Re: A Question for Wade

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 19:35:47 GMT

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    Subject: Re: A Question for Wade
    Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 11:35:47 -0800
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    > >From: "Joe Dees"
    > >
    > >> > "Wade T.Smith"
    > >> >
    > >> >Hi Scott Chase -
    > >> >
    > >> >>What's so special about the "meme" term? Why can't we just use
    > >> >>"belief", or "concept" to say the same thing? As Ernst Mayr says of
    > >> >>meme:
    > >> >>
    > >> >>(bq) "It seems to me that this word is nothing but an unnecessary
    > >synonym
    > >> >>of the term "concept"." (eq)
    > >> >
    > >> >All of which and thus forced me to reconstruct my own thinking and
    > >> >all farce. The meme is a cultural artifact. Any other usage is
    > >> >and multiplicative.
    > >> >
    > >> Memes are not things, but meaningful patterns in which
    > >is arranged. This is true whether we are talking about the meaningful
    > >patterns in which air is arranged to enunciate words, the meaningful
    > >geometrical patterns in which ink or pixels or pencil lead are arranged
    > >write them, the meaningful action patterns out bodies enact in order to
    > >or write or speak them, or the meaningful neuron/synapse activation
    > >in which such representations are stored in our brains.
    > >>>>
    > >
    > >Airwaves and pixels have no meaning intrinsic to them. It's only insofar
    > >they're interpreted that they appear to have meaning. The actual
    > >of meaning is always in the mind of the interpreter. As to patterns of
    > >synaptic transmission, these have meaning only insofar as the brain is
    > >moment-to-moment materialization of the mind.
    > >
    > Due to self-conscious awareness, there is both top-down and bottom-up
    causation between the material substrate brain and the emergent dynamically
    recursive patternings of that substrate which comprise the mind. The mind,
    however, cannot exist without the foundation of that material substrate. It
    is far from necessary to adopt philosophical idealism to acknowledge the
    centrality of meaning and cognitive emergenesis; I do so from a materialist

    Self-conscious awareness has nothing to do with it. The mind is the brain's
    self-regulation on the basis of its own past. Memory is mental, not
    material. This is why memes can't be found in the brain. The brain is
    simply the mind in the current moment. It's precisely that aspect of the
    mind that's *not* memory. What's in the brain is only a snap-shot of memes.
    None of the traits of memes are visible in this slice of life.

    The big problem for a neurologically irreducible mind is the apparent
    uselesslness of mentality in the functioning of the nervous system. If the
    rest of your body has no need for a mind, why would the brain require one?
    It's a lot simpler to treat the brain like any other organ. Otherwise we're
    left with a kind of cerebral vitalism. The only way to salvage a notion of
    mentality (and self-nature) is to universalize it. Life is mind. Mind is
    life. What makes a thing alive is that it can't be understood except in the
    context of its own living past. Life is memory. It's not just the brain
    that's influenced by mentality (relfexive or not) but every organic


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