A deep philosophical flaw of the West is the root cause of our downfall

The West has failed to analyze and understand metalevels of interpersonal communication. Our philosophies employ metalevel concepts and vocabularies but have never delved into or properly understood metalevels of interpersonal communication.

This failure to properly understand metalevels of interpersonal communication has very large downstream effects. It has retarded our religious understanding and psychologies, our group formation, our understanding of other groups, and our ability to form profound interpersonal relationships.

The basis of this claim is that when interpersonal language is deeply restricted—as ours is by this massive hole in Western philosophy—all other forms of language use are negatively affected. When metalevels of interpersonal communication are limited, so is almost everything else.

I believe our philosophers never went there for the same reason no one elsewhere has either—analysis of interpersonal metacognitive language and thought goes against a primitive human instinct to not question others too closely, especially in real-time and about usage and meaning.

The few areas of Western endeavor that have not been hobbled in this way are science, technology, and to some extent economics and politics. This is because these areas by definition must deal with metalevel concepts and thus are very capable of understanding and manipulating them, but only in their own self-described contexts. They are successful because they are practically engaged with the real-world.

In contrast, Western religions, psychologies, group formations, and intergroup communication are so severely hobbled by limited metacognitive understanding, they are all but forced to use rigid definitions of what their metacognitive levels are. Thus Western psychologies are theoretical, religions are dogmatic, group formations are formal at best or ideologically tribal, indicating the need to enforce metacognitive language and concepts rather than analyze or discuss them.

Wittgenstein came close to understanding the problem but did not provide a solution or seem to see that there is one. I hope readers of this site understand that FIML is both the solution to this problem and the best way to personally experience and come to grips with how very serious it is.

Ambiguity and socialย hierarchy

In this post I am going to contend that: linguistic ambiguity tends to lead to or produce hierarchical social systems.

By linguistics, in this context, I just mean language and its uses, though expressions, gestures, roles, and so on can also be factors. Of course, many other things–genes, wars, historical precedents, etc.–also produce hierarchical societies, but today we will just deal with language.

Another way of stating the contention above is: humans have adapted to linguistic ambiguity by forming hierarchies. Or human hierarchical societies have evolved as adaptations to linguistic ambiguity. A stronger way of saying that would be human hierarchical societies have evolved as adaptations to linguistic ambiguity and they exploit ambiguity to maintain themselves.

Another way of saying all that might be to say that in hierarchical societies linguistic ambiguity is good for the top people because it maintains the status quo. This happens because if the ambiguity matters in any way, it is almost always the top people who will decide what it means.

I am going to present a microcosmic example of this point. Please notice as you read this example that this kind of ambiguity is very common. Something like this will occur in your life very often, maybe as often as a few times per hour of conversation, maybe more.

This morning I was cutting some (store-bought) potatoes for breakfast. As I was doing that I said to my partner: “The potatoes from our garden are so much better than these store-bought ones.” All I meant was that. I had no further implication in mind.

My partner (my FIML partner) did a FIML query and asked me: “Did you say that to make me feel good about our garden?” I replied: “No, I did not.” After which she said: “Because if you had I would have felt bad because I was very careful when I bought those potatoes so I would have felt that you were criticizing my shopping.”

This example shows very clearly that the only way to resolve the ambiguity inherent in my statement is to fully discuss the statement–why I said it, what I meant by it, and what I didn’t mean by it. Anything less would leave a puzzle in my partner’s mind.

This example also shows the value of trivial incidents for FIML practice, something we have emphasized many times. That this incident is trivial and small (just a single sentence) makes it perfect material for a FIML query. If the incident were larger, it would be harder to isolate and agree upon data points. As it was, my partner and I were able to clearly remember what I had said and how we both understood that statement very differently. As it was, we were able to clear up the ambiguity very quickly. No, I was not implying criticism. Yes, I do appreciate your careful shopping. Yes, these are excellent store-bought potatoes, but they aren’t as good as the ones we grow in our garden.

Everything was clear and we both experienced a resolution, my partner more than I because I had not initially noticed the ambiguity in my statement or the effect it had on my partner.

That’s a good example of a FIML query. And it is a good example of how a FIML query can lead to an extensive discussion. The extensive discussion in this case is how even very minor ambiguities like the potato incident can lead to or support hierarchical social structures.

In most non-FIML homes, I am pretty sure most people would not have inquired as my partner did. Most people would probably not say anything. Not saying anything would maintain whatever status quo had been established in that home.

If our home were a hierarchy and I were the top dog (and we did not do FIML), my partner would be forced to wonder silently about what I meant about my potato comment. Maybe she would suffer or feel confused or resentful. It is natural for humans to interpret language in a self-centric manner and it is natural (normal) for humans to be a little paranoid about what they hear. If my partner were the top dog and I had said that, she might question me in an aggressive manner or accuse me of being ungrateful. In that case, I would probably be forced to apologize and claim that I hadn’t meant it that way. Going forward, I might become more wary about what I said around her.

So, not inquiring, not resolving small linguistic ambiguities maintains the status quo. If the status quo is a hierarchy, it will be maintained.

If the status quo is not hierarchical, other problems will result from not resolving ambiguities even as small as the potato example. In the example of partners who live together, partners will feel a mounting sense of confusion and uncertainty as ambiguities like that accumulate. It will be harder for them to trust each other. Kind motives may be misinterpreted as being aggressive, and so on. In time, things may get so bad partners will separate or stay together but divide their lives into separate spheres of influence. If they separate, no status quo has been maintained (demonstrating my main point). If they divide their lives into separate spheres of influence, they will essentially be dividing their lives into small hierarchical spheres of influence (ditto). The garden is yours. The basement is mine. Et cetera.

Some hierarchy is inevitable and desirable between friends or in the home. But for close relationships, less hierarchy is better for most people because it is through egalitarian relationships that we learn the most about ourselves and each other, and it is in these sorts of relationships that we develop the most.

In hierarchical societies, generally speaking the person who is higher up decrees the resolution to all ambiguities. Do what the boss says. Just do what you’re told. She’s in charge. He is infallible, etc.

One reason hierarchies get away with decrees like that is it would simply take far too much time to resolve every ambiguity in a perfectly egalitarian way. Thus, almost all humans today are well-adapted to living in hierarchies. I am sort of OK with that in many professional and business contexts.

Where I am not OK with it is between close friends or couples, except for a little bit here and there depending on context (for example, one partner has special knowledge or experience the other doesn’t have). I suppose many people are very content living in a hierarchy in their own home, but that’s not for me. I don’t want my partner obeying me or being afraid of me and I don’t want to obey or be afraid of her either.

From this small potato example, I hope readers will be able to extrapolate to the formations of social groups. Surely social groups formed in many places at many different times. As history moved forward in time, less well-adapted groups were dominated by groups that were better adapted. And that is why the world is run by hierarchies almost everywhere.

One consequence of this is it affects the individual psychology of all of us who live in hierarchical societies. This may make us intolerant of ambiguity. It may make us view our private lives through hierarchical lenses. Without FIML, our massive training in hierarchical systems will lead to confusion and suffering in our private lives. The inevitable ambiguity will eat away at us if we have no way to fully deal with it.

Another consequence of living in hierarchical societies is people who for one reason or another don’t quite understand the rules will often be judged as mentally ill, dangerous, trouble-makers, outlaws, and so on. In very rigid societies you can be sent to a gulag or be burned at the stake for not conforming. In less rigid societies, you will be fired or ostracized.

first posted JUNE 20, 2012

Let the Blue Cities Die

The Democrat cities are urine-soaked hellholes that reek of pot where criminals stalk unmolested while the full fury of what is supposed to be the law hangs over the head of any citizen who dares do something about it, and thatโ€™s good. The idiots who live there voted for turning their urban landscapes into petri dishes of social pathologies, and they should enjoy the full benefits of their decisions. We normal people should avoid these socialist wastelands and elect legislators to Congress who will starve them of the federal funds that enable their decline. In red states, our legislators should wage warfare on the blue tumors in their midst lest they metastasize outside the city limits. And we should ruthlessly point to them as the future Democrats want, which they are, a vision of a psychotic hobo taking a dump on the sidewalk out in front of your house forever.


One thing ppl donโ€™t realize: ๐™™๐™š๐™ข๐™ค๐™˜๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฎ ๐™™๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ ๐™ก๐™–๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™–๐™œ๐™š ๐™ค๐™› ๐˜ผ๐™„

One thing ppl donโ€™t realize: ๐™™๐™š๐™ข๐™ค๐™˜๐™ง๐™–๐™˜๐™ฎ ๐™™๐™š๐™›๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ก๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™ค๐™ฃโ€™๐™ฉ ๐™ก๐™–๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ž๐™ฃ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™–๐™œ๐™š ๐™ค๐™› ๐˜ผ๐™„

To put it very simplyโ€”weโ€™re going to be living among digital minds of all shapes and sizes. So how do you determine who gets a vote? How do you deal with the fact that to reproduce, it takes a human 9 months to make 1 copy of itself, while it takes a digital mind 1 second to make 100,000 copies of itself? Can we have a democracy when the AI population grows to 300 ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘› while the human population stagnates at 300 ๐‘š๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›?

Moreover, how do you deal with 10000x intelligence differences? We donโ€™t give frogs a vote over human affairs; are we supposed to give 100 IQ beings a vote when it affects those with 1000 IQโ€™s? What if a single mind ends up with 99% of the intelligence/compute (which seems likely)?

Above all, everyone is failing to think about the downstream consequences of this new world we are entering and just how weird and different itโ€™ll be.

None of the old frameworks apply.

source w discussion

Canadian academics write paper arguing that poverty should not disqualify people from euthanasia

A new paper by two bioethicists at the University of Toronto makes the case that euthanizing the poor should be socially acceptable. Kayla Wiebe, a PhD candidate in philosophy, and bioethicist Amy Mullin, a philosophy professor,ย wrote in theย Journal of Medical Ethicsย that:ย ย 

To force people who are already in unjust social circumstances to have to wait until those social circumstances improve, or for the possibility of public charity but unreliably occurs when particularly distressing cases become public, is unacceptable. A harm reduction approach acknowledges that the recommended solution is necessarily an imperfect one: a โ€˜lesser evilโ€™ between two or more less than ideal options.

The horror stories of Canadians seeking assisted suicide because they cannot get the social assistance they need are โ€œworst-case scenarios,โ€ the bioethicists write. โ€œOne way of responding to these cases is, โ€˜Well, clearly then, medical aid in dying should not be available to them,โ€™โ€ Mullinย said in an interview. โ€œWe just donโ€™t think the fact that social conditions are contributing to make their lives intolerable means that they donโ€™t have the wherewithal to make that choice. People can make their own determination about whether their lives are worth living, and we should respect that.โ€ย 

Wiebe and Mullin reject the idea that the circumstances driving Canadians to suicide are coercive, and that refusing to kill them upon request โ€œamounts to perpetuating their suffering, hoping that this will ultimately lead to a better, more โ€˜justโ€™ world.โ€ In their view, the best โ€œharm reduction approachโ€ would mean that โ€œthe least harmful way forward is to allow MAiD to be available.โ€ 


Fractals in the humanities

“A fractal is a natural phenomenon or a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale.” (Wikipedia)

Most of us know what math fractals look like and understand that shorelines and trees exhibit fractal patterns that display at different scales.

I think we can also see fractal patterns or sets in the humanities.

For example, the five skandha explanation in Buddhism to be fully understood must be conceived of as a fractal pattern that repeats at different scales. The normal explanation of the five skandhas is as follows:

The five skandhas are form, sensation, perception, activity, consciousness. A form can arise in the mind or outside of the mind. This form gives rise to a sensation, which gives rise to perception, followed by activity (mental or physical), and lastly consciousness. In the Buddhaโ€™s explanation, the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly. They are not a continuous stream but rather a series of discrete or discernible moments. A form arises or appears, then there is a sensation, then perception, then activity, then consciousness. (Ibid.)

This explanation describes the most basic fractal pattern or the smallest one. “…the five skandhas occur one after the other, very rapidly.”

A simple example of this rapid movement of the five skandhas might be the experience of having something suddenly touch your neck. Your first awareness of this is the form. Your next awareness is the sensation; at this point you react with aversion, attraction, or neutrality. If you are outside, you might react with aversion as you perceive (third skandha) the touch to probably be an insect. Following that, there is often rapid physical activity (fourth skandha) as you involuntarily reach to brush it away. After that has been done, you will determine what actually happened, you will become conscious (fifth skandha) of what happened.

If it was an insect you might shudder or feel relieved. If it was a leaf on a tree branch you might feel a bit foolish. Your consciousness of the event comes after the first four skandhas have arisen or occurred.

A larger fractal version of the above might be the feeling (form, or first skandha) that you are ignorant about something. This form gives rise to an aversive sensation (second skandha), which leads you to perceive (third skandha) that you ignorance is probably something you should correct. This leads to mental activity (fourth skandha) which may require months of your time. At last, when you are satisfied that you are no longer ignorant on that subject, you will experience a new state of consciousness (fifth skandha).

In the above example, your ongoing feeling of ignorance as you study the subject might also be described as the fifth skandha, consciousness. Understanding that the five skandha explanation is a fractal pattern to be used to help you understand yourself will allow you to apply it where it can do the most good. As with so many things in the humanities, you will do better if you see the pattern and use it to aid understanding without letting yourself get trapped in a quasi-logical net that hinders understanding.

FIML practice can be seen as a fractal pattern as well. The smallest, or most basic level, is the basic FIML query which interrupts normal communicative processing to insert rational thought and more accurate information. The FIML query interrupts the mind as soon as the second skandha, sensation, arises. Whenever partners question a sensation, they will immediately change all of the five skandhas associated with it. Rather than follow a semi-conscious sensation down the same associative path as usual, partners gain an entry point to their deep psychology and an awareness of how their communications are affected by it.

A larger fractal pattern of FIML, might be hearing about it (form); feeling interested in it (sensation); perceiving what it is; learning the system (activity); and lastly gaining a new consciousness about how language can be made to work much better than without FIML.

FIML is a tool that helps partners leverage communicative details to gain great insight into how their minds work. Since FIML is not (yet) the rule for how people speak to each other, a non-FIML fractal pattern can be seen in society at large: since most people do not have a way to access the highly important details that FIML can access, they do not expect anyone else to access them. Thus, by default they accept horribly sloppy reasoning and lies from politicians and others who make important statements in public.

The fractal pattern of non-FIML communication in society at large is all but defined by lies, secrets, and hidden motives. At a smaller fractal level, so are the personal lives of most people. The world goes on. It is my guess that brain scans and better computers and computer programs will one day make it easier for people to see that having the ability to perceive and manipulate communicative details greatly enhances communication. And that communication so enhanced greatly enhances our understanding of ourselves and others. And that this sort of understanding will help us see that we do not have to live in a society that is all but characterized by lies, sloppy reasoning, and partisan nonsense.

In the humanities, fractal patterns can be seen at many levels. By changing the details of very significant communicative patterns between ourselves and our partners, we will change both ourselves and our perceptions of others, and this will gradually lead to better concepts of what society is and how it can function. ABN

Exothermic (Cyclic) Core Theory of Climate Change

1.ย  The Earthโ€™s core undergoes extreme exothermic change โ€“ sloughing high-latent-energy hexagonal closepack (HCP) iron from its H-layer and into the mantle where it converts to face centered cubic (FCC) iron plus kinetic energy (heat). Core magnetic permeability weakens and its geographic dipole wanders. Earthโ€™s rotation slows from the mass exchange from core to mantle.

2.ย  The exothermic heat content from this eventually reaches Earthโ€™s asthenosphere. Deep crude acyclic alkane pockets are heated and accelerate methane release into atmosphere. Methane ppms far outpace model predictions. Carbon-rich oceans and now-warmer tundra each spring solar warming, both release proportionally more carbon.

3.  Abyssal ocean conveyance belts pull novel heat content from small-footprint yet now much hotter contribution points exposed to the asthenosphere โ€“ and convey (not conduct, convect, nor radiate) this novel heat content through oceanic advection and upwelling systems to the surface of the ocean. Abyssal ocean currents (and consequently surface ones as well) speed up from the discrete addition of kinetic energy. Arctic and Antarctic polar ice sheets melt from the bottom up.

4.  Ocean heats atmosphere (or fails to cool it as well as it once did) much more readily than atmosphere heats ocean. This exothermic core-to-mantle equilibrium is cyclic, and can and will eventually reverse.


Everyone is trying to map AI onto some familiar ontology, but the reality will be so unfamiliar, foreign, & incomprehensible that it will tear to shreds the assumptions which we didnโ€™t even know we made

Ppl tend to think about AI through very very narrow frames

Obviously, thereโ€™s many who default to AI=unemployment issue

Or the tech folks who see it as crypto 2.0 or merely as big as the internet

But it goes way deeper.


Even EAโ€™s will think about AI primarily in terms of โ€œis it an X-risk? yes or noโ€ and then go back to debating the โ€˜moral worthโ€™ of animals, totally ignoring the prospect of digital minds that will shortly have arbitrarily large amounts of whatever they define as โ€˜moral worthโ€™

Everyone is trying to map AI onto some familiar ontology, but the reality will be so unfamiliar, foreign, & incomprehensible that it will tear to shreds the assumptions which we didnโ€™t even know we made

We are going to live through this and are only seeing glimpses of it now

Originally tweeted by Alt Man Sam (@mezaoptimizer) on April 26, 2023.

Buddhists may be better prepared than anyone. Not a boast, just a statement. ABN

The best refutation I have seen of Geert Vanden Bossche’s prediction

The reason I do not find VB compelling is I am mainly convinced that the variant narrative is bogus. So anything propping the variant narrative I find is disinfo. I think his stuff is subtle and pernicious, in that it will seem to be true under many circumstances where it is not.

There is very good proof that there wasn’t any sort of new pandemic virus. The UK data shows that only 10k people died of Covid as primary cause – and even then it may have been the treatment that killed them, not the disease. People are getting sick who were vaccinated – not for some evolved variant but likely because of vaccine complications.

VB thesis is a precursor to greater lockdowns. We had regular covid before – but now we have super-covid etc. etc.

But most everyone they tested after vaccination had memory antibodies show up, demonstrating they already had natural immunity and Covid was not novel. So VB’s theory cannot work. A) because there was a previous virus and no new virus and B) if people already had natural immunity the vaccine can’t then drive evolution and likely C) corona virus creates so many variants on it’s own evolution can’t be driven in the way he says.

You can believe it if you want – I think he is a disinfo agent.

This is an email sent by a friend with whom I often communicate on covid and other subjects. He has been quite strong in his criticism of Vanden Bossche’s predictions, so I asked him why. ABN