Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 21:49:55 EST
Subject: 'memes' vs. 'things'
In response to my 'e-reaction protocols' post,
>In the context of your post, what is an 'instinct'?
In return I would ask you, what 'is' a "concept"?
But, my 'answer' to your question also encompasses my reaction to the "is a
meme, or a gene, a 'thing'?" question. Bringing the mighty resources of my
limited 'hobbyist' self-education to bear, I submit that what we reference
with our language as 'things' cannot be more than aspects of our sensory
'experience', which is (apparently) our nervous system's _reaction(s)_ to
('abstractions' from, in GS terms) external environmental physical
impingements upon its 'mechanical' structure, i.e. stimuli.
I submit that a system's interaction with its physical environment depends
upon the structural configuration of the system, e.g. that of the human body-
and-nervous system, as well as that of its physical environment. I assume at
this time (based on the reported scientific findings I am familiar with) that
'instincts' are very basic 'hard-wired' configurations of an organism's
nervous system (or its "experiential reaction neurocircuitry
configuration"/ERNC) which emerge from its particular genetic 'blueprint',
i.e. that it is "born with". I also propose, however, that evolution has
endowed the human nervous system with a relatively highly developed ability to
configure its own ERNC to a considerable (but not unlimitted) degree via its
ability to 'imagine', or in your words, 'conceptualize' future experiential
sequences based on the 'replay' and associative 'cross-referencing' of
'memorized' experience-reaction sequences. I suggest that an 'incidental'
capability of this faculty has proved to be our ability to 'experientially
simulate' (or 'imagine') "abstract ideas" which may be multi-level
abstractions from the original sensory experiences, i.e. 'abstractions' from
our 'abstractions', etc....
As far as 'memes' and 'things' go, which aspects of our experience we choose
to refer to as 'things' is our decision. I subscribe, at this time, to the
'process' view of the universe, that it is a configuration of 'pure process'/
'motion' (or as Mr. Spock or A.E. might say, "pure energy"). I do not
subscribe to the Cartesian "mind vs. matter" (i.e. 'spiritual realm' vs.
'realm of little, hard, irreducible beads called atoms') model. I expect us
to find what we call 'consciousness' to be an 'energy pattern' which is
'emergent' from the combined and 'self-organized' activities of specific
physical configurations of myriad 'atoms'/'molecules'/'cells' in reaction to
external physical environmental interactions with their combined structure,
and which they, in turn, interact with, as a constituent of. 'Memes', as well
as 'genes', are 'simply' sub-patterns in this overall 'pattern-making-
Chris Turner 1-25-98
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