Re: A more "sciency"-sounding mysticism.

Mark Mills (
Mon, 5 Apr 99 00:18:37 -0600

Subject: Re: A more "sciency"-sounding mysticism.
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 99 00:18:37 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>


>>I can only make sense of these semantic difficulties by using the notion
>>that all information is generated in the brain via sensual experience of
>>tokens. Nothing is transmitted in the sense of 'radiation,' we each
>>generate information/meaning independently based on biologically given
>>cognitive systems. Communication and thought are token processing
>The communication maybe but the 'thought' includes translation. I think the
>term 'token' is misleading in that it seems to miss the emotion content that
>IS the message.

Sorry, I take a hard line approach here. Emotional information is not
'radiated' from person to person. If you think it is 'radiated', please
tell me how.

'Emotional content' is simply another example of unconsciously processed
tokens. Tokens do not 'radiate' information, we sense and process them.
The emotional response is entirely generated in the receiver's brain.

If this is not so, please outline a process to accomplish the
'transmission' of emotional information. The only thing that comes to
mind is Extra-Sensory Perception. I wouldn't want to argue for that here.

>Many email fights result from readers projecting
>emotion onto a word or phrase since they do not get the 'full' data, it is
>often not precise enough.

This is a good example of my point. The complete range of emotional
response is generated by email. Was the email 'transmitting' the
sender's emotional state? In general, no. The emotional response is
almost always entirely generated on the receiver's side.

Flame wors are the result of mutual misunderstandings.

There is no such thing as 'full data.' There are only 'richer tokens.'
Email is a poor token, but face to face communication does not take
advantage of 'information radiation'. It simply relies on a wider array
of processing options. Email is almost entirely cognitive and has a very
slow feedback loop. Face-to-Face exchanges offer cognitive and
unconscious processing (body language, voice pitch, etc) opportunities.
Additionally, the feedback loop is very fast, allowing a host of
opportunities to confirm the appropriateness of response. Thus, email
requires the sender to be much more sophisticated if they are to produce
the intended emotional/cognitive response in the receiver.

I'm undoubtably doing a poor job of this, right now. The best I can say
is that my message is an example of the email's processing limitations.

>If we look at brain structure, ...

I don't disagree with your comments regarding brain structure. You are
basically agreeing with me that all the information (emotional/cognitive)
is generated inside the token receiver's head. Emotion is not
'transmitted' via some sort of radiation process. It is entirely
generated in the receiver's head from a combination of biologically
inherited resources and cultural training. In essence, this is often our
great strength. We are incredibly creative. We all generate/create our
entire information existence. Unfortunately, some people have limited
emotion IQ and are thus greatly disadvantaged.

>Vision studies show the SAME behaviour where in necker cubes, for example,
>the left jumps between two identifiable cubes and the right sees a complex
>line drawing. This suggests that the particular information processing is
>NOT restricted to one sense but is applied to all senses; we see a left side
>that seems to work using symmetry, oppositions, and stresses independence
>(objects bias)and self-containment. Androgynous. Archetypal bias. An
>emphasis on identification and so reductionism which also ties to a
>single-context form of processing.

Again, I have no problem with this. It leads the next question, 'how
does our body pass such sophisticated neural process abilities via a set
of OFRs (open reading frames) for protein creation?'

In brief, I don't believe OFRs are up to the task. I think biological
neural networks use self-organization, neural level coding and a mix of
learned/inherited response capabilities to produce high fidelity
'cultured' descendants. And, I don't mean human culture, I mean all
social behavior in all animals. The coding is memetic.

>>If one starts with this perspective, the first question is this: 'how do
>>we distinguish individual tokens from the vast spectrum of experience.'
>Left brain processing, from neocortex down through the hippocampus, is a
>waypoint mapping system and ideally suited to process precision in the form
>of words/symbols, your 'tokens'.

I'm sorry. My question was poorly worded. I was not addressing the
'processing' question, which your reply seeks to answer.

Perhaps my question would have been better stated as "How do we inherit
the ability to distinguish individual tokens from the vast spectrum of
experience?" It is here that the memetics comes up and this is a
memetics discussion.

>>You allude to this problem with your examples of different cultural
>>classification systems. Clearly, we have a wide variety of options.
>We don't. The base categorization for the whole species is

I agree that the base categorization for the whole species, and possibly
the whole animal kingdom, is object/relationships. The options I refer
to are cultural variations on how to recognize objects/relationships.

>Tokenisation is objectification and that is a left-brain process BUT it has
>a root in the right in that the summing of emotional patterns elicits a
>sense of particular 'meaning' that is 'given birth' in the form of
>transformation from a set of patterns (right) to an encapsulating word

Great. I agree. This is all going on in the token receiver's head,
though. It doesn't change the fact that we, as humans, are simply
evaluating an entirely meaningless sensual experience. Token's don't
exist outside our cognitive processes. We tokenize our rich but
undifferentiated experience via our neural inheritance and cultural
training. This allows us to act appropriately in the evolutionary

>>Additionally, I'd include the biological oddities of language
>>acquisition. Language is not taught but assimilated independently by
>>children. All children can create creole from their linguistic
>Which includes the use of flash cards linked to sounds and so a 1:1 training
>favouring objectification.

Few children learn to speak via flash cards. A variety situations lead
to 'special' education that might lead to operant training, but this is
more likely 'verbalization' then reward style teaching.

I'm not including reading in my statement that 'language is not taught.'
Reading is sometimes picked up by assimilation, but this seems to be very
exceptional. Unlike the vast majority who learn to speak without
instruction, the majority require instruction to acquire reading skills.

>>It seems fairly clear from all this data that our biology grants us both
>>an inherited classification 'ability' and the flexibility to configure
>>the talent in a wide variety of ways.
>...except that initial context sets the tone/colour for all that follows and
>so we can experience 'illusions' if these initial distinctions are not

I agree. I'm not sure I would use the term 'correct,' but I'll agree with
the sense I think you intend. I believe the data on language acquisition
shows that age determined windows of opportunity exist for language
acquisition. If the required stimulation does not occur, specific
linguistic powers cannot be acquired. This is particularly problematic
if the lost opportunity related to a foundational skill for future
cognitive/linguistic abilities.

> Additionally, it seems all
>>primates have an inherited capacity for tokenizing their sensual

>Chicks seem to have this but at a *very* general level, suggesting it is a
>property of all lifeforms that untilise feedback processes as part of their
>identification methods.


>>The silly exercise of reading a list of colors (red, blue, pink, etc)
>>printed in colored ink different than the word's meaning demonstrates how
>>unconscious our tokenizing process operates...
>There are some who fail totally at this and it is they who the test is
>designed for. The test confuses context and single context individuals can
>find it difficult since they cannot 'entangle' the differences.

Thanks. If you can point me to a website on this, I'd appreciate the
help. Also, I appreciate the comment on sight restoration.

>>Not all experience is tokenized unconsciously...
>Music can sneak-in under the conscious tokenisation process to elicit
>feelings 'unexpectedly' but this is a property of any waveform, the ability
>to pass through barriers un-noticed. There is this another method of
>communication that we do not see much of, it is based on resonance.

I'll claim these are examples of AM and FM style tokenization. Again,
music 'radiates' or 'transmits' zero information. The frequency or
amplitude modulations of music are identified as distinct tokens at an
unconscious level and often produce emotional responses which appear

Again, all meaning is generated internally, within the neural system
sensing the experience. No 'meaning' is radiated by the music or the

>>Getting back to the nature of 'genes' and their relationship with the
>>term 'abstraction,' I view DNA as a 'token' and Open-Reading-Frames (OFR)
>>or genes as messages on the token. By messages, I suggest my lack of
>>ease in tokenizing the patterns that DNA expresses.
>I see RNA as the token. DNA is the repository of relationships that make-up
>'the one'.

Like you said, we understand the world in terms of objects and
relationships. RNA is certainly a token, but so is a strand of DNA.
Calling DNA a 'repository of relationships' just muddles our
conversation. What is a 'repository of relationships'? Do you mean to
imply some magical, extra-physical properties exist for DNA? Something
that allows DNA to contain 'relationships'?, to be both object and

>My emphasis is that the nonoverlapping bias is a bias to objects, to bound
>forms and I suggest that this is linked to the serial-biases linking of
>memories by the hippocampus that works in 200ms 'frames' and so 'forces' the
>presence of a boundary [forces 'jumps']. The overlapping emphasis stresses
>pattern detection processes in trying to blend-in/stick-out from the
>context, the background."

Again, I have no problem with this. This describes how our neural system
works. I'm addressing the memetics conversation here, though. As I
understand it, we are working to better understand a 'non-genetic'
replicator called 'memes' to assist our developing understanding of
cultural evolution. Thus, I'm generally looking at the way various
proposed constructs for 'meme' work at the borderlines between cognition
and genetics, and between cognition and culture. My bias seems to be be
more interested in the genetic-memetics relationship, but I am motivated
by an initial interest in cultural evolution.

For me, this leads to an interest in how we inherit the abilities you
describe so well. As I pointed out above, I doubt this can all be
attributed to OFRs (genes). A second set of code, memes, seems a useful.
IMHO, this code is found in the neural network configuration.

I'm interested in how you use the term meme and how it relates to your
obvious interest in cognition.


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