Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Nov 16 2001 - 17:40:29 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
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    Had to split this up into two parts.

    > <Hi Vincent
    > Well, I interpreted the comment sent in a particular way based on
    > the apparent idea that individual success within a social group is
    > influenced by self-awareness. It was the context of your presentation
    > that made me comment in that way.

    That an individual with greater than average mental reflectivity is more
    likely to succeed doesn't mean that cultivating mental self-awareness is
    "all we have to do to be successful." You planted that notion and then
    imagined you'd found it there. This is not something you do on purpose.
    In the fog of your unconscious it replicates without your knowledge or
    permission. It's the "let's twist what was said into nonsense and then ridicule
    it" meme. In the abstract we might call it "ridiculization." But it's not abstract.
    It's real. As real and alive as our species mind and its largely unconscious

    Your mind provides the ecology within which memes succeed or fail. This
    one succeeds because it appeals to your desire to believe that what you
    oppose is nonsensical. It appeals, not to logic, but to ego. Our job is to root
    out these opportunistic, freelance memes. To be fully human is to determine
    which memes are selected instead of letting them self-select in our dark,
    dingy basement. The potential for freedom in the self-aware mind is
    undermined by memes that specialize in exploiting our prejudices.

    > I think the 'radical departure' argument is the
    > mistake, because there is no precedent for it in any other part of nature.

    What's radical about humans is that our existence as individuals is based on
    our minds instead of our bodies. The cultural world we inhabit is a product of
    our consciousness. We've generated a universe.

    The emergence of mental self-existence from the hominid mind has two natural
    precedents: the big bang and the origin of life. Rather than merely sharing
    in universal existence, every organism is a little universe unto itself, with its
    own existence. If the big bang unleashed universal self-existence, then
    life is local self-existence, and humanity is mental self-existence.

    > Evolution occurs slowly, gradually (with blips for major natural
    > disasters and so on), what we do know about forerunners and close
    > relatives of humans, like neanderthals, is that they were extremely well
    > adapted to their ecological niches.

    Evolution can proceed rapidly or slowly. Much of what we are arises
    spontaneously, without reference to environment. (See Gould).

    > <It works at three levels. A radio signal has no need for consciousness,
    > either at the point of transmission or reception. But life is habitual, not
    > automatic...>

    > What do you mean by habitual and habit?

    Habit is based on memory. Automation is based on timeless, mathematical
    principles. The difference between life and machine is memory and eternity.

    > > > 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.

    This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)

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