Re: Abstractism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 01:07:21 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: AbstractismDate: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 21:20:49 -0800
    >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.
    No, it is a central and fundamental disagreement; he sees no necessity for either a meanong-giving self or meaningful information in memetics; I contend that memes are irreduceably semantic, and that we are irretrieveably not only emergent conscious self-awarenesses, but that these self-awarenesses are apodictically meaning-driven.
    >> >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.
    You must, then, believe that everyone on this list is of one mind, for they all read your posts, unless, of course, they delete them unread. Furthermore, you must believe that we are all in the same place simultaneously (violating a fundamental law of physics), for us to be in the same 'time' (even ignoring the fact that we read our mail at different times from different locations, that is, from different spatiotemporal positions, around this globe).
    > I am both prior to and
    >posterior to the universe of spacetime.
    Your parents, who inhabited this spatiotemporal universe before you were born, would be forced to disagree (unless you're now doing the solipsistic god-thingy).
    > That is, I have memory and (free)
    Both entirely consistent with, and in fact predicated upon, our existence in a spatiotemporal matter/energy universe.
    >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
    But this is because differential light patterns propel a visual array into your eyes (one that was engineered by members of this species to transmit commonly agreed-upon linguistic and iconic signs referring to and representing meaningful information), where it is fed into your occipital lobes, from outside. If you disbelieve me, try reading this with your eyes closed.
    >> >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 to, refer to, and thus represent people, places, things and ideas,
    >cannot and do not exist?
    >They exist in the mind.
    And on paper and in the airwaves between interlocuters and on computer screens as well (not to mention a jillion other places).
    >> 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.
    Your words do not exist in my mind unless I read them from the screen, and verse-vice-a. If they did not exist between and were not SENT between, there would be no conversation (not even directly, if we exclude air pressure modulations that transmit sound).
    >> 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.
    That was your lack of an answer.
    >> >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.
    Wrong. Spacetime embodies both position and duration, and is quite real, unlike your artificially bifurcated and illusory fragments. You cannot excise the time-aspect from spacetime; you can only fool yourself that you can.
    >> >> 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.
    That relates to my contention not one whit.
    >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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