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> > > Do individual guppies have selves?
> <Life is self-creative, self-regulating, and self-perpetuating.
> Rather than having "selves," guppies simply exist intrinsically. That means
> they aren't products of external forces (supernatural or otherwise).
> There's no "self" which is somehow separate from the body, no mysterious
> "entity" that pervades our being. The self is nothing more than the
> self-existence of the body.>
> Does that actually answer the question, or not, I'm not sure?
If we exist intrinsically, then clearly so do animals. Our mental self-nature is
founded atop the bodily self-nature of our hominid predecessors. Anima,
in turn, is an expression of the universal animation of time.
> > They appear to respond to the behaviour of other guppies in
> > experiments in a way that implies cultural transmission, but would we
> > therefore have to regard them as having selves, or are they merely
> > following a behavioural algorithm?
> <Algorithms were invented by mathematicians in the last 2500 or so
> years. They have no independent existence in nature, whether in brains or
> anywhere else. Math is the original artificial language, the first precise
> method of description. It's not that guppies follow the algorithms in their
> brains, but that the algorithms in our imagination accurately describe
> guppy behavior. >
> That's like, IIRC Baudrillard's contention that evidence that mummies
> died from TB wasn't really possible because TB wasn't discoverd
> until the 19th century.
It's unlikely that the same ultra-rational methodology developed in the
context of human consciousness evolved entirely unconsciously within the
animal nervous system. The guppy brain probably isn't calculating positions
and movements the same way a computer would. We're projecting our
techno-logic onto nature.
> <Lacking self-awareness, the animal mind isn't a very hospitable
> environment for memes. Patterns of behavior are established biologically.
> The culture of guppies is a shadow of the biology of guppies. It's not a
> thing-in-itself, like human culture. Outside the context of
> self-referential mentality, there can't be any self-propagating ideas. >
> Well you see that's the core question. I don't know the answer,
> initially on this list I was reluctant to acknolwedge the possibility of
> animal cultures, but now I find some reasonable evidence and arguments for
> that, which I think bring into question the necessity of self-referential
> mentality for memes.
> The problem is if we explicitly say what animals have is not "real"
> culture, then we have to define how we're different and how that is
> reflected in our "real" culture.
Animals do indeed have a kind of culture, a kind of language, a kind of
intellect, a kind of ego. But it's not what we mean when we use those
terms. The proto-language of chimps is incomparable to the self-replicating
mental system that binds together human culture. Even among mammals,
which possess a general-purpose intelligence, there's no abstract "world"
within which the real one is modeled. There's no memetic environment in
which memes could thrive or fail.
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