Re: Abstractism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Tue Jan 29 2002 - 10:02:48 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: AbstractismDate: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 21:44:41 -0800
    >> >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 frame of refernce is the universe as a whole. Check out (Ernst)Mach's Principle (yep, he's the spped of sound guy - Mach I, Mach II, etc.); his principle asserts that the frame of reference that the matter/energy in the universe establishes is critical to, say, terran gravity. If the supergalaxies did not exist, according to mach, we would drift off the surface of the earth, for gravity = acceleration relative to a referential frame. IOW, gravity, like everything else, depends upon an external frame of reference in order to manifest. There is empirical proof of the veracity of temporal dilation; B-52's carring multiple atomic clocks flew around the earth. When they returned, the circumnavigating clocks were all different from multiple reference clocks that stayed on the ground by almost precisely what einstein's equations predicted.
    >> 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).
    What is not encoded in the brain cannot manifest in the mind. Every perception and action possesses its neural correlate.
    >> >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."
    Actually, umm, no. For Robin, information does not have to be either meaningful or representational. Representation is a forteriori meaningful, as representation is itself a meaningful relation to that which the trepresentation re-presents.
    > There's no representation
    >in the universe, i.e. spacetime.
    But you are in the universe, and so is my computer screen, and yours. You are representing a position and emailing it. That would be impossible, if the position you are representing (that there is no representation in the universe) were true. Of course, a representation must represent the object of represetation, referent A, to some B, B being the representation-apprehender, who understands that the representation indeed represents the referent. There would be neither representation nor meaning in the absence of self-consciously aware and meaning-giving-and-apprehending beings such as ourselves.
    > 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.
    Interpretations are less complex than representations; I may see a dark patch on the sidewalk and interpret it as an oil spot or a hole; it may be a water spot. It did not represent any of the three, it just was one of them. On the other hand, the word 'dog', when read by an english speaker, clearly refers to and thus represents a subset of the animals referred to by the appelation 'canine'. Are you telling me that the words that you type, which point ti, refer to, and thus represent people, places, things and ideas, cannot and do not exist? Then why do you read them and write them (especially to assert their nonexistence)?
    The mental emerges from the complex physical substrate brain. Prove me wrong; blow your brains out, then tell your body to type me a message with your transcendent mentality.
    >> >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?
    Children being born and developing their material substrate brains until recursicely self-referential minds can emerge from the burgeoning complexity, then growing old and dying in a matter/energy spatiotemporal universe is not an eternal assertion.
    >> >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.
    That bacon would be evil to two of the people for different reasons, and good to a third, because of their differing cognitive contexts. This would affect the actions they took towards it. The power memes have is in their interaction with their apprehenders. And people have taught each other the meaning of the word 'bacon' (and that meaning is not instinctual, but arbitrary and by mutual convention, and varies in different languages); that qualifies it as a meme (same for fridge).
    >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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    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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