Re: Loose threads (was Re: virus: From Tao to Tarot)

Dan Henry (
Sun, 05 May 1996 10:58:59 +0600

At 06:06 AM 5/5/96 +0200, Marek Jedlinski wrote:
>On Sat, 4 May 1996, Dan Henry wrote:
>> Here's a strawman:
>> To believe (the meme) X is to incorporate (the meme) X into one's
>> meme-structure.
>But how can
>you determine whether or not I have "incorporated (the meme) X
>into my meme-structure"? If it shows in my behavior, you can.
>If it doesn't, what value does the definition present?
>(meme X: "The defining quality of this meme is that its carrier may not
>and will not display it or admit to posessing it in any way; conscious or
>unconscious failure to conform to this rule will indicate that the
>carrier does not in fact posess the meme X"... >:) BTW, would anyone
>like to venture into the realm of self-referential memes??)

I agree with you 100%. My proposal was meant to be less useful by avoiding
the problems associated with the method of detection. But not all
definitions include the means of detection.

As an example, consider OCR. It is simple to define the letter "A", but it
is extraordinarily difficult to develop and algorithm that reliably detects
all the forms of the letter "A" that we can easily read.

I was hoping merely to present the bare-bones definition that all could
accept (hopefully including Reed), thus closing the thread. Then, we could
discuss how to detect a belief in another person. But that's the part that
I think is futile.

Also, I enjoyed your self-referential meme. Might I suggest its reverse?

Meme Y: "The defining quality of this meme is that its carrier must give the
impression of carrying it, without actually carrying it; conscious or
unconscious failure to imitate possession of this meme will indicate that
the carrier does in fact possess the meme Y"

Yes, it's a little silly. But I think Ken Pantheists will like it.

Dan Henry