Re: Durkheim redux

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Sun 10 Apr 2005 - 18:25:12 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Durkheim redux"

    --- Kenneth Van Oost <> wrote:

    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: Bill Spight <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 6:25 PM
    > Subject: Re: Durkheim redux
    > Kenneth wrote,
    > > > But what if the individual ( personal) memeset
    > is working totally on its
    > > > own, with no outside connection or attachment !?
    > > > What then !?
    > Bill answered,
    > > Then we do not have memes, because memes are
    > cultural.
    > << Who says we don 't !?
    > In one sense of the definition, yes ! In one other,
    > no !
    > A few years back I wrote something called A
    > Solipsistic View on
    > Memetics, ( check the archives ), where I spoiled
    > the idea that memes
    > ( those units of info) are the kind of knowledge/
    > meaning I know to
    > exist as the content of my own mind.
    > What is the rest ( reality/ culture/ society/ etc)
    > must be in some way
    > part of that knowledge_ but than we must presuppose/
    > assume that a
    > reality/ a culture/ a society is ' really ' out
    > there and is NOT a part of
    > my imaginition or part of the ( illusive) knowledge
    > to create my world/
    > understanding/ experience/ culture/ society in the
    > first place.
    > What I mean, from a solipsistic POV we can have
    > memes without
    > a really existing, in the outside world, culture_ if
    > you are willing to
    > bend the definition of meme a little bit.
    > On the other hand, what I hold within my nogging as
    > experience/
    > knowledge/ meaning etc can be " memes ", personal
    > and mine_
    > without any chance ever to come, or have the will
    > to, inside my mind.
    > They evolve, is not THINKING itself such a " non-
    > cultural " meme !?
    Instead of the solipsistic private illusion, I think it's better to think of this in terms of the idealistic shared illusion. The categories of thought we all share due to genetic or cultural inheritance might influence the manner in which we perceive reality.

    Check this out:

    A little scary isn't it, in light of watching the Matrix trilogy. It probably wouldn't come to that, but it shows how our sensations and perception of reality can be twisted due merely to their bases in our brain. Using technology like ultrasound or magnetism could be a way to alter our perceptions and create a virtual reality.

    Yet maybe cultural institutions outside our brains alter our perceptions. Durkheim starts casting his collective representations as neo-Kantian categories in _The Elementary Forms of Religious Life_. Instead of taking the innate *a priorist* route (like Lorenz) or the empiricist route, he looks at things like time, space and causality as social constructions. These socifacts (or you prefer memes) might influence the way we look at the world to a point that reality is distorted. Schopenhauer got me hooked on the metaphor of the Mayan veil, which I think is apt. That's why it's always good to hold your cherished ideas at arms length, but this could slide into infinite regress towards a solipsistic doubting of reality itself if taken too far.

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