Re: Words and Memes

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 18:32:21 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults"

    Received: by id SAA24886 (8.6.9/5.3[ref] for from; Fri, 15 Feb 2002 18:36:41 GMT
    Message-ID: <003e01c1b64f$1c25de80$1986b2d1@teddace>
    From: "Dace" <>
    To: <>
    References: <> <003701c1b2b0$fa01e160$8086b2d1@teddace> <006001c1b445$33346760$5e2ffea9@oemcomputer> <>
    Subject: Re: Words and Memes
    Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2002 10:32:21 -0800
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    X-Priority: 3
    X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
    X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 5.50.4133.2400
    X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V5.50.4133.2400
    Precedence: bulk

    > >I am not a collection of replicating ideas. I am singular and whole. A
    > >self-plex is not a true self. It's a fancy name for ego. Like Dennett,
    > >Blackmore confuses the self with our ingrained self-image.
    > Try a bit of a thought experiment. What would you be like without
    > memes?

    And what would you be like without you? There's got to be a subject of
    awareness that perceives these varying degrees of reality and illusion.
    Otherwise our thoughts and memes couldn't exist.

    > You would be much like a computer with the rudiments of an
    > operating system but nothing more. I don't think it would be much of an
    > existence.

    Computers aren't subjects of awareness. Without memes I would be a
    primordial human, my consciousness fully reflective but not yet limited by
    habitual, culturally ingrained patterns of perception. It's the flashback
    to this state that gives rise to so-called religious experiences.

    > >In my view, memetics is all about the struggle between reflective
    > >human self-replicators and unreflective memetic self-replicators.
    > I don't understand this conflict business.

    The conflict arises because, inevitably, some of our memified notions will
    be pathological. Ideas can't distinguish between right and wrong. Any
    idea, no matter how ridiculous, can become self-replicating. Though quite
    powerful, "L. Ron is God" doesn't contribute to the good of the social body.
    It's a freelance meme, much like a carcinogenic cell. When an alternative
    social body begins to form around a carcinogenic meme, the result is cult,
    not culture.

    > Humans are as adapted to load and run memes as
    > computers are to load and run software. Software is useless without
    > without hardware and vice versa. In our mental lives we are self booting,
    > self programming, start from a single cell organisms. And what we can
    > load depends to high extent on what we have loaded earlier. As an
    > example, you won't get anywhere with higher mathematics without a
    > foundation clear down to arithmetic, and you need a foundation of
    > physical concepts you learn as a small child such as counting and
    > quantity even before you get to arithmetic.

    We need memes in order to progress beyond the simplest level of culture.
    But they'll turn around and bite us if we're not careful.


    > Keith

    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)

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Feb 15 2002 - 18:46:07 GMT