virus: Level 3 (Was Meme Update #4)

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 12 Feb 1997 18:43:11 -0500

>From Richard Brodie:
>Level 1 of consciousness is instinctual and animalistic...
>Level 2, where most educated people operate...
>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.

>From David Pape:
>This layering of the phenomenology of consciousness seems very artificial
>to me...

>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.

I agree with David on both these points. I have a question for Richard
(and by the way, your post about book buying was very good, though I didn't
respond to it directly):

Aren't "Levels" more of ideology than memes? If you are unreflective than
you have no ideology. If you have one ideology then you are "Level 2" or
possessing ideology. If you are level 3 you are "beyond ideology". The
level system sounds a little like Zen to me:

First the mountians were the mountains, the beach, beach...and the sea was
the sea. [level 1]
Then I questioned, and nothing was...or was as it seemed, and I was
confused [level 2]
And then, after enlightenment, the mountians were again mountians...and so
on [level 3]
But, of course, it is the struggle which is most significant. [advertizing]

If the thinking is constructed of memes then how does one think without or
beyond them? Level 3 seems empty (and, in this, is also like some
interpretations of enlightenment)...but you offer it as a pragmatic
starting point for further temporal progress. This fusion is dizzy; making
a more handy buck is not my idea of a good reason for focusing ones Ki.

I feel the desire, as many have, to say something like "Hey, dude, I'm on
level Pi. Not only are we .14 and then some arbitrary units higher...but
the cafeteria here serves better food." I'm not on level Pi, I'm I've been most of my life. Actually, I'm no longer
uncomfortable with confusion.

Is is possible to be Level 3 some of the time? Is it possible to be
"limited level 3" in which you freely exchange between a small number of
worldviews or "Victorian level 3" in which you hold a lot of contadictory
viewpoints but believe that they will all sort out into your personal
ideology in the end? What if I believe contradictory things but don't
notice? Is level behavior situation dependent (i.e, can I be a level 3
philosopher but a level 2 chemist and a level 1 beer drinker?)

Why did you find it necessary to combine a discussion of memetics with this
play for moral reletivism? Do you see an understanding of memetic and
reletvism as being intimately connected?


Reed Konsler