Re: virus: Meme vs concept

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 14 May 1996 13:19:03 -0400

*****Tom Loeber(May14,2:04am)
I don't know of Dennett.

I'd recommend "Conciousness Explained" and "Darwin's Dangerous Idea". From my
perscpective this group is discussing ideas that Daniel Dennett has already
elucidated to some extent. Anyway, he is an excellent writer as well as
thinker, so I bet you won't be bored. He's on the recommended reading list.

I suggest that we get a grasp on older terminology
before introducing new, e.g., "culture" means different things in different
contexts. The context of that quote uses "culture" in a way that I would
prefer have less value in a weighted hierarchical scheme of concepts than
the "culture" I describe in the next couple of sentences.

Point taken. But I think you're using a rhetorical tactic to refuse conceeding
the larger issue. The "meme" is different from the "concept" or "idea" in that
it has different implications. I like Brodie's mass/weight analogy although I
would only push it so far. I was trying to point out one thing that a "meme"
allows us think about easily which was difficult using only ideas like
"concept" or "idea"

There is a culture, the medium in which we all have grown and live (unless you
be from TeTa) that is known as our biosphere. That is a culture that suffers
much neglect and abuse. Though you may not be aware, that very real and most
gracious culture medium is in danger of rapid and catastrophic collapse
unless one garners their knowledge from conventional media: "Don't worry. Be
happy. (Get screwed)." BTW, I don't have a beard (at this time) and I don't
carry a "repent, the end is at hand" placard on a street corner. With
knowledge and understanding we can secure this space colony.

I think we're all in agreement about this. We need to create a society that
has minimal impact and is renewable. We're trying. But it's silly to say
"stop everything! this problem must be solved first!" There are a lot of
problems and, like anything in life, we have to do them all at the same time.

Plus, if you could construct a really good "green" meme, you could infect
everybody with it and we would all become more respectful of our planet. See
how useful the "meme" is? You don't need a placard, that isn't effective. You
need an advertizing executive and a good jingle (I'm only partially kidding

Let me know if I bore you.

On the contrary, that was pretty succinct. I think what strikes me is not so
much that the system is "linear" (is that a bad word these days?) but that it
is so simple. The world appears pretty complex to me, the "answer" that would
satisfy me as to its "meaning" isn't, as you say, something you could easily
draw on a piece of paper.

I hold to a conviction that truth does not need proper nouns, i.e. words
that are capitalized in the middle of a sentence. I don't think it was just a
typo that caused you to capitalize memetics or virus. I see these words have
great value to you. Perhaps they are just what you need to get onto
something more important. I find them obfuscating to my search for meaning
and purpose. Whoa, SACRED COW ALERT!!! Not only do I propose "concept"
instead of "meme" I might also support "reason" rather than "virus." Hey,
we just be gabbing. I could be entirely mistaken. Enlighten me.

I capitalize "Virus", which is this organization, to distingush it from
"virus": a parasitic organism. The intent was to clarify, not obfuscate.

I may have capitalized memetics. You may have a point there.

I did capitalize all of mechanism. I think the concept of mechanism is the
central component of understanding anything. So, yes, I find it important. I
see memetics as different from "ideas" becuse the former is more readily
applied to an understanding of mechanism.

I guess I think understanding requires a few proper nouns. I'm not sure. How
do I designate myself, if not with a proper noun?