is the FIML technique which allows us to gain conscious “control over cognitive processes” of real-time interpersonal communication.
FIML is different from other analytical communication techniques in that FIML provides a method to gain control over very short or small units of communication in real-time. This is important as it is these very short real-time units that are most often ignored or not dealt with in most analyses of human communication.
If you know how to catch small mistakes, they become sources of insight and humor. If you don’t know how to catch them, they often snowball into destructive misunderstandings.
FIML is fairly easy to do if you understand the importance of correcting the minor misinterpretations that inevitably arise between people when they speak and communicate. By using the FIML metacognitive method, partners gain control over the most elusive kinds of interpersonal error which all too often lead to serious interpersonal discord.
FIML can and does do more than catch small mistakes, but first things first. If you cannot correct small errors in real-time communication, you are not doing anything even resembling thorough metacognitive communication.
first posted JUNE 11, 2015
A new paper provides fascinating insight into how our brains amass information and organize and assess it in real-time.
The paper—Cliques of Neurons Bound into Cavities Provide a Missing Link between Structure and Function—proposes that “the brain processes stimuli by forming increasingly complex functional cliques and cavities.”
The full intro to the paper:
The lack of a formal link between neural network structure and its emergent function has hampered our understanding of how the brain processes information. We have now come closer to describing such a link by taking the direction of synaptic transmission into account, constructing graphs of a network that reflect the direction of information flow, and analyzing these directed graphs using algebraic topology. Applying this approach to a local network of neurons in the neocortex revealed a remarkably intricate and previously unseen topology of synaptic connectivity. The synaptic network contains an abundance of cliques of neurons bound into cavities that guide the emergence of correlated activity. In response to stimuli, correlated activity binds synaptically connected neurons into functional cliques and cavities that evolve in a stereotypical sequence toward peak complexity. We propose that the brain processes stimuli by forming increasingly complex functional cliques and cavities.
The cliques of neurons that grow and connect in real-time make up the transient “architecture” of awareness as it changes and responds to stimuli.
You can observe a process that seems to fit this description by simply turning your head and looking around. As your eye settles on something to consider in more detail, neuronic cliques will grow in your brain based on that stimulus.
Depending on the significance to you of what you are looking at, further associations drawn from memory and emotion will aggregate around it.
Interestingly, the concept of transient neuronal cliques that grow into larger structures fits very well with the Buddha’s Five Skandhas explanation of the path between perception and consciousness.
This paper also seems to explain why FIML practice works. FIML interrupts the (re)formation of mistaken neuronal cliques in real-time, thus preventing the (re)association of (mistaken) established mental states with new perceptions. If there was no mistake FIML affirms that truth.
By consciously interfering with habitual neuronal cliques, FIML eliminates the false and unwanted psychological structures that give rise to them.
FIML works because large (mistaken) psychological brain structures rely on reconsolidation through the continual processing of “new” information that falsely reconfirms them.
As such, human psychology to a large extent is an ongoing self-fulfilling prophesy.
Here is an article about the paper: Brain Architecture: Scientists Discover 11 Dimensional Structures That Could Help Us Understand How the Brain Works.
first posted JUNE 17, 2017
As humans, we cannot but think sometimes: “I should have seen that. I had all the information but had not put it together.”
I am pointing this out because this ineluctable thought is an aspect of our consciousness itself and not of our culture or language, whatever those may be.
Do conscious beings who have no language think thoughts like this non-verbally? Do they have a sensation like we do that accompanies a similar realization in them?
Maybe they do and maybe they don’t. Non-verbal beings on earth obviously correct their behaviors, but how far does that travel in their awareness? Do dogs laugh at themselves? Do they have a feeling of self-recrimination as we sometimes do when we realize I should have seen that?
Is at least some of the feeling of shame grounded in this thought? Dogs clearly manifest shame.
Would a computer that can pass many tests of consciousness have the thought I should have seen that?
It seems to me that beings higher than us—angels, Bodhisattvas, Dharma protectors, prophets, and more—would very probably have this thought sometimes.
The full enlightenment of a Buddha as understood in the Mahayana tradition seems to indicate a state of awareness where the thought I should have seen that no longer arises.
In his life as we know of it, the Buddha did make new rules for monastics as conditions dictated. At such times, did he have this thought or not?
In your view, is the highest consciousness possible unbounded? Such that it must also think this thought?
Would you be happier if you never had the thought I should have seen that or not?
Is consciousness inert, like water, yet permeates everything? Inert but does not permeate everything?
I should have seen that is interesting because this thought seems to inhere in consciousness itself and not arise from language, culture, training, or other conditions. It seems to be accompanied by a sensation, at least in us.
Is it subject to Buddhist “dependent origination” and thus a feature of ordinary consciousness but not of ultimate consciousness?
Are the conditions it depends on its own conditions? Or other conditions? This might be a very big question.
A materialist would say consciousness is an epiphenomenon of matter dependent on matter. A true physicalist would not speak so fast because conscious may very well be a primary aspect of all things, even the driver of physical laws.
Is the thought I should have seen that where we draw the line between higher and lower awareness? Do single cells, which can change their minds, have a sensation that expresses this thought? Does God never have this thought? Do Buddhas?
Notice that a great deal of humor depends on bringing to our awareness something maybe not that we should have seen but that we could have seen. Humor like that gives us no new information outside of our ourselves, though it does fit together information we already have in a new way,
So, I should have seen that can be occasion for delight and laughter. Fundamental to feelings of relief or peace of mind; it’s a feature of consciousness that arises in consciousness and that we react to consciously, almost always with some sort of sensation.
first posted JANUARY 17, 2020
Are your thought patterns valid? Are your premises true? Is your mind sound?
Buddhism further asks are your mental states wholesome? Are they conducive to enlightenment, wisdom, freedom from delusion?
There are many things we can do while alone to clean up our thought processes. And there are some things we can only do with the help of another person.
Only another person can tell us if our premises, thoughts, and conclusions (however tentative) about them are true, valid, and sound.
Buddhism has a concept of a “spiritual friend,” a “good friend,” a noble friend,” or an “admirable friend.” All of these terms are translations of the Pali Kalyāṇa-mittatā, which is well-explained at that link. (Chinese 善知識.）
From the link above and from many years of working with Buddhist literature and people, my sense is that a Buddhist “good friend” is someone who is to be admired and emulated. They are similar to what we mean today by mentors or “good role models.”
I deeply respect the concept of a Buddhist good friend, but find it lacks what I consider the preeminent virtue of philosophical psychology—real-time honesty based on a teachable technique.
Indeed, I cannot find anything anywhere in world philosophy, religion, or literature that provides a teachable technique for attaining real-time honesty with another person.
I also do not quite understand how this could be.
For many centuries human beings have thought about life but no one has come up with a technique like FIML?
How can that be?
I do not see a technique like FIML anywhere in the history of human philosophy nor anywhere in modern psychology.
The importance of a “good friend” who does FIML with you cannot be overemphasized because it is only through such a friend that you can discover where your premises about them are right or wrong, where your thoughts about them are valid or not, and through those discoveries where your mind itself is arranged soundly or not.
first posted MAY 30, 2017
Very pleased to read about a study on psychedelics and religion: Religious leaders get high on magic mushrooms ingredient – for science.
I am not at all surprised that of the lucky people chosen for this study, “So far everyone incredibly values their experience. No one has been confused or upset or regrets doing it.”
I call them lucky because where else can you get medical-grade psilocybin?
If anyone hears of another study like this one, please let me know! I want to join.
More on Buddhism and psychedelics can be found here: Are We Misunderstanding the Fifth Precept?
Edit: 3:30 PM: Research Shows Magic Mushrooms Can Offer Real Benefits in Depression Therapy. Quote:
A review of the research on combining therapy with the psychoactive component from magic mushrooms has concluded it’s not only a safe and effective way to treat conditions related to anxiety, depression, and addiction, it could be better than many existing forms of treatment.
first posted JULY 9, 2017
A fascinating aspect of FIML practice is it provides experiential evidence that a good deal of what we say and hear is mistaken. We frequently make mistakes when we speak and when we listen. A major part of FIML practice involves catching these mistakes as they happen and correcting them.
We have spell-checkers for writing and when they kick in most of us calmly–even gratefully–attend to the red lines under misspelled words. In speech, though, very few of us have the habit of even noticing when a mistake has been made, let alone correcting it. In fact, if one is pointed out to us, we might even deny it or try to justify it. Once we say something, we generally have a strong tendency to want to stand by our words as if we meant them even if we did not mean them, or only sort of meant them, in the moments just before we spoke.
What kinds of mistakes will you find through FIML practice? Pretty much any way you can think of to describe or categorize speech will constitute a way that mistakes can be made. A mistake might involve word-choice, tone of voice, pronunciation, a dramatic stance that doesn’t suit you or is misunderstood by your partner, not hearing, missing the main point, becoming distracted, using or hearing a word that carries an idiosyncratic emotional charge, speaking or listening from a point of view that is not well understood by your partner, and so on. Mistakes can and will occur in as many ways as you can think of to describe language and how it is used.
How often do mistakes occur? Often. In an hour of normal speaking you will surely encounter a few, if not more. Many of them are not serious and are of little or no consequence. That said, even small mistakes can have huge ramifications. If I misunderstand your respectful silence as indifference, my misunderstanding could start a division between us that is truly tragic because my mistake (however slightly I notice it) is 180 degrees off. If I see you behave that way again, I will be more likely to make that same mistake again and to feel it more strongly. It is tragic because I am interpreting what is in your mind good behavior as something that reflects negatively on me.
A speech act or an act of listening can lock our minds into a position that is dead wrong if we are not careful.
FIML practice prevents this from happening while at the same time providing a great deal of very interesting subject matter for partners to ponder and discuss. Speech can lock our minds into mistaken impressions, but it can also free us from limitations if we use it to do FIML.
In other posts we have called neuroses “mistaken interpretations” and generally used that definition in a context that supports the meaning of an ongoing mistaken interpretation. A neurosis is a mistake in thinking or feeling that manifests in listening or speaking and that almost certainly originated through speaking or listening. I would contend that many neuroses begin with nothing more than an innocent mistake. Once the mistake is made, it snowballs (especially in the mind of a child) until it becomes an established way of listening and speaking.
Whether that contention is right or wrong, only time will tell. For this post today, all I want to say is that FIML partners can and should expect to notice a good many small mistakes occurring almost whenever they speak together.
Generally, mistakes most frequently occur when we start a new subject or add a new factor to an old subject; when we want to say something slightly different from the norm; or when we want to add a slight nuance or qualification to something that was said. One reason this happens is a slight change in a familiar subject may not be noticed by the listener, leading them to misunderstand what is being said and react in ways that do not seem fitting. A second reason this happens is a new subject often causes both partners to call up different frames of reference, leading to confusion.
FIML will get you to see how common these (and other kinds) of mistakes are and it will help you correct them. As you do this, both partners will gain great insight into how they speak, listen, and perceive each other. Once you get going, it is a lot of fun. I cannot think of any other way to accomplish what FIML does without doing it.
From a Buddhist point of view, FIML can be thought of as a sort of dynamic mindfulness done between two people and using language. It is a very intimate and beautiful way to be deeply aware of your partner and yourself. Those who have practiced traditional Buddhist mindfulness for a year or more will probably find FIML fairly easy to do. I hope that Buddhists will also notice that doing active FIML/mindfulness practice with a partner provides a way of checking each other–someone else will have something to say about what you thought you heard or said. It takes you out of yourself and provides wholesome feedback about the mind you are being mindful about.
first posted FEBRUARY 9, 2012
FIML practice changes your personality, your sense of self, because the basis of who you tell yourself you are changes. It changes from a static notion/story/semiology of a solid, if elusive, “me” to an active function. The active function, a process of understanding, happens because when you do FIML you interact with your partner on a truly active basis. This basis is mutually agreed upon and admits far more “objective”/external data into your core self-assessment than is possible without FIML. FIML teaches both partners the value of micromanaging their communication and being completely honest about every moment of communication, every “psychological morpheme” that transits between them.
FIML practice changes your sense of group allegiance by gradually allowing partners to shift their sense of allegiance away from the static ideals of an external group to the dynamic, functional processes of their mutual FIML practice, their honest and very accessible “interpersonality.”
For example, if both partners are “Buddhists,” they will gradually be able to shift their understanding of the Dharma from static, imitative notions of how to be to much richer conclusions based on honest interactive experience. They will grow away from their reliance on two-dimensional ideals toward a mutually understood experience of Buddhist truths. Nothing wrong with ideals in the right place and time, but individual Buddhists must advance beyond merely acting them out, pretending they feel ways they don’t. The core of the mind is accessed in FIML practice because FIML accesses core communication processes. An individual all alone can gain many insights, but without the help of a FIML partner how can they check their insights?
Buddhists who practice FIML will find their practice informed by Buddhism at almost every turn, but this is different from modelling a static personality on static Buddhist ideals. It is so radically different, I suspect it is much closer to what the Buddha actually meant and probably a major reason monks traveled in pairs for most of the year. How can you know yourself, your being, your reality, if you aren’t sure of what people are saying to you or how they are hearing you? Not only not sure, but wrong much of the time? The answer is you cannot. It’s not possible. FIML will wake you and your partner from that major aspect of the dream. As the Diamond Sutra says:
All conditioned dharmas
are like dreams, like illusions,
like bubbles, like shadows,
like dew, like lightning,
and all of them should be contemplated in this way.
Psychology recapitulates sociology, and the other way around is true, as well—sociology recapitulates psychology. Groups of people when they are bound by static ideals/beliefs are worse than individuals. Groups like that—and that is how almost all groups are—are sociopathic; that is, the group acts like a psychopath. Individuals within the group may be “nice” to other group members, but the group itself rarely will eschew all “callous disregard for” other groups, the very definition of a psychopath. Even Buddhist groups do this. The only ones that don’t are so small and weak, they dare not.
The same is true as much or more so for all other groups—religious, national, ethnic, gender-based, racial, psychological, whatever. This is because all groups are based on static ideals, which when internalized, reduce the functionality of the individual and corrupt their morality.
Science in many ways is an exception because as a group “science” is objective, rational, parsimonious, evidence-based. In practice of course, the sociology of how science is actually done can be fraught with delusion. Science works very well at a high level of abstraction, but many individual scientists will feel low-grade sociological pressures and many of them will belong to groups that are based on ideals that are very different from science and that are sociopathic.
Yes, I believe all large groups are dangerous and will lead individuals to make serious ethical mistakes. And yet, we have to belong somewhere. It is torture to be all alone. This is where FIML can help greatly. You can fulfill many of your group needs by identifying your core group as you and your partner. FIML partners must continue to be deeply informed by other groups—science, Buddhism, good politics, your friends and neighbors, etc.—but they need not take in the sociopathic ideals of those groups. Go to your temples, enjoy them, do the meditations, participate, but don’t be a damn fool about it. With the help of your partner, you will be able to separate out the dreams, illusions, shadows, and lightning of the Dharma from the profound reality of your actual lives as you are actually living them. You will discover, with the help of the Dharma, the suchness of your actual being, not someone else’s.
first posted DECEMBER 4, 2012
race, racism, identity politics, the majority of psychological diagnoses and personality types, all culture, all religions, all sects, all regionalism, nationalism, styles, gangs, gender identities, fads, etc.; all of it grows out of the boiling cauldron of ineluctable interpersonal ambiguity
cast your eyes across the world and its histories, no matter how big or small, no matter which corner of the globe; all of it grows or has grown out of the boiling cauldron of ineluctable interpersonal ambiguity
individual humans, with rare exception, need the external signs and symbols of “culture” (semiologies) to provide the unifying markers and coordinates that (appear) to save them from the fear and angst and madness of being naked in the boiling cauldron of ineluctable interpersonal ambiguity
that’s just how it is. period. no exceptions
the only other option different from all of the above, the only option that will actually save you from the boiling cauldron is FIML practice. did you expect more signs and symbols at this point? more abstract ideas? political solutions? new identities? not gonna happen because none of that works
FIML is a dynamic method that must be used to bear fruit. if you are smart you probably can figure out how to do it from reading enough posts on this website
it does bother me that there is no other way out, no other real hope. yet I am also heartened to know that FIML is not very hard to do once you understand it. if enough people do it, more will follow because the results are extremely good. and from that the fundamental problem of problems will gradually clear up and go away
a note to Buddhists: FIML is perfectly compatible with all Buddhist teachings. you could think of FIML as an addon that catalyzes traditional methods and makes them work faster. FIML sharpens mindfulness and provides profound insight into the deep meaning of non-attachment, no-self, and karma
…. In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
 In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
 In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
 In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
 In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
 In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings.”Source translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Politically today, we are at Point 3. ABN
K.6. If an employer requires vaccinations when they are available, how should it respond to an employee who indicates that he or she is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a sincerely held religious practice or belief? (12/16/20)
Once an employer is on notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents the employee from receiving the vaccination, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious belief, practice, or observance unless it would pose an undue hardship under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Courts have defined “undue hardship” under Title VII as having more than a de minimis cost or burden on the employer. EEOC guidance explains that because the definition of religion is broad and protects beliefs, practices, and observances with which the employer may be unfamiliar, the employer should ordinarily assume that an employee’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincerely held religious belief. If, however, an employee requests a religious accommodation, and an employer has an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief, practice, or observance, the employer would be justified in requesting additional supporting information.Get ready for religious-based objections to employer vaccine mandates
I do not totally agree with this video and at times it sounds like a boomer rant against young people, but he makes some good points. It’s worth viewing or I would not post it. In my view, the problems he addresses largely originate with boomer greed and mutual self-approval, which define the culture of that cohort: selfish, self-indulgent, intellectually lazy and often wrong. It is boomers who have bequeathed to the young the main causes of their problems: lefty shit education, shit news media, shit Big Tech censorship, shit demographics, shit politics, timid ideas and ideological indoctrination rather than robust training in how and why to think. All around us, the world of both young and old is a shrunken, angry, stupid version of itself because wherever we turn thought is banned, circumscribed, punished. Even on this small blog I have to be careful about what I say or some asshole, young or old, will cancel me. It’s not young people who conducted and allowed a fraudulent election to pass or who corrupted the FBI and DOJ or who ruined MSM, our schools, our nation. That fault lies much more with boomers, I am sorry to say.
mind only, logos, God, moral imperative, logical imperative, God’s will, karma, shila, prajna, Tathagata, conscience (not mine but logos itself), logic, reason, truth, reality, sacred, enlightened, ultimate reality, dhyana, samadhi, satori, science, mathematics
what these words have in common is they all mean the same thing
is there moral imperative? yes, see above
Happy Easter to All