Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id GAA12313 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 21 Jan 2002 06:09:51 GMT To: email@example.com Message-Id: <AA-C42FA577643CC020A2725B206FBB0526-ZZ@homebase1.prodigy.net> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 01:06:00 -0500 From: "Philip Jonkers" <PHILIPJONKERS@prodigy.net> Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
>>> The brain baby, that's where are the excitement
>>> 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.
Take away their CNS and what do you have? Right,
tiny clumbs of inanimate flesh and an wrapped up
in an exoskeleton.
that there be 'languemes' in the brain. No, the
>>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
Who guides the process of uttering phonemes in a
way that they are understood as actual meaningful
words? The brain all again.
>It is entirely inappropriate to equate ant pheromones
with human language; in fact, this may be the poster
child for the term 'bad analogy'. There is only one
set of genetically mandated pheromones for an ant
species; whereas with humans, although the capacity
for language in general has evolved within the human
brain, the particular language that a specific society
of humans learns is arbitrary, human-created (that's
right; each of those words that one hears from outside
was originally internally created by some human from a
combination of the available phonemes), and understood
by mutual convention. people can also learn multiple
languages, and translate between them; ants cannot
even possess multiple pheromone sets, much less
translate between them. Languages elaborate and
evolve; we have no knowledge of ant pheromones doing
so without speciation in their hundred million year
history. Pheromones are not combined in complex
languages with syntactically structured seman!
>tics; they are chemical markers the apprehension of
which constitutes a stimulus to which the response is
uniform and blindly behavioristis, unlike language,
which is intricately structured, and the responses to
any particular massage are, or can be, multiple and
>>(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.
I agree, compared with internal brain-like
processes the meme can only be defined in a
practical way as either an artifact or behavior.
But that doesn't mean that the
meme may have some abstract representation within the
brain, which is, after all, the source of all memetic
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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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