Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

Dave Pape (
Mon, 28 Apr 1997 20:08:48 +0100 (BST)

Tony Hindle wrote

> As for the rest of your post, My memcology resonated to the
>extent that I was just about able to understand it then realised the
>roots on which my understanding had been based, had been forgotten and
>my understanding collapsed completely. This cycle went on a few times
>and I never quite grasped it, but it was fun trying.

Cool: let us have brain fun! PLUS I reckon that's a dead nice description of
what happens when you almost understand something but don't quite. Didn't
mean that patronisingly, I meant it as in "yeh, I get that myself"... :)
Erm, it's all about new memes being active, but dying away before they can
give rise to robust metamemes. You get flickerings of the metamemes, but the
mental processing needed to do that leaves not enough to support the
submemes... so if you lose a metameme, there's nothing there behind it to
provoke it again... hmm.

Listen, and cheers Robin for raising the infinite feedback thing! Thinking
about it fuelled the following ARMCHAIR MEMETICIST RANT:

I reckon consciousness is a kind of self-reproducing emergent, and that
self-reference in terms of ideas is pretty important as a substrate. Erm...
or maybe... autopoietic would be a better word, except I don't know if I
know whaddafuck it means. Whatever. Has anyone ever stuck a microphone into
a loudspeaker it's plugged into?

Cos you get audio feedback. You get a tone, or tones, that don't come out of
the unplugged mic, or the unplugged speaker... and which don't come out of
the mic+speaker system, unless an appreciable element of the loudspeaker
output feeds into the mic's input. What you get THEN is a tone, which ITSELF
feeds back into the mic... and thus (kind of) reproduces itself. A new,
emergent, self-perpetuating thing.

Erm... also...

The chemical environment just pre-life was a massive self-referential seethe
of chemical equilibria, with the ouput of one chemical process entering into
another, in a global-scale network [HOOFS IT TO KITCHEN. TURNS VEGEBURGERS
OVER. THEY ARE BURNT ON THE A-SIDE]. This loosely self-referent system may
have (probly would have?) given rise to processes like this:

a + b -> c
c + d -> a

Where you get the potential for loops happening. This kind of process is (I
think) name-checked as a possible DNA-precursor. ...And eventually DNA got
together- a chemical that reproduces itself (though yeh, it does need
shedloads of other chemicals to help...).

So again, a self-referential network system gives rise to a self-replicator
which wasn't there before, and whose behaviour wasn't there before.

Robin's thought, that set me off, was

>(Self-consciousness/awareness is
>not literally consc of consc or aware of aware else we'd
>have infinite loops.)

and, yes we would, except I reckon the feedback a /self-replicating kind of/
feedback. Cos it takes time for the process of self-reference to occur, so
you don't get a massive explosion of consciousness, you get consciousness
that persists at some level by self-replicating, until entropy fucks up its
substrate (your body falls apart).

So... if we get computers to model self-referential networked things, and
these things look like linguistic information... maybe you COULD get a
self-replicating emergent meta-informational thing, only... would it be to
the machine like a human consciousness? Dunno. Maybe it'd be /more/ special
than human consciousnesses.

Erm... what I'm saying is, maybe /we/ do consciousness by having largely
linguistic ideas all self-referring, with this self-reference getting
tighter and steeper until you think things like "I AM that 'I' that feels
itself to exist"... and that's when you start to see something like
consciousness emerging- not that consciousness is that thought itself,
rather it's a metaphenomenon. Ish. Maybe there are other
information-processing systems that'd allow emergents that're A BIT LIKE
human consciousness, but which aren't exactly human consciousnesses...???

I rant. Soz.

Dave Pape
Who is this DOING this synthetic type of alpha-beta psychedelic funkin?

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