Re: virus: Bastard Son of Virus

Peter Charlot (
Fri, 14 Feb 1997 17:13:34 -1000

Note to Glenn: Objy says your forgiven and she'll try to have more fun.

At 12:30 PM 2/14/97 -0800, Prof. Tim wrote:
>I was thinking the other day, that one could view a
>newsgroup as an analog to a personality. Both being made up of competing
>and complimentary parts working together (most of the time, but not
>without internal conflicts cropping up). Sort of a meta-system of
>personalities. If this is true, we should be able to shed light on the
>interactions of memes and meta-memes within individuals by studying the way
>people move from newsgroup to newsgroup and the factors that influence
>their decisions to post or lurk.
>-Prof. Tim
Oh...well...a few passing about ten years worth... A summary
follows. I use the term Memetic algorithm-complexes rather than memes,
because I want to emphasize a system that requires the whole brain. The
limbic system, you keep recommending, needs to be involved and who knows
what else. What I'm suggesting is that consciousness does not end with the
individual, there may be conscious entities made up of our individual
bodies. This would be correspondant to the individual personalities that
make up our own mind. We see these individuals when the coordinating
mechanism in the brain breaks down and multiple personalities emerge from a
single person. Some of these are fully formed, some aren't. I believe the
same exists within groups, large and small. In your example above, the
individual may believe they are clicking on to a particular site for a
particular reason, but they may be responding to an agenda of an even larger
mind. This is different than the virus theory of replicating ideas, because
we are now dealing with fully formed minds. Jung's collective unconscious is
also a collective consciousness.

Generally we are not aware of mega-minds. We experience them as
thoughts or feelings indistinguishable from any others. This is because they
are both
ours and theirs simultaneously. We are not aware of participating in vast
webs of
super minds thinking through thousands of us simultaneously. Yet if we examine
some of our mutual experiences we might be observing these minds.
Catastrophes induce a wave that passes through us all. The assassination of
Kennedy swept through the nation in a way that was
unpredictable and uncontrolled. The unity experienced by victims of
hurricanes and
other natural disasters evoke a single mindedness necessary to survive. No
one of us
controls the onset of such unity nor how it will dissipate when it is no
longer needed.
These are collective responses quite removed from government. Government is
the only aspect of the megamind that we are currently aware of (except now
for the emerging Internet). We might suppose, then, that the ascendacy of
political or religous movements, or changes of any kind in the public
consciousness, arrive from the interactions of sophisticated personalities
that our extensions of our healthy biological selves, rather than a chaotic
morass of competing idiot-savant viruses out to use and delude unwitting hosts.