Re: Dennett article on post-modernism

From: Van oost Kenneth (
Date: Sun 23 Mar 2003 - 14:20:29 GMT

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    ----- Original Message ----- From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    > I see your point. a damaged brain might be damaged in a
    > that let pathogenic memes in.
    > The consequence of the meme at work would really be the consequence of the
    > brain damage. An instructing construct.
    > I wonder if the damaged brain would be equally undefended against all

    The most relevant example of this kind is the one that Damasio describes in his book Descartes' Error. The 25 year Phineas Gage, a gentle co- worker on the railways is about to loose everything. Gage is an expert in explosives and he's about to blow up some hard rock. What happened that day is still a mystery but something went wrong. A hole is drilled in the hard rock, explosives are put in the hole and is being ramped in with an iron bar. Gage did this hundred times and he was the best in this kind of work. But it went wrong, the explosives get off to soon, the iron bar hits Gage taking with it a part of man 's brain.

    After he recovered ( he did ) Gage wasn 't the same anymore, he became mean and angy, he began to drink and was blind on the left side. Gage wasn 't Gage anymore, where he was the gentleness himself, he was now rude, mean, unpolite and restless.

    Gage was being hit on the frontal lobs, where ' behavior ' resides, by damagin ' that part he became another. What is to say, IMO, that indeed braindamage can result in the change of whatever memes one has before the accident. In the case of Gage, indeed his damaged brain let pathogenic memes in what resulted in his somewhat changed conduct I suppose.

    It seems though, in the case of Gage that only memes of a certain kind were let in... memes of people who helped him recover ( they did learn him again to speak/ he had no problem with language- control and his physiology was OK) entered his brain with no restriction. That is one side of the picture I think. In early days, parts of the frontal lobs were to be removed of people who had problems with controllin' their temper and behavior...they became quiet, silent and passive.

    It seems indeed that the memes of bad behavior, in the case of Phineas Gage were the result of his braindamage. But in what way that process works...I have to re- read D. book again....

    Although, one thing hits me...that the kind of pathogenic memes that enters his mind were those of the worse kind and that in some respect ' memes of violence ' and other ' mean ' memes are getting controlled by cultural/ social and other - plexes. And that loosing, maybe a part of the control system ( what can be part of the frontal lobs) let those memes in without any restriction.


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