Re: virus: Bastard Son of Virus

Dave Pape (
Tue, 18 Feb 1997 01:59:10 GMT

At 14:01 17/02/97 -1000, Peter wrote:
>David Pape wrote:
>>What, then, are your ideas about the meme-brain interface? I've got a few,
>>which I'll maybe post tonight, but haven't got the time this lunch-hour...
>>have you got any crafty quick memes to seed the debate? Go on... mate...
> [SNIP: An entirely peripheral, embarrassing, and completely sweet comment]
>I am thrilled to find another meme-watcher! Once I was hiking through a
>large and desolate volcanic crater when far in the distance a group of about
>twenty boy-scouts emerged from the forest trail and had lunch. They made a
>circle! That circle of individual blue uniformed humans sitting on the
>black lava was so clearly a biological chain I about...well...I'm to shy to

What, set them all on fire and pissed into the flames? YEH! ME TOO! I DID
THAT TOO! Oh, wow! I knew you and me would kind of get along a bit. Jesus:
you were walking through a large and desolate volcanic crater? That must
have been like... High Wycombe.

>Here's a few crafty as quick as I can ideas on meme-brain interface. When a
>rabbit seeks cover upon seeing a hawk, the rabbit is not responding to the
>hawk per se. The rabbit carries pictures of hawks in its brain, and when
>that picture and a real hawk get aligned this activates the nervous system
>and triggers the "dive for cover" response.

/Does/ it carry pictures of the hawk? I'm trying to get my head round an
anti-representationist book on cognition ATM, where they describe something
like your model, only without the images in the middle. I dunno, maybe the
images only happen when you get consciousness?...

>This hawk-picture evolved, along
>with thousands of others similar images. These pictures have no
>self-replicating ability, nor are they capable of heuristic interaction.
>But they did evolve from a self-replicating system, the rabbit. So the best
>and most useful pictures were transfered with the healthiest rabbits. Now,
>I believe, the proto-human primate had similar images and therefore had in
>place the system necessary to evolve a method where images could interact in
>heuristic scenarios, the winners of which would activate the nervous system.
>Behold the meme.

The... pre-transmission meme? This is what I was gagging to call the noeme
(noosphere, agnostic...), but then, it's non-self-replicating, isn't it?
Memes are the subset of /THESE THINGS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT/ which
self-replicate... Huh?

>My guess is the original images and the self-replicating images are made up
>of RNA produced electro-chemical codes, probably using four letters.

Here's where I start to worry about the representational aspect of what
you're saying... I prefer to take a holistic view, saying that an idea about
something, thinking about something, is the coordination of action and
perception. A connective network sitting in between sensory neuron and motor
neuron. Ahgh, but I worry about this too, I then seem to propose "and here's
where the image is kept".

Ah, here's Dennett's argument/challenge:

Who are the images/representations for? Who watches the images? "The
rabbit"? Because "the rabbit" is the thing that has the retina and the
bouncing little feet and the flashing tail as it runs away. Does the rabbit
have a little rabbit-homuculus in there, watching the images and operating
the muscles? Cool! How does the homunculus's mind work?

>must take thousands of these letters to produce a hawk-meme but once
>constructed (through years of childhood trial and error observations) the
>hawk-meme can interact, a decent imitation of a real hawk, with the rest of
>the members of the brain's simuland universe.

So is the meme... a pattern of neural firing, interacting as one of a
network of such patterns, which aren't necessarily operating on sensory
input to produce a motor output?

>Now the pre-meme primate was no simple creature. He and she were all ready
>a complex of contending forces that had to resolve into specific actions. Do
>I attack or roll on my back and act submissive? In fact much of what we are
>attributing to memes may be just our good old primate genetically induced
>internal competitions (The subject of another thread).

As people we're both kinds of processing (memetic and personal-cognitive)-
and more. I got quite into ideas about limbic system general
depression/activatino of memetic processing, eg, and think that this
"non-conscious" (though that phrase seems pretty stupid now) processing is
also important to the phenomenology of how it feels to be us.

>But the meme
>structure did create a whole new contender for the throne,that which
>determines action.

Nice. Cognition is action, see? The action is the throne. Pete man, you
should read this book. Live in the UK? Wanna borrow a copy? "Tree of
Knowledge" by Maturana and Varela, my copy annotated with notes like "Look
at these fuckers GO!"

>Though it is possible for memes to dominate, it is to
>the detriment of the whole.

Not for prolonged periods, I reckon. Especially when you add limbic stuff to
the equation. Observe messages travelling from the eyes to the genitals,
causing limbic responses, that totally distract mind/action from memetic

>We need all the diversity, but it has to be
>balanced in order to function effectively.

But remember that, with the whole thing being a network of competitive
interactors (ideas in their various forms), minds will tend towards local
maxima of effectiveness, ie, they'll feel very dodgy about doing things that
render them less effective at maintaining their host's adaptation to its

>I think that memetics will teach
>us to become less dependant on our ability to think, rather than more. We'll
>put thinking in its place alongside, rather than above, the many other
>marvelous systems within us.

I just hope it helps us let go of logic a bit. Scientific Method allows us
to simulate it, and you get the added fun of evidence, too.

>For a specific example of meme/brain interface this group is a great
>example. By entering this group and interacting over a period of time I've
>allowed my mind to download (quite literally) each of your personaltys.

Peace my brother! My God, you've got it! See my rant about Bradford! Ah, how
sweet the night air feels here, on the southern side of the East High
Wycombe railway embankment.

>Dave, Tim, Tad, Richard, Reed, Kenneth, Glenn, Hakeeb, Vicki, James, David,
>Lior, Wade, David, Corey, Erik, Tom....Oh! God! Help me! al now live as
>separate individuals within my cortex.

That'd be the only place they exist separately then (and I don't think they
do), because as far as I'm concerned, we have all now irrevocably merged
together somewhat, by the downloading of personalities you mentioned.

>No telling who you've all usurped
>because of limited space. As time goes by I will refine and develop more
>accurate representations of each person. But all ready I can place you in
>the bustling pub in my brain and watch us interact. Another Beer!

Make mine a pint of Flowers Original my friend! What's yours? You ever been
to the Royal Standard of England? Gorgeous pub, 17th century, Charles stayed
there while on the run from Cromwell, let them fly his flag...

>Or, I can
>become each of you in turn, taking on your nature and responding to the
>others as you would. Or, I can mix you together and make a CofV personality
>based on the whole group. What an amazing creation is this ideosphere! But
>it isn't really you, and it ain't life neither.

What /is/ really us, other than the reflexes and the memes we get from
downloading bits of other people?

>This was fun!

Dave Pape
Limit the Fun. Prescribe the Fun. DESTROY THE FUN!
-(North West England Conservative Party slogan, 1994-1995)

Phonecalls: 01494 461648 Phights: 10 Riverswood Gardens
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