Re: virus: Bastard Son of Virus

Peter Charlot (
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 17:17:49 -1000

David Pape wrote:

>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

What's the problem? We agree. Generally I think we over emphasize the virus
angle. I'd like to figure out how healthy minds (including mega-minds, if
they exist) operate first, before I attempt to tackle the diseases. The
checkout line description is lovely, perceiving everyday reality within the
context of underpantics. Now if someone rushed in and started shooting up
this store, we're looking at viral aberration. But I don't think we're ready
to grasp that yet.

For me our
Of-Being-Jargon- Producing-Groupies (PSTIWANWCSOARBFFOBJPG) has an
opportunity to link science with wisdom. Or if you prefer biology with
psychology, or data with politics. I'm a pragmatist and wonder what this is
all for, if not as a foundation to improve our lives. But we need to get
some real facts first, namely how does the brain produce memes (Oops!) and
what is their relationship to the rest of the system. Knowing the
neurophysiogamy seems essential to progress. Memetics is a solid theory,
one that folks like Patricia Churchland (author of Neurophilosophy) have
been looking for. According to Churchland the lack of a workable brain
function theory has thwarted research. You need a theory in order to ask the
right questions.