From: Scott Chase (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun 10 Apr 2005 - 19:01:14 GMT
--- Kate Distin <email@example.com> wrote:
> Scott Chase wrote:
> > Regardless of whether your notions of what to
> > derive from innate schemes or memes, it's gonna
> > some personal gumption and elbow grease to get
> > yourself over the hump. You gotta know how to use
> > you got. You may have gotten it from imitating
> > or from making personal observations, but without
> > initiative it ain't goona amount to a hill of
> Right - you need to be able to reflect on it and
> think about your
> thoughts - or in other words to meta-represent your
> representations. I don't mean to be too evangelical
> about this (ok,
> maybe I do: book sales are at a very early stage
> after all!) but I do
> enjoy the fact that this aspect of memetics ties in
> so well with what
> I've learned with my other hat on, as a former
> counsellor to gifted
> children and their families.
> What I mean is this. I've suggested that memes are
> a certain type of
> representation. In particular, humans are
> distinguished by our ability
> to meta-represent, or in other words to represent
> our representations:
> to think about and reflect on how they are
> represented, and to change
> the representational system if necessary. So we can
> talk about the fact
> that numbers can be represented via roman numeral,
> place-convention, spoken languages, etc. and ask
> questions about which
> system is the most useful for a given purpose. When
> we do this we are
> talking about (representing) not only the
> information contained in those
> systems, but also the systems themselves.
> If this is the case - that meta-representation is
> one of human beings'
> unique characteristics - then we should be able to
> see evidence for
> variation in this tendency, and I believe that in
> the minds of gifted
> individuals this is exactly what we can observe: a
> greater tendency,
> ability, whatever you want to call it, to
> meta-represent. Gifted
> children and adults are noted for their ability to
> reflect on
> information presented to them, to ask questions
> about it, to make
> connections that others have not seen. (Indeed they
> are sometimes
> tormented by an inability *not* to do this.)
> This also ties in with Chris's point about the
> source of novelty, which
> I'd agree (contra Blackmore, Dennett, etc.) lies in
> the human mind.
> Thought experiments, the recombination of ideas, are
> all enhanced by an
> ability to reflect on the way in which information
> is represented, as
> well as on the information itself. Innovation is
> almost bound to be
> nourished by this tendency.
> Just climbing down from my hobby-horse now . . .
Yet what about the so-called "benign user illusion" or the notion that "self" is but a memeplex? All this metarepresentation you talk about could be reduced to memetic activity and "we" would thus be taken out of the picture, the pseudo-homunculi "we" are...
Don't get me wrong, I'm on your side, but I'm trying
to anticipate arguments from hardcore meme machinists.
But in doing so aren't I exercising some freedom of
thought beyond the constraints of whatever stuff is
floating in my head thanks to Blackmore and Dennett?
Are my memory fragments pulling my strings or am I the
executive in charge here?
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