Shift in Perspective

Memetics Edit

Meme & Artifact

REPLICATED UNITS OF MEANINGFUL ACTION

The act of writing leaves behind a collection of words which induce the act of reading whenever they are seen. The act of writing itself is bound up with meaning. The meaning is what is written about. Without this meaning there would be nothing to encode into written words. An action, like writing, with meaning is the Meme. This implies that these actions replicate themselves. We need only observe that we find many writers in the world, each coupling different meanings with this same act. The action always leaves behind a result. To continue the analogy of writing, it leaves behind written words. These words now become the basis for the act of reading them. This act of reading will be coupled with some form of meaning derived from what one perceives the words to say. The written words become an Artifact of the meme which in turn arouses into existence another meme. Again, we observe that there would be nothing to read had no one written anything.

Memes always occur in the context of meaning. Meaning can be seen as complexes of other memes. That is, written words are reflections of interrelated thoughts being collected into a symbolic string. Thinking is an active process. Each thought is an action, and because it has the quality of being meaningful, it is a meme. Since thoughts, have again been expressed as acts with context, we can repeat this break down almost indefinitely. As already mentioned, memes act on artifacts. This relationship to the artifact is what limits the memetic complex from becoming infinite in reach. For instance, we are limited to reading only what’s written. The meme of reading ceases to have anything to act on otherwise. In this relationship memes is the active manipulation of artifacts, and artifacts are the structure of memes

As the various memetic complexes interact through artifacts, the artifacts are shifted around by the mechanism of sense impression. A physical or mental object, induced by the act, is coupled with subjective experience of positive, negative or neutral association as well as past interpretations of it. In other words it starts an neural reaction based on a thought or an object stimulating one of the senses. This impression then is expressed as a fully known & perceived object associated with likes, dislikes, and indifference towards it. Once this full complex is assembled, it becomes the basis of attention, or the scope of awareness. This scope shapes intentions towards all objects into artifacts, allowing the expressed memes to form into an active complex.

Such interaction means that memes facilitate a form of continuity without anything specific being preserved by the process. Even preexisting objects are represented through newly formed artifacts each time it is cognized. Artifacts point to the need for there to have been past memes. This leads to the conclusion that a beginning point for this process cannot be captured memetically by thought. An analogy is when one boots a computer system. Once the system is online, its domain of operation has no concept of that boot process. That is, it’s not part of its scope of awareness. In light of this, it’s important to recognize that there is no origin to these memetic complexes that can be recognized through them. Thus, the memetic process cannot be thought of as an eternally existent process, while at the same time no beginning or ending point of it is possible to perceive through it.

Because nothing specific is preserved, and because memes operate within the bounds set by the artifacts, the quality of the memeplex is entirely conditioned by the quality of the artifacts it produces. This relationship means that the improvement of quality is a process of focusing on the quality, rather the content, of artifacts one is engaged in producing. When one captures the moments' sense impression, its subjective experience, the negative, positive and neutral associations, and the past interpretations one has of it, one can be fully aware of the quality of that one particular moment regardless of its content. Therefore, merely knowing the nature of the complex itself, cannot serve as a mechanism by which the artifacts are manipulated unless it's used as foundation for acts that would, in turn, succeed in doing so.