Re: electric meme bombs

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Fri 01 Nov 2002 - 16:05:28 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    >On Thursday, October 31, 2002, at 08:47 , Grant Callaghan wrote:
    >>I knew exactly what I wanted my mind and body to do for me. It just took
    >>a long time and a lot of practice to get them to do it.
    >Exactly. A long time. And many attempts. And when it happened, this reach
    >for the center of a target, the center becomes more defined itself.
    >>Or do you think any improvement is merely serendipitous and they are only
    >>able to see improvement after the fact?
    >Improvement is not merely serendipitous, but, yes, we _are_ only able to
    >see it after the fact. (How else?!) We can imagine it however many times we
    >like, but there will be no referential or experiential event to improve
    >upon or reference (by that referential process we call the self) unless the
    >attempt is made.
    >Sometimes composers have to alter their score _because_ it is too difficult
    >to play, or does not 'match' the instrument they are writing for. It is
    >often said by some composers who use concrete or electronic means to
    >develop their sound sources that they are finally able to recreate what
    >they are 'hearing' inside their heads. But they had to try to make these
    >I realize that there is activity of an advanced and complex and very
    >preparational level going on in the brain, but I (or the bemetic model,
    >whichever came first), has to insist that unless there is a performance,
    >there is nothing occuring that could possibly effect culture.
    >And, yes, the bemetic model has to insist that this performance has to
    >happen, because of the referential nature of the self, and the altering
    >conditions of nature and the environment the self needs to perform within.
    >If wishes were horses.
    >- Wade
    One of the problems with defining things as behavioral is that there is no alternative. Everything we do or don't do is behavior. So if you say something is behavioral, what have you said about it? It's like the joke about politicians: How do you know they're lying? Their lips are moving. Thinking is behavior, breathing is behavior (even though you can't not do it and live, how you do it is behavioral as I demonstrated with the shooting example).

    There's an old saying that you can do anything to the extent that you can visualize it. In sports today, trainers teach atheletes to visualize what they want to accomplish and then do it. The baseball pitcher, the basketball player throwing free throws, the pole vaulter, all use this technique because it works. Just the other day I heard a coach on TV saying he tells his team to visualize winning and they will do it.

    Then there is the chess player, who sits and looks at the board and runs over the possible responses to a move in his head and chooses one to use for this particular game and this particular move. All of those possibilities are memes but only one is chosen to use and act upon. And, of course, thinking is behavior. Choosing is behavior. Moving the piece is behavior. Refusing to act is behavior. What can a person do or not do that is not behavior? The term applies to every move we make and every thought we think. The Zen master spends his life learning how to not think (to empty his mind) and do it perfectly. That is behavior. We use a sigh to express boredom or displeasure. That's behavior. It's also a meme. Where do we draw the line between what is behavior and what is not?

    The place where I draw it is between things we use and things that we have no control over. To be a meme it must be something we can visualize and then attempt to do. The seed of the meme is in the visualization. But the fruit is when the meme is transferred to the meme pool of other minds. That's when it become part of our culture. It is transferred to whoever is able to perceive it and decode it. And, to my mind, that's a big part of what memes do -- they build cultures. Not intentionally, as some would say, but as brick and mortar build a cathedral.

    Bricks don't build anything by themselves, but the job couldn't be done without them. But the thought of using rocks or brick or cement had to come before the act of using them. The concept of the actual shape and all the details that go into the contruction of a cathedral had to be visualized in the minds of men before the task was carried out. You can't decide to do you know not what and, when it's finished, be surprised it turned out to be a cathedral.

    An example of where I draw the line is in emotions. We have no control over the fact that we get angry or fall in love (or lust) or like or dislike something. These are reactions triggered in the brain that set the body to preparing itself for action. But we can control what we do about it. And over time, we can change our viewpoint to decide a thing that once made us angry is actually humorous. This will, in turn, alter the triggering mechanism that sets off the bodily function of anger.

    If a man slaps you in the face, the natural reaction will be anger. But the mind will think about the incident and devise a strategy for dealing with it the next time someone tries to do that. When it happens, you duck. The strategy you visualized and carried out is a meme. Or maybe you saw someone else duck. Now you carry that strategy in your mind for future use. Even if you never use it, it's a meme and part of the meme pool you carry around with you. It's a tool you can choose from that pool and use.

    Although we can't stop the reaction of anger, we can change what we decide to do with our anger. The chemicals manufactured by our cells will still rush through our veins, but we can channel that adrenalin into positive, rather than negative or foolish actions. Whatever we decide to do will be called behavior, but the rush of adrenalin will not. But we can curb that rush by changing what we call things. A slap can be a challenge to our manhood, or a game we play to learn how to duck, or a tool used by the Zen master to wake us up. What we call it has a lot to do with how we react to it. How we classify our experience is memetic. How our body reacts is not.
      Internal reactions take place before thought.



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