Wikipedia lists Memristor as a hypothetical non-linear passive two-terminal electrical component relating to electric charge and magnetic flux linkage.

What is interesting about the memristor for me is the fact that  Leon Chua envisaged it in 1971. This was five years before Richard Dawkins coined “meme” as the second replicator to gene. And what has a memristor that belongs to the domain of electronics with memes that belong to evolutionary biology?

I will elaborate briefly that Leon Chua’s memristor connects memes with the matter.

He thought there must be a fourth fundamental circuit element besides resistor, capacitor and inductor (essential circuit elements). Memristor connects charge and magnetic flux. Memristors, as physical entities, remember what current had flowed through them.

To remember means to conceptualise something that was perceived. Let me explain with an example. We often ask ourselves what our pets remember. We know they perceive, but we do not know how much they remember. To remember means that there should stay something more than a mere perception in your mind. Perception is ephemeral; it comes, and in the next moment, it is gone; a new perception arises in the place of the old one. To memorise means to have the capacity to conceptualise a sensation. Conceptualisation happens with the help of memes abusing the neural circuits of our brains. No brains – no memes. No memes – no conception.

Meme “meme” thus existed before Richard Dawkins coined it! Leon Chua thus referred to what is yet to be invented. He referred to something from the future. That is why I often cite my future work, and that is also why all citations of something written in the past can only exist as something that shall or shall not reveal in the future.

What is also intriguing is that the Wikipedia mentioned above article clearly states severe doubts as to whether a genuine memristor can exist in physical reality. But then there are many examples of memristors listed in that same article. It is the initial calculation of Leon Chua that should be upgraded and not the memristor itself. We do not say Newton was wrong about gravity since Einstein’s general relativity upgraded Newton’s calculations.

Memristors thus play a similar role to slime moulds. Both contradict our orthodox scientific division between inert matter and living spirit. Some entities remember but have no will, no subjectivity. They are agents but not subjects. They behave like synapses in brains, like neural interactions. What evolutionary biologists name meme emergence on the substrate of brains, Leon Chua named memristor, a memory that emerges on the substrate of the specially designed capacitor. Cortical computing is coming closer and closer. Memes as second replicators prove themselves more and more despite being ignored by orthodox science for more than 40 years.

Andrej Drapal