Re: Meme Machine

Chris Lees (
Fri, 9 Apr 1999 22:52:41 +0100

Message-Id: <l03110700b33422524c6c@[]>
In-Reply-To: <v02140b09b334163275fd@[]>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 22:52:41 +0100
From: Chris Lees <>
Subject: Re: Meme Machine

Reed wrote:

>>The zen analogy might be the Antarctic, rather than the U.S.
>>What happens when the polity is empty, and there is no reason
>>to do anything. When all pressures and influences are suspended.

>Anarchic, not Antarctic?

Hee,hee. Yup, I like that ; and Noam Chomsky is one of my favourite
thinkers,but more seriously...

>A lot of meditation is in just letting the thoughts pass before
>silence. But I don't think that the memes (or whatever)
>disappear becuase when meditation is over, one doesn't

That's very true,Reed. Just watching the thoughts come and go, without
any interference, is the beginner's practice. To go further, one needs to
develop an incredibly powerful focus of concentration. That takes time,
like building up muscle in weight training. Then, with that tool, one can
go further. There are many stages, or grades, but eventually one reaches
a level where no thoughts appear. Going further again, memory cannot
enter, so one cannot take any concept of 'self' beyond that stage, nor
can one retrieve memories, in quite the ordinary way. What remains, is
pure consciousness, and a (trained) will, to 'steer' that point of

I was fascinated by Mario's letter to Nature on the subject. It's an intriguing
hypothesis. I would agree, roughly, that the 'switched off' thinking allows a
return to a kind of 'animal consciousness'. I'll have to think about that idea
a lot more, but I congratulate Mario for an original and stimulating line.
However, we aren't quite 'animals' are we. What happens, when a
sophisticated human consciousness 'occupies' that 'animal consciouness
space' ? What might one - hypothetically - expect the quality of that
to be like ?

(Apologies for not replying directly to your post, Mario. I'm on the wrong
computer, and responding from memory here)


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