Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Wade T. Smith (
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 01:31:12 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
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    On Sunday, January 20, 2002, at 06:40 , Philip Jonkers wrote:

    > The brain baby, that's where are the excitement lies
    > and that's where culture come from.

    So you say.

    But, in as many ways as you say culture comes from the brain, I can
    point to ants and say culture comes from social behaviors, and chemical
    signals, and patterned responses. Not much brain to point to, however.

    As for 'latent' memes, well, that sounds pseudo-freudian- sort of like
    the traits of latent sexualities he pointed at with his cigar.

    So I say, if all culture and all memes are outside, part of the
    environment, rather than inside, part of the mind, who and what does
    what to who and what is very clear, and how the perceptions and the
    brains of humans fit into that cultural space is also very clear, with
    no latency, either of concepts, or entities, or theories. We do not move
    in small tribes on the savanna any more. We move in and around myriads
    of cultures. Remove the human from culture, and memetic development is
    impossible. Memetic behavior requires cultural environment, just as
    speech requires a languaged environment to develop. So, far, no-one is
    asking that there be 'languemes' in the brain. No, the genetic
    development of the human brain selected for speech and language and
    culture as a developmental complexity, totally dependent upon a
    sustaining environment. Language in the brain is a potential- the actual
    speech itself comes from outside, in the form of phonemes that are
    heard, not created internally, that fill and fit, like smells, into
    prepared regions of the senses. And memes are not found internally. They
    are found and created outside. Where they shall remain.

    (The rest is memory.)

    What we do with our cultural environment is unique, because we alter it
    with memes, expanded forms of the chemical trials, if you will, of ants.
    But these memes are in flux. Once altered, once part of the environment,
    the evolutionary processes of selection are in play. But there is no
    need for additional items to have to find their way inside the mind,
    into the brain, set aside in some meme-bank, or anything else. Memes are
    out there. They are what we see and what we hear and what we touch, and
    what we perceive we can act upon.

    If we act upon them, we can change them. If we don't, they fade away.

    What is potential is our ability to use them. Just like language. Unless
    language is in our environment, it remains unrealized. And unless a meme
    is out there, it is nowhere.

    - Wade

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