Re: A Question for Wade

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Mon Dec 03 2001 - 05:19:59 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: A Question for WadeDate: Sun, 2 Dec 2001 11:24:06 -0800
    >> > 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
    >> >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.
    >This demonstrates one of two things: 1. The brain contains the mind. 2. The
    >brain facilitates the mind. I favor the latter interpretation.
    To me, and to the overwhelming majority of cognitive scientists, it means that the mind is an emergent and dynamic property of the recursively complex human brain.
    >> >The big problem for a neurologically irreducible mind is the apparent
    >> >uselesslness of mentality in the functioning of the nervous system. If
    >> >rest of your body has no need for a mind, why would the brain require
    >> >
    >> 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
    >But why does the brain require a mind to do those things? If the brain can
    >represent, remember, and extrapolate, the mind is superfluous.
    But it requires the existence of self-reference, as a premise, to be able to choose between competing future scenarios, for they are chosen between on the basis of their perceived benefit to that very self, and the effort of volition is engaged in such intentional self-service. Likewise, when we perceive, imagine or remember perceptions, it is with an invested and taken for granted perspective from which such perceptions are apprehended; this is, of course, the spatiotemporal self-position relative to these perceptions.
    Sorry; brains are not like other organs (even though the brain does regulate them), and therefore metaphors equating them are bound to be fundamentally flawed.
    > Hearts can
    >apparently pump blood without mental assistance, and kidneys don't seem to
    >need minds to filter waste. If brains require minds, then the same goes for
    >all our organs. At all levels of structure, the body is informed by its own
    >past behaviors.
    As I said above, other organs are regulated by, and furnish information to, the brain, to and from regulating subcortical modules, and by means of afferent and efferent nervous structures. Of course, much of this happens subliminally, but with certain training, people (such as yogins) have been known to extend voluntary control over some of these areas.
    >> >The only way to salvage a notion of
    >> >mentality (and self-nature) is to universalize it. Life is mind. Mind
    >> >life. What makes a thing alive is that it can't be understood except in
    >> >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
    >> >structure.
    >> >
    >> 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.
    >I do agree that everything reduces to a single force. In my view, that
    >force is time. I interpret Brahman accordingly. Brahman is traditionally
    >divided between shakti (potency) and maya (illusion). For me, shakti is the
    >absolute presence of time, which we know through our minds, while maya is
    >merely moment-to-moment materialization, which we know through our senses.
    >Since whatever we perceive around us has in fact already occurred, the
    >material "present" is actually past. In that sense, the realm of the senses
    >is illusory.
    >As to panpsychism, mind is indeed universal insofar as it's an expression of
    >time, and time is universal. Life is anima, and time is animation.
    Your position is then most definitely Vedantist, as such, it is a mystico-religious position, and not a scientific one, as it assumes those very things for which science demands proof. Robin Faichney has been knowm to try to push the same thing from the Buddhist perspective that you are trying to do from the Vedantist one; in either case, such religious pseudoexplanations are slavishy in thrall to the very mysticoreligious memes which comprise a part (not a whole) of the field of memes that they purport to understand and explain, and thus must ultimately fail in their attempt to analyze what they have already assumed, and to reveal the structural memetic relation in its entirety.
    It would be interesting, from a point of view of the understanding of memopathology, to watch from the sidelines the memetic exercise of your two religious ideologies using you two as mouthpiece memebots to argue the issue, however.
    >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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