Very important information for all Americans, as well as others around the world.
The following are some basic rules for a practical behaviorist approach to speech.
Use real speech in Real-World, Real-Time (RWRT) situations.
Keep it simple by using only two people. Make it deep by using the same two people for years. No third person is needed or wanted.
Use only good data that both speaker and listener can agree on. For RWRT speech, this means only speech that is/just was in the working memory of both partners.
That is, both partners must agree on what was said and heard. If the listener heard “boo” and the speaker agrees they said “boo”, that is good data.
Partners must reach that agreement while keeping intact the contents of their working memories when the word “boo” was said/heard in RWRT. (This takes a little practice but is not that hard to do.)
Both speaker and listener can now analyze that data by discovering (through speech) what was in their working memories when they heard or spoke “boo”.
These simple rules bypass predetermined thoughts about what we believe we are saying or said, believe we are hearing or heard.
In so doing, these simple rules lead us gradually but very significantly away from surface speech (see: Time pressure encourages socially acceptable speech) to much deeper and more accurate communication between partners.
And this deepens partners’ sense of who or what they are across all domains.
That such simple rules can deeply change how we speak and hear and how we think about ourselves and others and how we understand the entire enterprise of human psychology, shows that—you might say—God exists, or the Buddha Mind exists, or profound other realms are available to human beings, that a deep sense of karma is real, that what we say matters, that not doing our best to speak the truth is what the Buddha meant by “frivolous speech” and he did so for a good reason because enlightenment itself lies thataway.
I think it’s delightfully paradoxical that simple behaviorist rules can lead us to having religious experiences.
Can we restate or add to Cogito ergo sum by saying: Recte loquendo Deum esse demonstramus? (By speaking properly we demonstrate that God exists)
This video gives a good, brief explanation of Relational Frame Theory (RFT).
FIML practice can be understood in terms of RFT. What FIML practice does is give partners immediate access to their neurotic “relational frames” of reference, their mistaken interpretations. When we see a few times with great clarity that our neurosis is based on a mistaken interpretation (a mistaken relational frame) of what our partner actually means or meant, we will be able to change our relational frame (correct our mistaken interpretation) without much trouble.
FIML works especially well for making this sort of change in relational frames because it deals with those frames the moment they arise, while they are still just starting to be accessed. FIML also works well in this respect because it is based on real data shared and agreed upon by partners who trust each other.
Here is another article on Relational Frame Theory.
first posted 12/16/11
Note 10/12/19: In terms of RFT, FIML practice could be defined as a practical application of RFT during unique real-world situations that arise in a unique relationship between two (obviously unique) people, each of whom speaks a unique idiolect.
The results of FIML practice are therapeutic and include: deeper understanding of how partners speak and listen, how their psychological frames function and interact, how and why they make mistakes in understanding each other, and how to correct those mistakes.
FIML can be done with zero knowledge of RFT. If exposed to RFT after they are good at FIML, partners may find that much of what they have learned could be described or outlined in terms of RFT.
An advantage FIML has over RFT in practical applications is partners will discover their own frames in their own contexts without any need for a theoretical outline or explanation of them.
FIML needs very little theoretical structure or explanation to work. By simply using the simple rules of the FIML “game”, partners will find themselves immediately engaging with their shared and unique relational frames.
There is no need for further guidance once partners understand FIML rules and know how to apply them. All discoveries made after that point will be unique to them and under their own control.
Their discoveries will have wider application and will help them with other relationships. And while many of their discoveries could be generalized to all language or all psychology, it is not necessary for them to do that.
Private language—what we say to ourselves, how we cogitate while alone—is greatly dependent on public language, that which is readily understood by many.
In fact, private language is so dependent on public language, it can be argued that a private language completely divorced from public language cannot exist.
It is obvious that anyone wanting to influence or control large numbers of people will address them in public language.
It is less obvious, that those same people frequently will also seek to change the public language itself.
Sometimes this language changing is a good thing as that is how civilizations adapt and grow. It is probably best, or usually best, when civilizational changes arise organically from the whole society or from important parts of society that are behaving honestly.
Sometimes, however, the changing of public language is done dishonestly by small numbers of people who have seized positions of power, sometimes precisely for that purpose.
They change public language to further their positions, ideas, or programs; to seize control of public topics; to seize or secure power over the public.
It is not as easy to parse this as it may seem. Who is restricting honest organic input into public language? Or when is organic input into public language itself but a ruse to falsely commandeer that language?
After Lenin and Stalin seized control of the public languages of the Soviet Union, we can see a clear-cut example of bad actors creating a basis for indoctrination. Before they seized power, we can see an example of a dishonest “organic” group seeking to commandeer control of public language.
And how do we see that today, through the lens of “history”?
Firstly, whose history? The same problem with public language arises.
Secondly, maybe we can never know. Maybe only societal laws or rules of governance can help us determine what’s right or best. But then the same problem arises.
Whose laws, whose rules?
In this sense both public and private languages have enormous problems basing themselves on anything.
To communicate, we often must ignore the truth or falsity of a statement, our own or someone else’s.
I believe it is an instinct to do this; that it is part of our instinct to communicate at all. Communication requires cooperation, an agreement to be agreeable enough to get the message through.
We might call ignoring truth or falsity in communication “truth elision” or “psychological elision.” Elision means to omit something. Psychological elision would mean omitting or not mentioning psychological truths.
We do a lot of truth elision to save time. In professional or group settings it is hard to communicate any other way because there is not enough time to be perfectly truthful and most people will not care. They just want to socialize and/or get the job done, not search for truth.
Most communication is like that. Most messages are not even superficially analyzed. Semiotics glide through our minds without any thought to their deep origins or interpretations. Truth and falsity are frequently elided.
Like all instincts, our instinct to cooperate by ignoring the truth or falsity of many statements can be misused to consciously deceive.
Indeed, we frequently deceive even ourselves by accepting our own statements as true when analysis would show they are not. One way we succeed in doing this to ourselves is by simply avoiding the analysis—analysis elision.
This is where a simple instinct starts to go bad. A basic need to cooperate on the signs and symbols of communication gets twisted into tricking people, deceiving them, even deceiving ourselves.
The way to see this most clearly and to stop doing it with at least one other person is FIML practice. One of my main goals for this website is to show how and why communication goes bad and how and why it harms us. At the same time, I present a practical way to fix the problem described—FIML.
first posted 12/05/18
Note 10/10/19: I think the above sheds light on false confessions and pretty much all self-abnegating lying on the spectrum trending down from a false confession with legal consequences.
Abusers work these ill-defined and difficult to grasp areas to dominate, entrap, and manipulate others. Narcissists and other “strong” or “clever” dark personality types use our fundamental willingness to cooperate against us.
Gas lighting greatly relies on people’s willingness to ignore truths and accept falsities about themselves. If there is more than one gas lighter at work, victims may even accept blame for things they know with certainty are not true.
As with so much in this world, immoral people put time and energy into fooling those who have not put time or energy into the dark arts.
Buddhists all know about wise compassion. We also need wise understanding of the world and wise cautiousness about the full scope of human motivations.
Our tendencies to go along with falsity can be seen in every part of life, from small corners of our own lives to the great expanses of entire societies.
If we consider speech with only one listener and look firstly at the micro level, we find it is fear of wrong word choice, wrong gesture, expression, demeanor, or tone of voice that limits our speech because a misstep with any one of these may transgress interpersonal limits.
At the meso level, it is either fear of offending or embarrassing (our understanding of) the “personality” of our listener or the fear of an actual flareup from our listener.
At the macro level, it is the fear of introducing a largish idea with sociological or career implications that might disturb, embarrass, or anger our one listener.
With more than one listener, the analysis is much the same though the numbers of people make it more complex, until we get to so many people we are speaking to an audience. Then it becomes simpler in some ways because the micro and meso levels will be less prominent due to distance between speaker and audience and there being no clear single target of our tone of voice or phraseology.
On the other hand, an audience’s response can be more complex and problematic because more than one person can become angry at us.
Human beings thus are stuck in a game that is controlled by how most of us listen most of the time.
Stated differently, human beings have magnificent speech and communicative capabilities, but rarely get to use them to their full, best effect because one or more of the many speech limits outlined above will cause us either to hold our tongues or else risk creating a disruption in the mind(s) of our listeners.
This seems like a Big Problem to me. I do not want to spend my life constrained by those rules. FIML can help us overcome this problem but even FIML cannot do it all.
We must also recognize that our very comprehension of meaning itself is grounded in fear.
In Game theory and interpersonal relations, I said:
…The end result of any particular model is called its “equilibrium.” Equilibrium implies no one will change their input if external conditions remain the same.
To refine that statement I should add that equilibrium in game theory really means “equilibrium of strategies” or “strategic equilibrium.” And this means that players, each acting in their own self-interest, have found the best strategy/ies to achieve the outcomes they desire.
When there is a strategic equilibrium, players will continue playing the game using the same strategies. And this will produce an equilibrium outcome.
An economic description of sharing focuses on an equilibrium of economic values. A game theory description of sharing focuses on the strategies that produce that equilibrium (which as a game may grow in many directions).
FIML practice is based on an agreement between players to be (strategically) scrupulously honest in small matters involving only the contents of their working memories. This strategy includes saying, : “I do not want to answer that question right now.”
A very interesting side of FIML practice is either player could cheat by only pretending to follow the FIML honesty rule. Since the FIML game is designed to provide ongoing insights into your own psychology as well as your partner’s, I believe most sincere players will at some point discover that not cheating is by far the best strategy.
I do think many fundamentally honest people will be tempted to fudge their FIML replies for a period of time because that is how we all have been conditioned by our various societies, none of which has ever practiced FIML.
Rather than practice scrupulous honesty in very small matters with just one person, many of us will tend at first to avoid even that minor discomfort, remain the same, preserve our personas, withhold information, and so on. We do this because that is how all societies have conditioned their members.
There are two possible fudging scenarios in the FIML game:
- one player fudges
- both players fudge
If the fudging player is fundamentally honest, I believe they will come to see that they are harming themself as well as their partner; and that their best strategy is to fudge no more.
In the worse case scenario where both partners fudge, I am pretty sure that in most cases the fudging will gradually be eliminated because:
- partners will fudge at different times, on different occasions often enough to
- see that the value of hearing an honest reply or speaking an honest reply is much greater than not doing so
- additionally, both players will come to see that FIML outcomes accumulate, grow, feed on themselves (self-catalyze), thus compounding and multiplying benefits for both players over time
All the rules and moves and strategies used in FIML are out in the open and known to both players. The good results of playing honestly and well will become very apparent to players the more they play the game.
FIML as described on this website has very few rules and almost no content. In this respect, the FIML game you play with your partner will quickly become unique to the two of you. Not only are you with someone you love, but also you are now able to play a wonderful game of mutual and shared self-discovery. Where is goes, only you two will decide.
For this reason or these reasons, I think FIML could be called the Most Magnificent Game. It has few rules and almost no prescribed content and as such it will draw the best out of both players concerning the world’s most interesting subject: who am I and what the fuck am I doing here?
What if your partner is a psychopath?
From the above, it should be clear why it is important to have a FIML partner that you care about and who cares about you. What happens if you have a psychopathic or dark triad person as a partner?
A pure psychopath with little or no malice might benefit from the game and even enjoy it. A dark triad person probably will not agree to do the game. If they do agree to play, they probably will not be able to do it well enough to fool you. I do not know what to say about a dark, hostile player who succeeds in using the game to harm an honest partner. I hope that never happens, but I suppose it will.
Players who know they want to be honest and play well would do well to be on-guard in the beginning. For a time, you could honestly conceal any suspicions about your partner with the reply, “I don’t want to answer.” After a time, though, you probably should begin exposing your suspicions in very small matters. You may (very happily) discover the suspicion was your problem and not your partner’s.
If the problem is your partner’s and your suspicions are correct though not certain in your mind, I am reasonably sure that FIML replies and discussions are such that you will gain a great deal of insight into yourself and your partner and that your judgement in this area will tend to lead toward a good outcome for both of you. Either you will be able to help your partner or you may conclude that your relationship cannot go any further.