Re: Sue Blackmore lecture Wednesday 5.15pm London

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 16 Feb 2003 - 16:16:54 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Sue Blackmore lecture Wednesday 5.15pm London"

    >How can you exclude that atleast two neural dispositions, ( two
    memes !?)
    >were not trying to be connected to eachother and thus formed the
    ever first
    >idea ( memeplex) and thus ' searched a man ' to use it !?
    Maybe not that clear, but I do hope you get my drift....

    >Show me the light !


    I haven't excluded the two neural predispositions. In my pantheon we have had that capacity long before we had culture. Many animals have it, in fact. They just aren't able to communicate it to other members of their species and the meme dies without propagating in most cases.

    It is my belief that memes aren't capable of "trying" to do anything. It is the man who keeps them in his head who does the trying. To me, the idea of a meme trying to connect to another meme is as foolish as believing that your ax is trying to cut down trees and people. The meme is not a rational entity -- it is a tool, just like the ax. We use it to do things. It does not use us. We don't drive cars because the car wants us to, nor do we eat hamburgers because the hamburger desires it -- although the people at the McDonalds company desire it and the people who make and sell the cars want us to drive them. It's not the same thing.

    When we want to go someplace, we think about how we will get there. Here in San Diego we recently had a Superbowl. People came from all over in trains and planes and automobiles to attend the "Big Show." On the day of the game, all of these people had to make a decision about how to get to the stadium. For those who didn't have cars, the choice was simple: take the trolly. It stops in front of the stadium. The man who wanted to drive his car, though, had a dilemma. For security reasons, the parking lot was closed for parking. So many people had to park the cars a mile or so away and take a bus or trolly to get there.

    As you can see, every person had a number of options in mind from which to choose. They chose based on their financial position and need. Most of them would have prefered to drive their cars to the parking lot and walk into the stadium. But they couldn't. So they considered the other options available and chose one of them. The options did not choose them. Some parked nearby and walked. Some parked less near and took the trolly the rest of the way. Others took busses. Others arrived in limosines that let them off near the entrance to the parking lot. Each one of these choices was the result of blending the options available with the probable consequences of using each option and making a choice based on what they thought the result of that choice would be compared to the other options.

    For those with more money, the limo was an obvious choice. For those with less, the trolly was just about as convenient but more crowded. For those who drove down from Los Angeles, the nearby parking lot was perhaps the best option, although, if they stayed in a hotel near the trolly line, the trolly might have been better, leaving the car in the parking lot of the hotel.

    But there you have the way the choices were arrived at. They were based on the needs and desires of the people using the tools available to them (the knowledge of the various options) and the people making a decision based on how that choice satisfied their needs compared to the options that didn't. The memes were just there. They were not making decisions, although they did participate in the decision making. But it was the people who chose, not the memes.

    The contest for choosing the right blend was based on a need to find the best way for each person to get to the stadium. The tools to make the decision were picked up from newspapers and television and signs posted in various places around town or the advice of friends based on what they had learned. The decision could only be made based on the tools available in the minds of the people going to the game. If they didn't know about a particular option, they couldn't choose it. I don't believe the memes were competing with each other to be chosen, although the people who run the trolly line and the bus companies and the limo companies all felt they were involved in that competition. It was a beauty contest in which people were the judges rather than the contestants.

    You have my blessing, even though you may have sinned. ;)


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