This interview starts out a bit staid and slow but Dr. Milhoan warms up as it goes along. If you are interested in speech, psycholinguistics, or how people talk, this vid is really worth watching. This poor doctor, like so many others, is being threatened with loss of license simply for speaking honestly about covid science and vaccines. For me, the most frightening aspect of covid is that so many doctors have been cowed into silence. Doctors represent the backbone of upper middle class America. We can’t blame woke or antifa for their almost total retreat from the morals and norms of traditional medical practice. Like academia and legacy media, our medical professionals have succumbed to an evil hierarchy with a very dangerous political agenda. ABN
…is a proper FIML query.
It is perfect (in no special order) morally because it seeks truth and goodness between two people; dramatically because it uses our innate dramatic instinct to question our own deep sense of live drama in the moment; pragmatically because it is eminently practical; linguistically because it is an extremely good use of language, possibly the best use; psychologically because it benefits both the self and other in profound ways while also revealing deep behavioral patterns painlessly; spiritually because it stimulates the spirit and spiritual metacognition, bringing both partners closer to their ideals; and emotionally because it forestalls false negative and destructive emotional responses, replacing them with joyful understanding. FIML is a pursuit of truth shared by two people. It is a technique, a method, that can be used in any religion, philosophy, world-view, or lifestyle. In the beginning, FIML does not even depend on scrupulous truthfulness because the practice itself will reveal the value of truthfulness, which ultimately will require almost no effort. Truthfulness is an instinct or inkling of deepest consciousness. Once seen, it calls forth itself.
The sciences or fields of inquiry mentioned in the headline above need companions based on different premises. These companions might be called speechology, thinkology, and beology.
Speechology would be founded on the axioms that we speak and that the proximate impetus and deep impetus of almost all speech acts are profoundly important, complex, consequential, revealing, and even enlightening. In scientific terms, they are profoundly satisfying to observe and understand and much follows from observing and understanding them.
Something similar can be said about thinkology and beology or a fourth science of actology.
Moving these fields of inquiry away from the fields named in the headline above will give them a fresh start, allowing them to make new discoveries based on new observations, practices, insights, and conclusions.
For example, some of this work has already been done in speechology, the results of which include and inform the fields of thinkology and beology. In addition to the axioms that “we speak” and that “the impetus of speech acts is complex and revealing,” we also have the discovered and richly explored the axiom that “interpersonal speech acts often are seriously misunderstood and not corrected” thus leading to the axiom that touches upon thinkology and beology that “as a result, our thinking and acting are often profoundly in error leading to massive snowballing and suffering from then on.”
The above paragraph makes several nontrivial statements based on demonstrable facts derived from a copious study of speechology. This study has been done using FIML rules and procedures. The difficulty in sharing the knowledge gained through FIML practice is it is based on the interpersonal communications of two unique individuals. This does not make it less scientific. This makes it a precise tool, akin to a microscope or measuring device. Other individuals can use this same precise tool to see and measure their speechologies.
Virtually all people will initially understand a speechology inquiry such as FIML in terms of the linguistics, philosophy, and psychology they already know. This will hamper rapid understanding of what FIML is and what it does because real FIML data will all be fundamentally unique to the individuals doing it. Yes, many insights will be generalizable but the tendency to generalize will immediately lead away from the precision of the FIML tool, thus dulling its resolution and accuracy. This is a very important distinction. It is this distinction that gives FIML its power and that calls for a new name for this field of inquiry.
Interpersonal communication systems can become chaotic when there are misunderstandings. And they can become wildly chaotic when the misunderstandings are serious and/or involve emotional responses.
Normally, in virtually all cultures, out-of-control interpersonal communications are settled by authoritarian decree, by reverting to pre-established roles, by fighting until one side tires, or by ending communication all together.
It is nothing short of tragic when this happens in close relationships during significant or profound communication acts.
FIML is designed to fix communication problems that occur during communications between two (or more) people who care about each other.
FIML is a “loose” method of control in that FIML largely does not have any content. It is a technique that allows partners to discover their own content and their own ways to fix their problems.
As with so many potentially chaotic systems, interpersonal misunderstandings can become wildly unstable for even very small reasons. A single misheard word or a single misinterpreted expression can lead to destructive chaos within the system, no matter how dedicated the communicants may be to each other.
Evidence that supports the use of a “loose” method of control like FIML can be found in this paper: Stalling chaos control accelerates convergence.
To paraphrase from the abstract of that paper and apply their conclusions to FIML, we can say that FIML works “…by stalling the control, thereby taking advantage of the stable directions of the uncontrolled chaotic” system.
By not having a set outcome in mind, by not allowing static interpersonal roles to control the outcome, FIML can succeed in fixing even very serious contretemps between caring partners. FIML accomplishes this by providing partners with a means of achieving a meta-view of their contretemps and from that point of view gently nudging their analysis toward mutual agreement, mutual transformation for both parties based on a complete and completely shared understanding of the unique conditions that generated the problem.
In this, FIML takes “advantage of the stable directions of the uncontrolled chaotic” system. The stable direction is the complete and mutually agreed upon resolution of all aspects of the contretemps. It is a “return” to the stable state of caring that preceded the problem, but a “return” with a significant upgrade because the new stable state will now include the experience of repairing the chaotic state that just passed.
The pleasure in a full FIML resolution can be very great because the semiotic systems of both partners minds will also achieve an upgraded level of stability and awareness. This kind of resolution, clearly, strengthens and resonates with the core of conscious beings who live in the midst of and use (often not so well) semiotics to understand themselves and others.
An article on the study linked above describes the “loose” control method as an “approach that cleverly exploits the natural behaviour of the system.” (See: Control is good, freedom is better)
FIML exploits the natural behavior of two people who seek mutual caring and mutual positive transformation by providing a method that allows them to intelligently deal with the chaos that is 100% bound to arise during some of their acts of communication. Rather than flee from communication due to the fear of chaos, FIML partners have a reliable method of controlling it and reestablishing harmony on a higher, better level.
first posted OCTOBER 2, 2013
[This essay provides an essential background for understanding KOBK (Kill-or-be-Killed) game-theory on both the interpersonal and societal levels. Like all psychological phenomena, KOBK is fractal, potentially operating at all levels of society: from the individual to the social collective. ABN]
For the most part, you can’t.
Look at it this way—how does someone like Dick Cheney, say, know he knows what he is doing, or was doing as vice-president? [This essay was written in 2012, hence the reference to Cheney. No other references are dated.]
He had a semiosis about what he was doing and where he stood within the American political/military hierarchy, but how did he know that that semiosis wasn’t a front for another semiosis (game plan) hidden behind it? How would someone like Cheney find out that there was no other game plan hidden behind the game plans he knew about?
I don’t think he did know or could have known. Did Cheney realize that? Does he realize it now? I can’t answer.
One way someone like that could get information that shows he at least knows a lot, if not the whole thing, is to exercise power. If someone can exercise power and not be stopped, they can be kind of certain that the semiosis they are working within is “true.” Their game plan worked, so there is a greater chance they are in control than if it had not worked. But how can they be certain? I don’t think they can be.
Take another example: A crime boss in the 1980s might have done his thing for years believing all the while that he had the system figured out. Because he kept getting away with his crimes (because he was able to continuously exercise power without being stopped), he may have come to believe that his game plan worked, that he was at the top of his power structure, that his semiosis was “true.”
But we know that many of those bosses in the 1980s were wrong. For years their phones and meeting places were bugged, leading to successful prosecutions under RICO laws. The bosses thought that they had found a way to distance themselves from the nitty gritty of their crimes, but they were wrong. Their game plan (their semiosis) was wrong.
So, law enforcement and the courts had a better game plan, a “truer” semiosis. But how did they know the real quality of their semiosis? Sure, they busted the Mafia, but did they bust all of it and who did they not even look at? How do they know that there aren’t more gangs or secret societies that may even now be controlling them?
I don’t think they do know or even can know. Before you start thinking I am paranoid, consider that behind-the-scenes control of American politics, or any politics, is common; Tammany Hall, Mafia control of NYC politics decades ago, Hoover’s denial that the Mafia even existed, the current state of our two-party “political” system, Libor, etc.
A similar sort of analysis can be applied to news. The problems politicians have with really knowing the deep game plan or ever speaking about it filters through our less-than-perfect news media to be consumed by citizens as bits of information structured into stories that are easy to follow. The American people do not govern themselves but rather at most serve as a weak brake on groups at the top who do almost anything they want.
How do those groups know which one is on top? I am not sure they do. Is NSA domestic surveillance actually an attempt to find out?
If you know everything about everybody and you know how everybody is connected to everybody else, can you know for certain who is at the top?
If so, that will be a first in human history. I do recognize it is possible, though there would be problems with who controls the data, who analyzes it.
A basic point I want to make in this post is that power is very much about meaning, about semiotics. If you can exercise power and not be stopped, you know something about your semiosis. That sure as heck is not the Buddhist way to go about it, but that is the way a great deal of power and semiotics actually works in this world. Power defines meaning.
When this function of power and meaning gets down to the levels of ordinary people, it greatly affects what we say to each other and how we think about each other. Basically, far as I can tell, it causes most people to live in fear because we all know that if we say anything unusual, other people will start wondering about us. If we say the wrong thing, someone will be offended and talk behind our back, or worse.
So it becomes dangerous to say a great many things, or at least very difficult. Almost every subject of real interest is shrouded in semiotics that permit just a couple of standard views. Don’t like Obama, vote for Romney, what’s your problem?
I point all of this out because it is crucial for understanding who we are to understand how ideas, semiotics, and cultures are formed. We live in hierarchies. In hierarchies, the top people determine a great deal of the semiotics of that society. They further their semiotics and prove it to themselves by exercising power. Those people themselves cannot really ever be certain that they know their true position in the hierarchy. How much less can ordinary people expect to know the truth of the semiotics that trickles down to them?
Not everything is stuck in a culture you can’t control and can’t be sure of, but most/much of it is.
In this context, FIML practice allows partners to examine and discuss all aspects of the semiotics they hold in common or as individuals. Since FIML provides partners with a very good level of interpersonal certitude and the means to reinvigorate this certitude at any time, FIML allows partners to say what they want to each other without being misunderstood. It provides a freedom of speech and expression that allows the mind to bloom in ways that normal adherence to normal cultural semiotics cannot.
Just as politicians and powerful people can never be sure they know what others are thinking or where they stand, so ordinary people can’t either. All of them are trapped in the semiotics of their culture, which is usually a hierarchy. It is only through FIML or FIML-like techniques that individuals can free their communication systems from the need to create meaning through self-assertion or submission.
If your head is often boiling with ideas, associations, memories, signs and signals from people and the world around you and you love it but maybe it’s driving you crazy… and you have a partner who is similar or at least understanding, then you will love FIML and become good at it if you try.
It is of paramount importance that FIML partners learn to use the basic FIML technique described here: How to do FIML.
Even very advanced partners should be using the basic technique most of the time.
This is because most mix-ups are fundamentally simple and/or are based on something quite simple. And this happens because of how humans use and process language. Basically, our limbic system is too closely connected to our neocortex. Our emotional reactions have a strong tendency to overwhelm our capacities for good listening and rational analysis.
Mix-ups are 100% completely guaranteed for all people because all of us have learned to speak non-FIML languages. And even after we are able to do FIML, we will still readily slip back into non-FIML reactions.
It’s no one’s fault. We are primitive beings with poor control of both language and our emotional reactions to it.
That said, advanced FIML partners will find themselves regularly engaging in FIML discussions that may be continued for days and that will refer to factors that lie outside of the basic data described in the basic technique.
As partners progress, they will come to better understand the complexity of their interactions while noticing that some dynamic features between them tend to repeat. It’s good to keep a record in your minds of those features or routines that tend to recur. These are the idiosyncratic dynamics of your Functional Interpersonal Meta Linguistic reality.
Yes, some of these dynamic features can and will be generalizable to other couples, but the mixture of all of them together will largely be unique to the two of you.
FIML is not about telling you what to think or believe. It is, rather, a technique that will help you and your partner achieve optimum communication and mutual understanding with each other.
FIML partners must learn the basic technique and they must use it frequently because all other discussions will require it. That said, advanced FIML partners should also expect to engage in FIML discussions that go well beyond the basic technique in length, complexity, and the factors considered.
first posted DECEMBER 24, 2011
Freudianism is an extreme example of the assertion of meaning where there is none, or very little.
It is extreme for two reasons: 1) because it is scientifically groundless and 2) because so many people believed it.
Communism, many religious beliefs and practices, fads, styles, ethnic myths, many “historical” misinterpretations, and much more are examples of false meanings that are asserted and believed by large numbers of people.
You could say that pretty much all human culture is a similar stew of strongly asserted falsehoods mixed with some facts.
Freud was an interesting writer and his ideas were and are worth considering, but they should have remained minor points in the history of psychology and never become “meanings” that influenced the entire Western world.
In this respect, Freudianism is an excellent sociological or macro example of what individuals do psychologically, on micro and meso levels with themselves and others.
Humans are extremely prone to append or assert meaning where it does not belong either because there is no “meaning” in that context or because the “meaning” being asserted is incorrect.
Freudianism shows how powerfully and massively wrong we often get meaning and how wrong our analyses of human thought, emotion, and behavior can be.
At the macro level of trends like Freudianism, we can and should have asked for evidence.
At the micro and meso levels of human psychological understanding we can and should ask for evidence or confirmation from the person or persons about whom we are asserting psychological meaning.
If you do this frequently with a trusted partner, you will begin to see that many of the “meanings” you append to that partner and to yourself are false.
False macro meanings like Freudianism can be corrected through science. At the micro or meso levels of the individual, wrong meanings can only be corrected through a practice like FIML.
In the future we may be better able to understand micro and meso levels of interpersonal meaning through the use of brain scans, but even brain scans need interpretation and will be difficult to use during real-time, interpersonal interactions.
See Micro, meso, and macro levels of human understanding for more on what is meant by these levels.
first posted DECEMBER 3, 2015
In the first three parts of A signal based model of psychology, we discussed micro, meso, and macro levels of human understanding and how paying attention to these levels can make human signaling easier to comprehend.
In this post I want to discuss how human signaling is normally managed and, knowing this, how we can better understand how it affects us.
In truth, there are countless possible interpretations for every moment of every day if we choose to notice them. In the material world of doing familiar things in familiar surroundings, we handle the abundance of possible interpretations by simply ignoring most of them. We put our minds on autopilot and do our tasks by accessing rote procedures and memories.
In social situations, though the stakes may be higher psychologically, we do much the same. Rather than wonder about the vast majority of communicative exchanges with others, we generally put our minds in social autopilot mode and interpret what we are hearing and perceiving according to fairly simple rules we have already established.Continue reading “A signal-based model of psychology: part four”
The essay The Myth of Mental Illness by Paul Lutus hits hard. I agree with Lutus that there is a great deal of deceit and self-deceit in psychology and a grotesque paucity of physical evidence, but it’s not just psychologists who are to blame—many school teachers are involved in the support or even initiation of dubious psychiatric diagnoses while general practitioners are responsible for the majority of psychiatric prescriptions.
I still believe there is a valuable role to be played by psychologists, if only because they have spent more time with troubled individuals than most of us. That said, readers can make up their own minds about Lutus’s essay, which I recommend.
What I want to do in this post is point out the ways that FIML practice does not have the sorts of problems Lutus describes. FIML is not (yet) supported by large studies because not enough people have done it and we don’t have the money to conduct the studies. Nonetheless, FIML practice is based on real data agreed upon by both partners and in this respect is evidence-based, though the kind of evidence used in FIML practice is not the same kind that is used in large studies of many people. (Please see A Theory of FIML for a rough idea of how FIML can be understood from a scientific point of view, and how it could be falsified.)
In my view, FIML is a growing tip of science. It is an idea coupled with a practice or technique. It works with real data that is objective in that both partners must agree on it. It is based primarily on words just spoken, thus limiting distracting generalizations and ambiguity. It allows for and relies upon comprehensive mutual understanding of what partners are actually saying. Normally, both FIML partners will experience a sense of relief after a FIML session because both have achieved a fuller, shared understanding of whatever was in question. Normally, both partners will also be capable of describing the event in question in ways that are essentially the same. Ultimately, partners will realize that many of their FIML discussions have been arising from on-going mistaken interpretations that they had always believed were true. Partners will also come to understand that simply using language to communicate—indeed, to communicate in any way at all—will lead eventually to serious misunderstandings and emotional suffering if their communication is never analyzed in a way similar to FIML practice. And all of the above will help partners understand how neuroses (mistaken interpretations) are formed and how they perdure. And this will gradually free them from neurosis and, it is hoped, most of what we now call “mental illness.”
Today, FIML is mostly an idea. That’s how science progresses. New ideas are explored, improved upon, or discarded. Though FIML has worked very well for me and my partner, I will happily discard the idea of it working for others if it can be shown to be ineffective.
On this site, we have frequently tied FIML practice to Buddhist practice because: 1) several core Buddhist ideas and practices greatly support FIML practice; 2) Buddhism is fundamentally a truth-seeking enterprise, somewhat like modern science but with greater emphasis on the experiences of the individual; and 3) we believe that in many ways FIML practice leads to the same liberative ends as Buddhist practice–freedom from delusion, unnecessary ambiguity, false ideas, emotional suffering.
first posted FEBRUARY 25, 2012
UPDATE 7/16/21: We are still doing FIML and still strongly believe it is a powerful catalyst to positive transformation, both spiritual and psychological. ABN
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
I just learned the term “process philosophy” and am happy to say that FIML is “a psycholinguistic process philosophy combing both theory and action to both understand and improve what we are.”
Process philosophy is based on the premise that being is dynamic and that the dynamic nature of being should be the primary focus of any comprehensive philosophical account of reality and our place within it. Even though we experience our world and ourselves as continuously changing, Western metaphysics has long been obsessed with describing reality as an assembly of static individuals whose dynamic features are either taken to be mere appearances or ontologically secondary and derivative.Process Philosophy
Another fundamental point is FIML is super objective within an area of cognition, perception, and belief that has traditionally been inaccessible to objective assessment and measurement.
first posted APRIL 23, 2021
Experienced FIML practitioners enjoy levels of metacognitive control ordinary humans cannot even dream of.
This control comes after years of diligent FIML practice. It happens because the skills acquired through FIML combined with its metacognitive results allow practitioners to practice FIML on themselves.
FIML practice gradually removes virtually all communication error between partners. This error-removal process is ongoing because all living systems must continually remove waste and error to function optimally.
Successful FIML results in two major achievements:
- very clear, optimally functioning cognition and metacognition
- the skill-set needed to attain the above
When these achievements have been realized, FIML practitioners will find they are able to rather easily apply them to their own introspection, their own subjective states while alone.
Ordinary people cannot do this because they have not experienced the metacognitive states brought about by FIML nor have they acquired the skills to quickly remove error from their thoughts.
The FIML skills of quickly removing error from our thoughts cannot be acquired overnight. It must be built upon diligent practice and experience. You cannot imagine it into being.
Once these skills and experiences have become established in the mind as reliable functions, they can be applied to mental states while alone.