Author Topic: No strings attached freedom  (Read 21761 times)

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #75 on: December 10, 2008, 04:25:56 pm »
Some scientific type really ought to nail the concept of memetics down soon because it's fast becoming a really wooly terminology and it deserves better.

The way I see it we have a root "I am" which isn't really a meme or a memeplex as much as a seed or hook where the rest attaches or grows from.

The memes themselves I see as functioning like cells in a body. I don't think any of our psychology "software" is composed of anything that could not be described in terms of a meme or memeplex so the whole "is memes all we are?" argument breaks down along the same lines as "is cells all our bodies are?", in that the meta-result of all these little units acting in concert is something much more than the sum of its parts.

The realisation that you, in the "I am" sense are a program, full of buggy, glitchy subroutines and all sorts of malware and spam can be a bit of a shock to the system and certainly fucks with the whole "freedom" thing in a huge way but do not underestimate the power of the "I am" core - pretty much any meme or set of memes can be deleted or modified, by greater or lesser act of will. The key is to take an active role in deciding which parts you want to keep and which parts you want to get rid of.

That's freedom to me. Freedom to, quite literally, make my own mind up. Any other freedom, freedom to act in x or y fashion are all restricted, whether that be by the machinations of other men or the laws of physics. After all society may grant me the freedom to flap my arms but it's a conspiracy of gravity and biology that denys me the freedom to fly.

Free thinking is the only practical freedom that we can possibly aspire to. And, low and behold, it's the one freedom that seems to be the most under siege in this year of our imaginary friend, two thousand and eight.



A fair amount has been written on memetics, but the "scientific types" don't entirely agree on what defines a meme, and some scientific types consider the idea dangerous pseudoscience, so I don't know that it's likely to be nailed down anytime soon.
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Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #76 on: December 10, 2008, 04:44:40 pm »
Some scientific type really ought to nail the concept of memetics down soon because it's fast becoming a really wooly terminology and it deserves better.

The way I see it we have a root "I am" which isn't really a meme or a memeplex as much as a seed or hook where the rest attaches or grows from.

The memes themselves I see as functioning like cells in a body. I don't think any of our psychology "software" is composed of anything that could not be described in terms of a meme or memeplex so the whole "is memes all we are?" argument breaks down along the same lines as "is cells all our bodies are?", in that the meta-result of all these little units acting in concert is something much more than the sum of its parts.

The realisation that you, in the "I am" sense are a program, full of buggy, glitchy subroutines and all sorts of malware and spam can be a bit of a shock to the system and certainly fucks with the whole "freedom" thing in a huge way but do not underestimate the power of the "I am" core - pretty much any meme or set of memes can be deleted or modified, by greater or lesser act of will. The key is to take an active role in deciding which parts you want to keep and which parts you want to get rid of.

That's freedom to me. Freedom to, quite literally, make my own mind up. Any other freedom, freedom to act in x or y fashion are all restricted, whether that be by the machinations of other men or the laws of physics. After all society may grant me the freedom to flap my arms but it's a conspiracy of gravity and biology that denys me the freedom to fly.

Free thinking is the only practical freedom that we can possibly aspire to. And, low and behold, it's the one freedom that seems to be the most under siege in this year of our imaginary friend, two thousand and eight.



A fair amount has been written on memetics, but the "scientific types" don't entirely agree on what defines a meme, and some scientific types consider the idea dangerous pseudoscience, so I don't know that it's likely to be nailed down anytime soon.


I think that considering memetics as a science of what IS seems dangerous. Memetics, IMO, appears like a model, which may be very good for modeling some things, but as always the Map is not the Territory... 'memes', I think, probably exist in the same way that the pentagram/pentagon exist in Starbucks pebbles... there might be some Objective pebbles, but connecting the dots is all in the mind ;-)
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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2008, 04:44:40 pm »
P3nt, that's really well said.  I like this bit:

Quote
The realisation that you, in the "I am" sense are a program, full of buggy, glitchy subroutines and all sorts of malware and spam can be a bit of a shock to the system and certainly fucks with the whole "freedom" thing in a huge way but do not underestimate the power of the "I am" core - pretty much any meme or set of memes can be deleted or modified, by greater or lesser act of will. The key is to take an active role in deciding which parts you want to keep and which parts you want to get rid of.

Stretching the metaphor, The "I" is the programmer, the computer hardware is the body/brain, and the memes are the programs.  If you load the computer with program set "A", it will behave in a certain goven way, depending on the input.  If you load the computer with program set "B", it will behave completely differently. 

So, the accretion of memes implies a predictable set of behaviors, but those memes can be altered by the "I".

hashishi

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #78 on: December 10, 2008, 10:11:21 pm »
I think people might be reading too much into the concept of being infected by memes, either that, or I have it all wrong in my head. This is all written from the POV that a meme is a cultural artifact. It seems to me that there is a big difference between learning a meme and believing in the meme.

Take the Christian memeplex. Being aware of all of the memes does not make a Christian. I know about the virgin birth, the three wise men, Jesus getting nailed to the cross and the resurrection. Knowing these things means I have been infected by the memes, in that I am aware of the cultural artifacts. It does not make me believe the memes and any time I would use them it would probably be in the context of trying to create dissonance within the memeplex in order to challenge peoples faith.

Lets see if I can synthesise this with Manta's excellent rant about Ericksonian psychology and what I just wrote...

As people grow up they absorb the memes in their environment, spending their youth as more of a memetic attractor than selector. This makes sense when you think how easy it is to convince children of the existance of Santa Claus, God or any other fictional charecter. The more memes people absorb, the more dissonance this creates, meaning that sorting out which memes to believe and which not to becomes an important task. (Perhaps a reason for adolescents Identity / role confusion crisis?) So, keeping with the christian example, at some point people can be faced with a choice, to believe in Creationism (or Intelligent Design) or Evolution. Someone who keeps believing in the Christian memeplex would be more likely to believe in creationism. Someone who rejects the Christian memeplex would be more likely to buy into evolution.

Before I started to read The Art of Memetics, I scribbled down a few properties I thought that Memes might have. The most interesting one is the idea of memetic exchange, where I was trying to mesh my understanding of evolutionary psychology with the concept of memes. I will paste what I wrote below.
Quote
People talk a lot, we like to express ourselves. Communication represents cultural exchange and therefore a memetic exchange. The cost of expressing memes is very low (the cost of the calories burned from wagging your jaw and the time spent expressing it).

Memetic exchange goes a long way to divert human competition into a cultural competition (as opposed to a physical war of each against all). People living in the same geographical locale tend to share cultural artifacts and therefore have more of a memetic resonance with each other. When they have violently different memetic foundations, this can result in civil war, religious violence etc.

People living in the same geographical region are likely to share a lot of memes and therefore the cognitive resonance of communicating in a similar way. People from different cultures have fewer memes in common and this can create more cognitive disonance. This goes a way to explain why people are more likely to kill for King and Country than murder their neighbours.

Cognition is tied to emotion. Cognitive resonance can promote feelings of solidarity, cognitive disonance can provoke rage. These are just tendencies, some disonant ideas can promote solidarity through changing people's reality tunnels, challenging misconceptions etc.

I am not sure whether the idea of memetic exchange fits in with the concept of a meme, so I'm just putting it out there. I think it applies under some circumstances, E.G. People meeting in the street, but doesnt seem so applicable to advertising or the mass media (although, people in the same geographical region would still share similar sets of memes).

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #79 on: December 18, 2008, 06:56:39 am »
A fair amount has been written on memetics, but the "scientific types" don't entirely agree on what defines a meme, and some scientific types consider the idea dangerous pseudoscience, so I don't know that it's likely to be nailed down anytime soon.
Upon initial exposure I found memetics obnoxious and unscientific (not the same as pseudoscience necessarily).  Then people started calling shit on the Internet "memes" and it got more obnoxious.  Then I got over it.  And then, I found ten dollars.

Memetics, IMO, appears like a model
Agreed.  I'm in ur territories, Alfreding ur Korzybskis.


For me what it all comes down to is, memetics just isn't that useful a paradigm.  Yes, you should be cynical about ideas and consider what makes people hold onto them.  Yes,  you should consider the personal reasons you hold onto specific ideas.  But no, you don't need to think of it in terms of natural selection--what's the point?

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Re: No strings attached freedom
« Reply #80 on: December 29, 2008, 11:45:39 pm »
A fair amount has been written on memetics, but the "scientific types" don't entirely agree on what defines a meme, and some scientific types consider the idea dangerous pseudoscience, so I don't know that it's likely to be nailed down anytime soon.
Upon initial exposure I found memetics obnoxious and unscientific (not the same as pseudoscience necessarily).  Then people started calling shit on the Internet "memes" and it got more obnoxious.  Then I got over it.  And then, I found ten dollars.

Memetics, IMO, appears like a model
Agreed.  I'm in ur territories, Alfreding ur Korzybskis.


For me what it all comes down to is, memetics just isn't that useful a paradigm.  Yes, you should be cynical about ideas and consider what makes people hold onto them.  Yes,  you should consider the personal reasons you hold onto specific ideas.  But no, you don't need to think of it in terms of natural selection--what's the point?
When you convince someone to think differently about a subject you have changed 1 persons mind.
When you have a coordinated effort to change the minds of a big portion of your target population (lets say you are trying to help people get out of a cult) you can reduce the amount of normal cult members to a number where the cult dissapears.
Thinking about memes as evolutionary makes it easier to apply the methodology of population biology or population ecology.

for example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_viability_analysis


Just keep in mind that memes =/= genes, and always keep an eye on wether reality conforms to your theories.
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