Re: Doing the neural walk

Robert G. Grimes (
Wed, 16 Sep 1998 14:11:11 -0400

Date: Wed, 16 Sep 1998 14:11:11 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: Doing the neural walk

Ton Maas wrote:

> Snip

> One of the nice things about Bateson's work is his exploration
> of immanent hierarchies in mental process, which made him look into
> metapatterns such as moire-phenomena. When discussing information
> retrieval, Bateson criticizes popular notions of computer-based metaphors
> such as static "storage" and offers an alternative description of our
> memory using "resonance" in a dynamic net to revive previous "sympathetic"
> patterns. Highly intruiging and still pretty radical stuff.
> Ton

Again, so well put when comparing interference patterns or moiré, it reminds me
of when I first read of the examination of the deposits of "stickum" on the
horizontal portions of a spider's web. When examined under a microscope the
material was deposited in tiny lumps that appeared to be "exactly" the same
distance apart. Immediately, the entomologist started taking measurements,
trying to find something like our own "wrist to elbow or forefinger to nose"
measure that the spider might use to place the adhesive so precisely. Nothing
worked out, then, they watched the spider... She put one large lump of
adhesive on the horizontal section, then reached out and "twanged" the string!
Obeying the laws of physics, the horizontal "string" vibrated strictly in
accordance with its length, making the prerequisite "nodes and valleys."

The adhesive "collected" or reassembled where the string was essentially
"standing still," in the valleys. Thus, the measurements were just about as
precise as science (oops, the spider) could make them for the resultant drops
aligned along the horizontal web! Which is why I like to think of memes
"resonating," perhaps to some similar, sympathetic, beat. Poetic but
descriptive and a metaphor for something that is perhaps occurring when the
totality of the meme in situ is "excited" by access or association.

Well, I do get inspired by metaphor and alliteration and would remind you all
that the spots of adhesive were not "exactly" the same distance apart, but
"close enough for arachnid work."



Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Man is not in control, but the man who knows he is not in control is more in control...

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

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