Re:Meme Machine

joe dees (
Thu, 08 Apr 1999 21:04:06 -0400

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re:Meme Machine
From: "joe dees" <>
Date: Thu, 08 Apr 1999 21:04:06 -0400

At Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:53:14 -0400, you wrote:
>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.
I disagree, Reed, and this is why: for memes to exist, the host species must be capable not only of performing, but also of transmitting and receiving, noninstinctual behavior. This requires the creation of a multiplicity of noninstinctual technologies and methodologies(to have behavior to transmit and receive) and a multiplicity of noninstinctual languages with which to transmit them. For there to be a multiplicity of either, they must be arbitrary; i.e. noninstinctual and individual (where instinctual signals and behaviors are species-generic, that is, they panspecifically occur). They must also possess a sufficient degree of complexity, of both vocabulary (language) and technique (technology) that multiple cooperating and competing behaviors (both somatic and verbal) may provide an evolutionary environment rich and diverse enough for the Darwinian mutations and selections to occur. I cannot see this happening in any unprogrammed creature which has not breached the Gode!
lian neural limits beyond which self-awareness (as well as the ability to consistently identify and assign individual characteristics and histories to multiple others based upon experience and memory) may emerge.
>>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
>This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
>Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
>For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan, Philosopher

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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)