• wax
    295
    Some ideas:

    Maybe a meme is some kind of system that is unbounded but finite in size, like a 3-sphere(hypersphere) is in maths....maybe it is a neural network that maps out through this system, and networks other memes.....

    I think maybe the brain in animals isn't just about the neural network, it is about what it is networking. Neurochemicals may not be just material packages but are also packages of the supernatural, so by networking using neurochemicals supernatural networks are generated at the same time....maybe memes work in the same way.

    Maybe a meme is composed of networked memes, memes that are also composed of networked memes, and on indefinitely..

    Just some ideas as to what memes may actually be..

    Any other suggestions?
  • Brett
    341


    I find this stuff very interesting. Are you imagining neurochemicals being used like a river carrying cargo?
  • TogetherTurtle
    171
    Traditionally memetics is seen as a sociological equivalent to genetics. Ideas pass from one person to another and the ones that benefit those people thrive and are shared more. A meme is really just an idea, or at least that's my understanding of it. So I guess the question really is what are ideas.

    I guess you could say that consciousness is a network of memes as you describe above. Perhaps our personalities are built through a blueprint of memes in parallel to how our bodies are built through a blueprint of genes?
  • Brett
    341


    Initially a meme does seem to be just an idea, but then it’s also regarded as carrying besides ideas, behaviour, style, symbols and practices. But then is a symbol just a metaphor for an idea? Which it may very well be, and that’s it’s advantage and power.

    But I find it interesting because I also find Jungian archetypes interesting.

    Edit: but to understand the symbol you need to have background knowledge. So it can only travel around in a specific environment and die outside of it.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    If you'd like to know, germs, if to spread/infect, need cellular receptors they can attach to. For example the cold virus has protein structures on its surface that attach to receptors on the surface of respiratory cells. That's how germs spread/infect a host.

    Memes could be similar. The mind host must have receptors to which memes can bind to and then cause the infection. In other words memes are just modes of connecting with others of a similar bent of mind. There really is no infection because a person must already accept a meme before it can spread to his/her mind.

    So,I don't think of memes as objects that spread from person to person. It's rather like two/more people realizing they have similar preferences/inclinations.

    How can I explain this?

    I think history can illustrate my point better. Take calculus for example. Both Leibniz and Newton developed the idea independent of each other. There was a huge controversy on the invention of calculus precisely because people had the notion of memes back then. People thought calculus had a origin and then caused an infection. It turns out that this wasn't the case. Both Newton and Liebniz had little idea what the other was doing. What do you think of memes now?
  • Brett
    341
    There really is no infection because a person must already accept a meme before it can spread to his/her mind.TheMadFool

    Does that mean that to accept a meme the person must have a complete or partial knowledge of it to bind?
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    Does that mean that to accept a meme the person must have a complete or partial knowledge of it to bind?Brett

    Yes. It's like those toys children play with where a shape has to be fitted to a hole with a matching shape. If the shapes don't match i.e. the meme doesn't find a receptor then there's no infection.

    I must remind you though that all humans belong to the same species i.e. it's highly likely that a meme will find receptors to bind to. We're so similar aren't we?
  • wax
    295
    What do you think of memes now?TheMadFool

    I have this idea that we live in a meme matrix whereby everything is formed with memes..

    I sort of think of memes as networks of interplaying, interconnecting algorithms. Our thoughts are made from memes, memes that map onto other memes in the world and with other memes in the body and across society and the world.

    This isn't a matrix thing running on some big computer, this matrix just exists, and has its origins in an eternal meme development process....God is the meme generator, and made of memes himself...maybe.
  • wax
    295
    I wondered once if dolphins live in a meme matrix as well, and that their 'talk' sequences are just codes to help others key into the matrix....so their 'talking' isn't a language in itself, it represents access coding for other dolphins, access memes maybe. What we see as dolphins may infact be dolphins in that or a related matrix...maybe the dolphins were among the first high ranking meme generators on the planet, in this meme matrix....maybe when a dolphin lives in this other world, maybe they live as a being with hands etc, and can manipulate virtual objects and communicate within that world...
  • wax
    295
    maybe the dolphins were among the first high ranking meme generators on the planetwax

    I could maybe argue that the tiny mammals that live in the world of the dinosaur were the highest ranking meme generators, and the emergence of memes for this sort of demanded a change and mapped out into the meme universe onto means to wipe out the dinosaurs.....so the mice type beings actually brought in the meteor that change the world....there is a demand I think from meme generation, for change, and development, and the dinosaurs by dominating the land, were holding it up.

    I think of the ancent meme systems is working towards making full contact with their origins in the ultimate meme generator, that could be God....they were branching out towards a kind of bridge back to God, which lead to the ending of the dinosaurs, and allowing the highest ranking meme generators to develop further in this aim........which lead to tree climbing animals in the meme matrix, and eventually to chimp-like animals and eventually the first humans, leading ultimately to the creating of the final bridge in the name of the memetic system known as Jesus...:) In this idea, I would guess the God and his memes were reaching out towards the meme systems that make up Earth...so I think that maybe this bridge was first connected and made in the womb of the meme system know as Mary, and a very special zygote was formed...a zygote that connects the two meme systems, and that devolved into the meme system foetus and later the chap who wandered around talking about God, and generating very powerful memes, that would lead to meme people through history connecting with him

    He was the final bridge back to the ultimate meme generator and origin of memes, and anyone who connects memetically to him in the right way gets to cross that bridge to another meme matrix know as heaven I guess.... :)

    This idea sort of works for me.
  • I like sushi
    297
    Neurochemicals may not be just material packages but are also packages of the supernatural, so by networking using neurochemicals supernatural networks are generated at the same time....maybe memes work in the same way. — Wax

    What does this mean? “Supernatural networks” meaning what exactly?
  • wax
    295
    What does this mean? “Supernatural networks” meaning what exactly?I like sushi

    well I just think of atoms and systems based upon those as lower developed meme systems, that connect with higher formed meme system.
    This enabled the forming of the firsts sinlge self replicating cells, which developed into more complex meme systems.....the need to generate more and more complex memes, lead to the developmet of the first nervous systems, and eventually the brain...so the brain was already a combination of the lower so called material meme system...with its neural structures, and chemicals like neurotransmitters....neurostransmitters will also transpor their associated higher meme systems(also known as the so called supernatural)....maybe when a neurotransmitter leaves a neuron it takes away a replica of the whole neuron, and when it gets to another neuron, becomes part of that system, which can then copy and be sent on as another neurotransmission package to other neurons..in this way networks of meme-packages will form a network throughout the nervous system, which are all linked back to every cell in the body, and back to the other systems in the world.
  • I like sushi
    297


    Sounds like pseudoscience babble to me I’m afraid. Anyway, have fun with it :) Strange analogies and far-flung speculation does sometimes open up interesting avenues of thought.
  • wax
    295
    Sounds like pseudoscience babble to me I’m afraid.I like sushi

    If not really claiming it a more holisticly scientific model....a model like this would have to become more developed, to the point where some aspects can be falsified, for it to become more scientific...

    One could take early discussions about gravity and they might look a bit pseudoscience....but these things take development, for example Newton's models of gravity, which can then be compared to how real objects react to what is called gravity...this is how models start....at the discussion stage...it isn't really pseudo anything really...I think that it is just the begining point of the development of scientific models......If I said this discussion was 'scientific', at that point a counter claim could be made that it was 'pseudoscintific'.....so I think the proponent of a line of argument has to first make the claim.....
    this is often how the misuse of the term 'pseudoscience' comes about....before anyone even mentioned something as being ;scientific'.
  • I like sushi
    297
    I never said it wasn’t worth a thought just that is looks like pseudoscience. I said this because you use scientific jargon interspersed with other stuff. You talk about neurotransmitters in the same sentence as “supernatural”.

    As I finished off, there is room for more mystical/creative thought though. Enjoy and see if yourself or another can attribute this to something more objective.

    Gravity is a phenomenon that is measureable. At the end of the day we’ve no idea what it really “is” though. The term is place holder that referring to our understanding of the spacetime continuum in terms of physics.

    Maybe I so far from understanding what you’re saying above that I missed something. I do know that neurotransmitters act in neurons, or rather neural receptors, in an all or nothing manner. That said the “analog” could be said to be in the synapse.

    I am guessing you;re proposing something along the lines of panpsychism? I do stringly feel that any such hypothesis requires terminology wholly unsuited to the current scientific terminology because, as yet, there is no physical evidence for this and we’re inevitably headed off at the pass due to our disjointed perspectives on what constitutes “consciousness” and such. In psychological terms we’re certainly very prone to anthropomorphizing so I’m cautious about getting to carried away with these intriguing thoughts.

    Note: I wasn’t having a go at you. Just fishing for a little more clarity.
  • wax
    295


    No, it's ok....I just think that the term 'pseudoscience' gets misused too much, and can lead to the shutting down of discussion.

    Gravity is obviously a thing...we all experience it at macro level, but neurochemicals are a thing as well, but are a lot smaller and the whole system is more involved...I think it is ok to use terms from science to refer to things which have scientific consensus, but using these terms doesn't mean the person is claiming the wider discussion is in the full realm of science, and scientific discussion.

    Gravity is a place-holder for something which seems to happen. Relativity posits space-time in its model for a mechanism for how gravity works, but itself is also a place holder for what is really going on.
    I gather it is fairly well excepted that science will always only have models for how things work, and will always rely on place-holders....more and more useful models, but models and place-holders, all the same,
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    I have this idea that we live in a meme matrix whereby everything is formed with memes..

    I sort of think of memes as networks of interplaying, interconnecting algorithms. Our thoughts are made from memes, memes that map onto other memes in the world and with other memes in the body and across society and the world.

    This isn't a matrix thing running on some big computer, this matrix just exists, and has its origins in an eternal meme development process....God is the meme generator, and made of memes himself...maybe.
    wax

    I don't know. I believe there's something important to note - the difference between a deeper understanding and a different perspective.

    The former is something someone like me, inadept though I am, would want. I won't be wrong if I say philosophers also seek this. The deeper the understanding the closer to the truth I suspect.

    The latter is simply turning the object of discussion and looking at it from another angle. Philosophers would like this too as a holistic comprehension is far better than tunnel vision.

    To which of the two types of understanding does the concept of memes belong to?

    Does the concept of memes provide a deeper understanding i.e. are we verging on truth or is it simply a different perspective i.e. a different angle but no closer to the truth?

    I don't know.

    I like the idea of thoughts have life, so to speak - like viruses infecting, replicating and evolving in host minds. It's very interesting and also very unsettling.

    However, is it true or is it an analogy taken too far? As I mentioned in my post, memes are simply a case of two minds matching in some way or other. Nothing is spreading. Only two people in a protest discovering their placards have the same slogan.
  • wax
    295
    but you'd have to know what truth was to know if you were getting any closer to it or not....like the kids game you'd have to have someone say 'you're getting hotter' or 'colder'...otherwise you'd never know how close you got.
  • TogetherTurtle
    171

    Edit: but to understand the symbol you need to have background knowledge. So it can only travel around in a specific environment and die outside of it.Brett

    Similar to how animals can live only in environments that can support them. I think it is very interesting how a mechanic such as natural selection seems to exist in multiple ways in different fields.

    Initially a meme does seem to be just an idea, but then it’s also regarded as carrying besides ideas, behaviour, style, symbols and practices. But then is a symbol just a metaphor for an idea? Which it may very well be, and that’s it’s advantage and power.Brett

    These behaviors and styles and practices, are they not carried out due to a catalyst which would be an idea? That implies that if you manipulate the memetics of a person then you can change how they act. There truly is a lot of power as you say, and I believe that these symbols (such as words, pictures, videos) are how memes transfer from one host to another. However, sometimes the meaning gets lost somewhere. If you were ever to directly transfer an idea from one person to another without symbols, perhaps we could all understand each other 100%.

    I think history can illustrate my point better. Take calculus for example. Both Leibniz and Newton developed the idea independent of each other. There was a huge controversy on the invention of calculus precisely because people had the notion of memes back then. People thought calculus had a origin and then caused an infection. It turns out that this wasn't the case. Both Newton and Liebniz had little idea what the other was doing. What do you think of memes now?TheMadFool

    Doesn't this imply that the idea of calculus was useful in two different environments, and then convergently "evolved"? The same thing happens in animals and plants all the time.

    You say that to accept a meme you must have partial knowledge and I think that is true. However, I think that the partial knowledge you have to have is merely just the symbols used to communicate. If you or I were completely isolated from math our entire lives, the symbol "2" would mean nothing to us, but we likely would have seen two sticks on the ground and understood the concept of "2", but called it something else. However, if we wish to explain the idea of "2" to a child who hasn't made the connection yet, they would first have to understand our language. I suppose you could explain the language and the concept at the same time by simply holding up one stick and calling it "1", and then holding up two sticks and calling it "2".

    So I think that useful ideas will come about regardless as long as they are useful in the respective environment. Calculus seems to be important in most places to me so I think that the idea holds up with the information that I have. Of course, you can do calculus with any kind of symbols as long as those symbols mean the same thing.
  • Nils Loc
    467
    Whose "memes" are priming our notion of the "meme meme"? Universal Darwinism is scary (but this is just a meme).

    A passage from Dennett's 1995 book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, on The Philosophical Importance of Memes:

    Our normal view of ideas is also a normative view: it embodies a cannon or an ideal about which ideas we ought to accept or admire or approve of. In brief, we ought to accept the true and the beautiful. According to the normal view, the following are virtual tautologies -- trivial truths not worth the ink to write them down:

    Idea X was believed by the people because X was deemed to true.

    People approved of X because people found X to be beautiful.

    These norms are not just dead obvious, they are constitutive: they set the rules whereby we think about ideas. We require explanations only when there are deviations from these norms. Nobody has to explain why a book purports to be full of true sentences, or why an artist might strive to make something beautiful -- it just "stands to reason." The constitutive status of these norms grounds the air of paradox in such aberrations as "The Metropolitan Museum of Banalities" or "The Encyclopedia of Falsehoods." What requires a special explanation in the normal view are the cases in which despite the truth of beauty of an idea it is not accepted, or despite its ugliness or falsehood it is:

    The meme's-eye view purports to be an alternative to this normal perspective. What is tautological for it is:

    Meme X spread among the people because X is a good replicator.
    — Dennett, pg. 363
  • wax
    295
    The meme's-eye view purports to be an alternative to this normal perspective. What is tautological for it is:

    Meme X spread among the people because X is a good replicator.
    — Dennett, pg. 363

    but some people think that memes spread because they are useful to the person or people that it exists in....this doesn't necessarily follow.
  • Nils Loc
    467
    but some people think that memes spread because they are useful to the person or people that it exists in....this doesn't necessarily follow.wax

    There is a trade-off continuum in any ecology whereby there are interacting agents (memes, genes, agents) that are classifiable as (a) symbionts (b) commensals (c) parasites relative to one another.

    This is just borrowing from the way some evolutionary biologists talk about relationships between organisms in an ecology. There is the possibility that ideas are parasitical in the way of being great replicators, always relative to an ecology or landscape which is an mosaic of replicating patterns (Darwinian agents), all interacting with one another. Dennett gives the example of a religious faith (ideas) perpetuating a cycle of suicide bombing as a parasitical meme. It maybe serving an institution which is helped to replicate by it, which is yet another construct made of agents.

    It's definitely a weird way of looking at things and I'm not sure its very useful. How far can the analogy be carried and what work can it do (if any work at all)?

    It's agents (replicators) all the way down in an infinite regress, even as you come to natural, stable, recurring patterns that constitute the substrate in which any Darwinian process can or is likely to occur. This is pushing the speculative possibility of Universal Darwinism (natural selection processes in non-biological domains).
  • Brett
    341
    I find memes interesting but I can’t take the idea seriously. They’re an interesting subject in terms of evolutionary ideas and they help in focusing on the whole idea of evolution.

    As I understand it they’re a way of explaining how ideas evolve in a non biological form, is that right?
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    but you'd have to know what truth was to know if you were getting any closer to it or not....like the kids game you'd have to have someone say 'you're getting hotter' or 'colder'...otherwise you'd never know how close you got.wax

    Yes, it's circular but truth, even those claims we consider to be true, has a way of reinforcing itself. I think people call it a positive feedback loop. It was once thought that the mercury in a barometer was being pulled up by the vacuum inside. This ''truth'' didn't stand up to challenges put to it. The better understanding was air pressure pushing the column up and that understanding made some true predictions.
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