Re: Parody of Science

Chris Lofting (
Sun, 15 Aug 1999 22:21:29 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Parody of Science
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 22:21:29 +1000


-----Original Message-----
From: Dale Fletter <>
To: '' <>
Date: Sunday, 15 August 1999 12:12
Subject: RE: Parody of Science

>Yes, you are correct that don't want to engage in an extended debate into
>whether or not there is non-memetic behavior. I would rather posit that
>there is behavior that is memetic and behavior that is non-memetic simply
>because I am not in trying to come up with a grand unified theory of
>memetics as my introduction to the topic. I believe that there is behavior
>that is above memetic, more on the order of chaotic behavior and behavior
>that is below memetic such as reflexive or genetically instinctual
>behavior. I am open to the possibility that these may indeed be judged to
>be memetic but that is not where I spend most of my time thinking about
>memetics. While the question might be simple but I find the justification
>for the grand unified theory a daunting challenge and one that I am not
>interested in pursuing.

I dont see any real problem with a unified theory since the genotype of
theory making is well understood; the theories are phenotypes for the 'gene'
that is in the form of object/relationships distinctions applied

The distinction of memetic/genetic guarantees that you will eventually

(1) Seemingly 'pure' genetics
(2) Seemingly 'pure' memetics
(3) a universe that emerges from the 'middle' of these in that the 'pure'
emphasis maps to the neurologically-based concepts of A from NOT A and the
entanglement of these concepts leads us into A AND NOT A concepts; both/and
states (or inclusive either/or states) rather than exclusive either/or

This universe is archetypal and to each archetype you can apply the SAME
methodology and so a complexity/chaotic system of development where
phenotypes become genotypes for the next level of development. The
application of the same method reflects feedback processes that lead to the
emergence of (3) from the 'middle' of (1) AND (2).

Our neurology/psychology, when we categorise, will filter data into two
fundamental classes, objects and relationships. WHAT is an
object/relationship is a 50/50 bet, your intent will determine what you see
by setting the context for analysis. Resonance, correspondance, between
theory and reality will then determine if the theory has value but not
necessarily if the theory is 'true' in an objective sense; zoom-out into
space and the 'truth' of the 'flat earth' disappears.

>As another more specific example, I look to language for suggestions as to
>where my thoughts go. Language is after all a complex behavior and one
>which has both genetic and learned components. Chomsky talks of deep
>structures in the brain which would be genetically determined but which are
>insufficient of themselves to create language. Early childhood experiences
>set brain patterns that last a lifetime and cannot be duplicated by later
>exposure to the same stimuli. While the information that results in the
>meme may be the same to both a child and an adult, the meme can be
>implanted in the child but not in the adult. The adult can modify its
>behavior, ie learn a different language, and even cause the language gene
>to be transmitted to their child yet that is different than the more
>natural method of language transmission from one generation to the next.

The Deep Structure is in the form of sensory patterns that elicit emotional
patterns that language then labels; but language is illusion in that it is
the emotional pattern BEHIND the words that are *generally* invarient across
the species; Deep Structure is not some general term, Deep Structure HAS a
structure and that structure is founded on sensory system preferences for
determining text from context, foreground from background. It seems that at
the neurologial level of the brain the sensory system preferences have been
abstracted into a general structure for information processing and this
general structure is then particularised; thus the geneotype/phenotype
analogy applicable to the deep/surface structure concepts of Chomsky.

>I could argue for both a memetic or non-memetic interpretation for
>intra-generational slang.

IF you did all you would be doing is expressing a particular phenotype for a
geneotype; this being due to the 'fact' that you have created a dichotomy -
memetic vs NON memetic ;-) the idea is to understand the geneotype better
and from that determine all of the phenotypes derivable from contextual
demands on expression.

Children will do things with language for the
>express purpose of differentiating themselves from their parents. However I
>find a qualitative difference between what these pre-adolescents do with
>language and the effects of imprinting on the formative brain that become
>more permanently part of that person. Both memes that are held in the
>brain? Perhaps one at a deeper level that is harder to displace and one at
>a more shallow level that can be knocked out by a later or stronger meme?
>What do you think?
>re: stock markets and ships--to speak of these inanimate objects as having
>human qualities is poetic anthropomorphism.

No it isnt. The Stock Market is founded on the fundamental dichotomy of
profit/loss and the recursive analysis of this dichotomy applied over time.
The Stock Market reflects dichotomous thinking, understand the properties of
the thinking and you get a good general picture of the market forces at work
as well as how humans get a sense of meaning from anything.

It is discriptive and
>communicates ideas about these objects yet stock markets and ships
>themselves have no equivalent of a genome no less a (memome? I forgot the
>correct term). However there is a constellation of memes that cause the
>human society to build ships and participate in stock markets. This however
>is very different.
>re: Websters, brain function and behavior--at its crudest level, a
>brain/body system is a finite state machine that creates outputs that
>depend upon the combination of current state and input.

There is a feedback process involved. Fundamental neurology (the 'genotypal'
class) is very stimulus/response. 'pure' programming prior to expression.
Feedback is in the form of survival -- survival is the ONLY consideration
and this is survival of generations, the species as a whole, not survival of
the individual.

What develops from this 'pure' form is a 'mixed' form where feedback from
the context is used in realtime to change expression and so increase the
chances of survival, now the individual can make changes that enhance
survival within the individual's lifetime.

Neurologically we are looking at a system that is stimulus/considered
response oriented. Sensry data connects to dendrites but this connections
also include internal feedback -- memories. The combination of internal with
external (another dichotomy) leads to axon firings or inhibitions of firing.

The fundamental patterns that come from these processes are determined by
neurotransmitters/neurmodulators and it is here that complexity/chaos comes
into it in that the dynamics of biochemical processes allow for the
emergence of 'patterns of meaning'.

The output that can
>be observed by another is behavior. The current state is a combination of
>genetic wiring and learned behavior

In other words, dichotomous ;-) the entanglement of genes with hormones
(general invarient with varient) creates patterns that will then structure
and so control/direct behaviour. The characteristics of these general
patterns are predictable at the general level, there will be local

ie. neural connections. Regardless of
>how you want to define these things for everyday language, for memetics
>this is the starting point unless you want to bring metaphysics into play
>which reaches beyond what I consider science. Do you see it differently?
>What I was casually refering to as higher brain function (an admittedly
>loose term) was just to make a distinction between behavior we might find
>in another species from what we might see in humans.

The concept of 'objects' and of 'truth' and of 'logic' etc etc etc seems to
be tracable back to our reptilian cousins using waypoint mapping to find
their way around their territory. There is a primitive emotion that is
experienced as a feeling of 'correct' or 'in correct' that has been traced
to our left hemisphere of our neocortex. This hemisphere is an abstraction
of the RAS system, that part of our brain we share with reptiles. Inbetween
the RAS and the neocortex is the limbic system that is the first example of
hemisphere formation where more complex emotions emerge (linked to the
amygdala which, BTW, operates dichotomously using fight/flight as the seed
for the emergence (from the middle) of more 'refined' emotions.

Waypoint mapping is where we identify locations and so map from one location
to the next to get our destination -- A to B to C to Z to G etc etc At the
primitive level the only experience is that of 'correct point' vs 'incorrect
point' plus an internal compass used to determine where to point to the next

We see this at work in mammals (e.g. in the hippocampus activities of rats
running mazes). In humans we see the implication of this when the
hippocampus is damaged; you can no longer link memory frames together for
storage, you can RECALL old memories but lose new ones.

This primitive emotion seems to be the source for the abstract notion of
syntax and its EITHER/OR, TRUE/FALSE nature introduces abstract concepts
such as OBJECTS and the concept of the EXCLUDED MIDDLE which we find in

Again, this is not to
>suggest that a good memetic theory might not include other species, only
>that it is outside the scope of my interest to have an opinion that I care
>to argue.

If you review some of the literature of memory and the processing of
information in mammals, reptiles etc there is a pattern of information
processing that favours the object/relationships distinctions combined with
the text/context distinctions. It is as if we are dealing with music in that
the relationships are seen as harmonics, the object is the 'song' or the
tonic, the key. It is single context, fundamentalist, like the RAS and the
object concept.

In Steven Rose's analysis of chick data processing, they seem to respond to
harmonics when in danger, if something does them harm (e.g. a red food) they
take note of the redness (an aspect of the object, the food) and will not
touch anything with that colour regardless of the fact that everythingelse
may be different (shape etc) This lasts for a number of hours.

We see this same process in humans but here it is the right brain, the
context sensitive, feedback oriented part of our brain that processes these
harmonics and these harmonics elicit refined patterns of emotion well beyond
the reptilian 'correct/incorrect' and since emotion has a resonance factor
(e.g. sympathy, empathy) so you have here a tool for getting inside the mind
of other members of the species; you structure the message properly and the
message will 'ring true'; here is the source of memetic concepts.



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