Re: Them memes, they be ariding.
Fri, 1 Oct 1999 03:42:58 EDT

In a message dated 9/29/1999 7:00:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

> You may think you are working to be uploaded someday to preserve
> yourself, but actually, the memes are working
> to be uploaded, and in doing so will be able to escape the slow
> biological genes they have had to deal with over the last few hundred
> thousand years.

This brings up the question of identity and consciousness. Who am I? Well, the way I currently see it is that my self is made up very roughly of two different but very important parts, the immediate me and my personality. The immediate me is essentially the conscious me, the pattern that is held in short term memory and that is able to alter the self. Then there is the personality which is the vast associational network that developed from the interaction of my genes and experiences, it holds my memories, memetic ecology, emotional settings, etc. The personality is what gives me my identity, what primarily distinguishes me from others, but it is the immediate me, ephemeral and malleable, which makes me more than just information. Constantly the immediate me draws on bits of the personality to create my self, over and over again. Without the personality there is no identity, without the immediate me there is no spark. The immediate me, through processing, can add to or alter the self image, which is fed back to the personality to be incorporated. Much (though not all) of the personality may be made up of memes, but they're not in the driver's seat. Memes in and of themselves are no more alive than viruses. We are alive, we are aware, and what does it matter if much of who we are is constructed from memes? That does not change the fact that I am, and that I choose who I will be.

So how does this ramble relate to the preceeding statement? Well, I guess it does in this way; when you upload my personality into a construct capable of generating an immediate me based on my personality, then you have me. True, since much of my identity is based on memes, they will endure with me, but so will many other informational patterns. The memes are building blocks, not the building. Also, while I will likely be separated from my genotype, my mental phenotype will be translated as well, so I can't say we'll be leaving that genetic information completely behind (when you scan a photograph of a painting into a computer, you don't lose the painting, though you do lose the canvas and paint).

Just some thoughts this and other postings have inspired me to.

Glen Finney