Ken Fisher (email@example.com)
Thu, 27 May 1999 17:31:34 GMT
> Have you ever heard of "memes"?
On the subject of memes, check out
I'll just copy the start of it:
What will do absolutely anything to
survive, even trick you into
believing you exist? Susan
Blackmore outlines the
controversial ideas that inspired her
Hold out your arm in front of you. Whenever you
feel like it, of your own free will, flex
your wrist. Repeat this a few times, making
sure you do it as consciously as you can.
You'll probably experience some kind of
decision process, in which you hold back from
doing anything and then decide to act. Now
ask yourself, what began the process that led
to the action? Was it you?
Neuroscientist Benjamin Libet of the
University of California in San Francisco
asked volunteers to do exactly that. A clock
allowed the subjects to note exactly when
they decided to act, and by fitting
electrodes to their wrists, Libet could time
the start of the action. More electrodes on
their scalps recorded a particular brain wave
pattern called the readiness potential, which
occurs just before any complex action and is
associated with the brain planning its next
Libet's controversial finding was that the
decision to act came after the readiness
potential. It looks as though there is no
conscious "self" jumping into the synapses
and starting things off.
This and other research has led me to believe
that the idea of "self" is an illusion. You
are nothing more than a creation of genes and
memes in a unique environment. Memes are
ideas, skills, habits, stories, songs or
inventions that are passed from person to
person by imitation. They have shaped our
minds, leading to the evo-lution of big
brains and language because these served to
spread the memes. But the memes with the
cleverest trick are those that persuade us
that our "selves" really exist. We all live
our lives as a lie. The memes have made us do
it--because giving us the illusion of "self"
helps them to survive and spread.
What's everyone's thoughts about that???
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