Re: memetics-digest V1 #880

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Tue Jan 22 2002 - 09:36:39 GMT

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    Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 04:36:39 -0500
    From: Keith Henson <>
    Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #880
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    At 11:26 PM 21/01/02 -0500, "Francesca S. Alcorn" <>
    >>So what is the sense of this group regarding the level of volition existing
    >>in the relationship between memes ( or memeplexes) and individuals or groups.
    >>It sounds as if some here are organized by a cluster of memes leading to the
    >>belief that we are free to choose the memes we are host to?
    >I am toying with the idea that we *don't.* Even empiricism is a meme, and
    >appeals to a pre-existing brain structure. On the PBS site that someone
    >posted earlier about Ramachandran, there was an article by another
    >neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinas who says there is no such thing as free
    >will. I've come across this idea a couple of different places in the last
    >few months. I think it is an idea whose time is coming.

    The non existence of free will has been shown to be an airtight
    case. Everything including the brain activities that give rise to our
    minds is either deterministic or random. However, it has also been shown
    that this makes almost no practical difference. See Marvin Minsky and a
    dozen other top flight thinkers on this subject.

    Evolution has wired us up to have the illusion that we have free will, and
    the full analysis of having or not having free will does not remove
    responsibility for our actions at all.

    >>For those of that persuasion is it assumed that we are conscious of all of
    >>the memes that have staked out mindspace in a host?
    >Freud said that the world would be a better place if we were able to
    >operate more on conscious motives than unconscious. Buddhists say that we
    >must learn to be truly present, and attend to every choice that we
    >make. Both seem to suggest that it is more natural *not* to be aware of
    >the memes, and that it takes effort (either therapy or meditation) to be
    >more "conscious.
    >>Or is there a developmental aspect to this such that at some levels of
    >>development an individual or group is pawn-like relative to memes, but where
    >>in higher developmental stages the cosignoti can pick and choose their noetic
    >Now you're talking Piaget, Erickson etc. I think there is a lot of
    >relevant stuff out there, but that is an entirely new thread all in
    >itself. Certainly as more parts of the brain come on line we are able to
    >subject incoming memes to more and varied filters, both biological and learned.
    >>My impression is that one might have a better quality of life when they
    >>believe that that can choose there memes. But I see so many examples of
    >>people who believe their thoughts, feelings and behaviors are organized by
    >>certain ideas, or beliefs when from the outside it appeara that they have
    >>been in service to something they knew not of.
    >How about: One might have a better quality of life if one has a broadly
    >integrated empirical meme filter.

    Otherwise known as a BS detector. :-) I suspect that a good deal of this
    may be hardwired. But to the extent it can be trained, parents should
    *lie* to their children starting at a very young age. I mean *whoppers* of
    lies that little kids can detect. As they get older, more subtile lies,
    but if they don't get that it is a lie, pile it on till they do. This
    builds excellent BS detectors, but as they grow up, you can't get away with
    telling them lies.

    Keith Henson

    >>I have come to suspect that some clusters of memes have evolved in such a
    >>way that some memes organize the individual or group in ways that they are
    >>conscious of, while the more powerful memes lie hidden and influence in
    >>insideous ways.Some aspects of alcoholism might me an example.
    >Psychology is full of "unconscious" motives. And everyday it seems like
    >someone comes up with a new one. :)
    >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)

    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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