Thursday, September 29, 2005



I have exchanged several Emails with two British professors, one Derek Gatherer, and the second Susan Blackmore. I have decided to post these emails here to give the readers an idea about what problems many professors think, and what are my ideas about these qustions. I hope you will try to understand and maybe even think about that too.

Emails to and from Prof. SUSAN BLACKMORE

"Susan Blackmore"
"borek borek"
Re: memetics, semiotics, Borek from the Czech republic
Thu, 29 Sep 2005 10:48:05 +0100

Look - I can;t keep replying at length (am away tomorrow for 3 weeks) but I totally disagree about signs. Think of copying a gesture, a facial _expression, or even something like eating with chopsticks. What's the sign? if you say that my screwed up mouth is a sign then you losing any usual sense of the word. And you say memes get from one brain to another ... well ?? Do they? As I explore at length in MM I prefer to call the memes the information that is copied. What is copied is how to use chopsticks. What is in my brain may be completely different from what is in yours that enables this behaviour.

Sorry this is tricky stuff and I have to go, but I still don't see that invoking signs helps at all. What we need to do is to understand what is copied and how it is done - which may be very different in different examples - some involving signs in some ways but many not.
Sorry for the haste,
best wishes,

----- Original Message -----
From: borek borek
To: Susan Blackmore
Sent: Wednesday, September 28, 2005 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: memetics, semiotics, Borek from the Czech republic

Dear Susan,

thanks a lot for your prompt answer but I would like to turn your attention to the topic once more.

I am not quite sure, but I would assume that I have not expressed my ideas too well. I do not say that memes are signs, no way. What I say is that a meme needs a sing to be transported.

You say that a meme is something copied from one man to another. BUT a huge question is how will one meme get from one brain into the other. The only possibility is using signs!!!! there is NO cable between two brains like between two PCs. so a meme needs a vehicle to be transported, and such a vehicle is a sign!!!!!

Try to understand linguistics: if I write this email for you it includes my memes which I want to be transported into your brain. This functions only using English language, a very specific system of signs. If I wrote this in czech language, a different system of signs, you would not get it. And in English language as wel as in all other languages a word, a letter, a sound and compounds of the letters and words and sounds, / if spoken / create sentences and using sentences I can transport my memes into your head!!!!! It is the only way.....using sings.

Copying is nothing else as reproducing what I have seen, really some birds do that, and dogs do that too, so far their body and the set of their memes enables that. Dogs have dreams, so one can conclude that theri brain "sort of clears" itself in sleep exactly as the human brain does.

I maintain that memes have no transport vehicle, like genes do not, therefore memes NEED signs to get transported.

A meme cannot transport itself, no chance.!!!! but using a sign it can be transported!!!!!!!!

What do you think of this ????? Is that a clearer statement than it was before????

Sorry to bother you, but I think the only way to understand memetics is to understand semiotics and evolutionary psychology, and a few more sciences...only memetics, taken out of the practical context of life is only a dull science as economimcs can sometimes be, if the teacher of economics actually does not understand whats going on in economics, and thats people, their brains and their signs transporting their memes!!!!!!

Sorry, for stressing this idea so much but I would really like to get in touch with you and to discuss that really a bit more into depth, surely , only if you care.

If you have SKYPE on your Pc we might even talk about the problem, you may find me on skype as Borek1259

Once more thanks a lot for your answer.
Hoping to hear from you again


Susan Blackmore wrote:

Dear Borek,

Thanks for your ideas - but I think you have broadened the idea of memes too far. As you know, memes are cultural replicators - information copied from person to person etc. In my opinion they have to be very carefully distinguished from signs. A sign has an effect on some one or something. It isn't, itself, copied, and if it is not copied then it is not a meme. This is the very important difference between communication and copying that I talk about in the book. This is why I say other species (with a very few exceptions) cannot have memes and certainly singled celled creatures cannot because they are not capable of imitation (or any kind of copying of information). Dogs are not capable of imitation and so cannot have memes - and they have been studied extensively for this. They can communicate very well (single cells do this and even intracellular bodies do so), but not imitate. Fierce arguments are going on about whether chimps can imitate and maybe they can but certainly not very well. Only whales, dolphins and some birds can, it seems.
I hope this helps,
with best wishes,

----- Original Message -----
From: borek borek
To: Susan Blackmore
Sent: Sunday, September 11, 2005 4:10 PM
Subject: memetics, semiotics, Borek from the Czech republic

Hi Susan,

you do not know me. I have been studying memetics, semiotics and many other sciences for last few years. I have also exchanged 2 emails with Derek Gatherer, unfortunately, he has not answered some of my further emails.Hopefully, he has not become a victim of the bomb attacks in London.

I live now in the Czech republic, I used to teach economics at ERAU, Florida, where I became a professor in 1989. Now I teach languages at different schools in the Czech republic.

I just feel it necessary to write you some of my ideas about memetics. What I liked about Derek were 2 of his papers in Journal of Memetics, in the internet. Especially, as he wrote about Axelrod SIM. This was new to me, but I have realized that I had experienced this phenomenon as I changed my social environment / escaping from former communistic Czechoslovakia to Germany, and teaching Americans and then returning back to the Czehc republic after the political turn over in 1990 /.

I have also read your book "The meme machine", and some of your ideas brought me to "my ideas" about memetics. You write there about the fight between genes and memes. I have come to the conclusion that you are right about this "fight".

What I really think about the interaction of genes and memes is as follows:

Sometimes in really far past, maybe several billion years ago, the first one cell organism had to have some memes already. This simple organism had to recognize and orient itself in its surroundings. Its genes wanted that. But genes have no direct access to the outside world, they are only inside the organism. So the genes had to develop a system of communication with the outside world in order to survive. It was necessary for genes to know whether the surrounding conditoins are good for them or whether they are hostile to them.Genes had to have this information in order to survive. If the one cell organism moved toward a dangerous surroundings there had to be a warning system providing for retreat of the organism, or it had to start some other "reasonable" reaction. But how to get such information? only through a set or a system of receptors "understanding certain type of encrypted information about the outside world. The system of transportation of scuh information occurs by signs /SEMIOTICS/.

There is no chance for memes to get passed over from one brain to another without a certain type of signs. Pictures, what we see, are only light wave signals which our brain "translates" into pictures in brain. Words and noices which we can hear are nothing else than pressed air waves, which as signal, as sign are again "translated" in our brain into memes. E.g. some kind of music, it is a meme but it is transported by signs.

The same are languages, these are only systems of signs, extremly complex with plenty of regulations /grammar rules/ and they differ from language to language, but there are pricipal similarities inside the grammar rules of different languages, we all have objects, subjects , prepositions and endings in our languages.

So in short what I believe is that genes are sort of prisoners of their own, they cannot get in touch with the outside world directly, only indirectly using memes as a "picture" of the outside reality, and they need signs to transport the information about the about the outside world into their "intern" system. Genes do not understand the information by themselves, so they need memes to do this job for them.

I also believe that it is wrong to simplify memetics only to the human "animal, other animals have that too, just watch properly your dog. Just few days ago I have seen on German TV that even plants can make the difference of being attacked by some insect and being "hit" by rain drops or hails. Which must necessarily mean that even genes in plants must have a system of memes and a system of signs in order to recognize what is going on around them and to start the proper responce.

I would really highly appreciate if you could answer me, though I can imagine you get plent yof such emails.

I would just like to mention that English is not my mother tongue, and I would like to ask you to excuse imperfections in describing my ideas. Thanks.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Something for the Social work from my experience

Brain research, dyslexia, dysgraphia and other Anomalies

this paper is just my translation of my previous post in German

Today I have decided to write about an interesting observation I have made. At the vocational school were I teach now I have a young boy of 15 who speaks fluent German and even his English is quite ok, and he wants to study some other languages; he mentioned Russian. The unbelievable about that is that the young boy has huge problems in the Czech language, und he was diagnosed as having dyslexia.

Then I have realized that I had seen similar cases already before. I have already seen such language problems several times in my life.

Once it was a lawyer, who stuttered always only when reading an English text or speaking English, when he read or spoke Czech he did not stutter at all. Many years later, when I taught English evening class for adults in Germany, I had there a woman who had some similar problems: her pronunciation in English was extremely poor, but she had a huge active vocabulary in English as well as a perfect knowledge of English grammar. I tested her a bit: I tested her pronunciation in other languages she spoke. In this case her pronunciation was perfect. So this dysfunction in pronunciation was linked only to the English language.

So I have three cases, one lawyer, who stuttered when speaking English, one woman who had poor pronunciation only in English and a young boy who cannot write properly in Czech but he can write without mistakes in German, spite the fact that he is a Czech. I think that these three cases are extremely interesting and it surely would be worth a while to study these cases of dysfunction in a language more in depth.

This kind of dysfunction is most probably caused by some specific emotional disruptions. I can be that the parents or the teachers put too high performance pressure onto these persons, which in turn caused the specific dysfunctions in the respective person due to disturbed emotions, e.g. offending, calling names or degrading remarks.

In the case of that lawyer I do not know why he stuttered when speaking English and did not when speaking Czech. The woman with the poor pronunciation in English was offended and degraded by her English teacher at school. I made this assessment based upon what she told me. I do not know where the dysfunctions in Czech and nearly perfect German come from by the young boy I teach now, but I hope to be able to find this out.


Etwas für die Sozialarbeit aus meiner Praxis

Hirnforschung, Dyslexie, Dysgraphie und weitere Anomalien

Heute habe ich mich entschlossen über eine sehr interessante Beobachtung zu schreiben. An der Berufsschule, wo ich z.Z. tätig bin, ist in einer Klasse ein Junge, der 15 Jahre alt ist, aber fast fließend Deutsch spricht, sein Englisch ist auch sehr gut und er will weitere Sprachen lernen. Das Unglaubliche an diesem Falle ist, dass der Junge riesige Probleme mit der tschechischen Sprache hat, und deshalb wurde bei ihm Dyslexie diagnostiziert.

Dann konnte ich damit ein paar ähnliche Fälle in Verbindung bringen, denke ich wenigstens. Ich habe ähnliche sprachliche Störungen schon einige Male gesehen in meinem Leben.

Einmal war das ein Jurist, der immer nur dann stotterte, wenn er Englisch lesen oder sprechen musste, wenn er dann die tschechische Übersetzung von sich gab, tat er das ohne zu stottern. Viele Jahre später habe ich in Deutschland in einer englischen Klasse für Erwachsene eine Frau unterrichtet, welche ähnliche Probleme hatte: Ihre Aussprache im Englischen war fast katastrophal, obwohl sie einen riesigen Wortschatz hatte und die englische Grammatik perfekt beherrschte. Bei ihr habe ich ein Test gemacht; ich habe ihre Aussprache in anderen Sprachen getestet, die sie auch beherrschte. In diesem Falle war die Aussprache perfekt. Also war die Störung nur aufs Englisch bezogen.

Also habe ich drei Fälle, einen Juristen, der im Englischen stotterte, eine Frau mit schlechter Aussprache im Englischen und einen Jungen der Tschechisch nicht schreiben kann, aber Deutsch ohne Probleme, obwohl seine Muttersprache Tschechisch ist. Ich denke, dass es sehr interessante Zufälle sind, und ich denke auch, dass man dieses Phänomen näher untersuchen sollte.

Bestimmt wird diese Art der Störung durch irgendwelche „emotionelle“ Störungen verursacht. Es kann sein, dass die Eltern oder Lehrer an diesen Personen einen zu großen Leistungsdruck ausgeübt haben, der sich dann durch gestörte Emotionen / durch Beleidigungen z.B./ auf die eigentliche Leistung niederschlägt.

Bei dem Juristen weiß ich nicht, warum er im Englischen stotterte und im Tschechischen nicht. Bei der Frau mit schlechten Aussprache im Englische, schätze ich, nach dem, was sie mir erzählte, dass es von ihrem Englischlehrer kommt von der Grundschule, und bei dem Jungen, den ich in der Klasse habe, weiß ich es noch nicht, aber ich hoffe, es herausbekommen zu können.

Sunday, September 18, 2005



Kommentar auf Deutsch zu dem Englischen Beitrag über die Blog Technologie

Lese diesen Text zu erst, dann klicke auf die Links unten im Englischen Beitrag

Da ich hier links zu der weltweiten Blog-Gemeinschaft platziert habe, aber nur mit einem Englischen Text, schreibe ich jetzt eine kleine Erklärung auf Deutsch. Die Blog Technolgie kommt, wie auch anders, aus den Staaten, wird meistens von Englisch sprechenden Nationen und Englisch sprechenden Personen benutzt. Es gibt ja aber auch einige Deutsche Blogs. Die kann man unter dem Link wo am Ende „BYCOUNTRY“ steht. Wenn man diesen Link anklickt, kommt man auf eine Seite, wo ein riesige Fülle von Blogs nach dem Land geordnet werden. Da sucht man sich das Land, also die Sprache aus, in unserem Fall, Germany, das ist das Englische Wort für Deutschland, oder aber andere Deutsch sprechende Nationen.

Man kann sich in der Sprache verbessern, und auch ein wenig schauen, was alles die neue Technologie mit sich bringt. Dann kann man sogar versuchen diese Technologie selbst zu nutzen und einen Blog erstellen, oder mehrere, es ist ja um sonst. Man kann einfach viel lernen aus den Blogs anderer Leute.



These are links to many thousands of blogs in the world, few of them come even from the Czech Republic. Read my notes below and have a really detailed look at the links to the blog society. The use of blog technology ranges from simple diary to professionaly designed marketing pages. Have a look and get inspired!!!!!

These links show a lot: in the USA there are nearly 360 000 blogs, in Germany there are a bit more than 1100, and in the Czech republic there are 79 blogs listed on this page. These numbers serve as a good statistical background for further judgments. There are less than 300 million people in the USA and more than 10 million people in the Czech Republic; therefore there should be only 30 times as many blogs in the USA as in the Czech Republic, which is only about 2500!!! But there are more than 100 times more of them. Computed from the other side, taking USA as the basis, then there should be about 30 time less blogs in the Czech Republic than in the USA, which would be about 12000, there are only 79, which in turn is about 150 times less than it should be. Strange. For some reason Czechs do not use Blog technology as they should. They use it too little. There might be many reasons for it. I would assume that one of the reasons must, for sure, be the poor language knowledge, which does not allow Czechs to make use of the latest technology. There might be some other reasons too.

It is possible to make use of the numbers gained in the Internet to assume the possition of a country relative to other countries, computed per capita. Sometimes one obtains really shocking results.

Just to help the students to gain some idea about the Blog society and the Blog world I place here few links with many links to blogs all over the world. You should have a look and make use of this technology, it is completely free, and it might be your start to simple website programming.

Sunday, September 04, 2005



And here few sentences in English about psychology of humans, about their small private wars, etc. I have written my ideas in German and here is a small part of it in English.

Remarks to psychology of humans

We, humans are constantly waging small private wars, small fights. Some time ago these fights were lethal, just think of knights and their sword fights; think of French musketeers and their duels, as well as Russian officers, more American cowboys, and gun heroes. All these persons were famous for solving their problems with a weapon, be it a sword or a Colt. Nowadays this type of waging small private wars is not up to date. Today these fights are carried out in a “word fight”, words are the new weaponry used by modern people.

In the old times, fighting the old type of fights, the fights with weapons, the result was easily obvious: either one of the opponents got hurt and was bleeding, which could be seen, might mean the end of the fight; or one of the opponents was hit so badly that he died, in which case the result was also clear. Nowadays, being involved in a “word fight” does not bring about the danger of being badly hurt and crippled or even killed. But we face a problem: how do we recognise who won the fight, when there are no dead and no severely hurt people? So what makes us believe that one of us won that fight?

I strongly assume it is similar as in the sword fight, the last hit. The one who makes the last hit is the winner. In our times the last hit means the last word, the last remark, the last sentence, which the opponent cannot “beat” with his words and his wit. Such last sentence can be witty or just a threat, which the opponent believes might really occur. Pretty much everyone has for sure experienced such a situation. Just imagine the words of the boss telling the employee:” If you continue like that I will fire you immediately.” This sentence, this threat can be easily believed as it makes no problems to the boss to keep his word.

Now we face a problem: regardless the type of fight, be it a “sword fight” or a “word fight”, why do we fight anyway? There is strong evidence that every social animal, thus humans too, have a certain system of hierarchy in their society. Within this society many members want to be “above” other members, as this gives them power. Recently I have read and article analyzing the types of power exhibit, performed, used and misused in human society. There were listed about 7 types of power: 1/ the power of knowledge, 2/ power of position in social hierarchy, and some more.

No human being likes to be a loser. No one likes being called bad names. But nearly everybody likes to give orders; the possibility of giving orders is the evidence of power. Thus nearly everybody likes to give orders. One can imagine a situation in which both humans want to give orders, they must clear between them who really is the one giving orders and who is going to obey and carry out the other person’s orders.

When such people clash at each other they are not “white spots”, they have lived and experienced contacts with people before. This gave them the confirmation of their actions, if accepted by their fellow humans. The system of power used by different people is different. One might use the power of knowledge and the other one the power of position. When such two humans clash at each other, there will be a problem, as they will fight their “word fight” with different weapons, at different levels.

Usually the power of knowledge is considered as the leading power, and the one who, at emotional level, feels as underdog, then pulls out some other kind of power, usually power of position, if he’s got it. The feeling of being not as good as the other one and not being able to fight at the knowledge level, combined with the will not to loose, force the other person to use the other kind of power. Very often people executing such fight, do it without knowing that. It all comes from their stomach, it comes from their emotions.



Machiavellische Intelligenz
Ethologie der Macht

Neulich fand ich im Internet eine PDF-Datei über Macht, ihre Arten, Genesis, Geschichte und Entwicklung. Am Anfang wird der italienischer Politiker Giulio Andreotti (geb. 1919) zitiert: „Macht verschleißt nur diejenigen, die sie nicht haben.“ Was mich aber am meisten beeindruckt hatte war die Sortierung der Machtarten; und diese 6 Machtarten möchte ich hier aufzählen und vielleicht auch ein wenig kommentieren.

1. Expertenmacht: Macht des Fachwissens
2. Positionsmacht: Platz in der Hierarchie
3. Sanktionsmacht: Belohnungs- und Bestrafungsmöglichkeiten
4. Definitionsmacht: Entscheidung darüber, was ein Problem ist und ob es angegangen werden muss
5. Legitimierte Macht: durch die Rechtsordnung installiert
6. Charismatische Macht: geht von der persönlichen Ausstrahlung aus

Ich betrachte mich nicht als einen Experten in Psychologie, aber ich wage es ab und zu darüber ein paar Bemerkungen zu machen, weil ich ständig mit Leuten zu tun habe und sie auch beobachten kann.

Ich denke, dass es unter den Menschen einen ständigen Kampf um Macht und Position in dem Organisationssystem der menschlichen Gesellschaft gibt. Es gibt kluge Menschen und weniger kluge Menschen. Falls sich ein kluger mit einem wenig klugen Menschen trifft, kommen manchmal komische Kämpfe zu Stande. Der weniger kluge Mensch empfindet es manchmal als einen persönlichen Angriff gegen seine eigene Persönlichkeit, weil er in jeder Diskussion unterlegen ist. Dieses Gefühl der Unterlegenheit ist sehr unbequem und unangenehm, deshalb versucht dieser weniger kluge Mensch den klügeren irgendwie in egal welcher Sparte zu besiegen. Das kann ihm aber nur gelingen, wenn er zu „unfairen“ Mitteln greift, das tut er aber ohne mit der Wimper zu zucken, weil er eben nur gewinnen will, um jeden Preis. Also wird der Kampf verlagert in eine andere Ebene, eine andere Machtebene, z.B. die Ebene der Positionsmacht.

Also hat z.B. ein Direktor, der zwar die Macht der Position hat, nicht aber die Macht des Wissens, einen Mitarbeiter im Team, der sehr klug ist, kann es dazu kommen, dass sich der Direktor angegriffen fühlt, weil er mit seinem Mitarbeiter nicht mithalten kann. Dann meistens wird der Direktor viel mehr an seine Position denken als an die Aufgabe, die er als Direktor mit seinem Team erfüllen sollte, und bekämpft den Mitarbeiter mit seinen Machtmitteln auch wenn die Aufgabenerfüllung darunter leiden sollte.

Macht wird in der menschlichen Gesellschaft dazu gebraucht, um die Positionen der jeweiligen Menschen in der Gesellschaftshierarchie zu erlangen oder zu verteidigen. Als Zeichen der Macht werden verschiedene Symbole benutzt, so genannte „Statussymbole“. Die können sehr unterschiedlich sein: es kann mal ein Mercedes 600 sein, oder ein Rolls Royce. In anderen Schichten der Gesellschaft, wo das Geld für ein Prestige-Auto nicht reicht, werden andere Objekte als Prestige-Objekte angesehen und gebraucht, z.B. Handys.

Diese Erklärung wurde mir klar erst nach dem ich bemerkte, wie Kinder aus „normalen“ Familien die teuersten Handys haben, und darüber nachdachte, warum diese Leute so viel Geld für Telefone der Kinder ausgeben, was unter strengen wirtschaftlicher Logik eigentlich ein Unsinn ist. Die Antwort ist jetzt klar, sie investieren in die Statussymbole der Kinder. Weitere Statussymbole der Kinder in den Schulen sind Marken-Bekleidung, Marken-Schulausstattung und Ähnliches. Es wird auch z.B. mit der Leistung des eigenen PC angegeben oder mit der PS Zahl der Famileinkutsche usw.

Also es scheint, dass die Menschen Macht und die Symbole der Macht brauchen, um ihre Position in der Gesellschaft für alle andere zu deklarieren, und dadurch Machtkämpfe abwehren, als auch entzünden.

Diese wettbewerbsmäßige Art und Weise der Machtkämpfe in der menschlichen Gesellschaft sind für mich sehr unklug, falls sie nur mit „Statussymbolen“, als einfacher Ersatz der tatsächlichen Macht von Statten gehen. Für mich gilt nur eine vernünftige Machtart, and das ist die Macht des Wissens, weil diese Macht zweckdienlich ist, es geht dabei nicht ausschließlich um eigene Position und eigene Vorteile, sondern darum, eine bestimmte Aufgabe zu bewältigen. Und das ist für mich eine positive Macht. Andersrum, wenn man Macht benutzt um eigene Vorteile zu verfolgen, dann ist die Macht, die dazu verwendet wird, eine negative Macht.

Ich werde mich über jeden freuen, der mit mir über dieses und andere Themen diskutieren möchte, oder mir Anstöße zu weiteren Überlegungen geben möchte.



Gedanken zum Thema Menschen und ihre „Wort-Kämpfe“

Vor einiger Zeit habe ich gemerkt, dass die Menschen um mich herum vielmehr „gegeneinander“ agieren, als „miteinander“. Dies hat mich sehr gestört und habe angefangen nachzudenken. Nach einer Weile ist mir einen Vergleich in den Sinn gekommen: Die Leute von heute kämpfen mit Wörtern, früher haben sie sich mit Schwerten und Pistolen duelliert. Also, sind Wortgefechte nur eine abgeschwächte Form eines Kampfes zweier Platzhirschen. Es geht nur um Macht.

Wie kann man aber erkennen wer am Ende gewonnen hat? Früher war das sehr einfach: einer der Gegner wurde verwundet und hat geblutet, das war manchmal genug, um klar zu deuten, wer der Sieger ist und wer der Besiegte. Manchmal wurde der Kampf bis zum Tode geführt, und da war das Resultat ja auch klar: wer noch lebte, war der Sieger. Wie aber kann man es heute erkennen, wenn bei einem „Wort-Kampf“ kein wirkliches Blut fließt und keiner tot umfällt?

Nach dem letzten hieb, dem letzten Wort. Es ist wieder eine Parallele zu den früheren „wirklichen“ Kämpfen unter Menschen. Also es scheint zu gelten, dass der Mensch einen Wort-Kampf gewinnt, wer das letzte Wort oder den letzten Satz gesprochen hat, und sein Gegner hatte keine passende Antwort parat.

Dann kommt aber gleich die nächste frage, warum duellieren sich Menschen so gerne?

Es gibt eine Liste der Machtformen oder Machttypen, etwa 6 an der Zahl. Ich werde versuchen ein paar Zeilen mehr zu diesem Thema zu schreiben.

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