Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

Tony Hindle (
Mon, 5 May 1997 00:21:21 +0100

In message <>, Dave Pape
<> writes

>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

I tried the dictionary, no sign. This is not neccesarily bad
news, we can use it when we work out what the fuck we are talking about.

>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?

I used to be an electronic engineer man, nothing else to do all
>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.

This reminds me of a windcharm analogy I read about in Dennett I
think. He said a thought pattern could be modeled as a shape of a very
complex windcharm (pictre it as big as a room with each blade one cm
long) which has a fan atatched to one of it's blades which is in the
middle. Out of the wind charm's subtle positions would emerge a pattern
(picture lots of moire patterns criss-crossed) Pattern represents
consciousness changing state.
>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.

I have definately written a response to this before but I think
i must have lost it before I finished it and posted it. I like all this
above stuff. I remember what I wrote before. It makes me think that
perhaps DNA was the final product of molecular evolution. Once upon a
time a massive variety of replicators, then DNA dominated and made all
others extinct (except simbiotants like RNA- yea I have written all this
before cos I remember that word symbiotants)
>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.

On the information superhighway there is much
discussion/modelling of information superhighway, will it "war games"
itself consciousness one day? stranger things have happened in the last
4000 000 000years and 9 days (especially 9 days ago, must go for cuddle
>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 am starting to read Stephen Pinker's "the language instinct"
so far very good (any book that gets a "fucking brilliant" from dawkins
is worthwhile, he said of Demon Haunted world "spengey" and it was)
I hope many more ideas relevant will be forthcoming, reading a
book about language and thought I think they will be, I hope I can grab
some of them before their foundations dissapear.
BTW folks, did anyone see 7 wonders of world, stephen pinker, it
is only one I missed tapin?

>I rant.
I rant thus...
All this self reference/consciousness/feedback loop
stuff brings to mind a thought I had while discussing Julian Jaines'
evolution of consciousness/breakdown of bicaramel mind stuff. He reckons
psychoactives plants might have played a role in the evolution of
consciousness. It all sounded a bit wacko to me at first then I thought
that in principle it could happen by stimulation of memecology
evolution. Now I see another long loop. Brain activity causes behaviour
of injesting psychoactive chemicals which provide neurotransmitter
molecules for activity at synapses which causes brain activity. Much
shit is spoken people fall by the way side but some real fucking good
insights come as well and spread memetically to contribute to evolving
knowledge bases and thus evolution of consciousness.
All I am saying is this is an extra route for genes to effect
brains. Manufacturing neurotransmitter protiens either in cellular
factories or in Dutch factories then injesting them :-)
Dave, tell me where you are upto with GEB and I will read same
chapter in preparation to discuss in around above and beyond it.

Tony Hindle.
The great fleas have little fleas
upon their backs to bite 'em

the little fleas have lesser fleas
and so ad infinitum.

the great fleas themselves in turn have greater fleas to go on
and the greater fleas have greater fleas
and greater fleas and so on.

And the greatest of the greatest flea has one more place to be
On the smallest of the smallest flea
and there you'll find infinity.