Re: virus: Level 3 minds

Jason McVean (
Sat, 26 Oct 96 19:34:00 MDT

JPSchneider wrote:
> Suggestion: Do not label the "mind" as level 3. Rather, label the
> "thought process". Thought processes are much easier to talk about
> than are "minds". At best then, if one still wants to label the
> "mind," say that it "is a mind capable of entertaining level 3
> thoughts," (even though it might not always be doing so).
> I like to think that I'm quite capable of operating in "level 3 mode,"
> only I find the day-to-day assessment of various factual information
> much easier to accomplish if I'm in "level 2 cruise control". (This
> is, in fact, a level 3 argument: I find it more "useful" to grind
> away in level 2 most of the time - just personal taste: it's much
> easier to arrive at the 'truth' for me. If a discussion requires
> me to utilize level 3 thinking, then I will - no problem.

Kenneth Boyd wrote similarly:
> I'm not familiar with the terminology, but I seem to function at a
> first-order approximation to level-3 from level-2, or the real thing.
> I allow for approximation because I did not see any definitive
> diagnostics for IDing level-3, only diagnostics for IDing level-2. In
> the absence of further information, I conclude that level-2 can emulate
> level-3 to some degree.

> The jump I took from level-2 to my current emulation/reality of level-3
> was a lateral jump. It's not even in the same direction as the jump from
> level-1 to level-2. I took the jump when I managed to completely break
> level-2 as a method of living. [Actually, this was several months.]
> In the absence of a functional method of deciding how to act, I learned to
> use the motive-programming techniques that seem to be key to Brodie's
> description of level-3.

I'm perfectly willing to go with that, but it certainly weakens
the importance of the level-3 classification. Considering that
chimps (and apparently some humans) operate at level-1 and most
people with higher education, right up to including PhDs, are
purportedly at level-2, I would expect that level-3 would be an
equally big jump, though perhaps in a different direction as KB

But based on what is written above, pretty much everyone on this
list operates in level-3 mode at least some of the time. The
strength of the claim has been reduced to simply using the
concept of memetics on occasion, something that most people are
capable of doing, and probably do without the fancy terminology.
That's why I suspect Richard feels there more to level-3 than this.
But if this is all there is to level-3, perhaps we should call it
level 2.1 instead and avoid the confusion.

Kenneth Boyd also wrote:

> I had to face those "unsavory implications" during the jump. They're part
> of why most people don't like it--or consider it possible.
> "commit strongly enough" is approximated by "only absolute
> impossibility of means will force reconsideration." If you can consider
> departing from said goal before then, you're not committed strongly
> enough. This is weaker than "commit by blind faith", because the latter
> will not reconsider even if no means exist. ["blind faith" is almost
> certainly one of the most popular Luciferic PR items in even the church!]

By unsavory implications, I was thinking of things like Bob
deciding that he was going to fully commit himself to getting
rich. However, to do that most effectively, he had to discard his
previously held memes that stood in his way, such as "I don't want
to exploit people in third world countries" and "I'd like to try to
preserve the environment". Or perhaps Bob decides that the most
fulfilling thing he can do is become the president of the USA but
to do so he discards his obstructing memes concerning integrity
and truthfulness. Or maybe he wants to rule the world and one
thing that will help is to demonize a minority ethnic group.
I doubt this is really what Richard Brodie has in mind but that's
certainly where it seems to lead if "only absolute impossibility
of means" is enough to sway you from your goal.


Dept. of Physics and Astronomy University of Calgary

"And it would have worked if it weren't for those meddling kids."