Re: information transmission (fwd)

Mark Mills (
Wed, 17 Mar 99 09:07:44 -0600

Subject: Re: information transmission (fwd)
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 99 09:07:44 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>


>...the fact of the matter is, that the
>information you speak of is also nothing but tokens (I think
>this is Dennett's line).

Basically. My hypothesis is fairly simple. Information is an attribute
of a token. The token and it's information cannot be separated. They
are unitary. Thus, there is 'nothing but tokens.' One cannot get
'information' independently of some token.

>That is to say, the mother doesn't
>actually have the "experience" of the burnt finger in her
>head, all she has is a token (a memory) of it. She can
>encode this token into a transmittable form (pictures,
>language, acting out the scenario), and depending on how she
>encodes it (and which way the wind's blowing, so to speak)
>the baby will get the idea (literally).

Not the idea, only the token.

>It might be a token
>useful enough for the baby never to get its finger burned,
>but on this interpretation, it isn't the experience of the
>burnt finger the baby has in its head, just a token of it.


This brings up the important problem of 'inherited knowledge.' For this
process to work, the baby must be born with some ability to interpret
tokens in a useful way for both mother and baby. If the baby cannot
'properly' interpret the tokens, everyone becomes unhappy. Problems may
exist in the 'sensing' capabilities (blindness or deafness), but they may
also exist on the psychological level (autism). If autism exists, there
might be a lack of 'inherited' knowledge or a lack of focus (baby doesn't
know to focus on momma).

Thus, the token model of information flow requires a substantial amount
of inherited knowledge to provide a foundation for our consciousness to

With this in mind, I'll claim we inherit memes. They are not transmitted
from person to person. We are born with them. As we mature, our memes
are molded by our experiences.


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Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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