Re: virus: Memes and Genes, stupid

Tim Rhodes (
Wed, 22 Jan 1997 23:38:48 -0800 (PST)

On Wed, 22 Jan 1997, Dave Pape wrote:

> What about a memetic definition of stupid or intelligent? Mine would be
> something like...
> A stupid personality arises from brainspace in which there aren't many
> tiers/levels of memetic processing... in that, the brain involved isn't
> thinking to many levels of abstraction.

Hmmm... Wouldn't we want to have a "memetic definition" of intelligence
be in some way defined by interaction of memes with the human brain.

My "memetic definition" of intelligence would, I think, have to do with
the ability of the individual in question to process, replicate and spread
memes. A memetic genius would be an ideal host, incorporating and
professing ideas in the most effective manner possible. And, from time to
time, recombining ideas to form new, more virulent memes. What these
memes may or may not be isn't the issue. They could be, "Get all your
information from the TV and eat Rice Crispies," just as easily as, "Study
Quantum Physics and read Kant." (In fact, an argument could be made that
the "watch more TV" meme is of more use memeticly since it submerges the
host in rich sea of hearty, albeit inane, memes.)

This isn't the most attractive ideal of intelligence, but no one said
selection was pretty. Memes don't care if the "information super-highway"
leads to the discovery of a cure for cancer, a way to travel at the speed
of light, or cause you to max out your credit cards in less than an hour.
As long as the memes can travel and spread with greater speed and impact
they're happy.

Professor Tim
Seattle, Washington