Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Nov 16 2001 - 18:45:23 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 10:45:23 -0800
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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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