Virus Maximus (was Re: virus: Project #1: Virus Maxims)

Duane Daniel Hewitt (
Mon, 11 Sep 1995 13:45:48 -0600 (MDT)

In keeping with the evolutionary underpinnings of Virus I will put
forward the following:

1) The process of Natural Selection proposed by Darwin is a fundamental
force that drives living systems. As expanded upon by Dawkins there is a
selection for the optimal replicators. There are many strategies for
optimal replication and the most sucessful win out over the long term.

One of the purposes of Virus could be to derive an optimal survival
strategy for its members.

2) As Saint Dawkins (I second the nomination, David) has also pointed out
there is a relatively new primordial soup in which new replicators are
being formed and recombining at a phenomenal rate. This is, of course, the
human mind and the replicators are memes.

Memes are subject to the processes of Natural Selection but there are
many differences between memetic evolution and genetic evolution.

A) Memetic evolution can occur at a much more rapid pace because the
physical limits to the recombination of memes (electrical impulses) are
much less restricted than the recombination of genes (wet chemistry).

B) The unit of a meme is by its very nature difficult to define and quantify.
How does an ecology of memes work?

I have strayed somewhat from producing maxims so let me try;

1) Selection pressures and evolution are fundamental aspects of existence.

2) These pressures cause the optimal replicators to prevail based on the
sole criteria that they are the preferred replicators.

3) Evolutionary pressures are not only present in biology but exist in
memetic systems.

4) Adaptability has been shown to be an optimal strategy for replication
in the realm of biology and this has not been as clearly demonstrated in
memetics but probably can also be applied in that realm. This is fairly
closely related to David's initial suggestion.

5) If one chooses to live rationally then one allows that one's actions
should be judged by rational means. If one chooses to live by irrational
means then one is subject to judgement by irrational means.

Comments and/or suggestions encouraged.

Duane Hewitt