“This thing they say about me – and it could be not that – but the paranoia lingers…”

The crux of all identity and social problems is right there: “it could be not that, but the paranoia lingers.” This statement lives at the individual level and is something we all face all the time with no exceptions.

The discussion in the video below lives at the general level, filled with abstractions that cannot solve the complex individual problem of constant insecurity caused by constant interpersonal ambiguity. Not knowing what people really mean or think or are intending to do; why they want to be with you or not.

Brittany says it is fundamentally a “trust problem,” which it is but you cannot fully trust what you do not know. And the paranoia always lingers. Political abstractions cannot fix this problem.

Readers who practice FIML will understand that a major cause of all social and psychological problems is individual uncertainty in the face of constant interpersonal ambiguity. This problem can be fixed between a couple of individuals but that’s all, at least for now.

When it is not fixed within a society—and no society has ever fixed it—individual passions rule: violence, psychopathy, dark personality disorders, greed, ignorance, pride, suspicion.

UPDATE: Bret offers some intellectual kumbaya but none of that will deeply change anything. I am not trying to be mean, just stating the truth. The same assessment applies just as well to Jordan Peterson and the entire “intellectual dark web.” It also applies to BLM, Antifa, wokism, identity politics, and much more. The fundamental issue is stated very clearly by Brittany: “…the paranoia lingers.” She also says that this is “annoying.” Yes, it is. In fact, that paranoia is much worse than annoying. It is driving all of us crazy. See this for more: the fundamental underlying problem of problems is the chaos of interpersonal ambiguity.

Deception (or truth elision) in communication

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.

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first posted DECEMBER 5, 2018

Sharyl Attkisson on propaganda and how it has come to be so bad in just five years

This is a good interview with many good points made, but it is also disappointing that Attkisson shies away from discussing fraud in the Nov fake election, especially after discussing rampant fakeness in the news. That said, I do the same myself, preferring memes to text as images hide from algorithms better than text. And Jan Jekielek has himself been demonetized along with Epoch Times for saying too many true things. Attkisson has a sound piece of advice for all of us: if a story is being ridiculed or censored by Big Tech, pay even more attention to it, which I am sure many already do. Her discussion of her own court case is very concise and to the point; reminiscent of many bad moves coming from DOJ over the last five years.

I respect his honesty but not his logic

Convicted spy [Jonathan Pollard] laments US Jews see themselves as more American than Jewish, suggests he’d counsel Jew working in American security apparatus to spy for Israel even now

Pollard claims Jews ‘will always have dual loyalty,’ whether they know it or not

What Pollard expresses are normal sensibilities for people with strong lineage ties. But most of us do not have strong lineage ties. Instead, we have the weaker ties of tradition, law, right vs wrong, abstract ideals, freedom, the American Constitution. Jews are not the only people with strong lineage ties. Today we are seeing USA break into segments of those who have strong ties and those who don’t; those who want to strengthen their own ties and weaken others’. I hate the terms “proposition nation” or “the American experiment” when applied to USA. But I have to admit that it does look more like an experiment today than a real nation. When the breakup happens it will be strong lineages against weak ones, weak ideals against strong ones in those orders matched respectively.

Microaggression and FIML

I have been seeing a lot of stuff about microaggression recently.

The term interests me because FIML is all about micro impressions.

When done with a caring partner, FIML is designed to correct mistaken impressions or interpretations that often derive from micro impressions and/or manifest as micro expressions.

Anyone who has done FIML for more than a few months surely must be aware that we create wrong impressions of even our most trusted partners frequently.

A wrong impression often snowballs, leading to a wrong interpretation that after festering can be much harder to correct than the original micro impression.

So between friends, and especially FIML partners, the perception of micro aggression can and should be noticed and dealt with immediately or as soon as possible. It is basic to FIML practice that even a single uncorrected wrong impression can lead to serious divisions between people.

In this sense, I heartily accept the idea of microaggression being a thing. In fact, I believe it is such a thing that it happens all the time, especially if you mean micro mis-impressions and not just microaggression.

But the term microaggression means something different from the above, though the central concepts are related. Wikipedia has this short definition of microaggression:

…the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

The main difference is “without conscious choice of the user.” FIML is all about being conscious. Both parties being conscious.

If I perceive something in your speech, demeanor, or behavior that makes me think that maybe you are disrespecting me or mad at me or or suspicious of me or something like that, then if you are my FIML partner I am basically required to ask you about it if there is time.

In FIML, the asking is done without prejudgement. I simply ask “what was in your mind when you made that expression or said those words or did that thing.” Your answer must be honest. If you don’t trust your partner to be honest, you can’t do FIML (though you can start trying and see if either or both of you changes).

If your partner answers honestly and you do not perceive an iota of what you thought was in their mind, that part of the event is finished. If when the person spoke or acted they had no nothing about doing what you thought they might be doing, you are done with it. You no longer have any right to further impute your thing onto them.

You can if you want, and this is encouraged, continue to discuss the matter. For example, you might say: “From your response, I can tell that you were not disrespecting me and I am delighted to find that out. That’s a huge relief for me because I have spent much of my life reacting to people who do that as if they were disrespecting me. It’s weird to hear that I am wrong in this case and it makes me wonder if I have been wrong in other cases.”

Then the two of you can discuss that. I know one person who frequently reacts to educated northeast American accents as being “imperious” or “arrogant” when they are not. (Don’t get me started on all the many phrases and attitudes in culture that wrongly limit speech and thus culture itself—“condescending,” “know-it-all,” “argumentative,” “imperious,” etc.)

So, if two friends are having problems between themselves with microaggression, they are prime candidates for FIML practice. Of course, any two friends who are having any problems with micro impressions (all friends all the time) are prime candidates for FIML. (You cannot but have these problems.)

But microaggression as the word is being used today is not something FIML can deal with directly because it is

…the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

The important words here are “known social norms,” “without conscious choice” leading to “discrimination.”

I don’t know how to unpack that. From a FIML point of view, my guess is behaviors that could potentially be identified as “microaggression” according to that definition would be in the range of dozens per day per every person in the world. Maybe more.

An example many readers will remember is Michelle Obama reacting to a customer in Target asking her to hand them something they could not reach.

I tell this story – I mean, even as the first lady – during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf.

If even the president’s wife can get something so ordinary so wrong, you can see the scope of the problem. In the same interview, the president himself mentioned being “mistaken for a waiter.”

Both later downplayed their comments because they had to. Microaggression is an inherently super-ambiguous term open to a multitude of interpretations every time it is used.

In FIML, we find that micro-mistakes are real and dangerous. They are not ignored but addressed immediately because they can be so serious. Relevantly, in my experience with FIML a great many micro-impressions that I form are simply dead wrong. Most of them are wrong. I can’t enter that as evidence because the world does not have enough FIML practitioners for me to do a study on it. However, I do suspect that a great many micro-impressions of or impressions of microaggression are wrong.

Many of us laughed or thought it was ridiculous for Michelle Obama to bristle at having a short person ask her for help because we all have been on one side or the other of an exchange like that and thought nothing of it. I have been mistaken for a store employee or construction worker more than once and never thought anything of it, except maybe to feel slightly flattered that someone thought I looked like I knew what I was doing.

Another problem with the notion of politicizing microaggression (because that is what the term is about) is whose microaggression against whom?

I have strabismus, lazy eye. Even though the condition has been surgically corrected, I still cannot maintain a direct friendly gaze for long periods of time. This means that many people are led to misinterpreting my micro expressions (I start to look down) as me being bored, tired, or not friendly when all that is happening is my eye is so tired it starts to blur and needs to look away.

I know this from years of experience and because some people tell me what they are thinking. One in twenty or twenty-five people have strabismus. Add in other eye conditions with similar problems and you will get much higher percentages. Add hearing problems, attention-deficit problems, autism problems, and so on and you can include most people in the world having difficulties with micro-expressions and how they are being interpreted by others.

If someone from a different culture or race or neighborhood interprets my strabismus as microaggression (boredom with them or condescension toward them rather than simple fatigue), they will get it all wrong. And there is little or nothing I can do about it.

I even tell people about strabismus sometimes. I explain what it does. They say they understand, but very few of them really do. Only very close friends or people who have similar eye problems understand well enough that it stops being an issue with them.

Moreover, strabismus and other eye problems can lead to problems with facial recognition. So the person in the store that asked Michelle Obama for help may have also had facial recognition problems. I have that problem, too, and I seriously doubt that I would recognize Michelle Obama if I saw her in Target.

So, sorry, I don’t have any really good answer to how to understand microaggression or deal with it. On a personal level with friends or FIML partners, micro-impressions are what we want to work with as much as we can. On a societal level, you can hardly do anything about it. A super-smart person might be able to become aware of a good many of the difficulties faced by people in the world, but even that person will miss many of them or misinterpret what they perceive even if they “know” the right thing to do.

At the abstract heart of the problem there is probably a measurement or resolution problem. Simply stated, no person can ever possibly do perfect microanalyses all the time in all situations with all people. Far from it. Thus, it is a sort of “reverse microaggression” to demand or expect that they can or will or should.

I suppose we can and should become more aware of how complex people are and how difficult it is to know even one other person well, or even to know yourself well. But nothing that I can think of will ever relieve us of the difficulty of dealing with the immense number of micro-impressions we all give and receive every minute of every day.

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first posted APRIL 8, 2015

UPDATE 3/24/21: Since I first posted this, the notion of reacting strongly to “systemic microaggression” has gained in popularity. Guys, that is a downward spiral into Hell. Misunderstanding micro impressions that way is to turn almost everything into “fighting words.”

James Lindsay on pseudo-reality & totalitarianism

If you can understand what Lindsay is saying you will be able to understand what FIML practice is an why it is that way. What it does and roughly how it works.

Lindsay is basically describing the meso and macro levels of FIML practice. Basic FIML is the micro level of what he is saying. Core FIML practice informs and clarifies the meso and macro levels Lindsay refers to. (See Micro, meso, and macro levels of human understanding for more on this.)

At the level of the individual, Lindsay's term paralogic is analogous to idiolect mixed with idiosyncratic psychology. These are general concepts that apply to individuals. Lindsay's paramorality is analogous to idiosyncratic semiotics and idiosyncratic perception and the reasoning that arises therefrom.

(Malignant) narcissism is the individual level of totalitarianism; it and all other non-biological "personality disorders" spring from incommunicable idiosyncratic sensibilities in one way or another. FIML fixes the incommunicable part of that, thereby also fixing the disorder.

FIML is difficult because most people are deeply rooted in meso and macro "realities" at the expense of very legitimate and very real idiosyncratic sensibilities. The idiosyncratic individual is bound to or trapped within unsatisfying meso and macro "realities" (or worse, a Lindsayan pseudo-reality) because no one has shown them a better way and that causes suffering.

A lot of the "intellectual dark web" hovers at meso and macro levels around the individual, micro core that they do not know how to access.

Jordan Peterson does a lot of that. James Lindsay states it very clearly for meso and macro levels of totalitarianism.

How scientific journals make money while also impeding science

It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell

…The way to make money from a scientific article [is]…to duck most of the actual costs. Scientists create work under their own direction – funded largely by governments – and give it to publishers for free; the publisher pays scientific editors who judge whether the work is worth publishing and check its grammar, but the bulk of the editorial burden – checking the scientific validity and evaluating the experiments, a process known as peer review – is done by working scientists on a volunteer basis. The publishers then sell the product back to government-funded institutional and university libraries, to be read by scientists – who, in a collective sense, created the product in the first place.

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

DHS officials told “not to speak on immigration issues at the border”

The official with knowledge of the restrictions spoke under the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the matter. “The situation with media relations now is night and day compared to the last administration, The official said. “We have been advised not to speak on immigration issues at the border and to rely on DHS’s Office of Public Affairs and the Whitehouse Press Office to handle messaging.”

The verbal order applies to senior law enforcement leaders within DHS and has no formal expiration date. It comes as the administration is struggling to manage the growing crisis caused by changes in border security and immigration policies leading to a spike in illegal crossings at the border.

Exclusive: Biden Admin Restricts Senior DHS Officials from Sharing Border Crisis Info with Reporters

The left is sufficiently bad enough for this one reason alone that it should be wholly rejected

Democrats almost always vote party-line as a block. Our 95% leftist MSM almost always “reports” and opines in lock-step with the Dem party-line. Ninety percent of academia similarly follows (or in their opinion leads because they are so smart) the same Dem party-line.

For nuance, you can add the vast majority of Republican politicians, who constitute the other wing of the Uniparty. They very often go almost all the way with the Dem party-line. “Independent” politicians are also typically obedient members of the herd.

Party-line, block vote, lock-step conformity, no deviance, we are always right and everyone else is always wrong: This alone is sufficient reason to reject all Dems, almost all GOPs, 95% of journalists, 90% of academics, and most corporate “leadership,” which has now almost fully bowed to the yoke of leftist group-think.

Fortunately, the American public, who are supposed to be served and represented by the above malign actors, are much more various and open in their views with a strong majority still supporting fair elections, our beautiful Constitution, and our rights as individuals to say, think, and do what we want without cowering before the leftist herd.

Incidentally, this basic theme of overweening conformity is similar in kind to the theme of psychological abstractions standing in for the actual realities of dynamic real-world psychology. Abstractions of this type often act like ideologies in that they narrow research and restrict inquiry into areas alive with multitudinous possibilities. Some aspects of this are explored here: Science discovers we don’t know how to end conversations well as well as in many other posts on this site.

Also, Buddhism itself is extremely anti-conformist, anti-group-think, anti-ideological and very pro-individual. The Buddha clearly emphasized the importance of individual responsibility, choice, and freedom leading to liberation. Liberation from? The confines of a false self, ego, identity, group, religion, or ideology. Why? Because those confines are illusory; they are the stuff of delusion. They are the very stuff from which we seek to liberate ourselves.