Mirror Neurons: A Mechanism for Memetic Transference

13 October 2006 at 11:23 am 2 comments

My concept of energonomics has had a missing link all along. For it’s easy enough to trace the energy from the sun to the human brain, but the problem has been conceiving how the energy transfers from brain to brain. The theory of mirror neurons offers a method for such transmission. Two articles in the recent (November 2006) issues of Scientific American speak of how there are specialized cells in the brain that mimic or mirror the actions or emotions of an other:

…populations of mirror neurons in the insula become active both when the test participants experience emotion and when they see it expressed by others. In other words, the observer and the observed share a neural mechanism that enables a form of direct experiential understanding. (p. 60)

The closest that memetics came to an explanation of how memes actually move from one brain to another came in Robert Aunger’s book The Electric Meme: A New Theory of How We Think. He suggested that memes are transferred via a patterned firing of neurons in an other’s brain, but there wasn’t a direct mechanism of the energy physically being transferred. It seems to me that this theory of neurons offers such a mechanism. More later.

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Entry filed under: books, energonomics, memes, science.

Energonomics in the Bone Wandering into Second Life

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Energonomics of Sensation « Scholaris Erratus  |  12 January 2008 at 6:01 pm

    […] I’ll have to think more about all of this, but I wanted to capture the connection between the logic of sensation as presented by Slack and the concept of energonomics as understood by Robert Aunger’s sense of the “electric meme.” […]

    Reply
  • 2. John Faupel  |  20 February 2009 at 8:46 am

    As a layman, all this is new to me but the way ideas are transferred between people, consciously or othrwise, seems to be one of the most important needs for further research. Might I suggest an hypothesis that, although memetic transfers is a normally healthy basis for cultural exchange, sometimes it is like a viral infections that colonises the entire central nervous system of the host and spread occasionally like wildfire to recipients (just like cold-viruses, for example).
    Examples are manifest, e.g. extreme religious, ethnic and political bigots who are blind to all alternatives and condition others by memetic transfer to ‘think’ likewise. History is replete with such dangerous people.
    I am interested in the philosophy of this idea and would like to share it with neurologists, sociologists and psychologists who think along these lines.
    John Faupel

    Reply

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