RE: virus: Re: meme pairs (formerly compassion and justice) (formerly

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Wed, 23 Oct 96 15:21:00 PDT

I suspect that, rather than memes being generated in pairs
(a la virtual particles), at least some memes generate their
opposing memes. (This may be a function of the way the
human mind works; we can't test this until we meet a non-human
language-using species.) "Wealth," for example, is a relative
term, and not only because all the money in the world wouldn't
have bought an ancient Roman a dose of tetracycline. Once
something becomes common, having it is no longer a sign
of wealth, and lacking it may become a sign of poverty.
And sometimes the oppositions aren't very good: "justice"
isn't really the opposite of "crime," for example, if only because
justice also involves making decisions in cases where no crime
has been committed--for example, which of two decent parents
gets custody of a child if the parents can no longer live together?
But by phrasing the opposition in that way, we can say we are
"promoting justice," which is an active, positive thing and may
be more appealing than "fighting crime."

I have intuitively suspected for some time now that, due to the cause =
=3D> effect/effect =3D> cause cycle that both systems theory and =
evolutionary theory predict, memes usually appear to fill niches in the =
idea environment, and in order to do this most effectively, they usually =
are created (?) and propagated in pairs, most often in pairs of apparent =
opposites (but actually codependent, symbiotic or predator/prey mutual =
dependency relationships) i.e.:

Crime =3D> Justice
War =3D> Peace
Poverty =3D> Wealth
Evil =3D> Good
Follower (IROYC) =3D> Pagan
etc. etc. etc.

(please feel free to add, I'd like to see pairs I haven't thot of, and I =
suspect these pairs should perhaps be incorporated into the archetype =
library of virian "tarot".

In the same way that symbiotic or predator/prey species relationships =
are sort of the biological corollary of Newton's "every force exerted =
creates an equal and opposite force", these are to my mind the memetic =

Can anyone corroborate this intuition with some harder evidence? As a =
boring old banker who often feels way out of my depth on this list, I'd =
be exceptionally grateful for responses.