Fractals in the humanities

“A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale.” (Wikipedia)

Most of us know what math fractals look like and understand that shorelines and trees exhibit fractal patterns that display at different scales.

I think we can also see fractal patterns or sets in the humanities.

For example, the five skandha explanation in Buddhism to be fully understood must be conceived of as a fractal pattern that repeats at different scales. The normal explanation of the five skandhas is as follows:

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. (Ibid.)

This explanation describes the most basic fractal pattern or the smallest one. “…the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly.”

A simple example of this rapid movement of the five skandhas might be the experience of having something suddenly touch your neck. Your first awareness of this is the form. Your next awareness is the sensation; at this point you react with aversion, attraction, or neutrality. If you are outside, you might react with aversion as you perceive (third skandha) the touch to probably be an insect. Following that, there is often rapid physical activity (fourth skandha) as you involuntarily reach to brush it away. After that has been done, you will determine what actually happened, you will become conscious (fifth skandha) of what happened.

If it was an insect you might shudder or feel relieved. If it was a leaf on a tree branch you might feel a bit foolish. Your consciousness of the event comes after the first four skandhas have arisen or occurred.

A larger fractal version of the above might be the feeling (form, or first skandha) that you are ignorant about something. This form gives rise to an aversive sensation (second skandha), which leads you to perceive (third skandha) that you ignorance is probably something you should correct. This leads to mental activity (fourth skandha) which may require months of your time. At last, when you are satisfied that you are no longer ignorant on that subject, you will experience a new state of consciousness (fifth skandha).

In the above example, your ongoing feeling of ignorance as you study the subject might also be described as the fifth skandha, consciousness. Understanding that the five skandha explanation is a fractal pattern to be used to help you understand yourself will allow you to apply it where it can do the most good. As with so many things in the humanities, you will do better if you see the pattern and use it to aid understanding without letting yourself get trapped in a quasi-logical net that hinders understanding.

FIML practice can be seen as a fractal pattern as well. The smallest, or most basic level, is the basic FIML query which interrupts normal communicative processing to insert rational thought and more accurate information. The FIML query interrupts the mind as soon as the second skandha, sensation, arises. Whenever partners question a sensation, they will immediately change all of the five skandhas associated with it. Rather than follow a semi-conscious sensation down the same associative path as usual, partners gain an entry point to their deep psychology and an awareness of how their communications are affected by it.

A larger fractal pattern of FIML, might be hearing about it (form); feeling interested in it (sensation); perceiving what it is; learning the system (activity); and lastly gaining a new consciousness about how language can be made to work much better than without FIML.

FIML is a tool that helps partners leverage communicative details to gain great insight into how their minds work. Since FIML is not (yet) the rule for how people speak to each other, a non-FIML fractal pattern can be seen in society at large: since most people do not have a way to access the highly important details that FIML can access, they do not expect anyone else to access them. Thus, by default they accept horribly sloppy reasoning and lies from politicians and others who make important statements in public.

The fractal pattern of non-FIML communication in society at large is all but defined by lies, secrets, and hidden motives. At a smaller fractal level, so are the personal lives of most people. The world goes on. It is my guess that brain scans and better computers and computer programs will one day make it easier for people to see that having the ability to perceive and manipulate communicative details greatly enhances communication. And that communication so enhanced greatly enhances our understanding of ourselves and others. And that this sort of understanding will help us see that we do not have to live in a society that is all but characterized by lies, sloppy reasoning, and partisan nonsense.

In the humanities, fractal patterns can be seen at many levels. By changing the details of very significant communicative patterns between ourselves and our partners, we will change both ourselves and our perceptions of others, and this will gradually lead to better concepts of what society is and how it can function. ABN

Ethics, morality

If we consider our minds to be networks of signals, then we can say that it is better that the signals be more efficient and contain fewer errors.

This might be a good definition of a sound ethical position—to reduce signal error and increase signal efficiency.

In many ways, the two are the same. When we reduce signal error, we increase the efficiency of the entire system.

Thus, for any one system, such that there is a such a thing, the best ethical position would be to reduce signal error while increasing signal efficiency. That one system might stand for one human being.

But what if there are two or more systems that interact with each other?

In one sense we might say they are the “same” system, especially if interaction is imperative. In another sense, we can treat them as different systems.

If they are seen as the “same,” then reducing error and increasing efficiency will benefit the whole system (of two or more).

If they are seen as separate and not the same, there are two possibilities. Separate systems within the whole may decide to lie or cheat or they may decide not to lie or cheat.

If none of the separate systems within the network ever lies or cheats, efficiency will be increased and error will be reduced.

If one or more of the separate systems within the network decides to lie or cheat, efficiency will decrease and errors will multiply.

The separate systems can be understood to be people while the large network can be understood to be human groups. Lying and cheating or refraining from lying or cheating must be conscious acts.

Errors that just happen non-consciously (misspeaking, mishearing, misunderstanding, data mistakes, etc.) are not moral errors unless they could be or could have been avoided by a reliable method.

No network without lying or cheating has ever been achieved by large numbers of human beings. Even very small groups, as few as two people, rarely are able to achieve an ideal ethical state of no lying and no cheating. And even if they do get pretty good at that, it is very difficult for even just two people to remove non-conscious errors from their interactions.

FIML practice can greatly reduce non-conscious error between partners while at the same time providing a robust basis for increased moral awareness and increased understanding that both partners are benefiting greatly from the honesty (or ethical practice) of both of them.

My honesty with you greatly improves my understanding of and honesty within my own network and also gives me much better information about your network. And the same is true for you. Together we form an autocatalytic set that continually upgrades our mutual network and individual systems.

Clarity, honesty, and efficiency in interpersonal communication is satisfying in itself and also it improves efficiency between partners as it upgrades the self-awareness of each.

One partner could lie and cheat while doing FIML practice, but since FIML is fairly involved and somewhat difficult to learn, it is likely that most partners will do their best by each other and that most individuals will come to realize that honesty benefits them much more than lying.

I think it is fair to conclude that the best ethical or moral position to take is one that increases efficiency of signalling (talking, doing, etc.) while also reducing signalling error. The problem with doing that is people can and will lie and cheat and we do not (yet) have a reliable way to tell when they are lying and cheating.

A good way to tell if someone is being honest will be an accurate lie-detector, but even that may not be efficient or work well with the dynamics of real-time human communication.

Thus some other technique is needed. FIML can be that technique and I know of no other one that works as well. Thus a sound ethical position in today’s world would be having the aim of reducing signal error while increasing signal efficiency through the practice of FIML.

Without FIML, interpersonal communications is at least an order of magnitude cruder and thus much less efficient. FIML is not perfect, but it is much better than what we ordinarily do. If you can increase resolution and detail at will within any system, it will improve that system. If you can do that with interpersonal communication, it will improve all aspects of that system.

first posted SEPTEMBER 26, 2014

UPDATE: Notice that the fear people have about AI destroying the world is based on its learning how to deceive us. How to lie to us. When I introduced this idea to my partner this morning, she very convincingly argued that DARPA already has a much more powerful AI that is able to control the GPT programs we are now seeing and that our overlords will use the excuse that AI has gone rogue to further enslave us. That went right onto my Bayesian probability pie-chart as a big slice. ABN

AI makes mind-reading possible

Massive announcements in the world of AI today from the University of Texas, Geoffery Hinton, IBM, and Walmart.

Here’s the rundown on everything you need to know:

1. AI makes mind-reading possible

This new study will literally- *blow your mind*

Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a GPT-based decoder that translates thoughts into text using non-invasive fMRI scans.

– Participants trained the decoder by listening to podcasts for 16 hours.

– The AI system generated a text as participants listened to or imagined a new story, capturing thoughts .

The exact words were not always the same, but the overall meaning was captured.

[This whole thread is interesting but I am putting it up because the kind of AI feedback described above will reveal in detail the underlying loose organization and chaos of the mind as we speak and listen (and do everything else). Being able to see this clearly will revolutionize our understanding of human psychology; how it actually functions in real-time. When tech like this is something we can access routinely at a business or school or even purchase and use at home, human communication and self-understanding will hit fabulous new levels, freeing us from the humdrum common associations we must now depend on for clear communication. FIML practice can show a great deal of this right now. I would highly recommend more smart people learn to do FIML because it shows us how we really think and act, thus preparing us for what is coming from this new tech. Subjectivity will become much more objective. This will shock and even traumatize many, but it need not because it is real and utterly fascinating. In my view, this will become one of the most impactful technologies stemming from AI. ABN]

Continue reading “AI makes mind-reading possible”

How FIML can improve your favorite relationship, your own mind, and your partner’s

FIML is a technique used to optimize communication and psychological well-being between two people in real-time, real-world communication. It is a form of analytical psychotherapy that aims to clear up mistaken psychological interpretations that may have been held for many years or that may have just arisen. No psychological training is necessary to do FIML.

By clearing up many small mistaken interpretations between partners, FIML gradually clears up the psychological bases of those misinterpretations, which leads to greatly improved communication and psychological well-being. FIML can be used in any interpersonal relationship, including romantic relationships, friendships, and professional relationships. FIML is ideal and should be considered mandatory for marriages and other long-term committed relationships based on love or mutual affection, especially when partners live together.

It is important that both partners care about each other and very helpful if they realize that the well-being of one is the well-being of the other, or at least greatly contributes to that. FIML practice enhances and supports honesty between partners and their understanding of what honesty entails and how to be deeply honest in a relationship without relinquishing subjective privacy and freedom of thought, which are essential for spiritual and psychological growth.

To do FIML, both partners need to have a previous agreement to do it and then follow their mutual understanding of how FIML is done. Partners should do FIML at a time and place where they can converse without interruption.

A FIML query begins when one partner notices they have begun to form an impression or an interpretation of something their partner said or did. To be sure they are not mistaken, they begin a neutral query that fundamentally asks their partner to describe the contents of their working memory at that moment in time.

Partners must agree on the basic data that initiated the query. “When you said, XYZ what was in your working memory?” Partners must be able to agree that one of them said XYZ. Or, “When you turned away and looked into the sink, what was in your mind [working memory]?” Partners must be able to agree that one of them turned and looked into the sink. Moments like these are chosen by the partner making the inquiry. These moments can be playful or they can be very serious, causing incipient strong emotions to begin forming. Before those emotions take hold, do the query and find out if you were right or wrong by listening carefully to your partner’s answer.

After you have listened to your partner’s description of the contents of their working memory, compare it with your own. Then share your insights with your partner. This part of FIML is where the greatest value is. Since the precipitating event was small—a word or gesture or tone of voice—it is quite easy to confess your mistaken interpretation and then listen to your partner’s probably befuddled response to your mistake. This part is fun and can be a huge relief if your query was psychologically charged with underlying traumatic memory.

It really helps if both partners have a rich understanding of how imprecise, messy, crude, and sloppy almost all spoken language is. ABN

‘We are at an impasse. I love you. I am committed to you’ — the Crowders

The exchange between Steven Crowder and his wife, Hilary, is not unusual. Rules, commitments, roles, I love you. I don’t love you.

The exchange is an example of a common form of communication that is normal throughout the world. It is based on a deep failure to understand how interpersonal language does not work. And how it can and should work.

It does not work through vows, declarations of loyalty or love, roles, or ‘respect’.

Interpersonal communication between couples only works when they have a consciously shared method that allows them to understand themselves in real-world, real-time situations.

If the Crowders had been doing FIML, which is precisely the method they need, none of this would have happened.

Consider how simple-minded their conversation is. How stupid it is. Two full-grown, intelligent, successful adults who at some point must have cared for each other talk themselves into box like a couple of babies.

Their voices creak with anger as they battle for peace and contentment while destroying any chance of getting it with every word they say. Neither is to blame because neither one knows any other way to speak.

FIML is described in the links above. It is easy to do if you start before you get to where the Crowders are.

The hardest part about FIML is observing and controlling the first split-second of the formation of any significant impression or interpretation of your partner. FIML can only be learned when partners are at peace with each other. Then, small impressions with only small importance can be explored. This lays the foundation for deeper impressions later on.

For Buddhists, FIML requires observing and controlling your reactions during the first skandhas, before consciousness has fully developed. The fourth skandha of mental activity should be engaged in doing a FIML query rather than consolidating what is probably a mistaken impression of your partner. ABN

Evolution of the smile and the inherent ambiguity of signs

Michael Graziano proposes a interesting, and quite convincing, hypothesis on the evolution of a good many human signals, including smiling, crying, laughing, and subtle versions of these.

His essay can be found here: The First Smile. I highly recommend it.

Evolutionary psychology is without question a real field capable of explaining a great deal about human beings. At the same time, it is often very difficult to separate what actually happened during thousands of years of evolution from what we think happened.

Graziano proposes that the human signals of smiling, crying, and laughing all evolved from a single more basic cringe reaction employed as defense against an object or person striking us or otherwise threatening us.

The evolutionary transformation from primitive reactions to subtle social cues is fascinating to contemplate. I am particularly struck by how ambiguous our present-day understanding of these social cues can be. As Graziano, the evolutionist, says, “So long as both sides of the exchange keep deriving benefits, the behaviour floats free of its violent origins.”

The violent origins of smiling and acting nice only sometimes play a direct role in why people do these behaviors today. Added to them is a plethora of cultural and idiosyncratic interpretations. And so, Graziano the social scientist also says, “We have stumbled on the defining ambiguity of human emotional life: we are always caught between authenticity and fakery, always floating in the grey area between involuntary outburst and expedient pretence.”

I would contend that this aspect of human emotional life is maddening, that it is literally driving people crazy. Because how can you really tell if an expression, a statement, a gesture is authentic or fake? And how can you be sure you know how to interpret it?

In most cases, you can’t be sure. Yes, we can make vows, proclaim fealty or allegiance, swear till death do us part, or repeat familiar, comforting routines for years, but none of these methods is certain. Indeed, our need for them only shows what thin ice we are on. All of them can be faked and all of them often are.

I do believe that many, if not most, of us do not want to be either fakers or the one faked to. Yet we seem all but trapped “between authenticity and fakery, always floating in the grey area between involuntary outburst and expedient pretense.”

This is why we all need FIML practice or something very much like it. With FIML, much greater communicative detail can be made available to both partners. Rather than wonder what words, smiles, tears, or a tone of voice means, FIML partners have the means to find out.

Evolutionarily, you might say that FIML allows the human neocortex to understand and control the human limbic system. FIML allows higher thought, reason, and reflection to control base reactions and base signs that inevitably cause serious misunderstandings even between people who are very well-disposed toward each other and who share a strong desire to interact honestly.

Humans are characterized by a delicate and intricate web of thought, language, and culture that has been grafted onto a base of animal behavior. I do not see how it is even remotely possible to fully realize the potential of that delicate and intricate web of thought, language, and culture without frequently analyzing how animal signs and signals interfere with it during even the most ordinary of interactions.

Graziano mentions the Duchenne smile, a supposedly authentic smile that includes the muscles around the eyes. But Duchenne smiles can easily be faked. They are a required social expression in most of East Asia and can be seen faked by actors on American TV all the time.

The distinction between a Duchenne smile and a super-fake one is valid and valuable to a point. But it is also a woefully simple distinction. We cannot as thinking beings expect to find satisfaction in noticing minor, and easily faked, distinctions like that. The same thing goes for tones of voice, gestures, word choices, behaviors, and everything else we use to communicate.

In public, in the world at large, we have to use best guesses about what is going on, but in private guessing about what your partner really means is a recipe for mutual disaster, if not complete destruction.

first posted AUGUST 18, 2014

Fourth wave cognitive behavior therapy

The third wave of cognitive behavior therapy is a general term for a group of psychotherapies that arose in the 1980s, inspired by acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

To me, third wave therapies seem more realistic than older therapies because they accept emotions as they are and pay close attention to how they function in the moment.

The link above is well-worth reading. The frames of these therapies are also well-worth considering.

FIML, which I am calling a “fourth wave cognitive behavior therapy,” differs from third wave therapies in that FIML does not use a professional therapist. Instead, partners become their own therapists.

Moreover, how FIML partners frame their psychologies or generalize their behaviors is entirely up to them. Similarly, their psychological goals and definitions are entirely in their own hands.

At its most basic, FIML “removes wrong interpretations of interpersonal signs and symbols from the brain’s semiotic networks.”

This process of removal, in turn, shows partners how their minds function in real-time real-world situations. And this in turn provides the tools and perspectives to reorganize their psychologies in whichever ways they like.

FIML is based on semiotics because semiotics are specific and with practice can be clearly identified and understood. They give partners “solid ground” to stand on. Words, tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions are some of the major semiotics partners analyze.

Using real-world semiotics as an analytical basis frees FIML from predetermined frameworks about personality or what human psychology even is. With the FIML tool, partners are free to discover whatever they can about how their minds communicate interpersonally (and internally) and do whatever they like with that.

first posted DECEMBER 21, 2017

Today I would like to add that, most of all, FIML is a technique that optimizes communication between partners which in turn optimizes life itself. Everything improves with FIML. ABN

Speech comprehension and context

A new study on speech comprehension shows that humans respond to the “contextual semantic content of each word in a relatively time-locked fashion.”

These findings demonstrate that, when successfully comprehending natural speech, the human brain responds to the contextual semantic content of each word in a relatively time-locked fashion. (Source)

This process is roughly illustrated here:

While I do not doubt these findings for simple speech in simple contexts, I do wonder what the results would be for speech in psychologically complex contexts, whether that speech is simple or not.

I wonder this because I am certain that in almost all psychologically complex contexts (those rich with subjectivity, emotion, idiosyncratic memory or association, etc.) the “contextual semantic content of each word” will necessarily be different, often very different for each speaker.

Psychologically rich interpersonal speech is almost always fraught with contextual differences that can be very large. Sometimes participants know these differences exist and sometimes they don’t. It is very common for speakers to make major mistakes in this area, the most important area of speech for human psychological well-being.

It seems possible that EEG with increased sensitivity might one day be able to detect “context diversion” between speakers, but even if complex emotional information is also included, people will still have to talk about what is diverging from what.

My comments are not meant to detract from the very interesting findings posted above. I make them because these findings illustrate how inherently problematic real-time mutual comprehension of the “contextual semantic content” of all spoken words actually is.

FIML practice is the only way I know of today to find profound real-time mutual comprehension of complex interpersonal speech.

first posted FEBRUARY 24, 2018

Communication at arm’s length

Most communication is done at arm’s length.

By this I mean our deepest levels of meaning, emotion, and intention are either implied or more often concealed from the person(s) we are speaking with.

In professional and formal settings (school, clubs, church, etc.) this is pretty much how it has to be since there is not enough time to delve more deeply and no good reason to do so in most cases.

Problems arise, however, when the arm’s length habits of formal settings are imported into intimate private settings such as close friendships, marriages, families.

Arm’s length communication is effective in formal settings, but its use of reduced messaging techniques in private settings invariably enters gray areas followed by conscious lying.

I think people do this in their private communications mainly because they don’t know how to communicate in any other way. Humans are basically somewhat smart apes who have a fairly complex (for us) communication/language system grafted onto the instincts of a wild animal.

When the inevitable ambiguities and lies of arm’s length communications build up within the intimate communications of couples or close friends, the result will be explosive emotions or alienation and apathy.

The simple arm’s length system is a primitive, basic system for communicating obvious things. To be honest, if you enjoy your communications at work or the clubhouse more than at home, you are basically showing how primitive you are.

In formal settings communication is entirely based on predetermined mutual agreement concerning values, beliefs, etc.

Private settings require much more nuance and thus a much more nuanced communication technique.

FIML is designed for private, intimate communication. It allows partners to open their minds to much richer and much healthier interactions.

You cannot achieve optimum psychological health if you engage only in arm’s length communication. You can only do so by using a technique like FIML that allows you and your partner to consciously share the profound world of interpersonal subjectivity.

You have to have a clearly-defined technique and an agreement to do this. FIML is not about sitting around drinking herb tea while doing “compassionate listening.” That is bullshit. That’s just another form of arm’s length communication.

FIML takes some time and practice but it is no harder than learning how to ski or cook  or play a musical instrument moderately well.

first posted JUNE 7, 2016

How ‘Generous Tit for Tat’ wins at life

And why the combo of strength+gentleness is unbeatable in the long run.

…With our newly acquired wisdom, let’s return to the original Tit for Tat strategy, and custom fit it with a mechanism for self-correction. We just need to add one rule:

Rule 1 – Be nice (technically meaning always co-operate on the first round).

Rule 2 – From then on just copy what the other player did in the previous round (meaning an eye for an eye and a hug for a hug).

Rule 3 – After you retaliate, always try to co-operate again in the next round.


OK advice for getting along in this world within arm’s-length relationships. Mathematical generalities of game theory are all but forced to produce simple and also unsatisfying outcomes like this. Compare this to FIML practice which removes Miscommunication, Miscalculation, Mistake, and Mishap (4Ms) thus enabling communication that is orders of magnitude closer than arm’s length. FIML provides near-perfect freedom between partners because the specifics of enough of their 4Ms can be worked out almost perfectly. This optimizes their communication which optimizes their cooperation and well-being. There may be rare occasions when FIML partners might do the eye-for-an-eye part of Rule 2, but this would be a weird glaring outlier that would have to be discussed and figured out at some point. FIML depends on a level of mathematical reasoning that requires also human quiddity and poetry. FIML can definitely be thought of as a game with general rules, but these rules include the rule that partners must appreciate the specific uniqueness of every moment. ABN

When two wrongs make a right

I say something that sounds bad to you. You query me and I tell you what I meant. You realize that what I meant was not bad at all but actually quite nice. That’s one wrong that you discovered. Then you tell me what you thought you had heard and I realize that the tone I used could all too easily be misinterpreted. That’s one wrong that I discovered. For a total of two wrongs. What we made right is how we understand each other. Since both of us learned something valuable about ourselves and each other, we have actually made more than one right. So two wrongs can make even more than one right.

This is one reason it is good to see how and why you are wrong when doing FIML. You help your partner and you help yourself, and going forward you make it easier to communicate with your partner clearly and with great detail. If we face our wrongs in the right way by using FIML practice, we will learn to take pleasure in being wrong because being wrong about communication hurts both partners, while fixing what was wrong helps both of them.

In the example above, if when you heard the tone of voice that sounded bad to you and you did not make a FIML query, you would have essentially accepted a mistaken interpretation of your partner. In a short time, you would probably forget the incident that led to your forming that mistaken interpretation but the emotions generated by it and the stimulation of deeper associations due to it would now be a thing in your mind. You would have started forming a mistaken impression of your partner. If you had made other prior mistakes about your partner, this one would be added to them. Even though none of your impressions had been correct, they still would snowball in you mind. In contrast, if you had made a FIML query as soon as you heard the tone that sounded bad, you would have seen your mistake and prevented it from snowballing. Thus, you should feel happy to learn you were wrong.

From your partner’s point of view, they too should feel happy because your query has stopped you from misunderstanding them while at the same time showing them that maybe that habitual tone of voice isn’t as good as they thought it was. Additionally, both of you will be able to trust each other even more because you now know you can do that. You can fix small mistakes in real-time as they arise. This skill will allow you to take on many new subjects that may have seemed too complex in the past. And that should make you happy too.

When FIML practice relieves us of mistakes, we can and should feel happy. Many wrongs can lead to many rights if we have the right technique.

first posted NOVEMBER 20, 2014

A delightful little essay if I do say so myself. The benefits of FIML generally arrive in small doses that allow for large measures of enlightened expansion. A small thing learned well or corrected properly yields great goodness. When we discover and then contemplate our own mistakes or bad habits — and especially when we do this with the help of a trusted partner — the gains are enormous and one success is followed by many more. ABN

Why we need Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistics (FIML)

We need Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistics (FIML) because human communication is fraught with error. Communication errors are unavoidable. They happen very often.

At the most basic level, errors occur because the speaker misspoke or the listener misheard. Basic errors may involve words, expressions, gestures, or tone of voice.

More complex errors may involve misunderstandings concerning context, intention, or interpretation.

In normal communication, most people do not correct these sorts of errors. Instead, they react to them not as if they were errors but rather the real intention of the speaker. Sometimes, of course, people do attempt to understand and correct communication errors, but most do not do this often enough or with sufficient appreciation for the potential significance of even small errors. Even very basic communication errors can lead people into a mutual spiral of deep misunderstanding.

Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistics (FIML) is a practice designed to help couples or close friends quickly understand and deal with the errors that inevitably occur in their communications with each other.

first posted AUGUST 30, 2011

This appears to be my first post on FIML. ABN

Robert Malone and Ryan Cole on the nuances of covid science

This is an interesting video if you want to get into the details of errors made during covid. In light of the discussion from earlier today on in-fighting among top covid scientists and the kinds of rhetoric that are appropriate for discussions of covid, the video above shows how two scientists talking about the science of covid does not make for gripping cinema and will not communicate with a wide audience. And this shows where and why Stew Peters and Alex Jones can and do play an important role in informing an audience much wider than Cole & Malone can hope to reach. Covid is a sciencey subject and also it affects everyone. Thus, strong voices, non-scientific voices, imperfect sensationalist voices also have a contribution to make. My brother watched Died Suddenly and was deeply affected by it. He will not have the patience for a video like the one above. ABN

Hierarchies evolve to reduce connections (and confusion)

Large social systems, especially those with many members who do not know each other, evolve into hierarchies because the number of connections is reduced.

When the number of connections that hold a group together is reduced, it is less costly to maintain the group and thus such groups are more likely to survive.

Military organizations, companies, religious organizations and schools are usually organized into hierarchical structures. Creative, independent modules can relieve some of the formalism of hierarchy but these modules will still fit into the hierarchical structure somewhere.

Hierarchies are (always?) organized around a purpose—money for corporations, winning for militaries, belief and organizational systems for religions, food for animals and so on.

You can even see the hierarchical principle in plant structures.

A research project on this topic as it applies to artificial intelligence demonstrates that biological networks evolve into hierarchies:

…because hierarchically wired networks have fewer connections. (Research showing why hierarchy exists will aid the development of artificial intelligence)

If we accept this principle behind the development of hierarchies, I would submit that we can also apply it to how language has developed as a hierarchy in and of itself and also as a support system for the social hierarchy within which it is used.

Language and culture are held together by a system of hierarchical categories.

These categories are what we think of as beliefs, values, codes, stories, political systems, who’s who in the group, and so on.

Hierarchical systems based on general categories of that type typically also exist between individuals within any society. Indeed, we can find the same sort of hierarchical system within the individual.

This is an efficient and very reasonable way to maintain a society and a language.

Problems arise in this system, however, when the individual does not know any other way of organizing themself or of communicating with others.

An individual who exists and communicates only within a hierarchical structure will be alienated from the great mass of idiosyncratic perceptions, responses, thoughts, and emotions that exist within them and others. I think that this causes a great deal of psychological suffering and is a major part of what the Buddha meant by delusion.

FIML is designed to fix this problem between individuals.

first posted

Such an Easy Test of Veracity — Matthew Crawford

…you can test people on their commitment to principle. It should be an extremely low bar to want to file a FOIA. Most of the FOIAs filed during the pandemic have revealed valuable information. It would stand to reason that a FOIA filed about the military health database that was part of the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) work group (and suffered an untimely glitch) would have a decent chance of returning positive value per time spent. As I’ve suggested the idea to people for over nearly a year, I believe every single person I talked with felt that way—until Steve Kirsch just the other day. I’m not sure when he changed his mind—he seemed strongly in favor in June of last year (below).


This contretemps strikes me as being catty, but I may be missing something. Crawford was nasty and evasive with Kirsch in an RTE video from a few weeks ago, which I am not going to bother looking for, but giving him the benefit of the doubt today, there may be something to this FOIA claim. Crawford would benefit immensely from a year of FIML practice. ABN