Re: New meme-ber!

Robert G. Grimes (
Tue, 08 Jun 1999 18:43:07 -0400

Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 18:43:07 -0400
From: "Robert G. Grimes" <>
Subject: Re: New meme-ber!

In my previous discussions of "spirit or spirituality," etc., which have arisen
when discussing any complex questions involving relationships, especially with
younger people, I have used analogies of dynamic relationships to show why
people tend to acquire or accept "non physical or spiritual concepts."

Usually it involves using something like a needle, thread, and some cloth.
There is no difficulty in the observer thinking of any or all of these things
as physical (or "organic" if there is a living thing or product involved). But
the minute a person picks up the needle, thread and cloth and commences
"sewing," which is a complex relationship between the elements (including the
seamstress) one has an "element" that consists entirely of the relationship
between the physical/organic things. When the "sewing" stops, the existence of
the element disappears, is not apparent, even though the physical relationship
between the original elements has changed, i.e., the cloth has been altered
some fashion and all the other elements are still present.

It is the temporal/abstract aspect of relational elements that appears to
confuse the observer (or the speaker) when talking about such relationships.
The sewing disappears, but the remaining elements bear the marks. Such is not
always the case if one will use a similar example of a person and a bicycle.
One usually has no difficulty of recognizing the materiality of the person and
the bicycle as separate elements but when the person commences to "ride" the
bicycle and produce the relationship of "cycling," then we again have something
represented only by the relationship of the physical elements that disappears
when the relationship ceases.

Thus, when an observer looks only at an "organic" or living element they can
immediately see that there is something "other" than the bone, skin, bodily
fluids, etc., and that what we may call "life or living" is involved. Again,
something that is not really visible or which only exists temporally as a
relationship between the other material parts and which "disappears" when the
organism dies.

Now obviously, this is an over simplification and can stand reshaping but it is
very effective when dealing with such questions from others. They can
immediately see that the "spiritual" aspects of the world involve these
relationships of material things which, when involved in more complex
relationships, retain their physicality but their respective relationships are
changed, perhaps permanently, perhaps improved, perhaps just altered, but the
new relationship involved a temporal thing, i.e., the interaction or dynamic
relationship, that eventually "disappeared."

We can "label" these interactions of material things when done on something
like an orderly basis as "spiritual, living, conscious," etc., etc., but it
simply means that the label stands for some relationship between the elements
that one can observe during some processes but which eventually disappear when
the relationship ceases (when the sewing stops or the organism dies, or other
varied complex relationships cease, etc.). It is this ability to cerebrally
handle the labels which normally represent "something" when referencing
elements but represent only "relationships" when dealing with the interactions
between the elements, i.e., sewing, living, metabolizing, cycling, being,
etc., where the problem of "misidentification" of labels occurs.

Additionally, one may do a mind experiment involving a binary operation of a
relay, explaining the distinction of "off" and "on" when the relay is open or
closed. One can then utilize the switch principle to have "something" occur
from the switch being closed. Everyone can understand that on a solely
physical basis (usually) but multiply the relays by 10,000 or some other
complex figure, and the resultant operation, in toto, cannot be conceived,
practically, especially if they are operated on an irregular basis, even if
each separate function is easily understood by the simple binary or "off and
on" principle. Again, if the totality is complex, one can easily posit a
"force" or "spirit" accomplishing some complex feat because of the
interrelationships and changes, even though basically binary and simple, are
just too complex for one to follow.

Thus, I've tried to explain "spirituality" or "mysticism" to children and had
them satisfied that nothing exists other than the relationships of the physical
elements and that what they or others may call "spirit" or "life," etc., is
simply another complex activity involving the interrelationship of the elements
such that, even though it is simple, is temporal and complex, and therefore
easy to "fool" one into thinking something else is involved because the
"relationships" are not "visible" nor "lasting" even though the results may be
effectively long lasting.

There is nothing "wrong" with using such labels as long as one realizes the
label represents that dynamic, temporal, relationship between the physical
parts and, thus, is difficult to "freeze."

This has little to do, of course, with memes or memetics, but simply with the
organic abilities or tendencies of our cellular and neural makeup working on a
process of "abstraction" when "sensing" and subsequently "effecting" in
response. Naturally, when one then posits the existence of the submicroscopic
or particulate/vibratory energy form of physicality, and the immensity of
complex relationships taking place on a definitely mechanical, chemical, and/or
force field basis, etc., the simplistic solution of reading into such a myriad
of "activity" or relationships a "spiritual" or "prime mover" concept is not at
all difficult to understand. Anyway, it worked for my friends and children...

I hope that this was not too utterly simplistic for this discussion...



> Rich & Linda Speel wrote:
> >
> > Hello from California,
> > I joined this list recently by chance of searching for relatives on the
> > web. The thread of this list-'memes'-makes some sense to me, because
> > people learn from their environment as well as their genetic disposition,
> > which to me are not separate realities. But, I think language has its
> > limitations to express why people do what they do. How do others on this
> > list acknowledge 'spirit' as an influence on life? I don't think
> > consciousness is just a chemical occurence, but is connected through the
> > nature of 'being'.
> >
> > I look forward to seeing this conversation continue.
> >
> > Peace,
> > Rich
> >
> > ===============================================================
> > 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)
> > see:
> ===============================================================
> 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)
> see:

Bob Grimes Jacksonville, Florida

Man is not in control, but the man who knows he is not in control is more in control...

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore....."

=============================================================== 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) see: