Re: RE[2]: virus: Hosts

David Leeper (
Sat, 12 Oct 1996 21:37:18 -0500

KMO Prime,

>On what basis do memes compete with one another? Human brains seem to
>have finite storage capacity, so there would seem to be competition
>between memes for this limited resource, but that would seem to pit all
>memes against each other equally in a memetic free-for-all. That
>doesn't seem to be the case. Some memes facilitate the propagation of
>some memes and hinder the propagation of others, i.e. there seems to be
>some memetic mechanisms which give rise to compatibility/incompatibility
>relationships between memes, but I have no idea what those mechanisms

Here's my take on this:
1) The brain (as opposed to the mind) provides an environment in which genes exist.

2) I believe the brain's environment has several eco-systems. Examples of these would be sex,
logic and survival. An attempt to map these eco-systems is the Tree Of Life. (Please excuss the
self-promotion, but an on-line description of the Tree of Life is at ).

3) Various memes can live in these different eco-systems. That these memes may be logically
incompatable doesn't really matter. The purpose of meme is to survive and replicate, not to be
logically. These different eco-systems limit the "free-for-all" you mentioned. Sexual memes
and logical memes (for example) live in different eco-systems, they rarely compete (however, see

4) There would seem to be part of us that "sits apart" from all this, and makes decisions at a
higher level. It decides how much of our resources go into the "sexual eco-system", the
"logical eco-system", and so on. Perhaps a good term for this part of us would be a
"meta-meme", its is a meme that influences which _types_ of memes are favored and which _types_
are disfavored.

David Leeper
Homo Deus