Date: Fri 30 May 2003 - 19:21:10 GMT
> On Friday, May 30, 2003, at 02:21 PM, Ted wrote:
> > the evidence discussed in this article abolishes the notion that the
> > brain alone is responsible for memory.
> Not _quite_ so, although it is certainly part of your agenda to make
> that so- here's a more cogent précis from the article itself about
And now Wade embarks on HIS agenda...
> "So maybe what needs changing here is how we think about memory. A
> memory trace that goes all floppy every time it gets used only seems a
> disaster if you believe the brain to be something like a computer
> where data needs to be preserved in fixed form. Fluidity, on the other
> hand, may be precisely what is required for memory to work as
> something much more organic - a living network of understanding rather
> than a dormant warehouse of facts."
> This wonderful article then goes on (thanks, Ted), with this- as
> elegant an explanation of what _some_ people seem to think is the
> memetic process in our heads, but which is now shown in many elegant
> experiments to be merely the innate and physical workings of the brain
> itself, thus, finally, with a silver bullet, putting the last and
> final nail in the coffin of a meme in a brain.
You futilely wish, although for the life of me I can't seem to understand why.
> (They'll go on, of
> course, with the equivocation that all that is needed is a 'subclass'
> of memory to provide the meme in the brain- well, once we have a
> subclass, now we know we will need yet another layer of reconciliation
> at the synapse level- a truly pointless and totally unreasonable thing
> to ask a brain to do. "Neuroscientists felt this hierarchical filing
> system was a little long-winded." Yeah, d'uh....) Anyway, here's the
> passage in the article that, in all ways and means, describes the
> processes in the brain that are all that are required for cultural or
> memetic behaviors. If you like to see the hammer mark around the nail,
> here's this- "So if "you" are essentially a pattern of synaptic
> connections, a tangled web of memories, then there is a big problem of
> how this pattern endures"- which makes a meme in a brain, especially
> one that is somehow 'transfered' or 'selfsame' a very, very, unnatural
> But then, Joe said it best-
> "This fits in nicely with the idea of a dynamic cognitive gestalt."
> - and I couldn't say _that_ better, but then he goes on "and is most
> probably even necessitated by it" and that is just sheer non sequitur,
> or rather, specious preamble, as the memory process examined by these
> investigations dealt with animals in no need of cognitive gestalts
> such as those embodied with the sense of self. Memories are part of
> the way the basic brain works, not part of any evolved capacity of
> mind. Once memory is seen as simply the way the brain works, all that
> is needed for cultural evolution is two of them and a way to shake
> hands. Culture, and all memetic processes, are functions and effects
> of social environments, not merely brains.
> "Memories exist to make sense of the present - to recognise and
> understand the world - and the brain needs to be able to optimise all
> its circuits, strengthening or generalising some connections while
> weakening or erasing others. Reconsolidation may seem a radical and
> unnecessary step for a brain that just wants to be a dormant
> warehouse. But, Sara says, if a memory becomes completely plastic
> every time it is roused, then it can be refiled in a carefully updated
> way. Active choices can be made about whether to merge the old and the
> new - or by contrast, to reinforce their separateness."
> Read that last sentence at least twice, if you're thinking of pulling
> out any nails and burying the poor memeinthebrain again after the
> futile post-mortem.
> And then we see this-
> "In most avenues of life, it doesn't really matter if you make a few
> mistakes in your memory," says Loftus."
> - which leads me to further feel confident my thoughts about culture
> are on track. Culture is here, among other reasons, to correct the
> mistakes in our memories, and to provide 'refiling' services, which,
> as this article shows us inescapably, is an active and dynamic
> process, (gee, performance...) since we, as fallible and weak
> recallers, are not as useful to culture in this respect as it would
> need. When this service itself fails, we see tears in the eyes of
> Tlingit elders.
> And then, to complete the circle, the article includes this gorgeous
> "She often quotes the Uruguayan novelist, Eduardo Galeano, who said:
> "Memory is born every day, springing from the past, and set against
> - Wade
This article shows not that cognitive memes do not exist, but how cognitive memories, and their communicable subclass meme-ories, may be modified over time. It is a template of internal (within) mutation; many of these mutations are later externally (between) proliferated and, once again internally (within) selected for or against. As I have stated repeatedly, both the internal and the external or necessary, and neither is solely sufficient. What self-conscious awareness does is to insert an element of volition and choice into the process.
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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