RE: virus: mind/consciousness

Richard Brodie (
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 13:54:45 -0700

Eric wrote:

<<Dennett is famous for his

book _Consciousness Explained_ (which I haven't read, although it's high on the list), but which *does* maintain that consciousness is an illusion. I've also seen several brain studies which concluded that "conscious" attention, per say, always lags *behind* the other thought process by about a half a second; meaning that consciousness is not in control: it is in "observation", if you get my drift.>>

Careful! Dennett makes the point that there is no central agent in charge of everything in my consciousness. This is the illusion. But the fact that it is an illusion does not make it any less real. Consciousness is not an illusion, it is an emergent phenomenon of a whole lot of underlying processes in the body. We really do have the ability to examine possible future scenarios and decide among them. This can be measured. The fact that most of us are ignorant about the mechanics of this process does not make it less real.

<< The hardcore of

memetic theory is that consciousness (our perception of "mind") is an illusion created by our memes because it benefits them to trick us -- witness how well Richards memes have done since he got to "level 3"!>>

I would say the hardcore of memetic theory is that people harbor ideas, attitudes, and beliefs as the result of a competition between replicating entities. In general I agree with you and Dennett that the COMMON understanding of consciousness is false, but I'm not sure how much that has to do with memes -- more perhaps to do with evolutionary psychology and kluge upon kluge evolving in the brain to handle specific scenarios of survival and reproduction.

<<Dan: I loved your description of the mind/consciousness as a "strange
attractor" in control space. It's wrong (if memetics is right), but it is a good summation of Richards Level 3, or my "conscious approach", or any other related topic.>>

Eric, I think you do not have general agreement in this particular aspect of your understanding of memetics. I thought Dan's post was right on the money.

Richard Brodie
Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme" Free newsletter!