Re: virus: Rationality

Tony Hindle (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 04:05:31 +0000

In message <>, Martz
<> writes
>[1] I've used the word 'converted' very deliberately here as recent
>thoughts (see my question re: wildfire mutation rates in a closed
>memetic environment on another thread) have led me to believe that there
>is some sort of a feedback loop involved in this process such that just
>as our mental structures create the symbols of expression (imperfectly),
>so do the symbols we use affect the structures which created them. I'm
>still fermenting this one so all ideas gratefully received.
Dennett talks about this doesnt he? In fact it is one of the
foundations of his theory of how consiousness evolved (and continues to
do so.). I wish I'd seen your Wildfire mutation rates thread.

>[2] Again, I think I see a feedback loop here. Our interpretation
>overlays itself to some extent on the symbols we received, altering them
>to better fit the interpretation.
This is exactly the same as [1] except in reverse.
>[3] Small errors at source can be magnified the further they travel in a
>gemotric fashion. A flaw of +/- 1 degree will amount to +/- 18cm at a
>distance of 1m (hasty calculation, correct me if necessary), I think the
>same principle applies to communication. We can't map this yet because
>we don't even have a measure of 'distance' which can be applied. This
>would depend on media the signal was travelling through.
Yes I see. Heres some distances.
1)Photocopier: Zero distance
2)spoken conversation between A & B: Big distance
3)Written conversation between A & B: smaller distance
in 2) and 3) the effective distance decreases if the exchanges are
The feedback process you talked about in the conversions helps
reduce the distance as well.
In written conversations two linguistic scholars reduce
the distance between them by having perfect syntax (or is the correct
word protocol?). Idealy there Syntactic distance can be zero. Semantic
distance only ever reaches zero on what we call "perfect agreement"
Perfect logic is a zero distance comunication tool.
Hey it would be great fun to try and agree on a distance scale.

>[4] It could be argued that the full range *requires* that the
>imperfections be present, but it would be nice to have the choice of
>whether to use formal or informal symbols as appropriate.
I think imperfections can be a curse and a blessing. The
parallell with biological mutations is strong here.
>[5] We would have to tailor our symbols to match only those parts of the
>audiences internal maps which they had in common. This would explain why
>blockbuster movies tend to have that LCD appeal.

Ok I have spent ages error correcting and now anything further
is diminishiing returns, especially since I have only this one posting
from you with which to biuld my mental model of you, with which to
correct my errors here.
I hope you dont mind this intrusion but I would love to reduce
our semantic distance. This must be an important objective.

Tony Hindle.