Re: Words and Memes

From: Dace (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 21:36:02 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Words and Memes
    Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2002 13:36:02 -0800
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    From: Keith Henson

    > At 10:32 AM 15/02/02 -0800, Dace wrote:
    > snip
    > > > You would be much like a computer with the rudiments of an
    > > > operating system but nothing more. I don't think it would be much of
    > > > an existence.
    > >
    > >Computers aren't subjects of awareness.
    > Mine is. My computer is intently aware in a way that human, or even cat
    > watching a mouse hole could not do. I it is aware of every key stroke,
    > every mouse movement and every mouse click. Besides that, it is
    > watching for communication from the cable modem.

    This statement is neither verifiable nor falsifiable. We might attribute
    awareness to anything, to a dust molecule. Who's to say the dust isn't
    aware of the moment it sticks to a solid surface? We might say that God is
    aware of every "key stroke" in your brain, and you'll be paying, later on,
    for the ones He doesn't approve of.

    > > > I don't understand this conflict business.
    > >
    > >The conflict arises because, inevitably, some of our memified notions
    > >will be pathological. Ideas can't distinguish between right and wrong.
    > >Any idea, no matter how ridiculous, can become self-replicating.
    > >Though quite powerful, "L. Ron is God" doesn't contribute to the good
    > >of the social body. It's a freelance meme, much like a carcinogenic
    > >cell. When an alternative social body begins to form around a
    > >carcinogenic meme, the result is cult, not culture.
    > I think you could state this in terms more adapted to discussion of
    > evolution. Genes and memes construct and program human minds.
    > Most of the time genes and memes are not at cross purposes, but
    > sometimes (as the Shaker meme I have mentioned) they are. Besides
    > the "viewpoints" of genes and memes, genes and memes construct
    > individuals who have their own viewpoint no matter how much that
    > viewpoint may be biased by genes or memes. Sometimes the effects
    > of memes is strong enough to override genes and you get cults like the
    > Shakers or Scientology.

    My formulation is every bit as evolutionary as yours. It just doesn't abide
    by the peculiar (though widespread) reductionistic outlook you subscribe to.


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