Re: virus: Rationality

Alex Williams (
Thu, 27 Feb 1997 10:18:04 -0500 (EST)

> But that's how transmission works. If I were to have a phone conversation
> with you, I could say something, in English which you would then interpret,
> becuase you can speak English. Does this mean that I havn't transmitted
> anything to you?

No, actually, you haven't transmitted anything but some
pressure-patterns in the air via other means. Memes /themselves/ are
never transmitted. They travel via no medium, except in further
abstraction, one I'm loath to step to because it loses some necessary
detail for me. In the camping example, what you've transmitted are
some marks, some traces in the world which I then come along and
/interpret/, however fuzzily. That fuzziness is /key/ in
understanding why I say memes cannot be transmitted, they can only
make a mark on the world for another to interpret.

Language is just a very complex series of signs that memes use to
signal from one cluster of memes to others in another head across a
vast uncrossable sea of nullity. Those signals are /not/ memes in the
same way that the flashes of Morse sent across the ocean to another
ship moored at port are not the message intended. It can be
reconstructed from, with some degree of accuracy, but the message is
not transmitted, signals are and then interpreted, with varying
degrees of success.