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

0196 Razie Mah offers three masterworks on human evolution.

The Human Niche concerns the Lebenswelt that we evolved in.

An Archaeology of the Fall dramatizes the first singularity, the transition from the Lebenswelt that we evolved in to our current Lebenswelt.

How To Define The Word “Religion” concerns our current Lebenswelt.

These works sustain this examination of Dennett’s book.

0197 In these blogs, the term, “meme”, is technically defined using the scholastic interscope for how humans think.  This interscope is also in play in Razie Mah’s blog for October 2023, Looking at John Deely’s Book (2010) “Semiotic Animal”.  A “meme” corresponds to a species impressa2a with a hylomorphic structure whereby the sign-object of an interventional sign substantiates a sign-vehicle for a specificative sign.

0198 According to Dennett, a spoken word is a good example of a meme.

Notably, our current Lebenswelt must face the question, asking, “What is the nature of spoken words?”


Spoken words facilitate explicit abstraction, while hand-talk words allow only implicit abstraction.  We innately expect that spoken words image and point to their referents.  But, they do not.  Symbols are natural signs whose sign-objects are defined by convention, habit, law, tradition and so on.  Yet, no hand-talk language has words that can picture or indicate these terms.  “Convention”, “habit”, “law” and “tradition” label explicit abstractions that cannot be articulated using hand talk.  They may exist, but cannot be named, while using hand talk.

0199 Recall that actualities2 are encountered.

Such actualities2 are understood by ascertaining an appropriate normal context3 and potential1.

0200 How To Define The Word “Religion” applies these lessons to a familiar and contentious term.  This examination of Dennett’s book applies these lessons to the word, “meme”.

Here is a picture.

0201 The message?  The meme exemplifies cultural evolution.

The presence?  The meme embodies neural selection.

The meaning?  A scientific image of the word, “meme”, should overlay what is going on in my mind, that is, the manifest image.  My consciousness is an user-end illusion produced by the message and the presence of cultural and neural selection.

0202 My thanks to the author.  This well-documented work conveys that impression that inquiry into memes may account for the evolution of the human mind.  Whether this impression is productive or unproductive depends on how one defines the word, “meme”.