Re: virus: MEME UPDATE #4

Dave Pape (
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 13:08:06 GMT

At 15:46 10/02/97 -0800, Rich B wrote:

>To backpedal a bit, Level 1 of consciousness is instinctual and
>animalistic. Level-1 operators do not live by conscious philosophy.
>Abstractions such as economics and physics are foreign to them. They
>live with the hand they were dealt, not making much use of learned
>Level 2, where most educated people operate, makes use of conceptual
>tools to map out life and plan results for the future. Religions, the
>scientific method, and all academic learning are examples of Level-2
>structures. In Level 2, one's picture of the world gets clearer and
>clearer. Often people will not break through to Level 3 unless and until
>they have a life experience that invalidates and shatters their world
>Level 3 is characterized by the ability to flex your meme-space on the
>fly; to use multiple models depending upon your purpose and priorities.
>It's possible to gain an intellectual understanding of what this means
>from Level 2, but probably not possible to really feel the impact of the
>difference in life experience. The Level-3 mind has a great capacity to
>hold dissonant, contradictory beliefs. (Einstein was said to have this

This layering of the phenomenology of consciousness seems very artificial to
me, and it prompts arguments like:

Me: /Most/ people flick between belief systems, including a lot of
people that Richard describes as not having "attained level 3".
Rich: You think so because you do not yet understand level 3 and have not
yet attained it.

Well check it out, by your model I now deem myself Level 4, because I think

A LOT of people host, for some percentage of the time (x%), meta-memes
which, when activated, allow them to switch from belief system to belief
system, thinking at the time, "I shall now think in work mode," or "I shall
now think in memespeak."

I would argue that the graph of "How many people host such metamemes, those
metamemes being active for x% of their cognitive processing time," looks
like this:

No| **
of| * *
people| * *
| * **
|* ****
0 x% 100

And, being REALLY generous, I'd say that Rich would be one of the few that
hosts these memes actively 50% of the time, and maybe I host them 30%.

Richard's level 3, /I/ think (and thanks, Richard, for posting the summary
of your thoughts about L1, 2 & 3), is just the expression of
metameta...metamemes with more meta's in front of them than Richard's level 2.

The point of my "Hokusai" signature, the waves on the ocean, was to give an
image to the meta-ness of memes which are active in our heads over time. I
just can't level this image with Richard's concept of levels of cognitive

One final point: Richard, you can't surely be arguing that level 3
corresponds to a non-memetic process, can you? Because I'm firmly of the
opinion that the ideas you feel when you say "I shall now start thinking in
mysticism mode" are metasystems emerging from memes, and, if transmitted,
are memes themselves.

Dave Pape
Jar 148.

Phonecalls: 01494 461648 Phights: 10 Riverswood Gardens
High Wycombe
HP11 1HN