virus: Re:sociological change

Ken Pantheists (
Sun, 29 Dec 1996 05:30:41 +0000

Alex an I wrote:
> What would be even more outrageous is if you lied to all your friends,
> by telling them that you have aids and how bummed out you are about it.

Probably could pull that off, too, though my friends would wonder
where I picked it up and probably conclude it was from draining the
blood from indigents ...

I won't go into the dramatics of saying how many of my friends have been
lost to the disease. But I don't think you could pull it off. Since, at
this stage in the game, you would have to die to give a convincing
performance. My point was that your appropriation of that experience
would be (eventually) seen as a complete sham. It would be damaging to
you (since you wouldn't have any friends left after they see you
callously using them) and also damaging to the people to whom that
experience belongs.

Granted-- that is a particularily charged issue, but does the same
principle not apply to other experiences to greater o lesser degrees?

Me and alex:
> They will not hold a candle to the detail of the real experiences of a
> real person who has lived for years as that person and has put his or
> her whole life into creating that persona.

Unless you present too /much/ detail and fail the test of authenticity
by being /too/ polished, which is quite easy to do.

"Too polished" is a generalization as well. If I am correct in assuming
what you mean-- whenever I have encountered an actor whose work is too
polished it is because he or she has replaced detail with convention. An
actor can grow to rely on "tricks" or handy tools that are inherently
theatrical and fall well within a "style" that is easily read as
presentational. It is not a matter of too much polish, but actually a
form of laziness.

Actually, I thought it was because the "indians" don't match our
expectations for what we /should/ be seeing. Sort of like seeing
Arnold Swarzenegger playing Seymour in LITTLE SHOP OF HORROR.
But our expectations of a proposed conflict have to do with our
political prejudices. Why else would the little kid in Princess Bride
say "No grandad, you got the story wrong..."

In bygone decades we would have expected, absolutely to see a white
person play an indian because we were involved in an active, aggressive
campaign to block indian memes from our memepool. (Our= white european

Humanity, of
course, has been well above the memetic survival line for some time,
and like all evolving entities that no longer have to spend most of
their evolutionary time keepinf up with the environment, widespread
memetic mutations and alterations have occured, cultures and memes are
no longer dedicated soley to the survival of the specie but also
toward exploring the memetic landscape of experiences and
But how is it extensible to animals?
A pet lizard doesn't have to keep up to the environment. It has
everything provided. It just sits on its branch and waits to be fed. It
may be choreographing epic lizard operas, but *i* don't expect to see
anything from that. And any attempt i would make at extracting an opera
from a lizard (blood from a stone?) would be an exercise in me asserting
my memes on the lizard and contaminating my observation of its behaviour
with my expectations of the outcome.

Animals have very low needs to handle abstraction. They are, as a
result, significantly less complex responders than other human beings.
However, we know empirically that canines form social packs and a
hierarchy of society therein; that in itself demands a certain
facility with abstraction
No that is just recognizing and reacting. That landscape of ideas does
not have the dangerous fluidity of man made abstractions.

Look at how fluid you are to me ( and me to you) in this *very* abstract
medium. You have a picture in your head of me. You can here your version
of my voice as you read this. It is this behaviour that is best
described ina memetic model. Animals have no use for this.

Memetics is both a science and a technology. It explains information and
is *used on information*. They don't have memetics because they don't
need it.

Including children, by your expansion, since they
have very little in the way of bootstrapping. Any culture they
receive, we impart, via conduit ... and the act thereof imparts a
`lie,' if you will.
Except that children, unlike an essay or a movie, think for themselves.
They eventually grow up and despise you for thinking of them as mere
vessels. In fact they hate you so much for never giving them any staus
of their own beyond being the "lie that you created" that they put you
in a filthy nursing home where you spend the last years of your life
eating flour and water and sleeping on the floor.

[Besides, I like learning systems ... for an example of `a detailed
lie written by the few programmers who would build the network' do a
Web search for the Cyc project. Apparently their detailed lie is good
enough that Lenat's getting $500k a pop for /corporate investors/ to
buy in and apparently he has enough options to be choosy.]
I'll look that up, but I never meant to say that these systems fail to
get the bucks.or that they don't teach us anything. It's just that they
aren't real.

We, as a western people (I am making assumptions here alex about your
heritage) are plagued by one idea that has been a boon to our scientific
practices and a bane to us in other ways. We believe that a small part
of the universe will behave like a large part of the universe.

>From what I understand about Chinese philosophy and science-- the
ancient chinese did not believe this because a small model of the
universe did not have the same chi as the whole big version of the
universe. In short it is missing the life force needed to make it work
like the big version.

The western method brought about the scientific method and all the great
things that came with that. But it Alos have us this hubris-- taking
your example of the byrds program that follows three simple rules.

Can you write the three rules that go into being black in america?

And if you could, how detailed would you expect the list to be?

My, that /is/ pompous. Also, by that line of argument Newtonian
physics is just completely no use in understanding relativistic
physics. Patently false, by observation, the /reasons/ may have
changed but within reasonable tolerances at the macrocosmic level,
Newtonian physics describe what we see happening perfectly well.

I still think it is not the same--

Of course certain things behave the way you expect them to and you can
create a model that explains a lot. But much of the memeverse doesn't.
Otherwise you would not be surprised by things that familiar people do--
you would not have a difference of opinion with a complete stranger. You
would not find a surprise friendship in someone you might not have
considered being friends with....

Sex would be boring.

  Ken Pantheists