Re: Of memes and witchcraft

Chris Lofting (
Tue, 25 May 1999 13:57:49 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Of memes and witchcraft
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 13:57:49 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin Faichney <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, 25 May 1999 4:45
Subject: JCS: Of memes and witchcraft


>Memetics can only become quantitative if memes can be precisely defined and
>this is difficult. Units of information can be defined adequately but, as
>the failures of AI projects show, units of meaning present insuperable (so
>far) problems,

I do not think this is the case these days. We have enough information from
current neurological research to develop a model of information processing
that includes units of 'meaning'. This is very rough but it gives us the
foundations for further work.

At the fundamental levels, our neurology processes information by making the
distinctions of objects from relationships. Objects can then be seen as
wholes or parts and relationships can be seen as static or dynamic.

With these fundamental distinctions we then add the distinction of
foreground/background which is synonymous with the concept of
positive/negative as well as text/context.

Research suggests that, in the neocortex, the distinctions of
objects/relationships is manifest in the asymmetry we find in the left and
right hemispheres with the left being more object prone and so emphasising
the 'point', the 'one', and the right being more relationships prone and
emphasising the field, 'the many'.

My own analysis of the way we categorise (influenced by wondering how it was
that people still found meaning in the esoteric -- Astrology, Witchcraft etc
etc despite what Science was doing) suggests that tied to the words of
'object', 'wholes', 'parts', 'static relationships' etc etc were patterns of
emotion that we can specifically identity:

When we use the term 'whole', linked to it is a feeling of blending, of
becoming (or unbecoming) 'one'.
When we use the term 'parts', linked to it is a feeling of bounding, of
making a distinction of 'this' from 'that' within a context of a 'whole'.
When we use the term 'static (aka invarient) relationships', linked to it is
a feeling of bonding, of forming a tie between two objects that will not
change over time.
When we use the term 'dynamic relationships', linked to it is the feeling of
binding, of forming a tie that can change over time and this includes
removal of the tie.

We add to these the text/context distinction and this gives us eight
fundamental units of 'meaning' that exist in all members of the species and
so allows us to communicate through resonance in that 'behind' the words,
which are manifestations of 'free will', are these patterns and it is these
patterns that allow us to make analogies across disciplines.

It is the recursive use of the primitives that enables one to move from a
very general 'meaning' to a very refined 'meaning' and once a level of
meaning has been established you cannot go back; you have lost your
'innocence' and so this 'new' level of meaning becomes the starting point
for any further analysis, it becomes the context. (There is the strong
suggestion that we are looking at complexity at work with the basic
'fractal' being a 1:many symbolism of object:relationship(s))

The root of all categorisations seems to be based on the recursive use of
dichotomisations, distinctions of A from ~A which can be as a 1:1, 1:many,
many:1, or many:many considerations, although the 'normal' form seems to be
1:many with the others being variations on this theme.

In esoteric areas the emphasis has been on the distinctions of elements in
the form of two dichotomies, fire/water and earth/air and all else emerges
from this. (BTW these are very elemental, earth/air captures the play of
wholes as negative/positive aka contract/expand, whereas fire/water emerge
from the 'mixing' of earth/air and so symbolise 'parts', bounding. Refined
relational concepts do not emerge until we go deeper)

The point is that Science and Mathematics also utilises these same
distinctions but with different words and the fundamantal types of numbers
'fit' to the above object/relationship mappings:

Wholes -- whole numbers (zoom-in and we find the same pattern again, objects
in the form of prime numbers and relationships in the form of composite

Parts -- rational numbers (all members of the harmonic series)

Static Relationships -- irrational numbers (summing of parts to bring-out a

Dynamic Relationships -- imaginary numbers (cyclic/morphic changes --

ALL disciplines are metaphors/symbolisms for the neurology's distinctions of
objects/relationships. People can find in the esoteric the same levels of
'meaning' and 'truth' as are found in Science and Mathematics, but the
advantage of the latter is the syntax link which emphasises
'correct'/'incorrect' and this is the quantitative area compared to the
sorting of information by qualitative distinctions that loses 'causality'.

Here is my current list of associations/traits of the left/right
hemispheres. These influence our determination of 'meaning' and as such can
be hard-coded into AI systems since they are hard-coded in us:

particular -- general
object -- relationship
independence -- dependence
jumps -- continuum
text -- context
tonic -- harmonic
EITHER/OR thinking -- BOTH/AND thinking
particle -- wave
precision -- approximation
quantity -- quality
lead -- support
point -- field
tangent -- area
archetypal (rigid structure) -- typal (flexibility)
the theme -- variations on a theme
permanence -- change
conservative -- liberal
reductionist -- illusionsist
totalist -- aspectualist
to identify (clarity) -- to re-identify (confuse, exagerate or play-down)
meitosis (self-replication) -- meiosis (sexual diversity)
literal -- metaphor/symbolisms
Tai Chi -- Yin/Yang

The entanglement of these is expressed as 'mind', as 'us' where hardware
(neurons), firmware (hormones), and software (nurture) lead to variations on
these general themes. Note of course that as we zoom-in to elements on the
right so they can be seen as objects in their on right and so are seen as
'left' (and visa versa. The general method of analysis is object(text) and
relationships(context)) At each level of analysis so the SAME mapping is

What is noteworthy here is the 'jumps' of the left associatable with the
left bias to object processing. This leads us to the process of linking the
'objects'. AS you read this email so you are 'jumping' the spaces inbetween
the words. The hippocampus of rats has been observed doing this in
realtime -- A to B to X to Z etc etc this is 'way-point' mapping.

IF we look at the functioning of the RNA/DNA relationship in humans, so the
mRNA is the *whole* gene made-up of a cut-n-paste job applied to all of the
relationships stored in the DNA -- we sum these to help 'create' a whole and
the marker of identification is the 'point' in the left.

I think you can see from the above a possible source for developing a sense
of 'meaning' in AI systems..

For refs and further reading see the website.



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