Re: The necessity of mental memes

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun Jan 20 2002 - 15:35:52 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: The necessity of mental memes
    Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2002 07:35:52 -0800
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    > > Sat, 19 Jan 2002 16:59:55 -0500
    > > "Philip Jonkers" <> Re: The necessity of mental
    > >
    > >Joe:
    > >>what no one has been able to explain to me is how, in
    > >the absence of a mental storage and percepttion/action
    > >translation pathway between the perception of
    > >another's actions and the replication of those actions
    > >by oneself, how the actions of one could ever become,
    > >by apprehension, learning and imitation, the actions
    > >of another.
    > >
    > >I guess your interesting perception is based on a
    > >understandable misconception.
    > >What the guys in the artifact-behavior meme-camp argue
    > >is that it is wrong to speak of memes residing in the
    > >brain for no other reason that the don't fit with any
    > >of the current definitions. They are undetectable,
    > >highly personal and non-uniform in stored form.
    > >And they are right I think, Derek
    > >Gathererer has made a good job argueing that.
    > >They probably don't deny occurrence of those mental
    > >processes which eventually lead to meme-processing
    > >but they just consider them to fall outside the range
    > >of applicability of memetics.
    > >
    > >You can then go either two ways. One, is to retain the
    > >definition of the meme and abandon the whole
    > >meme-in-head concept and limit meme-theory to apply to
    > >only cultural artifacts and/or behavior, both of which
    > >classes do fit with definition.
    > >The other one I personally favor is to alter the
    > >definition of the meme in such a way that it also
    > >encompasses memes residing in the head. I think
    > >two steps in the right direction would be:
    > >1) to get rid of the meme-as-unit insistence, as there
    > > are virtually no atomistic memes I contend.
    > >2) admit that memes can assume different forms while
    > > conserving associated meaning and head on to
    > > a more abstract semantic definition of the meme.
    > >
    > >Philip.
    > >
    > >Cheers,
    > >
    > >Philip Jonkers.
    > >
    >A third is to access the PET scan and fMRI studies that indicate particular
    >cortical energy usage changes in specific areas correlated with the
    >performance of particular tasks, both physical and mental. the gun is
    >smoking, and internal meme location no longer may be dismissed on the
    >grounds of a lack of empirical evidence. Of course, we are not able to
    >decode thses indications in a fine-grained manner, but we DO know that when
    >a person listens to music, or reads poetry, or reads text, or imagines a
    >landscape, or performs mental mathematical calculations, or remembers a
    >word string, that in each case, a different portion of the brain burns more
    >sugar (meaning that it needs more energy because it is being used).
    > >
    I think we store most of the memes we adopt in our brains. When you want to
    repeat a behavior you have picked up from someone else, where do you get it
    from the next time? Isn't that what culture is in an individual? We
    operate with a collection of memes we picked up in various times and places
    as the result of interacting with other members of society (this includes
    reading and watching television, etc.). How do you know the "right" thing
    to do at any time in any situation? It has either become a habit that
    requires little thought or you choose from a store of behavioral options you
    have accumulated during a lifetime of watching and interacting with others.
    And where else would you keep such a store of knowledge but in your brain?


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