Re: testing memetics

Steve (
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 07:47:02 +0800

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 07:47:02 +0800
From: Steve <>
Subject: Re: testing memetics

At 09:27 AM 12/2/97 -0500, Jamie McCarthy wrote:
>I think what we're looking for is a testable hypothesis or prediction,
>about something in particular, that can be put forth with memetics, that
>is not supported by other fields of study or is not within the realm of
>other fields of study.
>Of course there is no test for a theory as a whole, but, to pick the most
>obvious example, Einsteinian physics became more accepted when telescopes
>showed Mercury to be "here," instead of "here" where Newtonian physics
>would have it.
>What tests are there by which memetics can be thus compared to any other
>field of science?

Here is *that* word again.... 'paradigm shift'. My response to this question
assumes an entirely new approach. It is based on the notion that
conceptualisation is the source of complexity.

Let me briefly explain. I am looking for a fully generalized theory of
consciousness that would have as its parallels, Newton's three laws of
motion. In essence, the 'three' (?... or whatever number) laws of cognition
are going to have to incorporate the associative properties of
consciousness, such that these properties apply to *every* organism at every
level (the associative properties of consciousness have already been
demonstrated within neurons, eg, by Kandel and Hawkins). Once we realize the
central role of association in cognition, we are then in a position to
appreciate the implications, eg:
1) All cognition arises from associating memes together to form
strings of logic/awareness. Narrative. Language. In the case of
single-celled organisms such as neurons, neural-level memes will be basic
conceptualisations such as (for neurons in the visual cortex) 'longness' or
'shortness' or 'blackness' or 'redness';
2) The associative properties of cognition will associate all
experience with all experience. Enter...... the mind-body relationship. An
organism's body (arms, legs in the case of, say, mammals and, neural
synapses, etc, in the case of neurons) will be associated with the self and
experience, thereby inextricably entwining the body with cognition;
3) Choice matters. Autopoiesis.

The new general principle is going to have to create new definitions. For
example, a generalised definition of 'meme' is going to be along the lines,
"a meme is a conceptualisation within the mind of any organism". This
definition is going to incorporate the associative properties and the
mind-body relationship. By incorporating the mind-body relationship, we will
make the connection that organisms with vocal chords (to create words) and
hands (to make complex objects/write, etc) will be in the business of
transmitting memes symbollically to create cultures - or, in the case of
neurons (and their physiologies, synapses,etc), to create cultures of
neurons (brains) from which personalities are constructed.

Chaos theory (initial conditions, attactors, etc) will be employed to shed
light on what it means to 'know' a thing. For example, roll models provide
us with cultural attractors that enable us to know how to 'behave properly'.

Without a fully generalised, integrated theory of cognition we are just
pissing into the wind. Why? Because you cannot have complexity without

Now, to Jamie's question:
>What tests are there by which memetics can be thus compared to any other
>field of science?

Once we wake up to the central role of s single, fully general set of
principles, we will become amazed that it has taken us so long to finally
'get it'. No more category errors. The answers, or the tests, are all around
us. Dogs behave like dogs because they possess bodies that predispose them
to behaving in a dog-like manner. Gender differences and gender-based
responsibilities (eg, giving birth) create predispositions based on the
mind-body relationship that predispose male and female to different
psychological traits.

Thus, for example, a 'test' for the power of memes is already visible, by
way of the different personalities of the different organisms and their
different physiologies. The associative link between mind and body is
everywhere for us to behold.

The new generalisation is going to have to be that simple, and anything less
just won't do.

Stephen Springette

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