Re: Genes are Memes

From: Dace (
Date: Thu Oct 11 2001 - 06:40:32 BST

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    Subject: Re: Genes are Memes
    Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2001 22:40:32 -0700
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    From: "salice"

    > Well so you think that the mind is outside the brain? Where is it
    > then? Sure noone can know ITS ALL A BIG ILLUSION.

    The mind cannot exist in the brain (or the brain in the mind) any more than
    water can exist in H2O. Mind and brain are the same thing from different

    When we confine ourselves to the immediate, material present, the only thing
    we find is the brain. We can draw two conclusions from this. First,
    there's no such thing as "mind." Second, the mind is not confined to the
    immediate, material present. The mind is indeed the brain, but it's the
    brain over time. The mind is the presence of the brain's past informing its
    behavior, moment to moment. This is called memory.

    > > Here's a little logic for you, Salice. 1. All phenomena that appear to
    > > arise from a particular object do indeed arise from that object. 2. The
    > > mind appears to arise from the brain. 3. (conclusion) The mind arises
    > > from the brain.
    > >
    > > The problem is the first premise. It's easy to come up with
    > > counter-examples. For instance, the picture on a television appears to
    > > to arise from within the TV. Yet we know that it actually enters the TV
    > > from somewhere else, either over the air or via cable. Thus there's at
    > > least one case in which a phenomenon that appears to arise from an
    > > object does not arise from that object. We must strike "All" from the
    > > first premise and replace it with "Some." With this modification, the
    > > conclusion no longer follows.
    > Well i don't know what you mean.

    Are you familiar with elementary logic? Syllogistic form?

    > > No words in our ears, only drumbeats. No words in our brains,
    > > only electrochemical reactions. Words exist in the mind and
    > > nowhere else. Same for memes.
    > Hm, i think words also exist outside the mind. But all that is just
    > playing around with language and different viewpoints.

    How much energy or mass does a word have? Has a chemist ever described its
    structure? Do they emit any properties that enable us to detect them? How
    do you measure a word? You're superimposing your idea of the world onto the
    world itself, finding things in it that clearly aren't there. It's a
    hallucination, a "mystical" vision.

    > > That we abstract words doesn't mean the abstraction exists alongside the
    > > bits of ink on the page. Abstractions have no reality outside the mind.
    > I wouldnt agree. We put our abstactions into "ink on a page". We
    > change it and structure it.

    We endow matter with form derived from our imagination. The form of a
    telephone, for instance, doesn't arise spontaneously from within the plastic
    and metal of which it's composed but is stamped onto the materials. What
    actually sits on your desk and occasionally rings is not a "telephone" but a
    structured piece of matter. Telephoneness isn't a trait possessed by its
    atoms and molecules but is merely superimposed onto the object by our
    imagination. As a product of imagination, "telephone" never crosses from
    this status into physical existence. Nothing is *actually there* but
    material structure.

    > That's what makes memes possible. If we wouldn't
    > be able to put our abstractions outside our head we wouldn't
    > be able to transmit memes from head to head. I mean i
    > write you this, so there is this WORD as i write it and there
    > is this WORD as you read it. In both of our minds it's probably
    > there but in the way between it's somehow also there else
    > how could i transfer my words from my head to your head?

    The word you imagine exists in your mind. Then it exists in mine. That's
    it. There's no word in your brain or your muscle or your computer screen or
    mine, not to mention my eyes or my brain. There's no in-between. We can
    communicate because our minds work the same way. If prompted properly, I
    will produce in my mind the very thing that's in yours.

    > > Selfish memes are like cancerous cells. They don't function in accord
    > > anything outside themselves. They just reproduce their own particular
    > > If memes are the basis of culture, then selfish memes are the basis of
    > Well some cults become culture.

    No. But it certainly works the other way around.

    > > Materialist mysticism is a fine example of memetic cancer. This tumor
    > > the mind causes otherwise rational people to abandon all sense when it
    > > comes to issues of life and mentality.
    > Oh yeah. This reminds me a bit of a socialism text, it was also a bit
    > like that: "Capitalism is an illness of the mind" or something like
    > that.

    Cool. Do you remember the name of the text?


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