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From: Joe Dees
> >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 email.
> But this is because differential light patterns propel a visual array into
your eyes, where it is fed into your occipital lobes, from outside.
Alright. So where's the "information" in there? Where's does the
"representation" come in? These are not physical properties and cannot be
located anywhere in spacetime, i.e. the universe, be it your brain or the
> If you disbelieve me, try reading this with your eyes closed.
That we need eyes and brains to see doesn't mean vision is a property of the
brain. It's the mind that sees. The self sees, and self-existence is
> >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).
Paper and ink are made of molecules, not words. There's no physical
property of "wordness" shared by the molecules that make up the ink that's
absent among the ones that make up the surrounding paper. The arrangement
of the molecules doesn't produce "wordness" in them but merely determines
our the words that appear in our minds as we interpret them. It's not the
configuration but our interpretation of the configuration. While we
consciously interpret bits of ink, we unconsciously interpret arrays of
neurotransmission. Either way, the interpretation-- the meaning-- is
> >> >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 it was close. Nice try.
> >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
One more time, Joe. Spacetime is quite real as long as we recognize that
time is not reducible to it. The only element of time that's coterminous
with space is the present. To regard time as equivalent to space is to
compress all of reality to the present, to erase history and future, leaving
us in this eternal, static, four dimensional universe.
> >> >"There is bacon in the fridge" is not a meme. It's simple
> >> >infromation. 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 [...]
> >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
> That relates to my contention not one whit.
When we say, "There's bacon in the fridge," we're using words. When we say,
"Bacon is evil," the words are using us. Only then are they memetic. Words
are not identical to memes (any more than to ink on paper.)
This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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