Re: Abstractism

From: Dace (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 05:44:41 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Abstractism
    Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:44:41 -0800
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    > >If our brains contain representations of memes, then memes evidently
    > >exist somewhere other than the brain. Where are they? Behavior,
    > >artifacts? As Henri Bergson pointed out a century ago, in his book
    > >*Matter & Memory*, that which represents the world cannot
    > >simultaneously be a part of the world.
    > >
    > Bergson was wrong on many things; his book DURATION AND SIMULTANEITY, in
    which he attempted to refute Einstein's relativity theory, was a source of
    great embarassment to the philosophical discipline.

    Thanks for refering me to this awhile back. Bergson's mistake was to
    attempt to demonstrate the falsehood of relativity by reducing it to a
    paradox. He claimed he was simply being more Einsteinian than Einstein. If
    we're to take relativity seriously, we must assert that no object is ever in
    motion, for it's always motionless relative to itself. Therefore, if a
    rocket leaves the earth and travels at 90 percent the speed of light, then
    its occupants won't have aged as much as those back home. When they return
    and come out from their ship, we will seem older to them than we should be,
    while they'll appear younger to us. But since nothing moves relative to
    itself, from the point of view of the space travelers, the earth will seem
    to have rocketed away from them at 90 percent the speed of light. When they
    come back, they will mavel at how little we've aged, relative to them, and
    we will be horrified to see how old they've gotten in such a short time.

    So, when the astronauts step out from their rocket, what happens? It's like
    matter meeting antimatter. Does the universe explode or something? Yet
    this interpretation seems to be incorrect. What if the astronauts really
    are younger, and we really are older, like Einstein says? Does this mean he
    was wrong about relativity? The earth would have to be, in some sense,
    absolute in its location, such that the rocket is somehow absolute in its
    motion. This would necessitate a center of the universe, and we're back to
    the ether. I'm not sure this has ever been seriously addressed. Bergson
    was unfortunately dismissed, and philosophy along with him.

    > The meme IS the representation;


    > when eleven people all have learned the mass-energy conversion equation
    (that energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared) in
    physics class, all of them have encoded tokens of single meaningful
    informational type, or meme,

    Memes are not neurally encoded. There are no memes in brains. Brains
    materialize the moment-to-moment activities of the mind. Memes involve
    memory and therefore exist in the mind, over time, rather than the brain,
    over space(time).

    > >Representation is not a property of physics. The brain is a physical
    > >object. Therefore representation does not exist within the brain.
    > >
    > Representation is not found in the matter and energy per se, but in their
    meaningful configuration. According to your formulation, since everything
    in the universe is matter/energy, representation can exist nowhere in it.
    Is this the position you are representing?

    Funny that you dismissed Robin Faichney when you're using "representation"
    to mean exactly what he means by "information." There's no representation
    in the universe, i.e. spacetime. The only thing that's out there is matter.
    This matter, also known as energy, behaves according to certain principles
    which determine the configurations it takes. Whether we regard these
    principles as transcendent or immanent is immaterial. The point is, it's
    all physical, from the purest chaos to the most perfectly elaborate form.
    All the way from quarks to galaxy clusters, you won't find anything called
    "representation." From radio waves to gamma waves, there's no "information"
    outside of our interpretations. These are mental things. And when they
    become selfish, they're still mental.

    > >Memes
    > >are mental, and their presence is reflected in the brain insofar as the
    > >brain facilitates all mental activity.
    > >
    > The brain is the material substrate for the emergent mind. Are you trying
    to assert, like some of the medievalists, that our minds exist in some
    timeless, platonic realm, and are only beamed into our heads, say our pineal
    glands, by the Great Radio Technician in the Sky? Puh-LEEEZE!

    Don't pul-leeeze me! You know perfectly well I'm not saying that. Haven't
    you realized by now I'm not positing a timeless eternal realm? I'm
    *overturning* the timeless eternal realm. I'm showing how you actually
    believe in this nonsense without realizing it.

    Time, not eternity. Got it?

    > >In other words, the meme itself is in our minds, while the neural
    > >correlates in our brains vary from person to person.
    > >
    > Close, but each meme can still mean different things to different people.
    The meme that there is bacon in the fridge would mean different things to
    three people sitting at a table if one was Muslim, another vegan and a third
    a secular humanist omnivore.

    "There is bacon in the fridge" is not a meme. It's simple information. The
    meme would be "bacon is evil" or "bacon is fattening" or "bacon is good."
    That sort of thing.


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