Re: virus: Why not ramble

Wade T.Smith (
Tue, 21 Oct 97 17:55:13 -0400

>I hope we agree that dreams do involve ideas. I, at least, can quote
>conversations and trains of thought from my dreams, besides the simple
>fact that memories of dream events are themselves ideas. Even a theorist
>who holds that dreams themselves are random noise must admit that we
>produce memories of episodes from that "noise" by some process,
>effectively transforming dreams into ideas if that's not what they are to
>begin with.

I used to agree with your first sentence- but notice how you move to =
my own argument by the last.... It is the _memory_ of the dream =
wherein the idea occurs.

>I think it
>is more useful to use the term "meme" to refer to a potentially-infectious
>idea than to use it to refer to behaviours prompted by such ideas. It
>pays to distinguish genotype and phenotype. Dreams can be part of an
>internal process of meme-juggling (I am using the internal interpretation
>of "meme") that can ultimately affect outward behaviour.

I battled with that as well. In the end I have come to (far from the =
actual, I'm sure) I decided to stop mythologizing dreams, at least =
for the real-time events. My brief readings of smatterings of dream =
research using scan techniques, and some other studies, lead me to =
conclude that dreams are mundane mental activity, with little =
(perhaps no) ideological content. There is still the issue of 'lucid =
dreaming' to wrestle with.

>I also take issue with your suggestion that dream content is dictated by
>the "activities of the day"; it is more accurate to say that dream content
>is dictated by the "thoughts of the day". I know I have had dreams that
>centered around issues I have thought about but not engaged in any outward
>behaviour about in the course of the day.

Time for a definition of 'activities of the day'? I do not (would =
never) say that conscious thought is not a behavior, especially since =
I stand in uffish thought several times a day.

Again- I am looking for _something_ which can be distilled out to be =
called a 'meme'. I am highly dissatisfied with any approach which =
simply takes any cultural artifact, like a fad, and calls it a meme. =
I am looking for a _scientific, cognitive, physical, measurable_ =
thing. I am part of this forum because I think that such a thing is =
findable. I am quite sure the methods and the tools to actually find =
it are not here yet. Much like particle physics needed a cyclotron to =
prove its theories, I think we need some real leading edge cognitive =
scanning and imaging tools. But- we're getting there. Real time MRI =
is a fact, and real-time imaging is fast here. We need to create =
experiments _now_ which will start the cognitive physical sciences to =
move in a memetic direction.

To return to your first =B6, we really need some way to see dreams.

I'm more than ready to think there may be some other way to have a =
brain activity A (without memes) and a brain activity B (with memes) =
other than dreams (A) and non-autonomous conscious behavior (B).

What precedes a habitual cultural behavior? Unfortunately, the animal =
studies, even the interesting ones, like bird songs and food washing, =
can easily be honed by Occam as random behavioral changes. While they =
seem to follow evolutionary patterns, are they culture? are they =

Am I too anthro-biased when I say no?

I don't think so.

Wade T. Smith | "There ain't nothin' you | shouldn't do to a god." |
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