Re: virus: Original Thoughts

Chitren Nursinghdass (
Thu, 26 Jun 1997 13:43:05 +0200

Hi All,

>Obviously, the only logical conclusion is *not* that they were formed
>from nothing. Even in a prehuman state, we have to admit that
>*pre*meme's existed. I having a little difficulty with this, but maybe
>I'll just read Tim's post again:

I think we're limited by our definitions. But unless we are to think about
stuff how can we go without them ?

It is important to single out archetypal processes. The current definition
for memes is quite limiting.

A good way of efficiently spreading memes is by spreading a symbol with
different meanings. What I mean should be clearer if you have a look
at that post about semantic ambiguity I once posted.

Here is the idea again :


If each symbol Si can be interpreted in many different ways, then
with the same syntax you can spread a whole lot of memes.

Now, the semantics may or may not be coherent in all systems,
depending on how your language is contructed.

Do you mean Original Thought as the First Thought from which can spring
all others ?

Or do you mean original thought as innovation. As far as I can see, many
innovations are new ways of looking at things, are ways of using processes
or ideas from some working sets in another seemingly unrelated set.

>> I'd say, historic linguistic memes came from pre-historic linguistic memes,
>> that came from partially or entirely non-linguistic memes, which came from
>> observed behaviors, which came from reflex responses, which came from
>> early neural networks, which came from... (See how far this is going to
>> have to go before you reach /original/?)
>> If you want, the Big Bang was the first and only Original Thought. ("Let
>> there be light! And there was.")
>hmmm. evolution of memes. This entire debate is /so similar/ to the
>origin of life that it's unbelievable! Why didn't somebody mention
>EVOLUTION earlier?
>You are all right, this way of approaching Original Meme's fails.

Of course it's evolution, how can one be divorced from that if one really
wants to study a complex system? That's because of the genericity of the
variation-selection process. A chaos-minded person would understand better
if I say that the variation-selection process is an attractor space
in the space of all information-treatment processes.

Besides who proposed the term if not evolutionist Dawkins.

However, I do think it is a mistake (for the moment) not to view
structured information as the real golden thread weaving through
genes and phenes and memes.

>But I'm not willing to admit that *totally novel* meme's do not occur.
>No fallicy of ignorance here. From a historical perspective, it's
>obvious that some ideas do come out of nothing. I mentioned one last
>time, and it got ignored. I could dig up another, but really I want a
>logical /proof/. Mabye I'll be impossible, like trying to prove an
>omnipotent omnipresent omnibenevolent God exists. Mabye not.

I don't think so, I think you can have 3 or 4 basic ideas from which
all else can complexify. Like Wolfram's Class IV Celular Automata.

> It's
>interesting to note that this evolution of meme's could occur inside one
>persons head in /very/ little time. I see some genius catching a little
>idea, and merging it with another: "hmmm. That would mean... which
>means THAT... which MEANS THAT! Eureka!" So while the "new" idea
>isn't /really/ new, in that it did come from some old ideas, it's still
>so new that nobody around knows about it. (of course, this also helps
>to explain why somethings things are co-discovered. The precursor memes
>exist, and it's only a matter of making just the right connections
>between them to get your "new" truth)

I think this is what I meant when I said that we don't need paradigm shifts
if we have an open mind. The changes are gradual to the individual who works
and synthesizes. But when the results are presented they necessarily have
to be wide-ranging to impact people's mind sets. Have a few hypotheses like
that and the worldview changes.

A genius does not have to reinvent anything : one usually just works up
from already existing bases by synthesizing in more information and
making a greater more coherent whole. Anybody could be what we call
a genius, provided he has access to information. And reflection on that
information so as to filter out the uncoherent is also important I guess.

What we call intuition is but part of the variation process. Then there
is selection then observation etc... Or what you'd call the
scientific method which is an example of the variation-selection process,
just as any subject evolves. There's more science in philosophy than most
people think.

Most people still think that subject are different (because of the terms
and the objects to which they apply). I think it's better to concentrate
on the generic (and therefore common) processes. Everything seems much
simpler to grasp and to comprehend this way.

>Or that the universe is
>deterministic? NO, but it does bring us closer to the pits of dispair.

I'd rather see things like this : I'm also privileged because I am going
to witness major changes in the way people think. And I'm prepared because
I always learn.