Re: virus: Meme vs concept

Tom Loeber (
Tue, 14 May 1996 13:25:37 -0700 (PDT)

>*****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'll check 'em out. Thanks for the referrals.
>>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"
I disagree. I think Richard Brodie's analogy was sorely lacking and
negating of his premise. Believe me, I seek solutions to problems and do
wish to be corrected when I make poor analogies or mistaken assumptions,
etc. Being human, my perspective is destined to be limited. You'll see
more on my thoughts of "culture" and why I don't think I was just being
rhetorical in a private post I'll send shortly. I can be convinced though.
Could you try showing me another example of where "meme" gives us new valid
insight that "concept" can't convey?
>>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.
Gulp. I'm glad I don't have to do everything simultaneously. "Bean by bean
we fill the bag."
>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).
Guess what. I honestly think I've got the meme that is needed (I use the
native tongue though I prefer to think of my new theory of sociology as a
concept.) I'll send a brief 2000 word essay to you personally. I'm still
trying to figure out how to deliver it to humanity and survive. I suppose
you and others realize how many applied and forced beliefs are steeped in
faith alone justification rather than testable theory.
>>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.
"Linear" is a great word. Don't let peer pressure tell you otherwise. Draw
a donut. Put an arrow through the center going straight up and label it
"time". Label the center of the hole of the donut as "me". Draw an arrow
on the outside of the donut pointing down and label it "death". Label the
hole of the donut as all existing life that has coevolved here with us.
That's my cosmology in a nut shell. Does it work to describe all of
universe? It might just be a far cry better model than any of the other
cosmologies that exist. Life just might be a force field. Align our fields
and move togethor and we may induce the inanimate to do our bidding.
>>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 know. I know. With the acceleration of new diseases, though, we're liable
to be using "virus" more often than "Virus" in our attempts to preserve the
integrity of our own lives and the biosphere. I'd like my understanding of
things to be succinct, valid, and consistent so that I can get onto
considering bigger concepts that sometimes cause me to restructure my basic
beliefs. We can only build as high as our foundation can support.
>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" because the former is more readily
>applied to an understanding of mechanism.
I prefer the word "dynamics" rather than "mechanism." Seems more emphasis is
placed on context with "DYNAMICS" (hee).
>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?
For the sake of brevity we often forego literal interpretations of our
words. Still, consider, is their a way to socialize that could preserve the
anonymity of participants while recognizing people for what they are and
have to offer rather than their labels? I think so and it might just be a
characteristic of a viable social organisation.

Thank you for your reasonable and valued discourse. I'm still just trying
to figure out things myself. Don't know if I have any answers but I wont
find out until I put them in the water and see if they sink or float. BTW,
I'm gaining a lot of insight and clarification of my own beliefs here.
Thank all for Memetics and Virus.