Re: electric meme bombs

From: Wade T.Smith (
Date: Wed 16 Oct 2002 - 23:52:18 GMT

  • Next message: Jeremy Bradley: "Enough electric meme bombs already"

    On Wednesday, October 16, 2002, at 07:02 , wrote:

    > You are thus taking the meme away from the performance, in which you
    > claimed to anchor it, and investing it, instead, in the presence or
    > absence of a (non-acting) observer

    Hmm. No.

    The observer will need to perform, as well.

    And that performance will be _another_ meme.

    Each meme is distinct, and each meme is a performance.

    > It is well known in athletics that the repetitive
    > imagining of performing the play (virtual performance) allows its actual
    > performance to proceed much more efficiently and effectively.

    No argument. The practiced performer is always rehearsing, mentally. But the performance itself (the meme itself) is always different, otherwise, they would not need to prepare their activity with careful and concerned thoughts.

    > Why would you attempt to forget the conscious self-
    > awareness that bestows meaning upon the being in which we find
    > ourselves, and thus allows for memetic (semantic) distinctions, and
    > choices based upon them?

    I don't. Finding meaning is precisely what prompts the attempt to replicate the behavior. If no meaning is found, chanced upon, or otherwise understood, no attempt is made to perform. Latency, as I said, is not acceptable in my stance.

    But meanings are not memes, any more than thoughts, or ideas, or the brain's ferments. Memes are cultural behaviors with an expected audience
    (in the model I am championing).

    > But a factory
    > does not engage in non-artifact-producing behavior (factories don't
    > dance)

    The analogy was never intended to stretch to that point. Of course factories don't dance. But churches don't either.

    > You cannot claim that
    > the body behaves while maintaining that its mental correlates do not

    I don't. I do claim that both are needed for behavior. And, yes, both are one.

    > Action and perception are two
    > poles of a single process; one cannot act without changing one's
    > perception, and one cannot change one's perception without altering
    > one's focus or attention, and these are actions.

    Indeed, one does need to know one _has_ acted.

    > They begin to change about a half second before the
    > behavior manifests; this renders them not only logically prior, but
    > empirically so.

    This would seem to be your main argument, this priority. But, without an actual action, which this thought is preceding, what have we?


    Well, we have thought, but, in a cultural context, that _is_ nothing. It is nothing in most other contexts, as well. The athlete, in your example, is practically indistinguishable from his body. So is a dancer. We cannot, as yet, have phantom limbs activated and then seen by an audience. The memetic brain is indistinguishable from the memetic body, and the meme is not a mental-only product. It requires behavior. Since requiring behavior is indistinguishable from the behavior itself, the behavior is the meme. That demands that the meme is unique, and distinct, and that it perishes, instantly. A memory in the performer and the observer is all that remains, and the entire round of 'mutation' during replication can be seen as a function of memory, preparation, and performance.

    > If you deny memes a cognitive ground from which to launch into flight,
    > then they don't even have places to land.

    But, I'm not denying them anything. I'm giving them a mind, and a body, and a large environment of cultural appurtenances to play with. I'm giving them entire libraries, and colossal empires, as ground. And I'm giving them the expanse of the whole sky to fly in.

    I'm not relegating them merely to brains, but watching them cavort in the world.

    > I'm glad you're
    > beginning to see the mental meme light

    I've never sat down and said the mental processes of human creativity are chaff, but I don't see them as illumination, either, certainly I don't see a need for a meme there, but I do see a need for a memetic process. The factory, if you will, although we've exhausted that one. Certainly the substrate. Memes are, if you will, the emergent processes of the cultural mind, transmissible only as behavior, and so, I adopt the behavior only model.

    I do admit it is becoming the only attractive model to me. Your arguments are not convincing me otherwise, and I don't think I'm just juggernauting this stance.

    - Wade

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