In an earlier article, I introduced everyone to the idea that Memetics, in a group setting, can be compared to a form of Artificial Intelligence. Today, we will take a closer look at this and attempt to explain some of the mechanics behind the process in a way that is easy to understand.
If you step back from the detail of our world for a bit, you will notice something very peculiar. No matter where you go, no matter what period in time, no matter if a group of humans are isolated or in a densely populated city, in general they all tend to do very similar things and arrange themselves in similar social structures. The specifics of these structures may vary and, in the eyes of some, vary a lot but it always follows a particular archetype or pattern.
The answer is very simple. Whilst we have free will to do as we please, we are bound by two key constraints. The first is physics and the second is chemistry. Everything we do must occur within these contexts. The constraints imposed by physics is something we learn at a very early age. We cannot fly due to both gravity and lacking limbs that can provide sufficient lift. On the chemistry side of things, we are familiar with the limitations of our physical bodies, such as we cannot lift a 200 tonne object, run too fast and we lose our breath, etc.
If we gather a complete list of these constraints and model them on a computer, we end up with a limited set of choices we can make at any given point in time. When we add two or more people to this scene, then we can quantify what potential choices they have under all conditions. This, in a nutshell, is Social behavior. Social behavior can thus be defined as interactions within these constraints that are evolutionary successful. That is, any combination of choices not beneficial to the group should, in theory at least, die off over time leaving only a subset of choices that we would call the behavior of a group.
It is this process that gives rise to how bees, ants, birds, humans, etc., arrange their societies (a society being a form of social behavior). Social behavior changes depending on the context and numbers of people involved, this area of study which attempts to quantify each sub-type of social behavior is known as Social Dynamics.
If you want to think of society as clock, where all the gears slot together to make it function that will be a good way to think of this.
Now, if you have free will, why do we always demonstrate these same social behaviors? Why is it not random or chaotic?
Obviously something is biasing our choices in life. What's more is that this bias is not simplistic, it is rich and complex that deals with almost every facet of our lives. From how you interact with a loved one, to how you interact with your boss and how those interactions form part of a larger world that maintains the survival of our species as a whole.
Whilst we learn a lot of these social behaviors, if we were to raise humans in the wild, they too would have their own social behaviors but they would be very basic much like that of animals and they would learn from generation to generation. These behaviors come directly from the genetic code and the learning process begins immediately upon interaction.
This is where things take a twist.
Human Biological AI
I want you to think about how these behaviors slot together. How they bias our individualism; subvert each of our respective free wills. Its almost like when one or more people interact, a part of each of us conspires against our individual will to coordinate the group. But how is that possible? How is this 'thing' controlling us? What is this 'thing'?
If we go back to where I spoke of the constraints humans are subject to, physics and chemistry, we can observe that both our perception of the world and our acts of volition are filtered through it. Our social behaviors are to be found in this filter that sits between the mind and the objective world. When we attempt an act of volition, such as to drink a cup of a tea, what is really happening is billions of neural circuits are firing in complex sequences to perform the act. This process is entirely transparent to us. We just reach out and grab the cup.
With behaviors, we have the same experience, we just act and are completely ignorant of the neural circuits firing. The interesting thing here is that with grabbing a cup of tea we can describe the act through observation of our hand, but we are blind to the mechanics or details of something like behavior as the feedback is limited. Thus, we have a rationalization of our behavior, rather than an objective picture. These two viewpoints can differ substantially. That is, we can hold delusions about our behavior, even if we are presented with facts to the contrary. The latter of course being a form of mental illness.
So, what we have here is a window of opportunity to blind ourselves, to willfully (or ignorantly) ignore aspects of our behavior. Further, it also means that aspects of our behavior can go unobserved. It is this latter process that we will focus on.
It is here that we are beginning to touch upon things such as synaptic plasticity, social conditioning, collective behavior, etc. Each of these things are defined by circuits in our brains that are subject to change. These circuits are malleable. If we are blind to certain processes behind particular behaviors, then there exists the potential for these behaviors to contain more information than we consciously intend. In the worst case scenario, these behaviors do not mean what we have rationalized them to be, they just happen to correlate with our rationalization under optimistic or limited conditions.
What do I mean by this? Let's provide an example. Let's say a social behavior was to give rise to a union of nations. Is that what is really happening? Or let's say a social behavior was causing a nation to withdraw from the world. Is this is what is really happening? From what frame of reference do we judge these things?
If we use a frame of reference of rationalization in the mind, then there is the potential for the physics and chemistry to inject things into these behaviors and for them not to match what was intended. An entire society could act out its existence completely oblivious to the fact that whilst they were nation building, something entirely unrelated was actually happening.
What if these behaviors were merely evolutionary behaviours designed to cull population levels? What if the rationalization of a better world, was like the sirens calling sailors to the rocks of the shore? Its not that far fetched, if we look at every society in human history, that is exactly what happened in the end.
To properly answer these questions we must seek a truly objective frame of reference, like physics or chemistry. Something we can quantify or measure. This could put an entirely new spin on things and that too is exactly what happened.
In combing the work on Voodoo Mechanics and Memetics, it was discovered that we are indeed the architects of our own demise. The sheer physics of the situation, combined with synaptic plasticity, social conditioning, collective behavior and information transfer (memetics) meant that it was discovered that our social behavior, whether it be nation or empire building, is merely a process towards to maintaining population numbers.
The one thing that appears to delay the inevitable is ethical decision making, as this assumes control from these evolutionary processes and filters memes as they pass throughout society, whilst also limiting volition.
If we look at this mathematically and define these social behaviors as a set, we can observe an independent distributed process that influences free will to effectively learn how to integrate into our higher conceptual rationalization of our social behaviors to achieve this evolutionary goal. Effectively, we carry with us our own predator in the form of our social behaviors, forever stalking us when we relinquish control to it.
Thus, rather than evolving in a linear pattern, much like waves on the shore we ebb and flow between a feral and civilized state. Periodically shifting between lower and higher brain functions. As our ability to critically think collapses in key areas, which by all accounts is a function of predator, it moves in for the kill.
As a species we must begin a process of accounting for this in our social behaviors, to take control away from the memetic predator that has been stalking humanity since the beginning of time. In doing so, we will eliminate or radically reduce all forms of war on a global basis.
Theory is one thing, practice is quite another. This will be the fight of your existence, probably quite literally too. Thankfully, it only requires an army of good people, but they will require the wisdom of Solomon and a will of iron to stand in the face of this. On the face of it, this seems like such a simple thing, just limiting the motion of an idea, but these ideas give rise to wars, holocausts and they come attached to people and groups who may be blind or unable to accept the position.
A hard road ahead.