Re: virus: Rationality

Dave Pape (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 23:17:02 GMT

At 09:45 26/02/97 GMT, Drakir wrote:

>> >I must point out that at the moment I'm more inclined towards the idea
>> >that rationality and logic are /not/ memes, but I wouldn't be asking
>> >if I were at all sure :)
>> Now then, I'm talking about LOGIC here, as in, Formal Logic. When you're
>> being taught Logic, you answer questions, and do exercises, and are rewarded
>> when your answers are deemed "right" according to the rules of Logic, and
>> (maybe) chastised for answers deemed "wrong". In this way you are "taught to
>> know the rules of logic."
>So who decides in the absolute beginning what is logical, and what is not?

I reckon this is like asking a geneticist "Where did the first mammal come
from?" or "Where did the first DNA molecule come from?" The thing is, once
you accept that Logic is a set of skills encoded, stored, and transmitted as
memes, then you can start to think that maybe before the first decision
about what's logical and what's not, there were precursor systems of
thought, more patchy-looking heuristics knocking around that worked
similarly to Logic but which weren't logic and which weren't called logic.

Naff answer... but I don't really think there IS an absolute beginning to
/any/ meme.

>> I reckon brains are non-logical processors that can be trained to simulate
>> logical processing to some degree sometimes.
>I'll take your word on that :)

Thanks for being so... memetically yielding.

>I found that when using a shotgun, one does not go for an "overall shooting
>movement", but rather a judgement. I should imagine that the brain is having
>a dman good go at judging the angles, and velocities, but simply isn't telling
>your consciousness. Just think, if your brain told you what it was doing all
>the time, your conscious side would be overloaded!

Ouch. I just plain disagree with this. Sorry; I reckon that if your brain
judged angles when you were learning to shoot, then you could "port"
angle-judging skills from one activity to another, and so learning to throw
a ball into a bucket would help learning to fire a shotgun. I dunno... maybe
it DOES. But also, the learning curve effects you get with shotgun things
are the same as the learning curves you get for all sorts of other skills.
If it was a question of you learning the maths with your unconscious brain,
wouldn't you expect learning effects and error rates different to those
which are actually observed?

>> Woo. Especially the difference between the meme "this is a thing called
>> rationality" and the PROCESS of rationality. I'm trying to argue that the
>> process of rationality is carried out by a non-rational computing device,
>> whose outputs are selected by evolutionary pressures, or the pressures of
>> reward and punishment, so that they APPEAR rational.
>Actually, I like that. I'm begining to think, already, that rationality is
>a meme-complex of astronomical proportions. /But/ can I ask: Does ones
>rationality change, depending on which memes you have recently been
>infected with, of is rationality permanent once formed?

I'd say that you behave more rationally in some situations than in others,
because different memetic selection pressures are training your brain in
some situations than in others. EG I behave less "rationally" when writing
silly/funny things (I sometimes do that on purpose) than when I'm wiring up
audio devices. I've learnt to simulate logic in the audio-device context,
and resisted logic in the stupid-shit-writing context.

So rationality (apparent) changes hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute (say, when
you stop trying to diagnose what's wrong with your TV by carefully turning
one control at a time, to yelling at it and punching it) and year-to-year.

Dave Pape
Limit the Fun. Prescribe the Fun. DESTROY THE FUN!
-(Southport & Formby Round Table Association slogan, 1994-1995)

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