Re: Selfish meme?

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Jan 24 2002 - 15:13:08 GMT

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: Re: Selfish meme?
    Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2002 07:13:08 -0800
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    > > You may be thinking of the term 'motile' or 'motion'.
    >Nope. "Motive" has two meanings, psychological and physical.
    > > 'Motive' is a term readily used and understood by psychologists to
    > > refer to intent.
    >As I stated in my post, the psychological meaning is derivative. The Latin
    >root, motivus, means to move. In its most basic meaning, motive means to
    >cause motion.
    > > > > 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.'
    >Feedback mechanisms are physical. What we superimpose is the idea of
    >information processing and storage. All that's processed and stored is
    >electronic impulses. Nothing is being computed except to the extent that
    >interpret the results of all that electronic activity.
    > > 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
    > > also to the pragmatic and important uses to which the work of such
    > > cyberneticians as Weiner, Ayres and Beer have been put.
    >That's the whole point. Technology is about pragmatics, not reality. It's
    >practical to have words for things, including objects we create which have
    >no intrinsic reality.
    > > > > Hi, Ted -- fortunately, 'that memes are or may not be 'selfish' is
    > > > > the whole idea of memetics. 'Selfish' implies motive, and to
    > > > > motive to unthinking things seems useless.
    > > >
    > > > You sure about that? Motive is a physical concept. It's all about
    > > > and movement. Psychological motive is no different than a lot of
    > > > terms that originated in the lingo of our physical experience. Far
    > > > being confined to human intelligence, motive is universal to life. To
    > > > animate is to have motive and to express it, though at first these
    > > > have been indistinguishable. Bacteria are surely unthinking, but
    > > > self-organized, self-referent in their behavior, and self-propagating,
    > > > a word, self-determined. Life itself is self-generated, as are all
    > > > (evolution not creationism) and all individuations of them, including
    > > > ourselves. Not only are humans self-existent, but so is the culture
    > > > emerges from our self-conscious interaction and the self-propelling
    > > > memes that carry it.
    > > >

    A word means whatever you use it to mean. You could call it "flubber" and
    it wouldn't matter as long as you make clear how you are using it and what
    you mean by it. So it makes no difference what the Romans used it for, nor
    the millions of other people who have used the word for their own purposes
    -- all that counts when you use a word is what YOU are using it for.


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