Re: virus: Virus Lexicon, etc

David McFadzean (
Wed, 05 Apr 1995 10:33:47 -0700

At 09:18 AM 4/5/95 -0600, Duane Daniel Hewitt wrote:

>Here are some possible definitions for the lexicon

And here are the definitions from Webster (not necessarily better, just for

>The influence that a prior event exerts on subsequent events.

cau. sal.i.ty \ko.-' zal-* t-e-\ n 1: a causal quality or agency 2: the
relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated
events or phenomena

>The frame of reference within which events occur. May have significant
>effect upon Meaning and True Meaning.

con. text \'ka:n-. tekst\ \ka:n-' teks-ch*(-w*)l, k*n-\ \-e-\ n [ME, weaving
together of words, fr. L contextus connection of words, cohe] rence, fr.
contextus, pp. of contexere to weave together, fr. com- + texere to weave
1: the parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light
upon its meaning 2: MILIEU, ENVIRONMENT - con. aj

>A self-replicating system that contains within itself the machinery and
>the information to replicate itself although the progeny are not
>necessarily identical due to mutation or mixing of genes.

I don't think self-replicating should be a necessary condition of life
because that would exclude obviously living animals like mules.

1. life \'l i-f\ \'l i-vz\ n or lives [ME lif, fr. OE l i-f; akin to OE libban
to live - more a] pl t LIVE 1a: the quality that distinguishes a vital and
being from a dead body or purely chemical matter 1b1: the state of a
material complex
or individual characterized by the capacity to perform certain functional
including metabolism, growth, and reproduction 1b2: a specific aspect of the
of living {sex ~} 2: the sequence of physical and mental experiences that
make up the
existence of an individual 3: BIOGRAPHY 4: spiritual existence transcending
death 5a: the duration of an earthly existence 5b: a specific phase of earthly
existence { adult ~} 5c: a sentence of imprisonment for the remaining
portion of a
convict's existence 6: a way or manner of living 7: LIVELIHOOD 8: a vital or
being; specif : PERSON 9: an animating and shaping force or principle 10:
ANIMATION, SPIRIT { eyes full of ~} 11: the form or pattern of something
existing in
reality { painted from ~} 12: the period of usefulness of something {~ of a
car} 13:
the period of existence (as of a subatomic particle) 14: a property of an
substance or object resembling the animate quality of a living being {~ of a
bow} 15:
living beings (as of a particular kind or environment) { forest ~} 16a: human
activities 16b: animate activity and movement { stirrings of ~} 18: another
given to one likely to lose cap, Christian Science 19: GOD

My own definition would be something like "a region in the spectrum of

less complex more complex
inert matter
synthetic control systems (e.g. thermostats, computer, robot)

The lower bound of the life region is fuzzy, and I don't think there
is an upper bound.

>Are there any manuals of memetic engineering or practical guides to
>constructing a meme complex? Could advertising strategies be considered a
>form of such?

I'm not aware of any memetic engineering textbooks per se, though I
have seen a textbook on cultural evolution. I will try to dig up the
reference. Advertising is most definitely memetic engineering. There is
an excellent article in the current issue of Adbusters called Meme Warfare.
(will post ref for this too).

>One suggestion for the Web page. You could put "Currently evolving"
>rather than "Under Construction".


>What will be the Stance of Virus on Good and Evil? (Easy question ;-))

I think we should take a Relativist stance. Good and Evil are in the eyes
of the beholder: good is whatever is aligned with some set of reference
values, evil is whatever is in opposition of the same set. Interesting
question: can values be rationally determined or are they necessarily
outside of logic?

>What is the purpose of Virus stated explicitly?

Virus was created to compete with the traditional (irrational) religions
in the human ideosphere with the idea that it would introduce memes which
would ensure the survival and evolution of our species. (How's that? I just
made it up :-) I just realized that Virus is a machine by my definition.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer                Merak Projects Ltd.