RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 16:40:56 GMT

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Study shows brain can learn without really trying
    Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 16:40:56 -0000
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            <That an individual with greater than average mental reflectivity is
    > 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
    > individuations.>
            This was your original comment-

          <It gives a competitive edge among intensely social animals like
    > > primates. While it does nothing for survival of the group as a
    > > reflexive consciousness determines which members of the group are
    > > more likely to reproduce. It's among primates that the terrain of

    > > competition begins to shift from environmental to social. The
    > > > ones are those who are aware of themselves as minds and not just as
    > > > bodies.>
    Rather than accuse of me deliberate misreading, conscious or otherwise, can
    you not see in the wording here the explicility absoluteness 'reflexive
    consciousness determines...', and 'the successful ones are...'?

    Now, if you didn't mean to express this in such absolute terms, then fair
    enough, but I was going on what you wrote.

            <Your mind provides the ecology within which memes succeed or fail.
    > 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.>
            You should be careful about assuming that people disagreeing with
    you are suffering from this, and you are somehow immune. Do you not think
    that perhaps that you are subject to the Sheldrakian memes that you espouse?
    You have after all, been shown to have selectively misread at least two
    pieces you referred to, and have rejected all oppositional comments
    expressed about Sheldrake's ideas.

    >> 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.>
            Well as in post 1, our capacity to know the minds of other organisms
    is highly limited, and may always be so, so to assume this is unique to us
    is a leap in the dark.

            <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
    > spontaneously, without reference to environment. (See Gould).>
            Random mutation occurs but in evolutionary terms is still subject to
    environmental pressures- only those random changes that are adaptive
    survive, in the long run. The debate about the rate of evolutionary change
    continues apace, I personally favour the gradualist approach, but I do
    acknowledge the possiblity of rapid changes in times of major environmental

    >> <A radio signal has no need for consciousness, either at the
    point of
    >> transmission or reception. But life is habitual, not
    >> What do you mean by habitual and habit?

            <Habit is based on memory. Automation is based on timeless,
    > principles. The difference between life and machine is memory and
    > eternity.>
            Habit, in nature, is based upon the accumulation of adaptive
    behaviours over time. Corals on the Great Barrier Reef all release eggs and
    sperm at the same time within a 3-4 day period at the same time each year-
    millions and millions of coral all within the same period of time, clear
    evidence of the millions of years corals have been evolving, and the
    adaptive benefits of doing this at the same time as other corals so your
    eggs don't all get eaten. Do corals have memories, or are they merely
    following an encoded programme in their neural tissue (I don't even know if
    corals have brains, so to speak) itself a product of evolution?


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