Re: Abstractism

From: Dace (
Date: Wed Jan 30 2002 - 05:20:49 GMT

  • Next message: Joe Dees: "Re: necessity of mental memes"

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    Subject: Re: Abstractism
    Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 21:20:49 -0800
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    From: Joe Dees

    > 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.

    Bergson was lucky not to live long enough to see spacetime distortions

    > >> >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.

    Robin claims information is contained in material "patterns." You claim
    representation is contained in material "configurations." You're arguing
    exactly the same thing, yet imagining you're having this thunderous debate.
    You're not discoursing so much as butting heads to establish hierarchy.

    > >There's no representation in the universe, i.e. spacetime.
    > >
    > But you are in the universe, and so is my computer screen, and yours.

    Not exactly. I am in time, as expressed in my mind. I am both prior to and
    posterior to the universe of spacetime. That is, I have memory and (free)
    will. My "computer screen" exists in my mind insofar as this is the term by
    which I interpret the rigid set of molecules I watch while composing this

    > >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?

    They exist in the mind.

    > Then why do you read them and write them (especially to assert their

    I focus sequentially across pixels of light (or bits of ink, whichever the
    case may be) and then interpret these carefully arranged specks as words.
    When I command them, my muscles produce actions that arrange new specks such
    that you're enabled to form in your mind the very same words I formed in
    mine. The words exist in the mind, yours and mine, and nowhere in between.

    > 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.

    This is your suffering, making itself plain.

    > >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.

    But if spacetime exists to the exclusion of real time, then nothing ever
    becomes past or ever had to become present. A sentence without a verb. A
    fixed, static now, "an eternity of death," as Bergson called it.

    > >> 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).

    Memes promote the autonomy of culture over our conscious minds. When we
    make simple observations of the world around us, we're functioning
    intentionally, using words entirely for our conscious purposes. That
    culture uses us doesn't mean we don't use it too. This is the flipside of
    the basic argument of memetics, that our intentional use of culture doesn't
    mean it's not turning around and working us as well.


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