Re: A Question for Wade

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 02:28:47 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: A Question for WadeDate: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 11:35:47 -0800
    >> >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.
    Sure it does. Meaning is always in reference to three elements; the referent, it's symbol, and the signifier. Our self-awareness is crucial to our being able to assign meaning to an other, or even regognize it as other. Signification is impossible until we have made the self/other distinction, which can only be done when both self and other are explicitly recognized, and recognized to be different from each other.
    > The mind is the brain's
    >self-regulation on the basis of its own past.
    But also in anticipation of its own future. It chooses from among its past experience (and sometimes innovatively extrapolates novel choices from deconstructed and recombined elements of multiple past experiences) in order to decide upon the actions most likely to actualize a chosen future, and then exercises will and volition in order to actually perform those actions.
    >Memory is mental, not
    Memory is pattern-configurational, and is materially encoded.
    >This is why memes can't be found in the brain.
    Not in a dead one, because the charge potentials play a pivotal part in internal memetic configuration. The reason we have not found more memes in living brains is quite simply that we have not developed the sufficient technology. Neveretheless, we know generally which areas of the brain subserve what functions, and brain surgeons operating upon conscious patients have stimulated parts of the brain and had their patients respond in the affferent area with certain motions and in the efferent area with certain experiences, some of them memories.
    > 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.
    You can't read memes off an fMRI I grant you, but when PET scans are taken, the activated parts of the brain which have been associated with the performance of various cognitive tasks light up as different tasks are presented to the subject, INCLUDING memory tests. Different areas light up for different tasks, and they are the ones that we commonly understand to be used in the performance of the associated task.
    >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?
    So that that body could maximize its survival chances in the environment by remembering previously learned environmental lessons, faithfully representing the present environment and its threats and opportunities, and extrapolating them into further likelihoods between which one might be able to choose most favored alternatives by means of present action. In other words, better choices. This also points to conscious self-awareness, for it is upon the basis of the welfare of the self that such choices would be made.
    >It's a lot simpler to treat the brain like any other organ. Otherwise we're
    >left with a kind of cerebral vitalism.
    No, the most accepted position in the field is emergent materialism, and it is mine. It has nothing to do with vitalism, or any elan vital conceptions, whatsoever.
    >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
    This sounds like the panvitalistic panpsychism that was propounded by Erwin Schrodinger in his books WHAT IS LIFE?, MIND AND MATTER, and MY VIEW OF THE WORLD. It's kinda a pseudophilosophical Hinduism, believing all life, mind and soul to be the expression of a single force, as Hinduism proper unites the world-soul with the self-soul in their famous pronouncements Brahmatman (Brahmin is Atman) anf Tvat Am Asi (That Thou Art). It is irreduceably a mystical and religious, not an empirical or philosophical, perspective.
    >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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    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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