Mean Um Meaning Mean

From: Reed Konsler (
Date: Thu 06 Mar 2003 - 15:02:02 GMT

  • Next message: Van oost Kenneth: "For Joe Dees"


    "Yes, you have no memes in your brain"

    I advocate the contrapositive: memes are only found in the brain.

    "What you have is, as you say, accessibility to the stored information
    (memories) in your brain, according to the way you've stored it, or it's been allowed to be stored in that brain, both by intrinsic processes of mental development and extrinsic processes of cultural environment and learning."

    There is more than that in my head. The brain is more than a storage device. There need to be internal theories (at least subconscious ones) about what *is* and *will* happen. Both the anecdotes and the theories are memes.

    "(Yes, culture is a somewhat meaningless term, but it is, after all is said and done, where and when you are.)"

    That's an assertion, and the central one that I disagree with. I understand that the word "culture" might be useful in common speech. But I don't believe that, as presently defined, it serves in the development of memetics as a theory.

    I would argue that the concept of culture is, in fact, a misconception that hinders. It is a vague term, like "race". Race might serve in politics, focusing on it didn't help an understanding of genetics.

    But maybe "culture" means something in your mind that it doesn't mean to me
    (which, by the way, would implicitly support my assertion that memes are in indiviual brains and not in an extrinsic context). Can you define it somewhat precisely?

    > But none of it has any inherent meaning until it
    > gets into my head.

    "The nub, because I disagree with this. None of it has any meaning until you perform it..."

    Let's say that I decide to buy a house after long consideration. I think about interest rates, my current needs, how large my future family might be and the quality of the local schools, what kind of mortgage I want...I talk to my spose and take her thoughts on these subjects. Do I want a large backyard? Am I willing to clean the gutters or should I buy a condo and pay a fee to have someone do the stuff for me? Am I willing to buy a "fixer upper" or do I want something in good condition?

    I think and I think and I think.

    Then I buy the house. What is the "meaning" of that single act? Is it simply "bought the house?"

    Then try this one: Let's say I *don't* buy the house. My impression is that you would say this lack of action has no meaning at all. But I've looked into buying a few houses and the decision not to buy has had pretty significant meaning to me. You might mean something different that I mean by "meaning". In that case, though, we are going to have an argument over the meaning of that word. See what I mean? ;-)

    How can you tell if I'm *intentionally* choosing to maintain the status quo versus (does that string count as a "preservation" of latin...and do those words mean the same thing now?) just not thinking about it.

    If I choose not to hear a question that I don't wish to answer, is there no meaning in that?



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