Re: virus: Re: Rationality

David McFadzean (
Thu, 06 Mar 1997 18:20:21 -0700

At 11:13 AM 06/03/97 GMT, wrote:
>But how does one know what the meme is called. Is it something that we assign
>ourselves, or does it have various "key" words that trigger recognition?

Being exposed (hearing, reading, etc.) to the name activates the meme
to some extent (like prefetching an instruction into your onboard cache,
and if you understood that analogy you may not want to admit it in public :).
Hearing or reading the word "cat" causes me to think of the meme cat. I
see now that my proposed notation of putting memes in double quotes runs
into problems, so I'll introduce a new notation: <cat> is the meme for cat,
which is referenced by the word "cat".

Symetrically, the meme causes the name to activated. Seeing a cat (or a photo
or a drawing) causes the word "cat" to arise in my consciousness. Words mean
what they mean because they *cause* the corresponding meme to come to life.
That is what I mean by "meaning = effect". The <cat> meme is a collection
of associations, including but not limited to the sound of the word "cat",
the spelling of the word "cat", the appearance of cats in my memory, the
sounds cats make, related felines like lions and tigers, and less directly,
associations like <pet>, <kitty litter>, <Kzinti>, <Ted Nugent>, etc., etc.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus