Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 00:14:39 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 16:14:39 -0800
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    > The lower-wattage brain of our near relatives provides a less rich
    > environment for memes (simpler, and slower spreading). What we need to
    > address (and I think Susan Blackmore, and definitely my old supervisor
    > Paul Higgs are looking at this), is to what extent 'we' developed as
    > meme spreading machines, serving noone's purpose but theirs (and getting
    > a fitness benefit, on balance, for us the hosts).

    The self is based in consciousness, not images. We exist because apes that
    know they have minds-- and who surmise what's on the minds of their rivals--
    have a reproductive advantage. It's the ego, not reflexive consciousness,
    that evolved strictly within the context of language and memes. The idea
    that I'm "Ted" and you're "Chris" is itself a meme, perhaps the most
    fundamental of them all.

    The ego is indeed unreal. But the ego isn't the true self. It's merely a
    self-image around which our desires and fears are organized. When Dennett
    argues that the self is nonexistent, what he really means is that "Dan
    Dennett" is nonexistent. Just because the ego is an illusion doesn't mean
    there's no self. It just means that what we really are isn't the same as
    what we identify with.

    You have to start with the self-existence of life. Every organism has a
    "self" in the sense that it exists intrinsically. The difference is that
    bacteria don't abstract themselves, then realize abstractions aren't real,
    and conclude from this that they themselves aren't real.

    Since memetic transmission entails both a transmitter and a receiver, a
    theory of memes depends on a theory of the authenticity of the self.


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