Re: Macguffin

Date: Sun Aug 05 2001 - 06:54:58 BST

  • Next message: Bill Spight: "Re: Macguffin"

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    Subject: Re: Macguffin
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    On 4 Aug 2001, at 22:02, Dace wrote:

    > > Dear Joe and Vincent,
    > >
    > > > > Was there a "self" in the primordial soup? Isn't self a
    > > > > macguffin
    > > > > (Blackmore thinks it's a memetic macguffin, or more accurately
    > > > > concurs with Dennett's notion of the self as a benign user
    > > > > illusion).
    > > > >
    > > > > Vincent
    > > > >
    > > > Self is no macguffin; nether is it an illusion
    > >
    > > The sense of self arises from the formation of the Self-Other
    > > distinction.
    > And how does this distinction get drawn? Does it draw itself, or is
    > it drawn by an actual self demarcating itself from nonself, i.e.
    > "other." Of course, if you pick the former possibility, you've
    > established self-nature in the line of demarcation itself. Either
    > way, you're stuck with intrinsic (self) existence. In other words,
    > life.
    Of course we're alive; what does that prove? We learn the self-
    other distinction socially, from our primary caregivers, as we
    internalize the differences between responsive other (other selves)
    and unresponsive other (the world), recursively apply them to
    ourselves when we draw the body-mind distinction, and thus
    elaborate our organism-environment interface into self-soma-world-
    society. In other words, just like self-consciousness, the self-other
    distinction emerges from primordial confromtation with physical and
    social experience (reference: Social Cognition and the Acquisition
    of Self, Lewis and Brooks-Gunn 1979 Plenum Press). BTW, if
    there were no such thing as a self, just exactly what would it be
    that the mirror tests for self-awareness are measuring, hunh?
    [*Zen Doctrine of No-Mind buddhist meme isolated in Dace*]
    > "Other" and "self" are the same thing from different viewpoints.
    If the self is the vice-president and the other is the president, it
    makes a big difference; in fact, Martin Buber's I - Thou distinction
    (first and second person, in pronounspeak) is one of the most
    fundamental existential differences. If one dies and the other does
    not, how easy is it to maintain the delusion that the distinction is a
    delusion? And the different viewpoints are exactly the point; if Bill
    Gates' viewpoint and mine were switched, my circumstances would
    vastly improve. This is the way to deal with mystically vague
    confusion; assign concrete values to the terms, and the differences
    inherent within them present themselves with undeniable starkness.
    > Without a (deluded) self, there could be no belief in the opposition
    > and absolute distinction between these terms.
    Wouldn't the distinction between two hands clapping in a game of
    patty-cake furnish abundant empirical evidence of same? Why,
    yes, it would. When Self claps its hands together, it feels it on two
    palms. When Self claps Other's palm, each feels it on one palm.
    When Other claps palms together, Self doesn't feel a thing. The
    saddest, most pitiful and most pathetic spectacle imaginable on a
    supposedly intelligent list is for one of the denizens to loudly
    proclaim that (s)he doesn't exist (and how exactly does the
    nonexistent DO that?), and merely fallaciously believes that (s)he
    does; it is the correlative opposite absurdity of solipsism.
    > > But illusions of self do arise with thoughts such as "I might have
    > > been a giraffe." The "I" in that sentence is just a pronoun, not a
    > > self. ;-)
    > >
    That's right, but the word "I" does have a referent, that is, it stands
    for something other than itself, which is what words do, and guess
    what that referent is? (Clue: "I" is the self-referential pronoun).
    > > Best,
    > >
    > > Bill
    > Of course. And "Bill" is just a name. You're not Bill. That's just
    > what you imagine yourself to be. What you imagine, even if it's
    > ingrained in your belief-system, is still just a bunch of images.
    > You're not really all those things you identify with, personal and
    > collective, but you go through life believing it anyway. When your
    > favorite team loses, you feel bad, as if a part of *you* has lost.
    > Pure hallucination. We're not actually ego. We're not this self-image
    > around which sensory information is organized in the pursuit of
    > personal desire. Dennett recognizes this point but doesn't understand
    > what it means. It doesn't mean we literally don't exist. It's just
    > that our actuality is not the same our concept of it.
    This much is kinda OK. Our self is not the same as our self-
    concept, but this does not mean that they are nonrelational, or that
    one exists and the other does not; our self, as a whole, contains
    our self-concept, as a part. BTW, if personal desire isn't ours
    because we don't exist, just exactly whose (what person's) is it,
    anyway? For it indubitably does exist, just as the self does, and
    they both demionstrate themselves in intentional action (including
    > That he can be mistaken on this point demonstrates Dennett's
    > self-existence. After all, the point itself cannot be mistaken. Or
    > can it? Is self-existence something we have ourselves? Or is it a
    > function of that great Other? Do *we* make the distinction, or is
    > "Distinction" a self-creative "entity"?
    Still trying to shoehorn a god of some type in, ayy? Ask Laplace
    or William of Occam; that dog don't hunt. We both have selves
    and are ourselves; possession is contiguous with (personal)
    identity. Of course, it takes an environment in which to amnifest a
    self, just as it takes a village to raise a child, but this does not
    mean that either are illusions. Sounds like a bad
    misunderstanding of the buddhist doctrine of codependent
    origination. But self is an emergent self-organizing entity (Merleau-
    Ponty would say an autochthonic one), and bootstrapping is
    allowable as an atribute of an emergent existence; in fact, without
    a bootstrapper, the phenomenon of bootstrapping could never
    > What is it that lives? What is it that has not merely existence but
    > reality? What is intrinsic? What do we find when we look "within"?
    Nothing frozen, static or fixed; we are individual chameleons,
    blessed with both change and continuity, The fact that a final
    definition cannot be given of human beings until we are dead
    (Essence is what has been - Hegel), that is, have finished with life
    and its possible changes, does not mean that we do not possess
    existence, although our essence is always an incomplete work in
    progress while we live. The fact that our essence is incomplete
    while we live is. paradoxically, an essential attribute of our
    existent selves (Our essence lies in our existence - Heidegger).
    > Ted Dace
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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    > see:

    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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