RE: Selfish meme?

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 14:24:13 GMT

  • Next message: Lawrence DeBivort: "RE: Selfish memes?"

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    Subject: RE: Selfish meme?
    Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 09:24:13 -0500
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    Hi, Ted. You may be thinking of the term 'motile' or 'motion'. 'Motive' is
    a term readily used and understood by psychologists to refer to intent.

    > Lawrence wrote:
    > > Hi, Ted -- fortunately, 'that memes are or may not be 'selfish'
    > is not the
    > > whole idea of memetics. 'Selfish' implies motive, and to ascribe motive
    > > to unthinking things seems useless.
    > You sure about that? Motive is a physical concept. It's all about force
    > and movement. Psychological motive is no different than a lot of other
    > terms that originated in the lingo of our physical experience. Far from
    > being confined to human intelligence, motive is universal to life. To be
    > animate is to have motive and to express it, though at first these would
    > have been indistinguishable. Bacteria are surely unthinking, but they're
    > self-organized, self-referent in their behavior, and
    > self-propagating, in a
    > word, self-determined. Life itself is self-generated, as are all species
    > (evolution not creationism) and all individuations of them, including
    > ourselves. Not only are humans self-existent, but so is the culture that
    > emerges from our self-conscious interaction and the self-propelling memes
    > that carry it.
    > > Now, if we were to say that memes -- like
    > > everything else -- simply do what they do (a cybernetic view)
    > In cybernetics everything is conceptual.

    You'll have to convince people like Bill Powers that their feedback and
    control mechanisms are merely 'conceptual.' Or the folks who invented ways
    of keeping gun barrels on ships steadily pointed toward their targets. Of
    course, I'll have to agree that contemporary conferences on cybernetics are
    overwhelmed with an outre' and as far as I can tell unproductive insistence
    of conceptualization... But this is not the 'real' cybernetics. I refer you
    also to the pragmatic and important uses to which the work of such
    cyberneticians as Weiner, Ayres and Beer have been put.


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