Repost: Metacognition and real-time communication

Metacognition means “awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes,” or “cognition about cognition,” or “being able to think about how you think.”

To me, metacognition is a premier human ability. How can it not be a good thing to be aware of how you are aware and how you think and respond to what is around you?

In more detail:

The term “metacognition” is most often associated with John Flavell, (1979). According to Flavell (1979, 1987), metacognition consists of both metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive experiences or regulation. Metacognitive knowledge refers to acquired knowledge about cognitive processes, knowledge that can be used to control cognitive processes. Flavell further divides metacognitive knowledge into three categories: knowledge of person variables, task variables and strategy variables. (Source)

Most people do metacognition and are aware of doing it. We do it when we plan, make decisions, decide how to get from one place to another, how to relate to one person differently from another, and so on.

Where we don’t do metacognition is in real-time communication in real life, where it matters most. This is not because we are not able to do it. It is because very few of us have the right technique, Flavell’s “acquired knowledge,” that allows us to do it.

If we have the right technique, we will be able to gain a great deal of knowledge about real-time cognitive process while also learning how to control them.

FIML practice is a metacognitive practice based on, to quote the above source, “acquired knowledge about cognitive processes… that can be used to control cognitive processes.”

In the case of FIML, the “acquired knowledge” is the FIML technique which allows us to gain conscious “control over cognitive processes” of real-time interpersonal communication.

FIML is different from other analytical communication techniques in that FIML provides a method to gain control over very short or small units of communication in real-time. This is important as it is these very short real-time units that are most often ignored or not dealt with in most analyses of human communication.

If you know how to catch small mistakes, they become sources of insight and humor. If you don’t know how to catch them, they often snowball into destructive misunderstandings.

FIML is fairly easy to do if you understand the importance of correcting the minor misinterpretations that inevitably arise between people when they speak and communicate. By using the FIML metacognitive method, partners gain control over the most elusive kinds of interpersonal error which all too often lead to serious interpersonal discord.

FIML can and does do more than catch small mistakes, but first things first. If you cannot correct small errors in real-time communication, you are not doing anything even resembling thorough metacognitive communication.

Life is self-organizing signals

Life signals can be biological and unconscious or biological and conscious.*

If conscious, signals can be variously interpreted by the sender, the receiver, or both.

If unconscious, signals are interpreted in only one way or in a limited number of ways.

Consciously organized signals make up such things as psychology and sociology, both of which have many variations.

Human beings generate, learn, send, receive, and interpret signals.

All signals have valence. If conscious, valences (like signals themselves) can be variously interpreted.

It is very beneficial when thinking about any complex matter to pay attention to the valences of its individual signals and signal networks.

For example, if you want to buy or rent a home the various factors that you may consider can all be thought of as signals with valences.

A “small place” is a signal that may have positive valences because it is cozy and easy to keep clean. And it may have negative valences because it is cramped and has no room to store stuff.

With some degree of rationality, we can asses these valences and decide which ones are important to us. If you are going to share the place with another person, you can both do assessments and compare.

Your conclusions won’t be perfectly rational but they will be clearer to you than if you did not do assessments like that.

Besides the size of the place, you will also want to analyze in a similar fashion its location, floor plan, cost, what’s nearby and so on.

The same is true for how to asses your own psychology or the sociology of your group, company, or nation.

If you do this often enough, you may decide to replace the idea of having a personality or identity with the idea of having an operating system that generates, learns, sends, receives, and interprets signals.

Notice that interpreting yourself (the signal of self) as an operating system that employs these few rules is a kind of self-organization. As such, it is concise (Occam’s razor), accounts for all data, has clearly identified parts, has explanatory power (you can use it as we did above), can be applied to all life including human psychology.

This is not the only explanation or description of life, but it is a good one with many uses.


A few notes:

*Surely there are other bases for consciousness than biology as we know it.

Life self-organization is “anti-entropic.”

Politics runs on simple signals because they are readily grasped by large numbers of people. Importing simple political signals into your operating system and keeping their strong public valences is not a good idea.

Politics teeters between left and right and there is no good middle. The middle is no good because the true middle needs to be a middle of complexity against two extremes.

Reason and rational thought are in many respects organizing principles, maybe that’s all they are. Same can be said for logic.

Personality and identity are also organizing principles, here applied to self and others.  Seeing yourself as “an operating system that generates, learns, sends, receives, and interprets signals” is also an organizing principle, but the data is clearer and more useful than that which goes into identity and personality.

White people and ethno-masochism

In the video below Black Pigeon reveals that he lives in Japan and has wide experience in East Asia. John Derbyshire, who writes on white identity, similarly spent years living in China.

I see a pattern when I add myself to this list. I spent many years in China and Japan. I’m pretty sure BP and JD came to conclusions similar to mine—East Asian nations are unabashedly ethnocentric.

The feeling is overwhelming when you spend enough time there to get what people really think.

One example is I have never seen on a white face a type of smile that is somewhat common in China and Japan (also common with Jews). That smile occurs when the person’s ethnic group is mentioned or when they speak from that point of view.

It doesn’t always show but if you are friends it will almost certainly appear during deep discussions of history or culture. It’s a smile of deep love, pride, and tenderness. I have never seen a white person display this smile.

After many years of being around people like that I started to question myself. I wondered why I didn’t feel love, pride, and tenderness toward my (white) people. Eventually, I realized that I was sort of programmed to despise patriotism, whiteness, my own ethnicity.

Another example happened when I was with some Japanese friends in Japan. They brought up the subject of David Duke to ask me what I thought of white identity politics. I hit the roof. Cussed out Duke and angrily insisted that people like him should never be allowed to even have a public voice since his views were so reprehensible.

My friends were taken aback, “But he is on your side,” they said. I remained adamant.

That happened over twenty years ago. I continued to be confident of my opinion for many years after that.

Eventually my mind cooled on the subject of Duke. I do try to be open minded so I decided to look into what he was really saying. I am not a huge fan of his, but his views are pretty tame, to be honest. He speaks and writes in ways that greatly resemble normal Japanese or Chinese thinking.

In 1950 whites comprised 28 percent of world population. Today we are fast approaching ten percent. If you live in a European or European derived country it may seem that white people are all-powerful and that “whiteness” is something to be destroyed. I think that is a bad way to think for anyone, and especially white people.

Most whites come from peasant stock and if you have Eastern European ancestry, you come from serf stock which is the same as slavery. Serfs were partially freed in Russia in 1861 but it took many decades for full freedom to arrive (only to be destroyed again by Bolsheviks).

In this context, I have been and will continue to post stuff on American nationalism, civic nationalism, economic nationalism, white identity and so forth. We live in a tribal world. If you put down your own tribe and help other tribes destroy it, you are not a good person. You are a fool.

Politics is always changing. In the din of many tribes vying for power, you can’t be holier-than-thou and leave your tribe voiceless. I support a strong, clear white voice similar to the Chinese, Japanese, or Zionist voice. Similar to voices all over the world.

Ultimately, I suppose, the world will be one. Maybe genetic research will give us so many choices for gene splicing, race and ethnicity will no longer matter. But until then it does.

Looks like full scale attack mode on Trump from GOP

They hit him as hard as they can from every side, but he’s still standing.

GOP has instructed every Senator and Congressman to not defend Trump. Do not talk about him favorably. It’s a coup.” (Source)

Trump is not the corrupt GOP and he is not the corrupt DNC.

If he wins, he will be the first democratically elected president in many decades.

Edit 10/09: It appears that Billy Bush, Jeb’s cousin, made the tape of Trump and that its release was coordinated across the GOP-DNC elite and timed a day before the second debate.

Scott Adams Interview: Trump’s Tactics and Hillary’s Persuasion Game

Adams sees Trump as fundamentally a skilled persuader. In this interview, he explains this concept well. Adams also sees the New Yorker in Trump and mentions how this affects the way he speaks.

What Adams says about persuasion is probably largely true. But it is a truth that belongs in a world characterized by bad communication.

In the public sphere, there are no options to the world Adams describes.

In the private sphere of interpersonal communication, there are.

Unfortunately, most people use only the techniques of the public sphere in the private sphere.

They do this because they do not know any other techniques. FIML is a technique that allows for much better communication in the private sphere.

Using special techniques to persuade is the opposite of what FIML does.

FIML seeks to remove all artifice and assumption from close interpersonal communication. By doing this, FIML also removes them from the individual psychologies of FIML partners.

After doing FIML for some time, I no longer see individual psychology as a sum of traits and signs that can be studied or understood as if they were actual entities, actual ghosts or ghost-like sub-beings that have minds of their own and perdure over time. I don’t use signs to tell what my partner thinks or feels, or not very many save the straightforward ones.

Individuals are semiotic beings that respond deeply to communication signals, especially signals coming from people. In the public sphere, in the world Adams describes, we never know what anything means unless we have successfully persuaded someone. But then what does that mean?

And even if we have persuaded them, maybe they have really persuaded us but we don’t know it.

You don’t want to live like that with your best friend. With FIML you can put it all out there and figure it all out and all of that can be done at your own pace.

If you are using public-sphere communication techniques on your best friend (you are), you are actually allowing yourselves to be pulled apart by the public sphere. You are allowing yourselves to be absorbed by the public sphere, dissolved by it, destroyed by it.

FIML is a method that helps partners gain enormous control of their communication. Perfectly open, honest, and with no tricks.

No-Touch Torture Report

Gloomy but interesting read on “no-touch” torture. Shows how inherent human weaknesses are used against people and what those weaknesses are.

An example:

5.       Imprisonment and Isolation

Isolation is commonly used as punishment in prisons. Many whistleblowers like Bradley Manning suffer this condition. In soft interrogation it is used to get the target to talk to their interrogator since humans have the need for companionship. In no-touch torture the target is driven from their friends and family using different techniques in order to isolate them so that the electronic mind control has more effect on their psyche.  Like in Guantanamo, the target becomes isolated losing their job and medical care. Part of the method involves slander in their community. They end up on the most part in poverty and paranoid about doctors and other people from false correlations that are purposefully induced into their lives. Isolation is also a form of sensory deprivation which will be discussed later. Days and weeks lose their meaning. (Executive Summary: Neuropsychological and Electronic No-Touch Torture Report)

I personally believe no-touch torture is sometimes done on people who have no idea it is being done at all.

Psychological gaslighting is an example of this, but there are many other reasons a person or group of people might seek to destroy an individual through clandestine means. And many other ways to do it, some of which can be found at the link above.

Somewhat related, this is not about torture but manipulation. Probably not a bad idea as reported: Pentagon Paid for Fake ‘Al Qaeda’ Videos A controversial foreign PR firm known for representing unsavory characters was paid millions by the Pentagon to create fake terrorist videos.

What can easily happen if you don’t have good FIML practice

Being a little tongue-in-cheek but not that much.

‘I’ll fight you for the kids’: ‘Furious’ Brad Pitt attacks Angelina over bitter divorce paper claims that he’s a ‘bad dad with anger and alcohol issues’ – but Jolie tells him: ‘I just can’t do this any more’

The story above is tabloid fare, but it’s reasonable to suppose the anger and battling are real, as are the explosive emotions that are causing the whole thing to go public.

How do two people with time, brains, and money get to this point?

It’s a long buildup of misunderstandings and failed communication. I actually believe that if the couple had learned FIML five years ago, they would probably be happy together today and almost certainly would not be wrangling in public, which does neither of them nor their kids any good.

Even a small misunderstanding—even one that begins innocently—can have massive consequences as it snowballs through the years.

The best time to begin FIML practice is when you are happy as a couple, when you know you can trust each other, when you want to keep doing well and even improve on it.

Properly done, FIML will not take the glow off your relationship. It will only improve it.

When couples don’t do FIML at all, no matter how much they profess ideals of tolerance and love, there is no way for them to stop small misunderstandings from growing into massive differences.

Seeking novel perceptions

Here is an interesting exercise. Do something small to give your brain a novel (new) perception.

Look at something from a new angle, make a new sound, pinch an unusual part of your body. The idea is to do something small but get a big result.

For example, take a glass and look through it as through a telescope. While doing this, deeply appreciate the newness of the perception. Just give it five or ten seconds.

It is your conscious perception of the newness that gets your brain to respond. Once it does, you can nurse the feeling of newness and have the effect last a long time. Can be repeated as often as you like with any sort of novel perception.

You can also just use any new perception that appears in your world and milk it for the extra stimulation it provides. See example below.

For this exercise, sought novel perceptions should be small and wholesome.

You don’t need to take drugs or jump off a cliff to get very good results. By doing small and wholesome, you teach yourself how to energize your brain quickly and in any situation.

The key to success is to do it consciously and with the intention of stimulating your brain by opening its novel experience mode.

Seeking novel perceptions is wonderful in and of itself and also it may be a good way for people to better understand FIML practice.

FIML practice is designed to disrupt normal autonomous thought processes.

Once they have been disrupted, a new thought process will replace the old—thus providing a novel psychological perception.

Frequent use of FIML remakes individual psychology for the better while also greatly improving relations with your FIML partner.

Evidence Rebuts Chomsky’s Theory of Language Learning

The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century. Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky’s “universal grammar” theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages—and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. That work fails to support Chomsky’s assertions.

The research suggests a radically different view, in which learning of a child’s first language does not rely on an innate grammar module. Instead the new research shows that young children use various types of thinking that may not be specific to language at all—such as the ability to classify the world into categories (people or objects, for instance) and to understand the relations among things. These capabilities, coupled with a unique hu­­­man ability to grasp what others intend to communicate, allow language to happen. The new findings indicate that if researchers truly want to understand how children, and others, learn languages, they need to look outside of Chomsky’s theory for guidance. (link)

The notion that Chomsky is wrong is not new, but the linked article still a good read.

See this for a rebuttal of the above: Don’t believe the rumours. Universal Grammar is alive and well.


The following is only tangentially related to the above articles.

The key point in FIML is that messages (language, semiotics, etc.) are often misunderstood and that these misunderstandings can have large psychological effects.

Messages can be misunderstood on many levels, but the level that is least appreciated today and thus has the greatest unacknowledged implications for human psychology is the micro-level.

The micro-level is the level of the short-term memory (time component) and the psychological morpheme (emotional component). Psychological morphemes arise as brief (short-term memory) associations are made with other semiotic and thought systems in real-time.

If errors at this level are not corrected, large effects can ensue. Errors at this level are best corrected in real-time as quickly as possible (while the contents of the short-term memory are still fresh). This is why the FIML technique is done the way it is and why it works as well as it does.

A psychological morpheme is:

The smallest meaningful unit of a psychological response. It is the smallest unit of communication that can give rise to an emotional, psychological, or cognitive reaction.


Gaslighting is a form of interpersonal abuse that works by manipulating meaning, memory, and perception.

Gaslighter(s) play dirty pool with the ambiguity inherent in all human communication.

Gaslighting could not work if interpersonal reality did not contain a great deal of ambiguity. Gaslighters know this and exploit it for selfish advantage.

In this respect, gaslighting shows how important it is to remove as much ambiguity as possible in relationships with significant others.

Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to tell if you are being gaslighted. Gaslighting relies fundamentally on abuse of interpersonal trust.

Victims of gaslighting…

…might harbor feelings of anger toward the person they sense is an aggressor but also find themselves thrown into positions of anxious defensiveness, which makes them feel unjustified and unsure of themselves. If their manipulator also happens to be skilled in the art of “impression management” — displaying superficial charm and enjoying the capacity to make favorable impressions on others — those on the receiving end of their tactics are likely to feel even crazier. (Gaslighting Revisited: A Closer Look at This Manipulation Tactic)

I bring the subject up for itself but also because it sheds light on FIML practice. FIML is the polar opposite of gaslighting. Rather than manipulate each other, FIML partners seek to remove the source material of gaslighting—interpersonal ambiguity.

From a FIML point of view, gaslighting is the worst thing one person can do to another short of criminal acts.

If you suspect you are being gaslighted, I suggest you try to get your partner to do FIML with you. If they are gaslighters, my guess is they will not want to do it. Or if they do, they will try to manipulate you through FIML.

But that won’t work for long. Before long, you will begin to see that they are lying and that their purpose is not to help you but to control you by distorting interpersonal “reality.”

I will venture a guess that most gaslighters will be incapable of the mindfulness or metacognitive self-control FIML requires. I will also guess that they will be deeply frustrated by FIML queries and that this will lead to anger and a spike in gaslighting behaviors.

Gaslighters are “reality bullies” that seek control of others by forcing their interpretations on them. This is the exact opposite of what FIML does.

(Note: Obviously not everyone who cannot or will not do FIML is a gaslighter.)

Triggers and microaggression

I greatly dislike the way these two words—trigger and microaggression—are currently being used.

Trigger implies that something inevitable will follow while microaggression outright claims that the other person is at fault.

I much prefer my own neutral term for those small stimuli that might cause emotional discomfort.

My term is psychological morpheme, which is defined as:

The smallest meaningful unit of a psychological response. It is the smallest unit of communication that can give rise to an emotional, psychological, or cognitive reaction.

I strongly believe psychological morphemes exist and that they arise at distinct moments and that these moments can be perceived by the owner of them and that that owner of these moments can and must learn to control them, analyze them, learn from them.

It is a huge mistake to automatically blame another person for our own psychological morphemes. From a FIML point of view, there is almost nothing worse.

The reason this is a really bad thing to do is you are very likely wrong.

Even if you are wrong only one out of twenty times, the consequences of your mistake can be very large. I guarantee you are wrong much more often than that.

I say this after doing years of FIML practice during which I have discovered in myself and my partner hundreds of wrong psychological morphemes, most of which were connected to subjective networks that had grown large over many years.

Most psychological morphemes arise due to habits of subjective interpretation.

Rather than let these subjective interpretations have their way, a far more profitable and much wiser course of action is to stop that process at the initiating morpheme. Stop it before it gets going and fills your mind.

If you can stop it at the psychological morpheme and analyze it with the help of your FIML partner, those morphemes will not become mindless triggers that you wrongly interpret as microaggression, but rather opportunities to see and understand how your brain is actually functioning in real-time.

Psychological morphemes are also commonly misinterpreted as signs that reside in the other person of boredom, anger, contempt, arrogance, insecurity, optimism, happiness, pleasure, and so on including as many states as you can imagine.

Metacognition improves memory retrieval

In this post I am going to argue that strong metacognitive awareness of one’s own intentionality in real-time translates into better and more accurate memory retrieval.

More specifically, I mean that the strong metacognitive awareness of one’s own intentionality that results from FIML practice is a skill that transfers to memory retrieval.

FIML partners spend a good deal of time asking and answering questions about each others’ intentionality in real-time.

The metacognitive skills that develop out of that practice streamline communication between partners, while also streamlining communication within the brains of each partner.

Each partner benefits psychologically as a standalone individual from the practice of FIML because FIML skills can also be applied to individual, subjective brain functions.

One of the psychological benefits of FIML practice is greatly enhanced awareness of the difference between truth and lies during interpersonal communication with the FIML partner.

This awareness beneficially affects memory retrieval.

It does so by increasing the individual’s capacity to better know when memories are reliable and when they are dubious if not outright false.

Advanced FIML practitioners will have less need for egotistical interpretations of their pasts (or anything else), and thus have minds and memories that are more streamlined and efficient.

This happens because FIML practice gradually shifts brain organization away from the heuristics of a static ego to operations that can be described as “metacognitive.”

Metacognitive operations of this caliber are a great improvement on static beliefs in a self or an egocentric narrative.

Additionally, since psychology is based on memory, fine metacognitive awareness of memory retrieval will also improve psychological functioning in other areas.

For example, emotions based on memory (all of them really) will be less likely to negatively influence intentionality if fine metacognitive awareness of memory retrieval is also functioning in the individual.

The same can be said of psychological schemas, framing, values, beliefs, instinct and its interpretations, and so on. All aspects of human psychology can enjoy improvements (more truthful, less stupid) through the metacognitive skills that result from FIML practice.