Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 06:06:00 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 01:06:00 -0500
    From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    Subject: Re: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
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    >>> 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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