RE: Memes are Interactors

Josip Pajk (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:20:10

Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:20:10
From: Josip Pajk <>
Subject: RE: Memes are Interactors

At 08:11 28.04.98 +0200, Ton wrote:

>You should realize, though, that even from the perspective of the host
>"good" and "bad" are extremely complex issues, given the hierarchical
>nature of mental processes. As I have argued before, "curiosity" is not a
>specific behavior but rather a way of organizing or framing behavior.
>Behaviorist psychologist find it difficult to explain why rats in mazes
>_continue_ to open doors after having been "punished" for doing so by
>electric shocks administered to their probing noses. The reason for this is
>the fact that the punishing was addressed at individual instances, while
>the overal pattern of "curiosity" was actually rewarded by the discoveries
>- whether they were "positive" or "negative" experiences.

Don't you think there is a slight difference between hosts capable of making abstractions (memetic host) and other types of non-memetic hosts. If you think rats are adequate hosts for memetic experiments we have serious problems here.
Campbell (see Wilkins's recent article on JoM for references) proposed a 11-layer hierarchy of selectionist knowledge processes. I think that all mental processes can be more efficiently classified on only three levels:

Reactive (without intentional control), nerve impulses, reactions...
Active (constrained intentional control), adopted, learned, drilled...
Proactive (complete intentional control), abstractions, foreseeing...

This classification of mine has its origins in my "threestructural" methodology. I've managed to classify all processes in complex dynamic systems on only three levels (regulation, control, guidance). Ongoing regulational processes are reactive, rigid, reliable; control processes are more flexible, can be optimized and applied when needed; guidance processes are more abstract, less time dependent.

It is important to stress that in this model there is no "direct communication" between the regulational and guidance level. All signals must pass through the intermediate control level. Intelligent behaviour can be expected only from dynamic systems having all three "control" levels.

Please look at the 12th chapter of the Christopher Evans book "The Mighty Micro" for the best definition of intelligent behaviour I ever had the chance to read.

I think "punishment" as an environmental (group) reaction does not work well either for humans as for rats. In my comment to Richard Brodie I was addressing "disappointment" as the reaction of the host on the opening of a "stinking" package. If you look around you will find that frustration of not achieving someone's expectations is a much powerful cultural (group) stimulation than the punishment because of someone's "bad" behaviour. Punishment is often rationalized as a reward for "nonconventional" behaviour. The punished is still part of the group, but the disappointed have no more confidence that the group can fulfill her/his expectations and is looking for another group that could do that.


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