Principia Discordia

Principia Discordia => Think for Yourself, Schmuck! => Topic started by: Cramulus on January 25, 2012, 03:40:02 pm

Title: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 25, 2012, 03:40:02 pm
(http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a95/discordman/bin/Invisibles_v1_03_10.jpg)

The Spirit World of Ideas

Quote from: http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,26428.msg926484.html#msg926484
Memetic processes occur in a space which is not tied to physical geography. We can think of memetic interactions as taking place within "meme space", a virtual place that occupies the memory of a communication network. This is analogous to a "cyber space" which occurs within one's mind. It is within this meme space that we will visualize memetic systems and nodes interacting with one another.

Memetics is a tool for describing the process through which culture is generated and inherited. The basic idea is that memes (units of cultural inheritance) are transmitted (and modified in the process) between communication nodes. A node could be an individual or an organization - anything capable of transmitting information and receiving feedback. Ideas are refined through feedback loops - for example, if a company produces an offensive commercial, they receive feedback in terms of sales and PR, and if they're intelligent, they will change how they communicate until they're getting better feedback. Our culture is a complex network of these feedback loops.

Typically, we look at the world from a human-centric point of view - we are independent actors, we have free will to choose our own actions, and information is nonliving -- it's inert, it's just data!

There is another way of looking at things though, and I think this is sometimes a more useful way of understanding behavior/culture/current events. I call it the Spirit World of Ideas. (sometimes called "memespace")

In the Spirit World of Ideas, information is the real life force in the cosmos, and we are just the dumb hardware designed to carry it.

An idea has its own life cycle. Small ideas are like bugs - they have a short life span, so reproduction is a challenge. Big ideas start off small, but as they gain representation in the world, they acquire defenses, they make redundant copies of themselves, they diversify, they mutate, they better reward their hosts. (Much like flowers - bees don't carry pollen for flowers with no nectar!)

To explain this way of thinking, let's look at a big idea -- say Christianity. Christianity started off as a small cult. Something about that idea provided a benefit to people, so they internalized it, talked about it, spread it, reaped the benefits (benefits like status, community, and mayyyybe some spiritual experiences). Lots of versions of Christianity appeared - the gnostics, the catholic church, et cetera. Christianity planted itself in a lot of different types of soil. Some soil was more fertile than other soil.

Christianity competed with other ideas for territory, particularly the Roman religion. The territory isn't physical, like churches or kingdoms, the territory is people's minds. (meme space) The Roman religion defended its territory by destroying the physical idea carriers. Christian writings were suppressed. This is natural selection in action -- only the most coherent, powerful, and organized versions of Christianity survived. It's like using vaccines to build a super-virus.

You can see how we can talk about ideas independently of human beings. We can describe ideas as their own semi-autonomous cellular organisms, capable of living, reproducing, producing waste, and one day dying. If we describe ideas as organisms with their own identity, then it makes sense to look at humans as the environment in which these ideas live. We humans are the landscape of the Spirit World of Ideas. We are a physical site where bundles of ideas compete, a bridge between the twin planes of biology and information.

In the Spirit World of Ideas, what we think of as Free Will is just the process of one idea within that bundle beating the others. It's able to exert more control over its host than its competition by exploiting the reward systems of that particular biological landscape. Your process of choosing (be it a religion or what to have for lunch) is an act of natural selection. Speaking to other people about ideas is like being a bee, carrying pollen for our own reasons, yet in doing so, we perform an essential role in something else's reproductive process.



That's the brief explanation about how to see the Spirit World of Ideas.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Telarus on January 26, 2012, 12:46:25 pm
In my experience, language signifies into two named Spaces.
One is "physical" reality, more accurately called the local environment as received via sense-data. Meat Space.
The other is the internal representation which we carry around and experience this reality through. Meme Space.

In meat space we are directly concerned about what the body is sensing and dealing with minute to minute. In meme space, we are primarily concerned with the manipulation of symbols-as-things. In this realm, we use/hijack our bodily hardware which evolved for one use for a separate use.. Our body becomes metaphor. Imaging a tennis game will activate any of your own previously imprinted tennis reflexes, and the actual nerve signal patterns used for that last game you played will que up quietly in your muscle cortex memory. The morality of imagined actions gets determined partly with our taste/smell networks, because intense inputs on those vectors trigger the intense immediate, "emotional" reactions needed to pass judgement on a fiction.

In meat space, the convention(fiction) that what-is-"I" stops at my skin-barrier is convenient. The concept of "me" allows me to judge when I may harm myself (watch out for that rogue bicyclist!), and allows the expansion of certain mirror neuron networks in my brain in order to acquire social skills like reading another person's body language.

In meme space, with our current robust communication networks, we have largely done away with the concept of "me". I, as Telarus, don't stop being "on the internet" when I log off this forum (as rare as that happens). "I'm" (my memes) still lodged in a hundred different network's memories and databases. Each expression of my Pattern is evidence of my Pattern Integrity (the existence apart from any individual manifestation of my Pattern). Identity is fluid. I can and have been somebody else on different forum spaces.

The crazy thing is that people realized this well before our robust, networked, memory-resilient communications infrastructure existed.

The Zen/Chan sects have a saying, "One mind plus one mind equals one mind." (this is the reason water is so often used as a metaphor, as "one drop" plus "one drop" equals "one drop").

Recently, I have been impressed to see this manifest as karma(lit. action upon) in the current culture. Shining examples include:

Stephen Colbert making his "character" as real as his "real person" (see the NYT article "The Three Stephen Colberts").
The second is that Jim Carry completely cracked and had a satori experience he still hasn't quite recovered from when he realized that his "real person" was no more than a character (see him babble about mystic universal light while self-activating a whole slew of neurotransmitters here).




I really really think that most people on the planet cannot differentiate when language is used to refer to meat space vs/ when it refers to meme-space.

The people who believe it when some other monkey says that hurricanes are anti-homosexual messages from God. Who truly believe that Armageddon actually happened. Who have no problem with talking about turning large populated areas on another continent into "glass parking lots".

There are various theories as to why this is (and if this is part of the "everyone is walking around asleep" meme running through traditional mysticism), but I like the idea that many of them are caught up in Feedback Loops (internal and external via larger structures like organizations) which are extracting value from the fact that these people can't tell the freaking difference.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 26, 2012, 02:43:16 pm
thanks for the thoughtful reply, big T. My reply is a bit tangenty, but you kicked up some good dust and I don't want to let it go.

I really really think that most people on the planet cannot differentiate when language is used to refer to meat space vs/ when it refers to meme-space.

Yes, totally!

I had a conversation yesterday about Georg Cantor, his theory of infinities.

I've experienced this reaction twice: When I talk about Georg Cantor and his concept that there are multiple infinities, and some are bigger than others, people get angry. It's a reaction that confuses me, I think because people view Infinity as the "highest amount", so how could anything be higher? But if there are infinite fractions between each integer, then the number of (infinite) fractions  is larger than the number of (infinite) integers.

What he hated the most was the idea that Georg Cantor found "God" at the top of all those infinities.

And I had to interject there - because my friend is really into Carl Sagan, so I figured that this mathematical way of understanding of the universe's beauty would really appeal to him. But he's so hung up on there not being a "god" that he's shielded himself from the divine revelation Cantor found between all those numbers.


I've really grown very fond of Doloras LaPichio (of Chaos Marxism)'s description of the "Holy Spirit" (http://chaosmarxism.blogspot.com/2011/08/doloras-entered-nirvana-parenthetically.html):

Quote
Because God doesn't exist in the world of blind matter and inescapable natural law. In contrast, the world of Love and Meaning and Compassion and really really good orgasms and cuddles and niceness and warm milk is nothing but God. We live in the hologram caused by the overlapping of the two worlds, to use Grant Morrison's terminology which I think he took from Philip K Dick.

Quote
the Revolution ... the Holy Spirit ... what makes cats scream in the night and poets howl at the moon... the "best within all of us".

I think the concept of meme space helped me understand where God is in this universe.

See, I'm really interested in religion, spirituality, and the "religious experience". I'm especially interested in the emerging religious experiences, the new names of God that did not exist until 2012... A lot of those religious people really have found something, and I want to know what it is, and I think it's possible to align oneself with it WITHOUT relying on mysticism. But for me to understand what they're talking about, we have to speak a common vocabulary---and that means I have to adapt my vocabulary to understand what they're saying.

So this holiday season, when people said "God bless you", I mentally substituted Sagan's "the universe trying to know itself" for God. When people talk about the "holy spirit", I know that they're really referring to the moment when my cat is happy I'm home and wants to cuddle up in my lap and purr.

Is God compatible with scientific materialism?

It really depends on how you define God.

If you accept scientific materialism as the highest and truest reality, the anybody who talks about God sounds like a madman. Like Bill Maher says, "You put your hands together and imagine god, then you hear him talking to you? You're fucking crazy." Well yeah, if you literally think that there's a gaseous male vertebrate you can psychically communicate with, it does sound insane!

But if God is Sagan's "the universe trying to understand itself", and the holy spirit is the things which draw us together and make us feel compassion, and maybe Christ is the sacrifices we make for those things, then it's a little bit easier for me to get something from all that Abrahamic language.

Quote
Chapter 25
There is Something that exists,
beyond the Illusions of Order and Disorder.
It is all things, and unknowable in full.
We only see small parts of It,
but are convinced what we see is the entire Universe.

For lack of a better name, I call It "Chaos".
At dinner parties, I claim It is everything Possible and Impossible.
When asked why not call It "god",
I point out that their head is too fucking small.

Because we create the Illusions in which we live,
we are more creative than Chaos.
Because we believe in the Illusions we create,
our heads are too fucking small.
In this way, we reflect our creations.





Quote
I like the idea that many of them are caught up in Feedback Loops (internal and external via larger structures like organizations) which are extracting value from the fact that these people can't tell the freaking difference.

I like that meme. A lot, actually. Let's workshop this.

Would you say this is a once sentence description of "The Spider"?

Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: kingyak on January 26, 2012, 04:51:48 pm
I don't have a damned thing to add right now, but I like where this is going.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 26, 2012, 05:11:51 pm
(http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20101101.gif)

The person I was having this discussion with brought up Sagan's point, that you can talk about these cosmic experiences without referring to some kind of male vertebrate creator spirit. Why use the word God at all?

My answer to that question is in a few parts:

(1) I want to understand them! I want to understand the divine experience Georg Cantor (and Einstein and Gallileo and other scientists who were blown away by natural things) had. And that if I have to be really picky about language, I will never wrap my head around what he's talking about -- I'll be too busy disagreeing with the framework to understand the idea his framework is pointing at.

(2) It's better for me to come up with a personal definition of God that helps me understand what the God people are talking about
             than it is to dismiss anybody that mentions God as some kind of fanatic lunatic.

Our culture is full of things that suck. If you spend all your time focusing on those things, you have joined them. Rather than throwing out all religion with those pedophile catholic priests, I want to fit the meaningful parts of each religion and make something akin to a stone soup. A soup that's perfectly favored for the world I actually live in.





In short, I want to build linguistic bridges instead of barriers so that we can meet in a common memespace.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on January 26, 2012, 05:13:06 pm
This sounds like Memetic False Conciousness.

Which I reject on account of I'm a person, not a processor.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on January 26, 2012, 05:19:28 pm
Reading more, it's not exactly the same thing.

However, I still reject the notion that ideas are universal and that we are just output devices, "dumb hardware".

Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 26, 2012, 05:24:08 pm
it's not true or false, it's a model useful for understanding the lifecycle of ideas; another way of looking at information
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on January 26, 2012, 05:33:24 pm
it's not true or false, it's a model useful for understanding the lifecycle of ideas; another way of looking at information

Hmm.  I still don't see it.  And it IS false, unless you've got some medium of transmission.  However, as a model...

Okay, let's look at "parallel invention", when two things are invented at the same time by different people in different places (or so close together in time that information hasn't had time to go from one inventor's region to another).  The automobile.  The telephone.  Calculus.

Some mystics like to claim that this is evidence of some sort of gestalt mind, when it's really just evidence of informational gestalt.  People have access to information which accumulates over time.  When enough information is commonly available, a given number of people will develop on it.

The car, for example, was just a matter of time.  You already had steam locomotives, and with the small and powerful internal combustion engine, it was hardly any surprise that 3 people were making cars at the same time.

Calculus was invented based on the fact that no existing math was able to describe observational data.  You had mathematicians working all over the world to come up with something, so 2 people developing calculus within months of each other is no shock.

Same goes with any idea.  Instead of a model of spirits conveying information, what about a giant garbage heap with 10% good, useable stuff in it?  The people willing to dig for and assemble that 10% produce engineering marvels and great works of art.  The people who just skim off the surface create the Pocket Fisherman and Twilight.

Obviously, the heap is mankind's store of accumulated information, 90% of which is bad signal.   
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: LMNO on January 26, 2012, 05:38:44 pm
So, information is like Legos, and information increases with time.

So at some point in time, you have enough of the kinds of Legos needed to invent calculus (if you can correctly identify them), which means inevitably, some people will.

When eventually you look back at it in history, you will be able to make an observation that "Before time period X, there was no calculus, and after time period X, there was a lot of calculus", and from there you can make false conclusions that "the calculus fairy went around putting the same idea in people's heads."

Does that sound about right?
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on January 26, 2012, 05:39:29 pm
So, information is like Legos, and information increases with time.

So at some point in time, you have enough of the kinds of Legos needed to invent calculus (if you can correctly identify them), which means inevitably, some people will.

When eventually you look back at it in history, you will be able to make an observation that "Before time period X, there was no calculus, and after time period X, there was a lot of calculus", and from there you can make false conclusions that "the calculus fairy went around putting the same idea in people's heads."

Does that sound about right?

Exactly.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 26, 2012, 05:50:03 pm
Okay, let's look at "parallel invention", when two things are invented at the same time by different people in different places (or so close together in time that information hasn't had time to go from one inventor's region to another).  The automobile.  The telephone.  Calculus.

Some mystics like to claim that this is evidence of some sort of gestalt mind, when it's really just evidence of informational gestalt.  People have access to information which accumulates over time.  When enough information is commonly available, a given number of people will develop on it.

The car, for example, was just a matter of time.  You already had steam locomotives, and with the small and powerful internal combustion engine, it was hardly any surprise that 3 people were making cars at the same time.

Calculus was invented based on the fact that no existing math was able to describe observational data.  You had mathematicians working all over the world to come up with something, so 2 people developing calculus within months of each other is no shock.

sure, and I don't think that's in conflict with the idea of memespace.

Quote
Same goes with any idea.  Instead of a model of spirits conveying information, what about a giant garbage heap with 10% good, useable stuff in it?

there are no spirits in memespace

another way to refer to memespace would be an "information ecosystem". Memetics is the same thing as studying ecology, but for concepts and ideas. Instead of studying the relationship between flora and fauna and the climate, you're looking at brands and communication nodes and markets ... The more I get into it, the more I find that the two (ecology and memetics) are remarkably similar.

I have a feeling Systems Theory tastes the same too, but I have less experience with that.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Q. G. Pennyworth on January 26, 2012, 05:55:38 pm
Hmm.  I still don't see it.  And it IS false, unless you've got some medium of transmission.
There's obviously a method of transmission: language, art, and observation.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on January 26, 2012, 06:22:46 pm
Hmm.  I still don't see it.  And it IS false, unless you've got some medium of transmission.
There's obviously a method of transmission: language, art, and observation.

Um, yeah.  You have to remember that I'm kind of stupid and can't see that sort of connection...But they kind of have to get into SOMEONE'S head FIRST, right?

Chicken or the egg?

Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 26, 2012, 07:53:38 pm
If I understand your question correctly -- I think humans (and their tools) are the medium of transmission.

-Ideas start in brains. They usually are born of the juxtaposition between two or more ideas. (sharp rock + long stick = spear)
-Ideas travel to other brains via communication (language, art, observation). Their ability to do this is dependent on several properties, including the function they perform for their hosts. (see the Anatomy of a Meme (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/forum/index.php/topic,13437.msg429277.html#msg429277) thread)
-The process of transmission mutates ideas. (Jokes, for example, mutate rapidly for survival.)


Our heads -and our culture- are part of the ecosystem in which ideas are born, breed, mutate, and undergo natural selection.

By acting in our own best interests and according to our personal taste, we are slowly refining the set of ideas that comprise our culture.

Our culture is like weather - slowly shaping a slab of rock into, I dunno, a democracy or something.


Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Golden Applesauce on January 27, 2012, 04:39:53 am
I had a conversation yesterday about Georg Cantor, his theory of infinities.

I've experienced this reaction twice: When I talk about Georg Cantor and his concept that there are multiple infinities, and some are bigger than others, people get angry. It's a reaction that confuses me, I think because people view Infinity as the "highest amount", so how could anything be higher? But if there are infinite fractions between each integer, then the number of (infinite) fractions  is larger than the number of (infinite) integers.

What he hated the most was the idea that Georg Cantor found "God" at the top of all those infinities.

And I had to interject there - because my friend is really into Carl Sagan, so I figured that this mathematical way of understanding of the universe's beauty would really appeal to him. But he's so hung up on there not being a "god" that he's shielded himself from the divine revelation Cantor found between all those numbers.

Anyone should be terrified by the idea of God being in or around or on the other sides of those numbers.  After a point, the transfinites get boring.  Sure, ω (the "number of integers") is cool and useful, and there's interesting things happening at a couple of points after that... but eventually you get to where you have more numbers than you have notational schemes to represent them and then more numbers than there are possible true statements in an arbitrary system with an arbitrary number of axioms.  And then there's nothing really to talk about, because we've invented a model for numbers that are simply to big to make meaningful statements about.  You'd get a god whose existence is implied by a model, and who can't be removed without breaking the model (even that might not be true; I haven't wrapped my head around the non-recursive numbers yet) but other than that - the god's existence wouldn't imply anything.  It would be provably impossible to even conceive of a symbolic system that would have a symbol for god.  It would be a god that fundamentally couldn't be understood by humans.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Placid Dingo on January 27, 2012, 10:58:48 am
Cram; you've said before that a number of your ideas have been influenced by Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintainence. I found that a really useful work for understanding memetics.

I was explaining memetics to a friend and was getting stuck with the question 'are memes real or are they in our head'. I was stuck on this until I read ZATAOMM.

Pirsig talks a lot about 'value' and trying to define it; is it objective? Is it subjective? Pirsig ends up saying that value is created at the point where the objective meets the subjective.

The same became my way of thinking of memes. You can have a meme that is made of the subjective concept melding with another subjective concept. However things like seeing an image in nature and in some way repeating it; I would argue that the meme is created when that objective meatspace element is converted into a subjective memespace element.

---

Also, it's interesting to think of some of Telarus's ideas in the sense of a multiplied self. If there's a memespace I out there (on this forum 24/7 for example, likewise on my blog, on my twitter) essentially to gain some kind of power or success, can I think in terms of creating a memetic 'army of me' to proselytise my views?

That's some of my ideas that this discussion brought up.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on January 27, 2012, 01:36:06 pm
Great question Dingo... I'm going to answer with a passage from the book I'm reading right now, Godel Escher Bach ---

Hofstader's view is that the job of the brain is to create mirror copies of what it experiences, a little universe within the self where you've projected a working copy of the universe. Your ideas about the universe, projections about the future, and sense of self, are all created in this private internal chamber.

But where did the meaning come from? Did we put it in the chamber, or are we mirroring the meaning that exists in the objective universe?

Here's Hofstadter's take, and I admit I found it jarring at first, but I think he's nailed it --------------



[Page P-3]

...Language is umbelievably fluid and subtle in its patterns of tracking reality, and for that reason the symbols in formal systems can seem quite arid; indeed, without too much trouble, one can look at them as totally devoid of meaning. But then again, one can look at a newspaper written in an unfamiliar writing system, and the strange shapes seem like nothing more than wondrously intricate but totally meaningless patterns. Thus even human language, rich though it is, can be drained of its seeming significance.

As a matter of fact, there are still quite a few philosophers, scientists, and so forth who believe that patterns of symbols per se (such as books or movies or libraries or CD-ROMS's or computer programs, no matter how complex or dynamic) never have meaning on their own, but that meaning instead, in osme most mysterious matter, springs only from the organic chemistry, or perhaps the quantum mechanics, of processes that take place in carbon-based biological brains. Although I have no patience with this parochial, bio-chauvinistic view, I nonetheless have a pretty clear sense of its intuitive appeal. Trying to don the hat of a believer in the primacy, indeed the uniqueness, of brains, I can see where such people are coming from.

Such people feel that some kind of "semantic magic" takes place only inside our "teetering bulbs [of dreams and dread]", somewhere behind pairs of eyeballs, even though they can never quite put their finger on how or why this is so; moreover they believe that this semantic magic is what is responsible for the existence of human selves, souls, consciousness, "I"'s. And I, as a matter of fact, quite agree with such thinkers that selves and semantics --in other words me's and meanings -- do spring from one and the same source; where I take issue with these people is over their contention that such phenomena are due entirely to some special, though as yet undiscovered, properties of the microscopic hardware of brains.

As I see it, the only way of overcoming this magical view of what "I" and consciousness are is to keep on reminding oneself, unpleasant though it may seem, that the "teetering bulb of dread and dream" that nestles safely inside one's own cranium is a purely physical object made up of completely sterile and inanimate components, all of which obey exactly teh same laws as those that govern all the rest of the universe, such as pieces of text, or CD-ROM's, or computers. Only if one keeps on bashing up against hte disturbing fact can one slowly beigin to develop a feel for the way out of the mysterious of consciousness: that the key is not the stuff out of which brains are made, but the patterns that can come to exist inside the stuff of a brain.

This is a liberating shift, because it allows one to move to a different level of considering what brains are: as media that support complex patterns that mirror, albeit far from perfectly, the world, of which, needless to say, those brains are themselves denizens -- and it is in the inevitable self-mirroring that arises, however impartial or imperfect it may be, that the strange loops of consciousness start to swirl.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Triple Zero on January 27, 2012, 11:38:57 pm
In the Spirit World of Ideas, information is the real life force in the cosmos, and we are just the dumb hardware designed to carry it.

I kinda disagree with this. A lot, in fact.

Switching it around:

In the "Physical World of Physics", matter and electromagnetic forces* is the real life force in the cosmos, and our mind is just a side effect of localized systems of matter interacting with their environment.

(*or whatever)

It's kind of deliberately missing the point.

Ok I'm aware I'm getting pretty mired in Cartesian duality here, but you started it :P

See I'd sooner say,

In the "Spirit World of Ideas", information is the real life force in the cosmos, and we are just smaller information systems in a larger whole.

Which of course doesn't sound as profound as the other statement, since humans are always smaller components of a much larger whole, no matter if you look at it from a physical, informational or other angle.

But the point is, in this "Spirit World of Ideas", we are not "just" our hardware. It's unfair to look at it only like that, because even if we're not a bigass information virus like a City or a Religion, but in that same world, the individual person is also a small whirlpool system of information doing its thing in the network.

And just because those particular small whirlpool systems are often carriers of all sorts of memetic viruses much bigger than themselves, doesn't mean they're "just" hardware carriers. Because that phenomenon occurs on all (or most) levels: Medium-sized memetic viruses are also carriers of larger ones: Urban legends about gypsies are just as much "just" a carrier medium for the larger memetic virus of Racism.

That said, our "hardware", being our brain and body, is a medium that's exceptionally suited for carrying all sorts of memetic viruses. And most (but not all!) other kinds of hardware media (say, books) may be able to carry such viruses, but are often inert by themselves unless "activated" by sentient hardware such as our brain-body. But with the advent of computers, this is no longer always the case, there's all sorts of epiphenomena occurring on the Internet that actively carry memetic viruses of some sort, without needing explicit interaction by human brain-bodies to activate them. Think for example of Bayesian spam-poetry, qxapoiu, bogons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogon_filtering) or the crazy movements of High Frequency Trading bots (http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/08/market-data-firm-spots-the-tracks-of-bizarre-robot-traders/60829/).
And even then, before computers, there's been other kinds of non-sentient hardware media that actively carried informational viruses, in some sense. Think of depleted soil, forests burned for agriculture or how heath exists only because of sheep eating baby trees preventing the heath from turning into a forest.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Placid Dingo on January 28, 2012, 12:38:24 am
Is part of your argument Trip saying that it's dose genius to consider humans hardware separate from the information stream because we are as much a part of it as anything else in the universe?
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Triple Zero on January 28, 2012, 01:22:49 am
Dose genius? What's that?

I don't understand what you're trying to say?
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Placid Dingo on January 28, 2012, 03:34:31 am
Fucking autocorrect. 'disingenuous'.

Do you mean that people are part of the big stream of information systems and it's a false dichotomy to say people are just carriers and everything else is just information?
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Golden Applesauce on January 28, 2012, 04:11:18 am
It is deliberately missing the point - looking at the world through a lens that we know is imperfect to see if that view reveals anything of interest.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Placid Dingo on January 28, 2012, 09:17:15 am
Another thought regarding Roger's idea of False Memetic Conciousness. 

If we reduce the idea to Memetic Consciousness (for now) it makes some more sense to me. If we have a brain that is absolutely disconnected from any sensory input, will it learn to think? I suspect not. All information the brain has comes in from outside. Looking at Crams GED system which I'm still digesting and the appropriated ideas of Pirsig's concept of value applied to memes this suggests to me that the process of taking in any new information is inherently Memetic.

To come into the brain an idea from meatspace must be interpreted. Essentially the process in question is the conversion of the objective (existing in meatspace) into the subjective (existing in memespace).

What I get from Rodger's work is that he is rejecting the idea that we as humans can be reduced to a competing collection of memes. Instead of Memetic Consciousness being simply false, I'd argue that perhaps it's the idea that humans are nothing more than Memetic Consciousness that is itself false.

A dichotomy;

Subjective vs Objective
Memespace vs Meatspace
Perception vs Reality

As humans we straddle both sides of this fence. Our brain may run non-stop Memetic patterns but the organ itself, the electric impulses, the chemical reactions are all of Meatspace. We can reject the idea that we are nothing but a collection of memes because we have a centre of command that has an objective power over our Memetic experience; to what extent this remains true might be interpreted as a spectrum of to the extent that one can recognise the illusions or be enslaved to them.

Anyway, not meaning to redefine TGGRs idea, just riffing off some ideas it inspired for me personally.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Triple Zero on January 28, 2012, 05:31:24 pm
Fucking autocorrect. 'disingenuous'.

Do you mean that people are part of the big stream of information systems and it's a false dichotomy to say people are just carriers and everything else is just information?

Then, yes, that's pretty much what I was trying to say :)

Also, Roger, on your simultaneous inventions subject, I think it was Black Swan where I read that it's not just that all the prerequisite technologies being in place makes a new technological advancement inevitable, but that it's in fact already enough if people (proper scientists/engineers) really know and believe that something is possible, when it's a matter of time before the first prototype shows up. Meaning that this belief is enough to really motivate these people to just fucking build the prerequisite tech, because they know that the payoff is just around the corner. Doesn't change your argument, just an interesting thing to mention.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Wolfgang Absolutus on February 09, 2012, 12:15:32 am
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 09, 2012, 12:23:49 am
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.

We could probably market this as a religion, and make $$$.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Wolfgang Absolutus on February 09, 2012, 12:29:31 am
This is quite interesting. You take a bucket of various atoms and assemble them in the form of a human brain and start it up. Suddenly you have created something that is somehow different than each of its parts individually. This 'universe machine' when interacting with the out-world, create an in-world using their senses. If more and more of these universe machines come in contact with each other the in-worlds intersect with each other through communication and a third 'psychic' world is created. The psychic world and the various in-worlds however are limited in that they only have a few different ways of interacting with the out-world, the objective reality. Thus only the out-world can be objective while the others don't necessarily reflect it. Memes float around in this alternative universe, the psychic world, interacting with forces beyond them, the force of the mind itself. Some of these memes catch on while others die in a kind of Darwinian way. This selection is more artificial rather than natural however. Some ideas are left on their own to survive in the psychic world, but the higher powers of this world, the universe machines, can artificially hinder or refine ideas. These memes can also be taxonomically related to one another, like all the different memes about God, god, or gods which are different species of the same genus of religious meme.

Would that be a fair representation? I haven't done much reading on the subject.

We could probably market this as a religion, and make $$$.
I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you. Though then again that would kind of already be like mainstream religion. It wouldn't be like non-mainstream religion, mainly because they don't really make any money, or at least when compared to the catholic church or something.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: The Good Reverend Roger on February 09, 2012, 12:30:05 am

I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you.

I think YOU'RE not grasping a crucial concept, here.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Wolfgang Absolutus on February 09, 2012, 12:34:40 am

I'm not sure that anyone who truly understood the concepts would pay you.

I think YOU'RE not grasping a crucial concept, here.
That when you say we you mean all of us here including me? Or that the fact they don't really understand 'it' is the reason they would give you money? Or maybe that you were pointing out my analysis was flawed and I didn't get it?
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on February 09, 2012, 01:08:06 am
Lately I've been wondering if 'meaning' is something that's out there in the universe, or it's something that's generated by our brains. I figured: our experiences in this world are wildly subjective, we interpret our experiences through a cultural filter, the "meaning" of something (whatever it may be) is something we assemble out of our past experiences, cultural references, understanding of the universe, etc etc-- but it's US making it, WE actively create the meaning, no?

Well here's another view


Hofstadter writes: (GEB p-3)
(and please excuse typos)
Quote
There are still quite a few philosophers, scientists and so forth who believe that patterns of symbols per se (such as books or movies or libraries or CD-ROM's or computer programs, no matter how complex or dynamic) never have meaning on their own, but that meaning instead, in some most mysterious manner, springs only from the organic chemistry, or perhaps the quantum mechanics, of processes that take place in carbon-based biological brains. Although I have no patience with this parochial, bio-chauvinistic view, I nonetheless have a pretty clear sense of its intuitive appeal. Trying to don the hat of a believer in the primacy, indeed the uniqueness, of grains, I can see where such people are coming from.

Such people feel that some kind of "semantic magic" takes place only inside our "teetering bulbs", somewhere behind pairs of eyeballs, even though they can never quite put their finger on how or why this is so; moreover, they believe that this semantic magic is what is responible for the existence of human selves, soulds, consciousness, "I"s. And I, as a matter of fact, quite agree with such thinkers that selves and sematnics -- in other words, that me's and meanings --DO spring forth from one and the same source; where I take issue with these people is over their contention that such phenomena are due entirely to some special, though as yet undiscovered, properties of the microscopic hardware of brains

As I see it, the only way of overcoming this magical view of what "I" and consciousness are is to keep on reminding oneself, unpleasant though it may seem, that the "teetering bulb of dread and dream" that nestles safely inside one's own cranium is a purely physical object made up of completely sterile and inanimate components, all of which obey the exact same laws as those that govern the rest of the universe, such as pieces of text, or CD-ROM's, or computers. Only if one keeps on bashing up against this disturbing fact can one slowly begin to develop a feel for the way out of the mystery of consciousness: that the key is not the STUFF out of which brains are made, but the PATTERNS that can come to exist inside the stuff of a brain.

This is a liberating shift, because it allows one to move to a different level of considering what brains are: as MEDIA that support complex patterns that mirror, albeit far from perfectly, the world, of which, needless to say, those brains are themselves denizens -- and it is in the inevitable self-mirroring that arises, however impartial or imperfect it may be, that the strange loops of consciousness start to swirl

Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Wolfgang Absolutus on February 09, 2012, 01:18:59 am
If we accepted the kind of materialism Hof is suggesting wouldn't it still be consistent to say that meaning comes from within, not without? If there are no people around there aren't any value judgements.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Telarus on February 09, 2012, 07:15:48 am
It's not that complicated. Meaning requires 3 things (because all "patterns" are 3-root based.. i.e. you can't call it a pattern until it repeats 3+ times).

Pattern, Context, Interpreter-state.


Leave any out and the Meaning collapses. An interpreter can mean a machine, or other tool of the mind.

Also, some interesting reading over here (lends weight that the body serves as the default Context... notice how that collapses the two theories presented in paragraph 3):
 http://io9.com/5883554/metaphors-actually-trigger-the-sensory-parts-of-our-brains

And I've collected a bunch of Charles Tart writing and am slowing working through them.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on February 09, 2012, 02:17:30 pm
at your leisure, please hit us with a highlights thread! I really dig Charles Tart's writing.

Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Triple Zero on February 09, 2012, 09:45:59 pm
Lately I've been wondering if 'meaning' is something that's out there in the universe, or it's something that's generated by our brains.

I once started thinking about that (somehow, reading some part of Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah triggered it, I forget why or how).

I came up with the idea, a bit HHGTTG-esque, of a sofa floating in deep space. Regular deep space as we know it, the kind where there's no humans or intelligent life around for thousands of lightyears.

With no intelligence being around, this sofa is essentially just a weirdly-shaped clump of atoms. The whole "you can sit on it" meaning is for all intents and purposes not present.

There are indeed some Hofstadterish ways around this, if you're being real clever, you can encode the meaning in the object or message. Or at least, it really seems like you could do that. It's a bit hard to say if it were "true". But it requires all sorts of Goedel-y tricks and math, which *most* things we deal with in our lives, that we ascribe meaning to, do not employ.

So maybe it is possible to have "static" meaning without an intelligence generating it (MAYBE, because it's not really a clear cut argument). HOWEVER, it seems that MOST meaning around us, is generated in our brains and is not embedded in a real way. Like the sofa in my example.
Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Cramulus on August 24, 2017, 04:49:41 pm
BUMP

For years, I've been trying to find the most most parsimonious way of expressing the idea at the top of this thread.


something that comes to mind



think about the life cycle of a joke, in terms of natural selection

---it starts as an amusing thought
---somebody shares it verbally and people laugh. The laughter is a reward to the person who spake it, it makes it more likely for the joke to be shared
---maybe one of the people who hears the joke has a better way to phrase it - this version of the joke has a reproductive advantage over the base form

---jokes get better at reproducing (read: funner) using the same iterative process as Darwin described.
---Like a species of animal, jokes adapt to changes in their environment (for example, anti-Trump jokes have certain reproductive advantages right now)
---The dynamic human mind is the space in which the "genetic code" of a joke mutates, gaining different properties and likelihood of reproduction
---Notice that when we talk about the "reproductive cycle of a joke", the human is the environment that the joke lives in. Like a tree whose fruits fall to the ground, fruits/jokes with certain properties are more likely to be eaten by animals and pooped out somewhere else.


Title: Re: The Spirit World of Ideas
Post by: Chucklemaster on August 28, 2017, 03:07:11 am
I don't know if anyone here has read The Wild Kingdom by Kevin Huizenga, but that book rocks. I'll paste the introduction, which is relevant, if anyone's interested.