Re: virus: Re: Rationality

Dave Pape (
Fri, 7 Mar 1997 18:59:42 GMT

At 15:16 07/03/97 GMT, Drakir wrote:

>But surely free will allows one to do exactly what one wants. Irrespective
>of memes.

Why do you "want" to do what you "want"? Imagine for a moment that you ARE a
memetic entity. Thus, all of your "wants" are memes which are vying for
dominance in your mind. In my shoddy model of how minds work, memes are
competitive entities and compete with many memes, as well as being
associated with some other memes. The ongoing output of this competition
(with alliances being formed between various groups of memes, etc) is that
you get actions controlled by the most successful competitor memes. At any
moment, you "want" to do various things... but by the interaction of the
memes in your mind that code for these "wants", you /feel/ a kind-of (but
not really) serial flow of desires.

>If I were to exercise my internal free-will, I could get up
>from my desk, and rampage round the office wielding my telephone at
>people in a threatening manor. Is that a meme?

I reckon it certainly has a memetic basis. And... you /could/ do that. Just
entertaining the idea is kind of like wanting to do it a bit. Because the
meme is being allowed to be active in your mind. But if you did do it, it
wouldn't (in my eyes) be you exercising your freewill... it would be that
meme succeeding in a contest for temporary control of your actions.

>I'm not going to
>do it for the simple fact that I'll get sacked if I do. Is that a

Again, it has a memetic basis, and, as a well-programmed ("civilised") young
hominid, this threat-of-sacking meme usually outcompetes "go on a rampage"
memes in office-workers' heads.

This "interacting memes" thing... have you read any papers about associative
models of brain function? If you live in UK and want to read some, I could
snail-mail you some. Otherwise, you can websearch using keywords like
"Rumelhart", "McClelland", "associative", "parallel distributed", etc., or
check out some Marvin Minsky. There's lots of pretty, memey (I think) models
of brain function which hinge around parallel competition between lots of
neural groups/brainstates/ideas/memes, with the winners being the things you
think you decide to do.

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

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