Looking at Daniel Dennett’s Book (2017) “From Bacteria To Bach and Back” (Part 19 of 20)

0189 In Dennett’s version of the evolution of our minds, consciousness and user-end illusion coincide.  There is no example greater than the musical memes concocted by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Tunes are memes.

0190 Words are memes.

When it comes to spoken words, sometimes the less said, the better.  Fewer words allow the user to engage neurons with less forward guidance.  Clues to the content-level normal context3a and potential1a are not present to guide the evolution of an adaptive perception2b.

So, when I go to the neighbor, to present the dead cat, and to confess Daisy’s guilt, I only say, “I took Daisy off her leash this morning and she got away and killed your cat.  Here it is.  If you want me to bury it, then I will.  If you want me to buy you a new cat, I will.”

0191 Then she starts to cry and says, “It’s not my cat.  It’s my mother’s.”

Her mother died around five years ago.

The man who I thought was her husband?  That is her brother.  Her brother and her lived with mother until her death.  Mother would not let her children go.  She would not let anything go.  She was a maven of the world and her concerns were with the world.  She was an activist who took her children to demonstrations in order to signal that she, above all, cared for the children.  Her last request to her daughter?  Take care of the cat.

0192 My neighbor continued her tale.

The old house was too full of mother’s memes… er… memories of her mother.  So, she and her brother agreed to sell the old house and to move somewhere new.  They bought the house next door to mine.

Soon, her brother realizes that this is his opportunity to construct a life of his own.  That is why he comes by with less and less frequency.  The verge is overgrown.  Her brother is engaged to be married.  He has made a down-payment on a house in a different neighborhood.

0193 No, that is not her cat.  It is her mother’s.  I can go and bury it.  She does not want another.

After a pause, I say, “This Sunday, do you mind coming to church with me?  Service is at nine o’clock.  I can come by at eight-thirty.”

0194 The words that I speak are memes, units of culture, pieces of semantic information, offering something that makes a difference, a novel affordance, a clue to what is happening3a and a new sense that something can happen1a.  The reason that these memes are present, at this moment, is not because the words want to replicate, but because I want the words to bear a meaning, a presence and a message.

0195 Just as a biologist reflects upon an adaptation2b, according to a normal context3b and potential1b, in order to become aware of the actuality independent of the adapting species2a, my neighbor will reflect on the phantasm2b that adapts to this moment and provides an illusion3b of consciousness1b.  The entire scholastic interscope2a comes alive.  What is happening3a?  What does it mean to me3b?  Does this make sense3c?