Re: reality and other memes

Mon, 12 Apr 1999 10:30:58 GMT

Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 10:30:58 GMT
From: UEA <>
Subject: Re: reality and other memes

Robin wrote:

Another point, while we're on the subject: Sue Blackmore
cannot really
view the self as an illusion, because she does not believe
memeplexes to
be illusory. Now, the self-as-other-than-memeplex thing, of
course, is
another matter. (Though it's a meme too. Hmmm...)

I guess way back when this discussion started I should have
been a bit more specific. It's not really the self itself
that is the illusion in Blackmore's terms (after all, you
are right to point out that she thinks it's a memeplex - and
memeplexes aren't illusory). What is the illusion in her
view is the idea of control or the self as the agent. In her
view the memes are the agents. Both the Meme machine and
Consciousness Explained by Dennett seek to substantiate this
Dennett calls the illusion of agency the "benign
user-illusion", but Blackmore disagrees, claiming that the
illusion isn't even benign - it's pernicious in that our
memes are deceiving us into thinking we have control. This
is where Blackmore's call for Zen comes in: if we can just
relax and let things happen to us, our lives would be a lot
I am currently trying to tackle why Dennett thinks his
position doesn't degenerate into determinism (I've certainly
not done his position enough justice here). But Blackmore
is quite happy to be called deterministic - I find her
position a bit too conspiracy theorist if you ask me, but
maybe that's just the way I've presented it here.

cheers, alex rousso.

p.s. why is richard being so modest lately? He's beginning
to scare me ;-)

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