Re: virus: Bastard Son of Virus

Dave Pape (
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 18:34:28 GMT

At 17:13 14/02/97 -1000, Peter wrote:

>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.

Yup, because mega-minds/group minds arise from social memetic processing, in
the same way that personal minds arise from the processing of ideas/memes in
a personal brainspace.

>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).

What about... the feeling you get whenever you achieve something as part of
a team? How about... the feelings that whole families have at times of crisis?

I would say that, if it's valid to think of all human beings as interacting
to give rise to a (more or less) unified megamind, then this will be via the
interactions of lots and lots of smaller (and overlapping) groups.

>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

Watch it, because I see no conflict between those two perspectives. Seeing
personalities as ecologies of ideas allows "competing idiot-savant viruses"
to interact in a gorgeously organised way, yielding fantastically detailed
(down to the level of reflexes) structures of ideas which cause bodies to
behave as though driven by unitary personalities, and which allow groups of
people to behave as though driven by a megamind.

Here's a problem I have with the name "Virus": I think that there are huge,
global metacellular organisms of memes, and not just tiny viral organisms.
I'm a memetic metacellular... so is Chelsea Football Club... so is
Everything Known About Coca Cola... and so is Gaiamind (if anyone deems that
a valid construct).

At the end of the day (I'm not particularly getting agitated at you, Peter),
I think that considering people to be a collection of interacting memes and
a collection of cells and a collection of genes, all interacting with other
such collections, is an awesome thing to think about. I stood in a
supermarket today, and looked down the row of checkouts, and my jaw dropped
from thinking about all the memetic processing that underlies what was going
on in that scene. To me, saying "There's 30 checkout clerks scanning
people's shopping" is crushed in terms of impressiveness by saying "this is
a fractally detailed, local expression of global memetic processing."

Dave Pape
Ran out of sig. ideas.

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