Re: virus: Rationality

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Fri, 28 Feb 1997 18:48:05 -0800 (PST)

On Fri, 28 Feb 1997, Alex Williams wrote:

> > But I'd say not all ideas are memes for a different reason: Not all ideas
> > are directly communicable. Zen teachers know this, which is why they make
> > their students go through weird and disorienting mental experiences, in an
> > attempt to make them understand things their teachers can't just explain
> > to them (Sometimes even directly-communicable ideas may be better spread
> > by indirect communication; Richard knows this too).
> Is direct communicability a requisite for memehood, however? You're a
> self-professed member of the Zanderian Heresy, no? Which would imply
> you agree that /no/ memes can be transmitted, they can just be `hinted
> about,' if you will. Some memes are harder to work linguistic
> charades about than others.

Hmm. I do agree that no memes can be transmitted, literally speaking. I
also recognize that describing the process that way ("I tell you my
idea") is easier than saying something like "I have an idea and want you
to have a similar idea so I spew a bunch of noises/fingertwitches created
according to what I understand as being our common system into the
atmosphere in the hopes that you will recieve them and from them come up
with something like my idea".
Point being, while the compression can distort, I don't think it
distorts anything vital in the case above. My intent in using the word
'communicable', in fact, was to avoid problems with 'transmissible' and
the like. I intended 'communication' to express that process of creation,
transmission, and reception of the signal and then the construction of
meaning from it.

Don't worry, Alex, I haven't abandoned you.