Meme Machine

Reed Konsler (
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:53:14 -0400

Message-Id: <v02140b07b3328c27479a@[]>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:53:14 -0400
From: (Reed Konsler)
Subject: Meme Machine

Joe Dees:
>It ain't the same, Reed. Animals are under the rubric of
>evolution by natural selection because they are predominantly
>governed by species-specific instincts, while we have, through
>self-awareness, gained the capacity to transcend them.

We have trancended our genetic programming. How we did
so is an open question. The conclusion that it was via self
awareness is one explaination. The alternative would be that
we are hosts to memes which evolve and interact with our
genes. The concept of "self" may have arisen much later.
Dennett claims that this is so. McLuhan declared that there
were no individuals before the phonetical alphabet. I offer
these two as examples of the range of thinkers which have
concluded that ideas came first, and selves followed.

>We, who have evolved to the point of recursive
>consciousness, evolved to the point where we are
>programmed to transcend our programming, may
>plan, create and assert an amazing degree of
>individuality, freedom and choice, and the selection
>pressures that matter with us are as different as our
>responses may be.

Yes. But to understand how these things occur at
any deep level we may have to give up the idea
that there is some "self" in there doing the decision
making and look for an alternative, mechanistic

>There is nothing approaching a generic human.
>Our selves are not things, but they are nevertheless

Our selves are real things, but they are not necessarily
in control. Nor are they necessarily the best place
to begin an inquiry into the processes of the mind.


Reed Konsler

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