Re: virus: New Ideas

Tony Hindle (
Tue, 27 May 1997 05:30:37 +0100

In message <>, Dave Pape
<> writes

>At 05:10 24/05/97 +0100, Tony wrote:

>>I think we share a lot of concepts so I hope I
>>can get to understand this idea you are ranting about to the same
>>autocatalytic tightness as you.
>The fun thing about this idea for me was, feeling the concept kind of
>flicker around and then coalesce, provided me with evidence for how it feels
>to watch ideas flicker around and coallesce. So the feedback from the
>feedback helped the feedback of the system that produced the feedback. Oh,
>and by the way, thanks for YOUR feedback.

Ditto. Its a bit like getting stimulants throught E-mail. Or (I
have just re-read edifying thoughts of Tobacco smoker) I am a camera
pointing at my screen and you are part of my circuitry.

>> Interesting that my concept of cell replication can either be
>>one of cells "using biulding blocks to replicate" or "emerging as
>>holistic phenomena from a lower level of replication" (DNA at a basic
>> Ideas can be thought of in both ways as well. Do they use
>>biulding blocks to biuld copies of themselves or do they emerge as
>>holistic properties of lower level replicators. Although both ways of
>>looking are talking about the same thing, one attributes intent to the
>>high level structure and the other doesnt.
>Ooo... this is... ADOPTING THE INTENTIONAL STANCE... erm... Daniel Dennett
>would impact on this pretty heavily, I think. He's into the idea that human
>beings attribute intentionality to things in order to model how they behave.
>So rain "likes to flow into holes in the ground" and the car "keeps wanting
>to stall". In your example, we use "the cell uses DNA to replicate itself"
>as an explanatory shorthand, because otherwise you get into this raging
>fountain of emergent levels, with DNA emerging as interactions of simpler
>chemicals, those emerging from interactions of subatomic things, and so on.

Dennett is scource of these ideas. But taking seriously the
notion of the intensional (or should that be intentional, I cant
remember his subtle difference, it is dormant in my memcology) stance
with respect to an organism like the tabacco industry, leads to
interesting perspective. Particularly as tobacco industry is so
destructive of its cells (like Aunt Hiliary asking Anteater to eat some
of her ants.)
See rant on smoking, just sowing some seeds.
>Or maybe I'm chatting out of my chocolate starfish.

LOL WIFGI (When I Finally Got It.)
>>> This isn't me just being a raging holist, I'm trying to break down
>>>the conceptual barrier between autocatalysis and self-replication. Cos I
>>>think "self-replication" is actually a very intimate form of autocatalysis,
>>>not a qualitatively different phenomenon.
>> Mmm I see what you mean. Also its easier to imagine
>>autocatalytic structures emerging by chance and then competing against
>>one another.
>Exactly. It wasn't a case of chemistry, chemistry, chemistry.... BIOLOGY!

Is hydrogen to DNA what single eukaryotic cell is to mamals.

>It's like, the chemistry got gradually more and more tightly
>autocatalytic... presumably the tighter the system, the more efficient and
>reliable and therefore self-servingly adaptive the reproductive element...
>IE the DNA system is a better "reproducer" than the nucleotides-on-clay
>system, and so on. The system bootstraps itself up... a kind of
>metaselection, metaevolution of reproductive SYSTEMS, rather than just of
>species or genes WITHIN a reproductive system. A-huffa-huffa.

Dawkins evolution of evolvability notion is similar to this.
But this is better. You should be shagging an x doctor who's

>>Some products might be the result of one identifiable
>>autocatalytic process and a fuel in another autocatalytic process. Such
>>"pulling in both directions " interactions could settle on tighter and
>>tighter autocatalytic routes until eventually they were "replicators"
>In fact, in a way the two systems you describe there, are kind of part of
>one metasystem! But you're right (in terms of my model, anyway) about the
>tightening of the routes. This is again the analogue of the audio feedback
>sounding more and more like the feedback tone, rather than that turd's
>voice. 'Turdvoice + a bit of feedback' is a loose autocatalytic system,
>'feedback tones + tiny bit of something else' is a tighter autocatalytic system.

Pop quiz question no. 1 "which L.P. was released by the police
in 1988?
...Lester Piggott.
>> Yes, this is a mechanism for biulding up complexity bit by bit.
>>A battle of autocatalytic processes at level one inevitably ends up with
>>a self replicator (and its minimum baggage) being ubiquitous. Now a new
>>level of structures emerge and some are autocatalytic leading to the
>>next level of replicators. This makes sense for fundamental particles to
>>atoms to amino acids to DNA to cells to organisms to societies.
>Of course! Shit!
>Yeh, so the development of better and better comms technology is in effect
>the tightening of memetic autocatalysis on a wide scale! Jeez!

And the whole complexity increasing/ climb up design space /
self biulding library of babel is ready to take a hike from its point of
origin before the shit hits the fan. Haly bop, wait for me.

>The levels-of-replicators thing is something I've thought for a while, but
>meshing it with the tightening-autocatalysis bit is new! Cheers sir!

Glad to be in your camera-monitor circuitry.
>> Where are you upto in GEB now?
>Ironically I'm about a third of the way through the "Self-ref and Self-rep"
>chapter, but to be honest when I left it at work, I got into my current
>William Calvin effort and buzzed more off that. But then again, I've got no
>idea what the rest of the SR&SR chapter holds- and, 'GEBchapter+myheadNOW'
>may be more fun than 'Calvin+myheadLASTWEEK'. We'll see. Good shots of video
>feedback. D'you reckon Hofstadter enjoys a bit of a toke, like?

I wonder, perhaps edifying thoughts of a Tabacco smoker was
originally edifying thoughts of a dope smoker but was changed en route
...A sort of Freudian spliff.

Definately looking foreward to calvin. In return I will be
sending you an audiotape of Rant in E-minor, unless you post soon
telling me you already have it.

>> And once an autocatalytic set of concepts resonate a new
>>metaconcept into our consciousness it has increased electrical synaptic
>>activity which strengthens all the associations between the concepts. In
>>other words it strengthens the implantation of the metaconcept.
>This is the 'feeding-back feedback' idea, the 'metabootstrap' thing that,
>erm, I've never mentioned yet, so why's it in quotes?

Great moment.

>>I imagine that over a period of time the metaconcept becomes just a
>>concept itself, consisting of the outlines of it's subconcepts and their
>This is the bit I haven't quite worked out yet: the meta-concept has got to
>become triggerable more or less on its own merits,

I think I understand the mechanism behind this.

> rather than via the
>sub-concepts it's made up from. Is it that the connections cut by the
>meta-process have to be STRONGER than the ones cut for the subconcepts? Or
>do you have to be REWARDED more for the metaconcept? Oof. I'll have a think
>about this one. Any help would be nice. Tony, have a gander at the Calvin
>thing I'm about to send. Or anyone... AlaVista search for Calvin, he's
>lashed a couple of his books onto the Web. He's a good kidling.

I reckon brain electrical activity is the connection. I am
talking about total number of synaptic firings per unit time. When the
subconcepts resonate together the total neuronal activity is the
metaconcept with intricate scaffolding. But to hold it there drains the
neurotransmitters from synaptic junctions. The firing dies down and
recovery at the synaptic level includes all junctions left stronger
(more likely to fire again) Hebbs law.
Next time subconcepts are trigered metaconcept apears more
readily. Process repeated until very weak subconcept perceptual input
can cause metaconcept to fire. Then metaconcept fires as soon as
perceptual processses encounter it in world. At this stage subconcepts
become unconscious. Organism has aquired a new distinction metameme.
This apeares all over the place for a while. Period of adjustment of
memcology, recursive process stopped by death, important to climb high
in design space before sucumbing, up there lays toys of infinite fun.
death is a downer.

>>>The hallmark of an idea you ALMOST know is that you fleetingly get glimpses
>>>of understanding, which fade away dead quickly.
>> Almost getting it does leave a slightly increased chance of you
>>getting it the next time. With the acoustic feedback analogy it would be
>>as though the emergent feedback tone increased the gain of the amplifier
>>for that tones frequency whenever it next apeared.
>Again, that's the feeding-back-feedback motiff.

Again the metaconcept is tightening.

>> Here is a thought. What process causes the brain electrical
>>activity representing an emergent resonating idea to plateau and then
>>fall off?
>Neuarl impulses don't vary IN VOLTAGE,

No but overall electrical activity can go up and down.

> and Calvin thinks that ideas are
>coded in spatiotemporal ways, like a tune played by a neural orchestra. The
>fact that the code has a temporal element means that faster doesn't equate
>to stronger, because effectively it turns the idea into ANOTHER IDEA. His
>model works with patterns reproducing across little areas of cortex, and
>literally competing for expression, as if it's a territorial battle. So the
>plateau and fall-off would be the spreading neural pattern reaching a
>boundary it can't cross, either because the neural structures beyond the
>boundary won't allow it to replicate, or because there's other neural
>patterns there which outcompete the spreading pattern.

I reckon it dies down because all the members of the orchestra
involved in the new metaconcept get tired and have to rest, still next
time they are called to play they are louder and dont get tired as

> Falling away would
>happen because another pattern started to outcompete the current pattern for
>its territory. Which would be facilitated by... the thinker's environment
>changing, meaning that opportunities and priorities and potential rewards
>changed as well.

Agreed, but even without environment change the metaconcept will
leave consciousness to rest it's neurons.

>>And whatis it about some resonances that really snowball and
>>can excite us whereas some others cant even get our attention for long
>>enough to take off.
>The ecology of other ideas already there, and the layout of the neural
>landscape, which has in part been carved by neural activity (already-known

Free will, its a real enough illusion for me today.

>> Do our minds have an inertia for some high level concepts? I
>>think so, I think it can explain our changing moods.
>And... limbic system effects etc...

My limbic hijackers demanded I land at CoV, SAS have wasted
those misguided motherfuckers, aircraft ready for take off, destination
unknown, full tank of fuel, wearing sunglasses.

Tony Hindle.