Re: virus:"other reality"

Reed Konsler (
Sun, 12 May 1996 21:45:05 -0400

"Seems to me my state of transhumanism has progressed to the extent that I
find all this talk of memes to be, practically, the babbling nonsense of
well meaning but misinformed sub-transhumans." ---Tom Loeber (May12.1:58pm)

Hey, dude, I have a day job. If I want to speculate about the ambiguous but
significant "meanings of existence" in my spare time I'll do so.

Plus, it's kind of hubristic to assume that you have in some way "trancended"
the human state. How do you know you aren't deluding yourself? Especially
considering people around you are scraching their heads at some of the things
you are saying. Divine inspiration?

I'm sure no one agrees with everthing I say here, or in flesh-life. But, like,
what is the point if you don't try to reach consensus? If you don't TRY and
hash it out then what's the point of a community at all. I've got a pretty
rich fantasy life...but it gets boring without a little input from the
environment now and then.

If what you are saying is a convoluted: "I'm so beyond you guys that I can't
even begin to tell you where you are going wrong" then my response is a polite
but firm "Fuck You!" If you're not going to help us out of the hole you
percieve us as being in at least don't rub salt in the wounds. It's just bad

A friend of mine is creating a book on a theory of language.
He classifies different terms according to an "Abstraction Level" which he
calls "Ablevs" and has a list of their hierarchy and rank for different
parts of speech. As far as I can tell the logical interpretation of the
discussion here shows great ambiguity and little practicality as the
abstraction levels are, to say the least, confused. In my understanding
there is only one language that reaches past ambiguity and dichotomy and
that is algebraic expressions of descriptive statistics.

I'm sure your friend means well, and maybe he's on to something really
important. You'll forgive me, however, if I remain skeptical until:

1) The work is complete
2) It has been evaluated rigorusly
3) It has been incorporated into the rest of our understanding

The discussion here certainly is vague and freewheeling. Life is like that,
though. It can't all be done in logical order. Sometimes you just have to try
to muddle through the vagueness and hope that eventually you'll have time to
clean it all up. That's the core of science. Keep it simple. Keep moving
forward. Try not to worry about all those holes until you absolutley MUST fix

Reason is the key to understanding. But life is a messy, chaotic place. If
this discussion seems hopelessly ambigious to you then all I can say is "were
doing the best we can, assistance would be appriciated."

Beware the jabberwock! Is this a discussion about finding religion that is
consistent with science and subject to clarification as knowledge

I don't know. This discussion is about ideas. For rigorous astronomy or
mathematics go elsewhere, as (I gather) we don't have to expertise. Certainly
I'm open to learn a little more (after all, I'm a professional student) if
you'll show me how it applies to my life and how I could use it to further or
modify my own goals. Just don't tell me I'm hopeless. If it's true, I prefer

I doubt it's true.

Every generation seems to want to proclaim that they have the answer to worldly
problems in some kind of new concept of the "meaning of meaning" or the word of
some reverred teacher. I don't think memes are the answer.

Oh come on!

Look how far we've gotten in the few generations we've had! Sure, we've been
wrong, too simplistic, ignorant. It's a process, though. I don't think
"memes" are the FINAL answer to anything, either. I don't think there is a
FINAL answer. It's a neat idea, though. As neat as "Ablevs" in language, I'd
wager. Sure, it's was only born a couple decades ago; give it some
time to develop.

I definately don't think anyone here is arguing about "the answer to worldly
problems". Geez, you make me nervous just thinking about it. I'm just trying
to have a conversation with like minded people about something I think is cool
to think about. Maybe it's vague. Maybe it isn't getting us anywhere. I
really do not know.

Life is like that.

You just have to move forward and take a chance. This "meme" idea may be
totally bogus. What is more likely is, like any idea, it's meaning will evolve
so that it "fits" with our other ideas. I don't think any one of us holds the
same concept of a "meme" in our heads, right now, by a wide margin.

So, I take your point that maybe the whole concept itself isn't worth defining.
Maybe, as you insinuate, this is "all fury and thunder, signifiying nothing"
(to poorly paraphrase Shakespeare) or so hopelessly ambigious that nothing
useful will ever come of it. I really do not know.

But, provisionally, I respectfully disagree.

I think there is something significant in this concept: "meme".

Looks to me like they have lead to a lot of trivia here. This is to be
expected. As the head of Eugene, Oregon's psychology dept. stated (I
paraphrase) "the largest and fastest accumulating mass of the information
explosion is trivia and misinformation."

In any evolutioary system a random explosion of mostly useless bits of stuff is
followed by the rapid culling of those things that are not able to see
themselves replicated into further generations. I agree with the head of
Eugene's psych department: "There is a lot of crap out there". Selection,
however is a wonderful tool. I think you are implying that a lot of junk
information is bad for the intellectual environment.

I could not disagree with you more.

All that junk is grist for the artificial selection mill we call "culture".
Selection is a wonderfull tool becase it flys directly in the face of the
"junk in, junk out" addage of early programmers.

We have a "junk in, order out" culture. Isn't it beautiful? It's not
efficient, no. It's not ordered like Levittown was supposed to be...

But, it breathes. And we have the privelidge of being a part of it. We have
the opportunity to pick through the trivia and misinformation and look for the

All we have ever had is trivia and misinformation. We've done OK so far.

Hey, I can use some help with rescuing this biosphere and the limitless
potential that exists here. Anybody else want to step out of the mundane and
get on with the work that is needed?

Sure, dude, I'm there.

Do you mind if I think about this stuff AND work to save the planet?