Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Mon Mar 11 2002 - 16:53:13 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T.Smith: "Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes"

    Received: by id QAA03160 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Mon, 11 Mar 2002 16:56:15 GMT
    Message-Id: <>
    X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Version 5.1
    Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 11:53:13 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: Cultural traits and vulnerability to memes
    In-Reply-To: <>
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
    Precedence: bulk

    At 07:22 AM 10/03/02 -0800, you wrote:

    >>So I guess that makes me firmly anti determinist 'cos I think that traits
    >>are programmed in to us for the purpose of making us vulnerable to
    >>culturally appropriate memes and defensive against culturally inappropriate
    >>I hope that this makes some sort of sense as I am a bit tired too.
    >In this month's Discovery magazine, there is an article about the
    >friendship between Einstein and Godel and their view of the universe.
    >"For us believing physicists," Einstein once wrote, "the distinction
    >between the past, the present, and the future is only an illusion." It
    >was a melancholy remark, made as Einstein faced death, but it flowed
    >directly from Einstein's special theory of relativity. Imagine a group of
    >observers scattered carelessly throughout the cosmos. Each is able to
    >organize the events of his life into a linear order -- a world line of the
    >kind just described. Each is convinced that his life consists of a series
    >of nows, moving moments passing from the past to the future. Special
    >relativity urges a contrary claim. The observers scattered throughout
    >space and time are all convinced their sense of now is universal. Now is,
    >after all, now, is it not? Apparently not. Time passes at a different
    >rate depending on how fast a person is moving: While one hour passes on
    >Earth, only a few seconds might pass on a rocket ship hurtling away from
    >Earth at nearly the speed of light. It is entirely possible that one
    >man's now might be another man's past or future.
    >"Godel's solution to the field equation vindicated the deepest insight of
    >Einstein's theory, namely that time is relative. But Einstein's theory of
    >relativity suggests only that time does not exist in the conventional
    >sense, not that time exists in no sense whatsoever. Einstein's claim is
    >more subtle. He suggests that "change" is an illusion. Things do not
    >become, they have not been, and they will not be: They simply are. Time
    >is like space; it is precisely like space. In traveling to Singapore, I
    >do not bring Singapore into existence. I reach Singapore, but the city
    >has been there all along. So, too, I reach events in the future by
    >displacing myself in time. I do not bring them into being. And if
    >nothing is brought into being, there is no change."
    >Who am I do dispute Einstein? But if there is no change, how would I
    >travel to Singapore? I've had similar thoughts myself, though. I have
    >seen the universe as a continuum that we divide into a bunch of nows by
    >the ticking of our internal clocks. But what's inside and what's outside
    >of that clock are different. The universe, with all it's observable
    >features, is not divided. The dividing of the universe into nows is
    >something we do with our process of perception in order to try and
    >understand it. In the end, what we see is what we get.
    >Anyway, I thought you might enjoy the thought that Einstein was, in a
    >sense, a determinist. And so, too, may Godel have been.

    It is just a mater of *viewpoint.* The major thinkers were able to imagine
    the view from outside the 3 space and one time dimension we live in. It is
    the kind of difference you would have between someone driving a road and
    someone looking at film taken from overhead.

     From the ground the car that drove out of a side road and smashed into
    your car would have been seen as a total surprise. From viewing a film
    taken from overhead it would be seen as inevitable.

    The fact that we are in the car on the ground and not watching at an
    overhead film we can run backwards and forwards the reason that
    "determinism" is both true and at the same time completely without
    application in our lives.

    Keith Henson

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Mar 11 2002 - 17:13:21 GMT