Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Toxins Corrupt Frames of Mind

In a series of posts beginning here, we graphically depicted, in simple constructs, how a meme is stored in the "mind" and is transported via language into another mind.

This post is intended to expand upon that construct.

We will be focusing on the strands in the web that theoretically compose a meme, depicted by the globe of strands in the graphic above, to show that the extent of the meme reaches to more of an area than we traditionally conceive of as "memory".

In the original post we quoted Noam Chomsky, so in this post we will quote from George Lakoff, who was a student of Chomsky, and who is now sometimes said to be a proponent of some theories contrary to Chomsky.

Be that as it may, here we only want to learn from both of them as well as from other scientists, not to join one "side" or the other.

What Lakoff can add to our construct is that the composition of the strands of the web of a meme theoretically extend out to our bodies and to our emotions.

Using that extension we can see that the toxins of power work on an expansive field within those exposed to power, not just on the area covered by conventional notions of memory, but on reasoning, logic, and emotion as well.

But more than that, the toxins work on areas where cognitive frames of mind are interwoven together, that is, at the junctions such as morphemes, lexemes, and of course words.

There is an entire area of study dealing with the effects and purposes of "benign" propaganda or deceit, for example, showing that it is a massive endeavour.

One of the tactics utilized in that questionable endeavor is to change the meanings of words, for example, which would in turn change the structure of a meme and in some circumstances corrupt it.

As a recent example, recall the efforts to change the meme described by the word "torture" into the meme of "enhanced interrogation".

When any one of the components of a meme becomes corrupt, it can change the structure of that meme into a corrupt form, and thereby lead to propagation of that corruption.

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