Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Nov 06 2001 - 17:45:08 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 09:45:08 -0800
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    > > Do you really think steps 1 and 4 are essentially the same as steps 2
    and 3?
    > > Of course there's no self involved in steps 2 and 3. But these only
    > > automatically. There's nothing automatic about steps 1 and 4. The
    > > would never have been created without an individual to have thought of
    > > and it can't be understood except by a person who reads it. Only when I
    > > write it and you read it is it a "message." Otherwise it's just blind,
    > > electronic impulses. Transmission of electronic impulses requires no
    > > Transmission of ideas and memes does. In fact, a meme is an idea that
    > > on its own self-existence.
    > Does the self need to be more than just a stucture built of memes for
    > this to work? (I'd say no because amongst other things I like the irony
    > involved - as if a library became self aware and started deciding which
    > books successfully got in - cue the ecosystem metaphors).

    Memes aren't *memes* except to the extent that they take place in the
    context of minds. A meme is an idea that takes on a life of its own, much
    like a cell that becomes cancerous. An idea isn't like an electronic signal
    that gets automatically processed. It has to be *interpreted.* There's no
    physics of interpretation. It's not something that proceeds mechanically
    and lends itself to mathematical description. Outside the context of mind,
    there's no such thing as thought or message or meme. An idea could never
    take on its own life if it weren't already part of a larger living system. Memes
    are embedded in human consciousness, which emerges in the context of
    animal consciousness, itself a product of simple, unicellular sentience.
    Life, at all levels, is self-creative. This is the fundamental meaning of
    evolution. It's what Darwin was getting at with his creative materialism, so
    at odds with the cold mechanism of post-Weismannian theory. The species
    are born not built. We emerge from the muck of mother (matter) nature, not
    the sterile equations of a cartesian god. Unfortunately, Darwin's jewel has
    since been obscured by a different kind of muck.

    When you start with life as opposed to abstract principle, things begin to
    make sense. From the universal self-existence of time to the local
    self-existence of bacteria to the mental self-existence of humanity (and the
    memetic ecosystems we call "the world") life is self-generative and


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