From Intangibles to Memes
In a few days I'll be leaving for a couple of weeks, so I will have to cover several topics even more briefly than usual.
Where were we? I last spoke of intangibles and teleology. The connection was that intangibles were most likely to enter into the causal matrix under the guise of final or teleological causes.
The topic of intangibility came up in connection with searching for the cutting edge of immaterialism. If the materialists are unable to eliminate abstractions from reality, then idealism will have its big toe in their door, and the materialists will have to take a much more defensive strategy.
Where abstractions are their most potent is in the phenomenal power of communication and language. One can hardly broach the topic of linguistics without running into Chomsky. His concept of a special human faculty for language that encodes a Universal Grammar is a concept that does not sit well at all with the Darwinists. A major counter offensive against the idea of a language organ has been mounted by the Darwinists, being led by Dennett and Dawkins. Their banner is the 'Constructivist Manifesto'.
As mentioned earlier, Jerry Fodor is the leader of the 'New Rationalists' with his nearly Platonic view of innate ideas. Dennett, in Darwin's Dangerous Idea, sees Fodor, Chomsky and Gould as traitors to the cause of scientific progress. He sees them as being fellow travelers with the creationists. Fortunately for Darwin, the creationists are being very slow to jump into bed with these luminaries. Until Dennett outed these crypto creationists, their subtlety was effective.
Thinking of Fodor's innate ideas got me onto the topic of Dawkins' 'memes'. Considering the source, I had been reluctant to embrace them. The idea of memes seemed to be the antithesis of innate ideas, and to be a reductionistic answer to idealism. But now I am having second thoughts. Perhaps memetics is taking on a life of its own. I understand that Dawkins is becoming wary of his promiscuous intellectual progeny.
Here's the scoop. On the reductionist side one can look as memes as just glorified computer viruses. But that view holds very little water. In the final analysis memes are not strings of code. The consensus view sees no real distinction between memes and ideas. Does this mean that they descend upon us from a Platonic heaven? Yes and no.
I don't mind seeing memes as the atoms of pantheism. Susan Blackmore, in 'The Meme Machine' shocked her academic colleagues by declaring that all of us are just collections of memes. Why not let ideas live? Why follow Plato in supposing that the only good idea is an embalmed idea? Let my ideas live free, again! Our brains are a living colony of neurons. I trust it is not a penal colony. Maybe the Creator is trying to tell us something. The religious establishment likes us to think that we are a penal colony, but maybe we are the colony of God, as every mystic insists.
There is some fundamental logistics to work out here. Let me sleep on it.
During my meme hunting I again landed on Kheper. I particularly recommend The Divinisation Of Matter. It contains some useful eschatology that I would like to return to later.
My being a collection of memes may not be such a bad idea as long as there is an optimal stability and there is a goodly mix of transcendental memes, whatever they might be. Our personas change in significant fashion over a lifetime and over lifetimes if that is applicable. If we allow memes to take on a monadic, microcosmic, holistic, holographic intelligence of their own, that might expedite many things. This would be like object oriented programming and distributed intelligence on a cosmic scale.
The principal logistics issue would be cloning. Do you and I share the same intelligent memes? And how do memes transform themselves? How much of a meme's identity is carried in its external vs. internal relations? How do our individual mind spaces overlap with the universal space of memes? Our individual minds are supposed to be an illusion, after all. We need a mereology of memes.
We are mutually shifting vectors in the Hilbert space of memes. We exist in entangled superpositions that are mutually observational. The cosmic love telos of the rapture is a grandmother meme. They don't get much bigger than that.
We need a morphogenetic theory for memes. From a holistic point of view, they cannot be given discrete identities. There is a meme or a mind field. We then also need a perspectival theory for them. Each meme will see its partners differently. These monads will have windows, no? If one changes they all change, but then there also has to be an atemporal perspective. Each meme would have an interactive time-line.
How does relationalism work in memedom? For the memes, its not what they know, or their content that counts. It is how they relate to the rest. But there must be some substantive content or structure, nonetheless.
How does the concept of Maya play out in memedom? Despite the windows, there must be a lot of mirroring that goes on. How does memory work, or how can it be represented here? How can time be represented? Perhaps there are memes for time and space. Perhaps the monadology would be helpful here. I'm presently reviewing the Stanford entry on Leibniz.
Are memes real? Are patterns real? Only in a holistic, relational sense.
Genes contain real information only in a particular biological context. Memes are much more contextual and holistic.
Are relations real? Mechanical relations are real for a mechanist. Functional relations are real for a functionalist.
Is distributed intelligence real, as in 'Six Characters...'? Is it all parasitical, like memes? It would help if we knew how that worked.
It is said that memes are reductionistic. But are they reducible, and if so, to what? Has anyone ever seen half a meme? How many memes are there? Where are the chemical formulas?
Has there ever been a reduction? Even 'bachelor' has not been reduced. Every word is context dependent. That must mean that there is a substantial manifold of meaning. It is a manifold with a partial life of its own. We are all just parts of it. That is our reduction. This manifold also has its holographic and microcosmic aspects.
But can a thought have meaning outside of a thinker? How are thoughts and memories stored? How communicated? Each idea might just be a perspective on the cosmos. But then there is still a percept and perceiver distinction. Even the lowliest thought has some independence of the thinker. Are we not just the shepherds of our thoughts? And God is our shepherd.
How do we overcome the distinction between perception and projection? There would likely be circularity in the form of feedback. Each thought or being is a temporary node in the stretching of the separational matrix of creation. The stretching relaxes in the frame of the eschaton.
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