Re: causation and control (was JCS: Of memes and witchcraft)

Robin Faichney (
Tue, 1 Jun 1999 13:49:51 +0100

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 13:49:51 +0100
From: Robin Faichney <>
Subject: Re: causation and control (was JCS: Of memes and witchcraft)
In-Reply-To: <>

In message <>, Hans-Cees Speel
<> writes
>> Trying to bring this back on track: if control is just a matter of
>> negative feedback, and there's nothing mystical about it, I see no
>> reason why memes or memeplexes shouldn't be capable of it.
>> --
>> Robin Faichney
>Could you give an example of that then? How can a memeplex
>have control ?

I think the mistake is to view such things as essentially passive. As
I've argued here before, the active/passive distinction is relative, not
absolute. Anything that constitutes or includes the "information" leg
of a negative feedback loop can legitimately be considered to have
control over that system.

Take an evangelical religion: the belief system (memeplex) is structured
so that adherents who go out evangelising feel good -- they're doing
God's will, exposing themselves to the slings and arrows of the
unbelievers, proving their own faith. While those who, for whatever
reason, are not doing "their fair share" of the missionary work, will
tend to feel guilty. Looks like control to me!

Robin Faichney
Visit The Conscious Machine at

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