virus: Re: Original Thoughts [Being a Human Being, Memetics and Complexity , , Science (fwd)]

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 10:07:55 -0700 (PDT)

I think this relates to the discussion on the "Original Thoughts" thread.

-Prof. Tim
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 19:10:11 +0100
From: Robin Wood <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: Being a Human Being, Memetics and Complexity Science

Dear Fellow Human Beings

I am writing this in the spirit of one who has been trying to
synthesise cognitive science, complexity science, ontology and
phenomenology into something practical that we can use to make this
little old world a better place (and where better to start with those
global/multinational clients of my firm?)

What follows are my reflections on the first seminar we ran here in
London including Dr If Price, Arthur Battram, John Farago, Giles
Taylor and a few others. I appreciate it is a little unstructured, but
it should address some of the following issues:
q Human beings are primarily energy fields patterned around several
levels of attractor: atomic, molecular, cellular, organ, organ
systems, hypothalamic limbic, immune, and finally sympathetic and
parasympathetic nervous systems. Each attractor exerts a powerful
"pull", but through "co-operation" and co-evolution between the
different levels we get (more often than not) intelligent life
q Humans and animals relate to each other in many modes- language
accounts for somewhere between ten to twenty percent of signals sent
and received. We can go from feeling each other's "vibes" ( human
energy fields), to having a shared experience in a multimedia medium
which does not require any words at all. Sometimes the latter are the
most profound experience. Even poetry, to move us, needs imaginative
imagery to stir our souls.
q We are pattern recognising animals- patterns are, as Alex Brown
points, ubiquitous and all around us in many shapes and forms. Again,
language is the exception rather than the rule in our day-today
environment. (Yes, Mario, science needs language- but most of the
breakthroughs have been done by teams having shared experiences often
prompted by creative, non-verbal stimuli e.g. the 3d model built by
Crick and Watson was the point of breakthrough in double helix land-
Steven Hawking thinks in 3d images in his head). They say a picture is
worth a thousand words- 3d must be worth 100 000+ words?
q We not only embody and recognise/create patterns, we also replicate
them. But what is a meme (beyond merely a Dawkins "memory gene")?. I
agree with If- we need some FAQ's and glossary which can serve as our
start point in these conversations (without stifling them). Perhaps we
can use it as shorthand for "a unit of 'something' that human beings
replicate in the process of communication and culture building". We
all create reality in our heads (Husserl's fundierung- thanks Mike!)-
personally and socially constructed reality is a synthesis of memes,
which are all evolving and co-evolving, just as the carriers and
creators of memes are doing the same. It is this interaction which is
so interesting.
q Organisations are energetic and memetic systems which construct and
shape reality and the real world, transforming less useful inputs or
abundant resources into more useful outputs and scarcer resources.
They can learn, become intelligent/conscious, and evolve. This is an
incredibly fascinating process, which has become my life's work- how
do we transform and renew them so that they are beneficial forces in
q Hans-Cees makes a good point- meaning is a property of the semantic
network, not the nodes or connections, as all concepts are context
dependant. So where then is the meme? (As we may ask about where the
gene is when the genome is continuous). Is a meme a unit of meaning
which is capable of being embodied, communicated or making a
difference? I.e. something which is context dependant. This would make
much sense given what we are learning about personally and socially
constructed reality and the nature of meaning and knowledge.