RE: Machiavellian Memes

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 30 Sep 1997 11:19:52 -0700 (PDT)

Date: Tue, 30 Sep 1997 11:19:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tim Rhodes <>
Subject: RE: Machiavellian Memes
In-Reply-To: <>

On Tue, 30 Sep 1997, N Rose wrote:

> Hmmm... Does the host select for memes perceived as useful?
> What does that mean - what is useful? - what is it useful for?
> and for what/whom?. Others might argue that 'usefulness' is
> neither here nor there. Memes don't survive and replicate
> because they are useful - but simply because they are good at
> replicating. Perhaps by 'useful' you mean biologically adaptive?
> In which case I might cautiously agree with you (somedays).
> I like the term Meme Selection Review Committee. The MSRC(!) you
> refer to sounds a little like a conglomeration of 'filters'
> which Dennett refers to. The way in which these filters develop
> will start with genetic predispositions in the brain (exclusively
> to begin with); e.g. avoid pain, seek out things that taste
> sweet, etc. But, as memes come to inhabit the brain we could
> imagine them starting to form up filters as well; e.g. 'believe
> everything written in the bible', 'ignore everything written in
> The Sun'. Perhaps these memetic based filters could develop
> autonomy from the original genetic predispositions (but I doubt
> it). Perhaps this conglomeration of filters even forms up part
> of what we *call* a 'self with free will'.

> But, (IMHO) it's not *really* the action of a self with free
> will, but simply a conglomeration of filters.

Somes like a definitions disagrement, that's all. But, yes, I agree. We
are the total of our filters. That is what I mean when I refer to my
"self" (post-Dennett).

Others may mean other things using that word, though.

-Tim Rhodes

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