Re: Abstractism

From: Joe Dees (
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 06:48:08 GMT

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    > "Dace" <> <> Re: AbstractismDate: Wed, 30 Jan 2002 22:10:55 -0800
    >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
    The information is in the configuration of the letters in the alphabet to form words, which refer to, that is, represent, meanings and memories stored in your brain. They are configurational rather than elemental or chemical properties. If you look for an element called 'representatium" like one would look for hydrogen, you're bound to fail, but if you seek meaning, information and representation in configuration you will find them, for that is where they are, and such configuration is indeed stored in the brain (as well as in books and other places, using different coding schemas). It seems as though everyone here except you can easily grasp this single, simple point.
    >> 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
    The mind does not see if there is no spatiotemporally situated material substrate brain from which it may emerge, or spatatiotemporally situated eyes connected to that brain, that can input the visual stimulus light. If you destroy either your eyes or your occipital lobes, you will NOT be able to see.
    >> >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
    Unless they are physically configured in the commonly agreed upon shapes and these shapes are combined in commonly agreed upn ways to form commonly agreed upon words, we read nothing. There is a huge physical and configurational difference between ink spilled on a page and ink written on that page in the form of words. The difference is both physical and configurational because it is a difference in where the ink is and is not found on the page
    >> >> >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.
    No it is not; for spatiotemporality possesses BOTH extension AND duration, and in fact no object can exist without both. You have it backwards; neither the temporal aspects nor the spatial aspects can be excised from spatiotemporality and stand either on its own. If I were saying that the temporal aspect were equivalent to the spatial aspect, then the necessity of their co-presence in spatiotemporality would be redundant; I am not saying that, annd it is specious and fallacious for you to maintain so. You can't point to the time in the past or future any more than you can point to the space in them, because the're NOT PRESENt. What IS perpetually present is the ubiquity of the spatiotemporal manifold through which we perceive the precession of matter/energy in change.
    >> >> >"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 [...]
    >> >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.
    >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.)
    If I say to someone else that the bacon's in the fridge, and they tell a third person, then meaningful information has been replicated, a necessary and sufficient condition for memetic propagation to be said to have taken place. It would also result in the modification of behavior; the third person would look for the bacon in the fridge rather than in the freezer.
    >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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