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The Real Memes Options
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:04:14 PM

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This is the best, short explanation of what the word meme was meant to mean, and how they work.
Dangerous Memes, Daniel Dennett

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, May 13, 2018 12:06:06 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
This is the best, short explanation of what the word meme was meant to mean, and how they work.
Dangerous Memes, Daniel Dennett


Hi Epiphileon,

I had time today to watch the video, and came away with a bit of confusion. I'm not sure what his point is. Memes aren't like flukes that take over our brains with no control from us. We often invent the "flukes" and we can change them at will, if we so desire, or circumstances favor doing so.

So I'm left "scratching my head" as it were, trying to find a purpose for making this analogy, and finding them dangerous. Did I miss something?


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2018 5:40:34 AM

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FounDit wrote:
We often invent the "flukes" and we can change them at will.

With what type of will do we make this change? On the basis of what do we make these changes? Do we not basically bring other ideas into play, which are themselves memes? Purely original thoughts, I would imagine are exceedingly rare, if not completely impossible, I never actually pursued that particular tangent before; however, I would provisionally go with the impossible position.

Memes are indeed far more malleable than genes, but they are still units of a natural selection process in the propagation of ideas within the environment of culture, which its self is a result of memetic creation.

FounDit wrote:
finding them dangerous. Did I miss something?

Dangerous ideas=Dangerous memes. The Middle East is a good example, as well as terrorism in general no matter what memetic ideology it is based in. But you must wrap your head around the ubiquity of memes, the above are easy examples of large scale, and complex memes, here's a simple one, vaping is safer than smoking, or this one, vaccines cause autism.

There is nothing in the experience of being human that is not the result of some sort of selection process, even the fine structure of our brains results from a type of selection, and most certainly our behavior is, even if we think we actually control it, it is still a selection process.


Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Hope123
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2018 9:12:21 AM

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In the introduction the author mentions the ant whose brain has been seized by a parasite so it does something against its own welfare over and over again. As an aside, as well as the viral memes he discusses, there ARE real microbial parasites that can alter human brain function and cause real changes in human thinking and behaviour. It is estimated that depending upon location anywhere from 15-85% of humans are infected with a cat virus in their brain.

Also, the type of bacteria in the human gut can control some parts of the brain. And the connection goes both ways. The enteric nervous system is often referred to as our body’s second brain.

From a physical standpoint we may not control our selection of ideas as much as we believe.

:::

It is the memes that spread fear and hatred and violence that are causing problems around the world.

When did the concept that getting an education will broaden your character and even get you a good job become that education is bad and makes people elitist? I never saw that one coming.


The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, May 19, 2018 4:20:05 PM

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I had to go back and listen to it again, since I first watched and listened, and I still find myself questioning some of his points. It’s not that there is anything wrong with what he is saying as much as it seems to me to lack something which I’ll get to at the end.

Let me preface my remarks by saying I’m simply curious and suggesting another point of view, rather than criticizing him, or his analogy. I do love a good discussion.

At one point, around 3:12 in the video, he say it is ideas, not worms that hijack out brains; but I wouldn't say our brains aren’t hijacked, we choose to accept ideas. We are hijacked only to the degree we voluntarily decide to accept the idea as something we should make a part of us.

You ask with what type of will power we use to make that change. I would say imagination. And it is imagination that shows us the form and creates the basis for making that change. So the question then becomes, what motivates us to follow what appears to us as a new idea presented by the imagination? I would answer that we believe it benefits us in some way , relative to survival on either, or both, the individual level and the social level.

I do agree that original thought is very rare, but that it does occur occasionally. The familiar “aha” moment of inspiration, from early Humans to the modern version, in contrast to fortunate accident, is a part of the process upon which our civilization continues to progress at times.

He then goes on to speak of “infectious repititous”, as if we have no control over the “infection” of repeated ideas, but this seems illogical to me. The only way ideas can be said to be infectious is if each new person who is exposed to the idea also finds, or believes there is some kind of benefit to adopting and accepting the idea.

Religions would be such an idea that causes a belief in a benefit. But for there to be a perceived benefit, there must be a perceived lack, or fear of some kind of loss. In the case of religion, it would be eternal bliss offset by eternal misery. It doesn’t matter if it’s real, it only needs to be believed and accepted as real.

Dennett then goes on to say that what makes them dangerous is their misuse; that we have to make sure that only the benign and useful benefits of ideas are spread. But who decides benign and useful? Who decides “misuse”? Every group that holds to an idea believes they are not misusing it; that it is the “other” who is misusing it. Your example of the Middle East fits just such a scenario.

He goes on to talk about “toxic memes” and how they are wiping out other, older memes, and that this is inevitable. It’s how the world progresses, and that Memetics is morally neutral, as it should be. So in the end, virulent memes, like viruses, cannot be wiped out, we just have to choose the correct way to deal with them, in a safe way that will spread relatively benign mutations of the most toxic varieties. But he offers no plan for accomplishing that. That is why I was left “scratching my head”, trying to understand the point of it all, if there is no solution offered.

All he has done, really, is describe what he sees as a problem, but offers no solution. And that is why I asked if I missed something. I would have thought he might have come up with some kind of plan, or suggestion.

But I suppose there really isn’t a solution to this problem. Humanity will just have to muddle through the best we can, as we’ve always done ‘til now. And the memes of the group who wields the most power, and whose memes are believed to be the most useful will eventually wipe out those of the weaker group, or those memes we believe are not useful.

An interesting distraction from the commonplace, anyway.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2018 4:58:57 AM

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Hey Foundit and Hope, sorry I am very interested in this topic; however, I am involved in a project right now that has time constraints and I am having no easy time with. I hope to get back to this once school is out.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 7:48:06 PM

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Hello FounDit, Hope (and Epi when you get back).

I have some ideas - partly in agreement with FounDit but sadly also disagreeing. This is 'sadly' for the world and the huperson race (joke!Whistle ), not sadly for him and me (we seem to be quite used to agreeing 'partly' on a lot of things).

I agree that, ultimately, we have a choice. In an extreme analysis, we are each responsible for the future of the whole planet. If I had struggled and fought and persuaded the right generals and politicians forty, fifty years ago, I would be the dictator of the planet now, and could mandate the policies which I feel would make life better for everyone on the planet. I didn't - I'm responsible.

On a slightly smaller scale, each person is responsible for accepting ideas.
However, we (the people who at least try to look at both sides and find a Truth among all the 'facts' which are thrown at us) are a small minority. Most don't even have the responsibility-level to try.

Another point (which comes into the realm of 'memes') is that, particularly as children when we are developing our view of the world, we are only exposed to one side, very often.
I may seem to go on about this a bit, but, looking back at the 1950s and 60s (my childhood and teens),what was 'popular reading' portrayed all Germans as belligerent, 'The French' as a bit stupid, 'The Russians' as both stupid and belligerent, 'The Americans' as loud-mouthed ignorant louts.
How many other ideas were given to me without my even knowing that another side existed, I have no idea.
One obvious one which I have recognised:
"You have fun by getting drunk" - it took me about eight years (ages 16 to 24) to learn by experience that I had a lot more fun when I was sober. From age six, I had only ever known that drinking was a way of having fun which adults had, but was forbidden for me.

The kids of today have a much wider scope with the internet - but what they watch is "what kids watch" - and that is very one-sided (for each social group and country).

A solution? I can only see educational reform as a long-term hope.
Meanwhile persuading one or two people at a time that the ideas they have never questioned - which they have known since they started to speak - may not be the only way to look at things.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, May 24, 2018 9:26:17 AM

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The plain but simple truth is that the word "meme" has a very clear etymology. It was coined by *gasp* Richard Dawkins in his book, "The Selfish Gene". Therein it was posited as a place-holder for the notion that ideas might have much the same influence on the behavior of humans as the repertoire of enzymatic responses so neatly abstracted as "genes".

Quote:
The new soup is the soup of human culture. We need a name for the new replicator, a noun that conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation. ‘Mimeme’ comes from a suitable Greek root, but I want a monosyllable that sounds a bit like ‘gene’. I hope my classicist friends will forgive me if I abbreviate mimeme to meme.*

Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) (p. 249). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.


Edited to add:

Quote:
In discussing memes in the final chapter I was trying to make the case for replicators in general, and to show that genes were not the only members of that important class.

Dawkins, Richard. The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science) (p. 423). OUP Oxford. Kindle Edition.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 4:07:58 AM

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Hope wrote:
From a physical standpoint we may not control our selection of ideas as much as we believe.

From a physical standpoint we certainly do, but we are I's, and I's are just part of the process of being we's.
Sorry just couldn't resist that bit of psychobabble. What I mean to say is that although we have an illusion of controlling the selection of our ideas and actions, I have yet to see an argument that explains how this could occur. Maybe it's time for another freewill discussion?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Absinthius
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 6:26:47 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
What I mean to say is that although we have an illusion of controlling the selection of our ideas and actions, I have yet to see an argument that explains how this could occur.


A tendency observed is that a majority of people are selectively chosing their news sources to reflect what they are already convinced of. Wouldn't that count as a way in which people actively control their ideas? I mean, preventing yourself to be exposed to other viewpoints is a solid way to prevent you from wavering from your convictions. Actively keeping things the same is also a form of control. I'm not convinced that this always happens conciously though. And current 'news-feeds' such as facebook cater this to people whether they want it or not.

Look, how about this? Let's pretend we've had the row and I've won. See? It saves a lot of effort.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 11:26:04 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:


What I mean to say is that although we have an illusion of controlling the selection of our ideas and actions, I have yet to see an argument that explains how this could occur. Maybe it's time for another freewill discussion?


Do you mean how the "illusion" occurs", or how "controlling the selection" occurs?

If you mean the "illusion", would you not have to first prove that it is an illusion? You state it as if it is a fact.

If you mean "controlling the selection" of our ideas and actions, would this not entail taking into consideration the fact that we are the sum total of our experiences and choices up to the point of selection? This seems to me to be an explanation of how this could occur.

I think one way this could happen is to say we all make choices based on what we accept as approval, both internal and external, with the external coming first (early years experience). Once the external system forms the foundation of the internal system, a self-approval system is in place, and a bias, or filter, is established through which our selection is influenced. If all this is true, then does not this become reality, and not an illusion?


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2018 4:15:37 AM

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FounDit wrote:
At one point, around 3:12 in the video, he say it is ideas, not worms that hijack out brains; but I wouldn't say our brains aren’t hijacked, we choose to accept ideas. We are hijacked only to the degree we voluntarily decide to accept the idea as something we should make a part of us.


Hope's post clued me that the topic may be closely related to freewill, after further consideration and reading what you said above, freewill is obviously inextricably bound up in this topic.

The hijacked metaphor is problematic as it connotes the notion of wresting control away in a way that I do not think memes do. The brain fluke on the other hand can be said to be doing exactly that. Memes it seems to me are more like, hmmm, well perhaps there is not handy metaphor.

I/me/mind/brain is a choice engine, and the choosing is not a thing that is done by some separate agency, but is the very substantive ground of everything the mind, or higher brain does. Our awareness of choice is merely that, awareness of an action in process, how could this awareness get ahead of itself in order to do any directing?

When the mind is presented with a novel meme, on what basis is a choice made other than on the basis of previously accepted memes, and experience? There is of course the leanings of personality, the cognitive abilities involved, and even the emotional state, that affect which way a decision will go but, "I" cannot get ahead of any of these. That awareness of awareness I call me, exists at the leading edge of the temporal existence of the system that generates it. All of the activity prior to that is what constitutes the individual which I am, but the experience of I exists only at that fleeting and forever passing moment of the perception of now.

So when a new meme enters my mind, a choice is made whether it will be accepted or not, but saying I am making that choice is misleading, and erroneous. So I think "hijacking", while certainly attention grabbing, is not the most useful metaphor. However the most useful metaphor, as with the word meme itself has been hijacked. The most useful word for the potential redirection of mentality as the result of the presence of a meme would be viral. Just like a virus is foreign to our bodies but capable of entering our bodies and redirecting the behavior of our physiology, so memes are capable of entering our mentality and redirecting it. Dangerous memes are like the viruses that cause cancer.

Sorry this only addresses part of your post, but I really have to get back to work, I have one more report to generate for the research proposal I'm writing.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2018 8:35:03 AM

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Absinthius wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
What I mean to say is that although we have an illusion of controlling the selection of our ideas and actions, I have yet to see an argument that explains how this could occur.


A tendency observed is that a majority of people are selectively chosing their news sources to reflect what they are already convinced of. Wouldn't that count as a way in which people actively control their ideas? I mean, preventing yourself to be exposed to other viewpoints is a solid way to prevent you from wavering from your convictions. Actively keeping things the same is also a form of control. I'm not convinced that this always happens conciously though. And current 'news-feeds' such as facebook cater this to people whether they want it or not.


I just became aware of research that indicates this is not universally true. It depends very much on the structure of the source and the mood of the reader.

As I recall, it was found that people were more likely to change their minds when reading a well-written opinion piece, such as might appear on an editorial page or op-ed page in a traditional newspaper. This suggests that when people read to expand their knowledge, they are open to information that challenges their opinions, rather than merely reinforces them.

https://news.yale.edu/2018/04/24/study-shows-newspaper-op-eds-change-minds

On the other hand, the "echo chamber" effect of Twitter® and Facebook® has been confirmed, largely because platforms like these are designed to filter and concentrate messages according to topic and opinion in order to maximize the impact of in-line advertising.

Edited to add:

There is also evidence that this echo chamber effect might not be as influential as many of us assume.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180416-the-myth-of-the-online-echo-chamber

Whilst many people do seek the comfort of homophily in their social media, they also do not regard it as a reliable source for information and instead take advantage of at least some of the diversity available on the world-wide-web.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
FounDit
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 10:47:59 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:


I was with you up to this point. It seems you are again saying that memes can direct us, our mentality, without our decision-making process. But I don't think that is true. We have to accept them into ourselves and agree to them for them to have any sort of control.

This relates to leonAzul's post, which makes a very good point. By being exposed to a variety of views, I believe we choose the one that resonates the most within our frame of reference and reasoning abilities; but it is still we who choose.


The most useful word for the potential redirection of mentality as the result of the presence of a meme would be viral. Just like a virus is foreign to our bodies but capable of entering our bodies and redirecting the behavior of our physiology, so memes are capable of entering our mentality and redirecting it. Dangerous memes are like the viruses that cause cancer.
[Emphasis FD]

Sorry this only addresses part of your post, but I really have to get back to work, I have one more report to generate for the research proposal I'm writing.


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Hope123
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 5:11:15 PM

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Just to throw it out there - "'The Me' decade is NOT well in the past" as Dennett said here eight years ago. I doubt it ever will be. I wonder what his current ideas are of all the issues he raised in this TED Talk.

Because is this not the guy who at first said memes are spread through natural selection as in Darwinism? That language itself is the result of natural selection? There is a mutation in it that is replicated long enough or often enough to survive. New words and uses of old words and memes survive because they can be used for benefit - good or bad. I know he had time constraints in a talk but he doesn't mention that here. Has he changed his mind? He touches a bit on the ant parasite to explain why we might do things that are against our own best interests, even genetical best interests. But differing from his earlier ideas this TED Talk seems to be less about free will or how memes spread - biologically but also from brain to brain - and more about what to do about our toxic misused memes and how the spreading of them, through technology, conflicts with the memes of other cultures, memes for which they are prepared to die. That is why they are dangerous.

Beliefs are not facts and we should be careful what memes we spread is what I think his main topic really is.

He says that memes can survive even when not passed on genetically. But he does not elaborate how being passed on genetically could be done. Again no time. Do we have any science for it? I'm not up on that. Would an example be something similar that was proven in birds, and so perhaps it could be so in humans? I've mentioned before that there was a study where - I think it was falcons or crows - not only recognized a human face mask associated with something that scared them, but the concept was passed down to their offspring without the offspring ever seeing the mask themselves before the initial exposure when they reacted as their parents had. Also, what about genetic memory - is a musical genius such as Mozart or a savant, indicative of it?

Anyhow, he says these toxic memes will never be eradicated any more than germs can be. We wouldn't be here without "germs" but some are helpful to us and some are not. Even viruses can be good or useful. Who is to judge which memes are moral and which are not? That is not the job of memetics, he states.

His solution is to get the facts first through science and knowledge, then foster mental health (and as Drago says education) as the only way to mitigate the spread of toxic memes. That's the proven method, but when themes "go viral" in one day, how does one compete with that? Once it is out there, it can never be put back into the bottle, no matter how untrue or nonsensical it may be. Some will always think it is true and spread it.

It may be way off base, but I can't get this question out of my head - besides the speed of and the instruments used for the spread of modern day memes, how is the spread of memes today any different than the old wandering minstrels or the storytellers who spread history and folk tales to their cultures?

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 6:12:10 PM

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Hope123 wrote:

It may be way off base, but I can't get this question out of my head - besides the speed of and the instruments used for the spread of modern day memes, how is the spread of memes today any different than the old wandering minstrels or the storytellers who spread history and folk tales to their cultures?


My opinion is, it isn't, and that is the point that Dennett is trying to make. Although the name for it can be traced to recent history, the thing itself has been around as long as there have been human beings, or animals very much like them.

In another TED talk, Susan Blackmore elucidates this well in her presentation on her notion of replicators in general.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ_9-Qx5Hz4


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 9:57:46 PM

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Listening to her was interesting at first, but quickly became impossible to take seriously after some of the thing she said. It sounds like she’s warning us against the Borg, and they will come from within our own genes!

At:
12:01 The genes took a gene machine and turned it into a meme machine.

13:10 So actually, now the temes are forcing our brains to become more like teme machines.

13:26 We think we’re choosing these things, but the temes are making us do it.

17:06 the temes are selfish replicators and they don’t care about us, or our planet, or anything else. They’re just information, why would they? They are using us to suck up the planet’s resources to produce more computers, and more of these amazing things we’re hearing about at TED.

17:27 “Don’t think we created the internet for our own benefit. That’s how it seems to us. Think, temes spreading because they must. We are the old machines.

17:43 “There are kind of two ways of pulling through. One that is happening now, is that the temes turn us into teme machines, with the implants, with the drugs, with us merging with the technology. And why would they do that? Because we are self-replicating. We make babies. We make new ones, and so it is convenient to piggyback onto us.

But, she says, we’re getting close to the point where the teme machines themselves will replicate themselves

18:18 That way it wouldn’t matter if the planet’s climate was utterly destabilized, and it was no longer possible for humans to live here.

18:34 They [the teme machines] could carry on without us.

And because of the damage we’ve done to the planet, we’re close to that third replicator, she says. So it may well be that the temes are behind Climate Change! They’re forcing us to alter the planet so they can take over! Their dastardly plot has been uncovered!

We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 5:05:06 AM

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Leaping freaking leptons!
Well that sounds dire, I'm definitely going to have watch that ASAP, but now it's off to work.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Hope123
Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 8:55:58 AM

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What's a Borg? Whistle

I had a Borg coat (fake fur) years ago when the treatment of animals and using them for real fur came into question.

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 8:09:27 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
What's a Borg? Whistle

Well, it's either an aged Swedish tennis-player . . .

or a cyborg - partly human, mostly machine.



Sounds like she's saying our minds have been replaced by 'temes' which have no other purpose than breeding/multiplication.



Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 8:53:59 AM

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Hope123 wrote:
What's a Borg? Whistle

I had a Borg coat (fake fur) years ago when the treatment of animals and using them for real fur came into question.


The reference is to a fictional civilization from Star Trek TNG and later. It features a "hive mind" society that is highly militarized.

The assimilation is technically achieved through the use of implants that forcibly join one's brain to the collective.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 12:05:34 PM

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FounDit wrote:
They’re forcing us to alter the planet so they can take over! Their dastardly plot has been uncovered!


Wrong movie FounDit, that's "The Matrix".

I've just hit the 12 minute mark in the video.




Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 12:46:29 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hope123 wrote:
What's a Borg? Whistle

Well, it's either an aged Swedish tennis-player . . .

or a cyborg - partly human, mostly machine.



Sounds like she's saying our minds have been replaced by 'temes' which have no other purpose than breeding/multiplication.



That's close, but not complete. What she and others have observed is that replicators gotta replicate; they don't care how or why; they don't even have a mind of their own; they just do it by any means necessary. It is for this reason they are often described as "viral" when they successfully replicate at a very fast rate.

Like viruses, however, resistance doesn't have to be futile. In addition to the basic immune system, there are vaccinations that enhance the defense against the most widely recognized pathogenic replicators (viruses), and research is getting better day by day against the more complex problem of cancerous replicators.

Similarly, training in scientific method, skepticism, and critical thinking can go a long way to acting as "inoculations" against the most dangerous memes.



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Hope123
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 1:34:43 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
Hope123 wrote:
What's a Borg? Whistle

Well, it's either an aged Swedish tennis-player . . .

or a cyborg - partly human, mostly machine.



Sounds like she's saying our minds have been replaced by 'temes' which have no other purpose than breeding/multiplication.



That's close, but not complete. What she and others have observed is that replicators gotta replicate; they don't care how or why; they don't even have a mind of their own; they just do it by any means necessary. It is for this reason they are often described as "viral" when they successfully replicate at a very fast rate.

Like viruses, however, resistance doesn't have to be futile. In addition to the basic immune system, there are vaccinations that enhance the defense against the most widely recognized pathogenic replicators (viruses), and research is getting better day by day against the more complex problem of cancerous replicators.

Similarly, training in scientific method, skepticism, and critical thinking can go a long way to acting as "inoculations" against the most dangerous memes.



Love the Swedish tennis player pun, Drago.

Yeah, my post was tongue-in-cheek. Although I knew it was some kind of dangerous machine-man, I did have to look up its genesis before I posted.

Leon, your last post sums it all up very nicely. "Replicators gotta replicate" by any means and as fast as possible. But like viruses, there are methods such as "training in scientific method, skepticism, and critical thinking" that can help mitigate the dangerous ones.

P.S. What happened when they were confronted by the Borg? Who won and how in the fictional story? Maybe some clues there? (Star Trek was before my time. Whistle Whistle Whistle )

Edited - I just researched and answered my own question and there's not much help there. Ironically, while the Caeliar were–albeit accidentally–involved in the creation of the Borg, they also provide the means to end it; in the 24th century, the Caeliar absorb the entire Borg collective back into themselves, ending the cyborgs' centuries-long reign of terror. Although I never watched it I do remember the beginnings of Star Trek - Kirk and Spock. Nimoy and Shatner. But not much past that.



The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 10:38:23 PM

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FounDit wrote:
Listening to her was interesting at first, but quickly became impossible to take seriously after some of the thing she said. It sounds like she’s warning us against the Borg, and they will come from within our own genes!

At:
12:01 The genes took a gene machine and turned it into a meme machine.

13:10 So actually, now the temes are forcing our brains to become more like teme machines.

13:26 We think we’re choosing these things, but the temes are making us do it.

17:06 the temes are selfish replicators and they don’t care about us, or our planet, or anything else. They’re just information, why would they? They are using us to suck up the planet’s resources to produce more computers, and more of these amazing things we’re hearing about at TED.

17:27 “Don’t think we created the internet for our own benefit. That’s how it seems to us. Think, temes spreading because they must. We are the old machines.

17:43 “There are kind of two ways of pulling through. One that is happening now, is that the temes turn us into teme machines, with the implants, with the drugs, with us merging with the technology. And why would they do that? Because we are self-replicating. We make babies. We make new ones, and so it is convenient to piggyback onto us.

But, she says, we’re getting close to the point where the teme machines themselves will replicate themselves

18:18 That way it wouldn’t matter if the planet’s climate was utterly destabilized, and it was no longer possible for humans to live here.

18:34 They [the teme machines] could carry on without us.

And because of the damage we’ve done to the planet, we’re close to that third replicator, she says. So it may well be that the temes are behind Climate Change! They’re forcing us to alter the planet so they can take over! Their dastardly plot has been uncovered!

We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.



Good points, and listening to the audience's response, sometimes they too found her sense of humor rather dry. The on-line community meme that springs to mind is Poe's Law: the better the parody ( in this case of conspiracy theories and panic-stricken calls for "action"), the more difficult it is to tell the difference from the parody and the thing being parodied.
Whistle

Yet I would like to clarify that whenever I refer to to a TEDtalk it is not so much to prove a point as to elucidate a point. These presentations are all about entertaining ideas, not necessarily buying-in to them.


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 3:29:08 AM

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FounDit wrote:
Listening to her was interesting at first, but quickly became impossible to take seriously after some of the thing she said. It sounds like she’s warning us against the Borg, and they will come from within our own genes!


Wow! That is one of the most amazing examples of a competently rational person taking themselves right round the bend on the back of charging anthropomorphization I've ever seen. It certainly seemed to me that self determination became a characteristic of her "temes" at one point, despite the few disclaimers she made to the contrary.

Apparently she thinks "The Matrix" was a warning from the future.

I tried to believe her disclaimers but this is the most telling quote it seems to me.
Quote:
“Don’t think we created the internet for our own benefit. That’s how it seems to us. Think, temes spreading because they must.


It seems to me her drift into error is very subtle, I'm finding it hard to specifically identify, but it is definitely there.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 4:02:55 AM

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Going back to another branch of the discussion...

FounDit wrote:
I was with you up to this point. It seems you are again saying that memes can direct us, our mentality, without our decision-making process. But I don't think that is true. We have to accept them into ourselves and agree to them for them to have any sort of control.


Have you taken the position that free will exists?

On what basis do we make the decisions, or do the accepting? Is it not on the basis of our inherent cognitive abilities evaluating all past experiences and knowledge which are themselves memetic events?

Quote:
It seems you are again saying that memes can direct us,


I wouldn't say it that way, it is too close to the same error Dr. Blackmore seems to make in her "temes" talk. Memes shape our behavior, can even limit the choices of behaviors we take particularly when you have a complex memetic structure like a belief system; however, the decision making processes that direct our behavior belong to the mental processes that make each of us unique individuals, the combination of which we think of as "I". While those do define who we are as individuals, we no more determine what those are than we do what color eyes we have. The "I" that is our experience of those, our consciousnesses, are an awareness of those occurring.
So again the question would be. how does an awareness of an occurrence get out in front of an occurrence in order to direct it?


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FounDit
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 3:36:39 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Going back to another branch of the discussion...

FounDit wrote:
I was with you up to this point. It seems you are again saying that memes can direct us, our mentality, without our decision-making process. But I don't think that is true. We have to accept them into ourselves and agree to them for them to have any sort of control.


Have you taken the position that free will exists?
No.

On what basis do we make the decisions, or do the accepting? Is it not on the basis of our inherent cognitive abilities evaluating all past experiences and knowledge which are themselves memetic events?
Yes.

Quote:
It seems you are again saying that memes can direct us,


I wouldn't say it that way, it is too close to the same error Dr. Blackmore seems to make in her "temes" talk. Memes shape our behavior[Without our input?] , can even limit the choices of behaviors we take particularly when you have a complex memetic structure like a belief system[There are many belief systems, so, again, it seems we must make a choice; we decide which belief system to follow don’t we? We can also decide which parts of the memetic structure to imitate. So how does the meme limit us in making our choices? I don't see it.] ; however, the decision making processes that direct our behavior belong to the mental processes that make each of us unique individuals, the combination of which we think of as "I". While those do define who we are as individuals, we no more determine what those are than we do what color eyes we have. The "I" that is our experience of those, our consciousnesses, are an awareness of those occurring.. [I agree.]

So again the question would be. how does an awareness of an occurrence get out in front of an occurrence in order to direct it? ? It doesn’t. She presents a definition of a meme as something that is imitated. For that to happen, we have to first be exposed to it. Whether or not we choose to imitate it will be based on our past experiences and the unique expression of our individual neuronal development, our “I”.

This is the same situation as you pointed out earlier, but seemed to contradict (I reversed the order to illustrate what appears to be a contradiction).
Quote Epiphileon:
” So when a new meme enters my mind, a choice is made whether it will be accepted or not, but saying I am making that choice is misleading, and erroneous.”

“When the mind is presented with a novel meme, on what basis is a choice made other than on the basis of previously accepted memes, and experience?

End quote

If, as you say, we make our choice on the basis of previously accepted memes and experience, how then can we say that describing it as choice is misleading and erroneous?





A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 4:01:08 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
"So when a new meme enters my mind, a choice is made whether it will be accepted or not, but saying I am making that choice is misleading, and erroneous.”

FounDit wrote:
If, as you say, we make our choice on the basis of previously accepted memes and experience, how then can we say that describing it as choice is misleading and erroneous?


oops sorry that was amby gooey.*
I in the sense of that entity which is myself as I am composed of all the characteristics that make me an individual, yes that I makes the choice. On the other hand the I that is my moment to moment experience of those characteristics in action does not, it is merely aware of what choices are being made. This is not a distinction I have made before; however, it seems a valid and useful distinction.

Quote:
There are many belief systems, so, again, it seems we must make a choice; we decide which belief system to follow don’t we? We can also decide which parts of the memetic structure to imitate. So how does the meme limit us in making our choices? I don't see it.


While a belief system is resident and unchallenged, for instance from personal experience my former evangelicalism, the only choices I would make for explaining the human condition, or even its existence, were Biblically based. It literally was not possible for me accept any other explanation, however, along came a huge memetic structure, science, and individual memes of that structure, "infected" my mind and given the inherent characteristics of my mentality those were accepted as more valid than my resident belief system, and my mind changed, despite concerted efforts on "my" part to keep it from happening.

This experience even resulted in a change to one of my underlying mentality characteristics, i.e. my conception of the nature of conviction, and that I am indeed fallible, no matter how much I may think I know something, I could be wrong. Did I make this change? No the memes did it, even though it was not a specific meme in itself, the memes shaped my behavior, and in a sense imposed a limitation. In this case one I regard as a proper one.



*not a real phrase just me screwing around with "ambiguous"

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FounDit
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 10:30:55 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Epiphileon wrote:
"So when a new meme enters my mind, a choice is made whether it will be accepted or not, but saying I am making that choice is misleading, and erroneous.”

FounDit wrote:
If, as you say, we make our choice on the basis of previously accepted memes and experience, how then can we say that describing it as choice is misleading and erroneous?


oops sorry that was amby gooey.*
I in the sense of that entity which is myself as I am composed of all the characteristics that make me an individual, yes that I makes the choice. On the other hand the I that is my moment to moment experience of those characteristics in action does not, it is merely aware of what choices are being made. This is not a distinction I have made before; however, it seems a valid and useful distinction.
Ok. Let me see if I understand correctly: when the entity known as "you" makes a choice, the moment to moment experience of the entity known as "you" making that choice is merely aware of the choice being made, but is not part of the choice decision-making. So you are continually in the process of observing "you", but not partaking in "you". Do I have that right? You're not trying to confuse me by going "amby gooey" are you?...Whistle

Quote:
There are many belief systems, so, again, it seems we must make a choice; we decide which belief system to follow don’t we? We can also decide which parts of the memetic structure to imitate. So how does the meme limit us in making our choices? I don't see it.


While a belief system is resident and unchallenged, for instance from personal experience my former evangelicalism, the only choices I would make for explaining the human condition, or even its existence, were Biblically based. It literally was not possible for me accept any other explanation, however, along came a huge memetic structure, science, and individual memes of that structure, "infected" my mind and given the inherent characteristics of my mentality those were accepted as more valid than my resident belief system, and my mind changed, despite concerted efforts on "my" part to keep it from happening.
So there you were sitting on your tuffet, when along came a meme and bit you on your...sorry...drifted for a moment.

So when the meme came along, one would think you had been inoculated by your resident belief system. So to become "infected" by an idea, did you not first have to examine the idea; to accept it into your thinking; to examine it for plausibility? And in doing so, experience an "aha" moment, or however it occurred? I'm finding it difficult to accept that your were "infected" without some participation on your part.

This experience even resulted in a change to one of my underlying mentality characteristics, i.e. my conception of the nature of conviction, and that I am indeed fallible, no matter how much I may think I know something, I could be wrong. And this is how we learn; through mistakes or by examination of evidence, experience, or empirical facts. It's a life-long process that for most people ends with a set of parameters that underlie what is considered to be "truth" as much as we can know it. But in each step, we partake in the process. The memes don't do it to us without our assistance. So I have difficulty accepting the following premise that the memes did it, and imposed some kind of limitation. Would it not rather be that you freed yourself from a previous, self-imposed, limitation?

Did I make this change? No the memes did it, even though it was not a specific meme in itself, the memes shaped my behavior, and in a sense imposed a limitation. In this case one I regard as a proper one.



*not a real phrase just me screwing around with "ambiguous"


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 1:21:03 PM

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FounDit wrote:
Ok. Let me see if I understand correctly: when the entity known as "you" makes a choice, the moment to moment experience of the entity known as "you" making that choice is merely aware of the choice being made, but is not part of the choice decision-making. So you are continually in the process of observing "you", but not partaking in "you". Do I have that right?


Pretty much yep. Language becomes pretty tricky here though, observing could sound dualistic, and that is not at what I could mean. I do mean that it is an active perception, but it is a perception that is happening simultaneously with the event.

Okay hold on...
So there are a myriad of brain processes that lead to mental phenomenon, these are all happening to a degree independently but then become subsumed into the global activity that creates the virtual reality we experience as "now", the "I" that is aware of the "now", is intrinsically part of that now. It is an observation without a separate observer. So observing, and partaking.

FounDit wrote:
So when the meme came along, one would think you had been inoculated by your resident belief system. So to become "infected" by an idea, did you not first have to examine the idea; to accept it into your thinking; to examine it for plausibility? And in doing so, experience an "aha" moment, or however it occurred? I'm finding it difficult to accept that your were "infected" without some participation on your part.


Yes of course I examined it, that was due to inherent characteristics of my mentality that I had no part of instigating. I fully participated in the sense of partaking in the experience as described above. Which still means that I had no part in directing the choice, and that everything that did was either genetic characteristics of my mentality, or my past experience of ideas (memes).

FounDit wrote:
Would it not rather be that you freed yourself from a previous, self-imposed, limitation?

Well yes I did; however, at any given moment what am I? I am all that has comprised "me" to that point plus the new meme that I have incorporated into me, and it now shares in shaping my behavior.
You seem to still be teetering on claiming some sort of freewill.
(This last paragraph was edited upon review after initially just saying, "this would imply freewill."

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FounDit
Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2018 10:24:40 AM

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Ah, okay. No, I spent too much time arguing against free will to have given over to the dark side on that topic.

It's the word "infected" that I kept stumbling over. My thought processes surrounding that word imply something not sought for, not desired, and out of our control. Quite simply, no one seeks to become "infected", but rather seeks to avoid it, so I have an instinctive aversion to what the word implies.

I think "influenced" is the word I prefer. It is in the instance of exposure to a new meme that one might find resonance with past experience and personal preference that would induce one to accept the new meme. From that perspective, acceptance would be the result of resonate influence, which creates a completely different sense in my mind than infection.

So the tempest in a teapot is over mental definition. If I think of influence rather than infection, then agreement is more easily accommodated. So I just needed to change my thinking and choose to become "influenced" in another direction...Think




A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
Hope123
Posted: Sunday, June 10, 2018 3:27:38 PM

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There are memes or replicators that are introduced externally. Are there intrinsic memes?

For instance, did music come before language and are we hard-wired for it? That is - is it encoded in our DNA? Did language actually come FROM music? Some are musical, some are tone deaf. Some can play the piano "by ear". Some with disabilities are helped by music. A person who stammers when speaking may not have trouble when singing.

What about the other arts? Why do some people HAVE to paint? Or write? Are art and music just replicators over 40,000+ years? Is it that we would not have survived without abstract thought and being creative? A neurological creative process in the brain that controls us? A kind of intrinsic replicator?

Apparently there is not a single human society without music of some kind.

Vibration - music - can affect our emotions and our heart rate, makes us want to move to the rhythm, and can even change how we cooperate with others. Just watch how the crowd move together at a concert and have good feelings towards each other. When listening to certain music, the movement part of the brain lights up even without movement happening.

If music is encoded, how does that affect the freewill position? Are we really not free to choose music itself but on the other hand can choose the kind of music we like? The definition of a true artist is that they have to paint or create their art. Is that freewill?

And what about those damned earworms? d'oh!

The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. Anon
Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 3:42:48 AM

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FounDit wrote:
If I think of influence rather than infection, then agreement is more easily accommodated. So I just needed to change my thinking and choose to become "influenced" in another direction...Think


I suspected the problem was in the semantics, however, I still wonder about this phrasing,"I just needed to change my thinking..." This sounds like you're talking about the I we refer to as consciousness, and not the I that is the individual manifested as the result of our unconscious psychological components.

As you can see I'm still chasing this new distinction of the two I's.

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Epiphileon
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 4:25:32 AM

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Hope wrote:
For instance, did music come before language and are we hard-wired for it?

Hmmm, okay, I'm going to say a fairly confident yes to the first part, and a definite maybe to the second.

I imagine our ancient ancestors environs had plenty of music in them, bird songs, insect noise, even some animal calls are musical. Then of course there is the rhythm of the womb. Song may have originated with proto-lullabies, I don't know the origin of purposeful music in humans it did exist in the world before them though.

Are we hardwired for music? Great question. I think so, anyway it would seem to me to be so; however, I have no specific authority on the issue. I just thought of another example of music that seems to be fairly organic, the ululations of grief, maybe. If I recall drums were the first instruments, and those were used for signalling, maybe even language in some cultures.

I would say we are definitely hard wired for rhythm, I'm suspecting it may be a stretch to say music is encoded in our DNA.

I suspect language and music have separate evolutionary tracks. I know about how music can aid a number of different language deficits but, and I'm really reaching here, I think that has to do with establishing a rhythm in the brain that allows the language centers to sync up, and not a direct effect. Not sure.

Are there intrinsic memes? No this would require DNA encoding of ideas and that does not happen.

Are there memes that are created internally? Definitely. Is anything, even the most brilliant, unique, creations of artistic, or any other form of imagination free of all memetic heredity? Definitely not, at least I am of the personal strong conviction that is not possible.

As far as the freewill issue is concerned I don't think anything we say at the behavioral level really contributes to the argument. The issue of freewill is settled at the physiological level. Are artists compelled to art, many most definitely are.

Quote:
And what about those damned earworms?


You mean like..... Doe a deer a...?Whistle

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