General analyses of signaling systems illuminate fundamentals of psychology

Individual psychology is a locus or node within a larger social system.

More precisely, individual psychologies are particular signaling systems within larger social signaling systems.

It is valuable to see this because general analyses of signaling systems—even those having nothing to do with human psychology—can shed light on human signaling systems, including both individual psychology and many aspects of sociology.

When human psychology is viewed as a signaling system, we can readily see that narcissism is bound to occur because narcissism is fundamentally a simplistic signal system.  See Narcissism redefined (yet again) for more.

When human sociology is viewed as a signaling system, we can similarly see that parasitism is bound to occur because the exploitation of one system by another is a fairly simple matter.  See Social parasitism in ants and humans for more.

In like manner, we can see that social hierarchies importantly have evolved because they are simple and decently efficient signal (communication) systems.

We can also see why hierarchical system often are overthrown and why they often do not arise in systems where they are not needed.  For example, no hierarchy is needed for a transportation system if everyone agrees to the rules.  Nor is one especially needed for a language system once the basics have been established.  A parasitic group might impose a hierarchy on a language system, but that’s a different animal.

When individual psychology is viewed as a signaling system, we can see that a great deal of what we consider “disordered” or “ill” within that system is fundamentally a problem of the signal system itself and not the “personality” we have mistakenly abstracted out of that system.

Indeed, most of what we think of as personality is nothing more than an individual signal system attempting to conform to its understanding of the larger social system within which it exists.  When science is applied to “personality” erroneously conceived, we arrive at the many psychometric tautologies on personality traits we now have.  Psychometrics have limited value for describing societies, but are frequently misleading, even damaging, when applied to individuals.  In this, they resemble BMI data which originally was used as a marker for the health of whole populations, not individuals, and which can be misleading when applied to individuals.

In contrast, when we view individuals as signaling systems rather than personalities, we can immediately see that these systems can and should be optimized for better communication.  Indeed, this is the real job of psychology—optimizing individual signaling systems! Not just treating disorders!

Social parasitism in ants and humans

Parasitic ants parasitize other ants using aggression and deception. (Source)

Ant parasitism is an evolved social behavior, a “game” that has arisen within large social communities. We have a great deal of evidence that human communities can also be parasitic or harbor parasitic human subgroups.

It makes sense that social parasitism as a “game” of signal exchanging would evolve in large social groups. Social signal system have an inherent capacity to diverge; and from there to fight, compete, exploit.

There are many large examples of human social parasitism, the Manchurian elite of the Qing Dynasty being one. Social parasitism can also bee seen among human in small groups of gaslighters, gangs, or cults.

Every summer, blood-red ants of the species Formica sanguinea go on a mission to capture slaves. They infiltrate the nest of another ant species, like the peaceful F. fusca, assassinate the queen, and kidnap the pupae to raise as the next generation of slaves. Once the slaves hatch in their new nest, they appear none the wiser to their abduction, dutifully gathering food and defending the colony as if it were their own. (How blood-red ants became slave snatchers)

Status and hierarchy are as fundamental to human life as murder

All three are middling instincts that are easily controlled or not even thought about by most people.

I mention this because several social-psychologists I like and respect have come down hard on the fundamental importance of the human instinct for status and advancement within human hierarchies.

I discussed this topic in January regarding Jordan Peterson. Yesterday, I noticed the video below where Peterson seems to be conflating status, hierarchy, and self-improvement. To me, it sounds like he is backing away from his views on the fundamental importance of status within a human hierarchy. This is good because the only evidence anyone can offer for that claim will be based on psychometric tautologies or, more vaguely, cultural inertia.

BTW, I like Peterson and wish him the best. His is a valuable and necessary voice. I hope he keeps talking and eventually becomes prime minister of Canada.

 

Personality disorders and signaling

In my opinion, “personality disorders” are more easily understood as signaling problems.

All types of personality disorder involve dysfunctional signaling with other people. Signals are both sent and received in ways that result in suffering.

As currently defined, personality disorders “develop early, are inflexible, and are associated with significant distress or disability.”

Thus, if there are no significant brain injuries or other biological problems, all personality disorders (PD) develop through experience.

This means that during childhood the PD sufferer has received many bad signals resulting in their failing to form a coherent well-functioning internal signaling system.

The way to fix this is work with the signals. And the best way to do this is FIML practice. A professional psychotherapist cannot possibly provide this level of treatment.

This brings me to a second point: is there anyone who would not benefit from improving their signaling?

Why do we view psychotherapy as treatment designed merely to make us look and feel “average”? Why don’t we instead work to optimize our psychologies every day?

The Buddha said we are all crazy. We are. We all need to work on our signaling—our personality disorders—all the time.

The distinctions between one PD and another and those who have PDs and those who don’t are vague. This is because all PD problems (absent significant biological deficits, which may include intelligence) are idiosyncratic varieties of signaling malfunctions.

If signaling is the core problem, it should follow that all acquired PD will be classifiable as some kind of signaling malfunction. And that is precisely what we see.

Narcissism is a too simple signaling system. Borderline is an unstable signaling system. Compulsive, passive aggressive, histrionic, avoidant, and so on all are variations of a poorly formed internal signaling system.

The way to study this is through interpersonal semiotics; that is interpersonal semiotic analysis of real-time, real-world communicative signs and symbols.

All people need to do this to optimize their psychologies (their internal signaling systems). Why would anyone not want to do this? Maybe not wanting to do this is the surest sign of PD there is.

The hardest part about doing FIML is finding a willing and able partner. To me, this shows how pervasive bad signaling is. Most people will do almost anything but examine their own signaling with the help of another person.

Why narcissism works

Narcissism works because its victims don’t see it.

Victims don’t see it because they are children being raised by narcissistic parent(s) or very commonly adults who were raised by narcissists. There is even a term for the latter: ACoN, Adult Children of Narcissists.

Other kinds of people also fall for narcissists, but having been raised by narcissistic parent(s) is probably the most common.

Narcissists often appear normal to others due to narcissism being a fairly common disorder and also due to the narcissist’s deep-seated need to appear normal to others. They are experts at “impression management.” That’s a big part of what narcissism is.

For many ACoNs, narcissistic traits look perfectly normal because that is what they experienced at home. Narcissistic smiles, glares, malice, selfishness, ostracism, false concern, abuse, and more all seem normal because they were imprinted on the primary instincts of the child to need and trust their parents and siblings.

In truth, entire culture can be narcissistic, abusive, hierarchical. To break these habits in interpersonal relationships, you have to do FIML practice or something very similar.

“Russian collusion” by Trump – ‘Game Over’

It’s been obvious for a long time to anyone paying attention that the “Russian collusion” story aimed at Donald Trump is a lie; and known to be a lie by those directing it within the Democrat Party, the FBI, and MSM.

One of the best researchers in this line of thought posted a terrific article last night: Game Over – Judge Jeanine Interview With HPSCI Rep. Chris Stewart…

I highly recommend reading that piece and perusing others on that site.

Just as tool awareness is nascent in animals so deep semiotic awareness is
nascent in humans.

The Russian collusion story is a story of semiotic manipulation that was too hard for most humans to figure out.

Much of our world—both public and interpersonal—is characterized by semiotic manipulation, often malicious. You cannot understand most of what happens around you (and in you) if you do not understand that.

A maverick Jewish voice on how to treat Europeans is good for all of us to hear

I am not Jewish but I am from a very small European minority and I have been thinking like this for as long as I was conscious of these issues. Why would any small group want to undermine the larger group that surrounds it? Why not be helpful, friendly, and gracious? Without harmful hidden motives.

It’s the same for all other groups. You can support aggressive resource grabbing (which benefits greedy people at the top) or you can do your best to get along. It’s hard to get along. Believe me, I know all about that from all the angles, including trying to get along with Jews. In the end, it’s best to get along.

Here is the maverick voice with a link:

In my view, in 2018 what’s good for the Jews is for us to stop thinking about what’s good for the Jews and start thinking about the right to self-determination and survival for the people we live amongst: the people who have facilitated the most stunning successes of our tribe’s history in diaspora to date, Americans, Europeans, and people of European descent. (Source)

The same reasoning applies to all groups everywhere for both practical and spiritual reasons. I follow Asian American news fairly closely. So many complaints about YT (whitey). Why teach yourselves to be like that? It makes you blind to the many people who care about you.