Re: virus: Re: Rationality

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 6 Mar 1997 20:42:41 -0800 (PST)

On Thu, 6 Mar 1997 wrote:

> Prof. Tim wrote:
> > Advocating? No, more like making it up as I go, but it seems to make
> > sense so far.
> It seems to make sense in a logical sense (being careful about the use
> of the word "logic"), but in all practicality, do you believe that
> everything you think, and everything you do is the product of a
> meme that somebody infected you with.

Not at all. I hope I didn't give you that impression. I see memes as
tools /used/ in the decission making process. I've tried to be very
clear that I *do not* think that our actions are under the control of
memes. Influenced? Yes, but most definitely not controlled.

When I produce a work of art, the media I use, the palette of colors I
pick, the surface I work on, even the music I listen to, all play a role
in the resulting artwork. But they IN NO WAY determine the outcome! I
see memes as types of paint. Some complement each other, some don't and
there may be many I don't have access to. What I come up with stems from
the choices I have at hand, but I can come up with an endless variety of
combinations from just one set of colors.

> I don't like the idea, purely
> because I'm fairly convinced that I'm doing a lot of my own thinking.

How much of your thinking is your own and how much is /borrowed/ is
another issue and I don't think that it has anything to do with the
questions of control or autonomy. If I take ideas or styles from Tad,
that is not to say I am under his control (a fool for his cute little
knees perhaps, but never under his control).

> > I wouldn't use words like "guided/controlled" here, any more
> > than you are "guided" by the set of words that mean "a slippery water
> > dwelling creature" when you choose the word "fish".
> Hmmm ... so how do the meme's affect your decision making capabilities,
> et al?

Much as in the"fish" example I tossed off above. I'll try and come up
with a better analogy and get back to you.

> > > Ahah, I think I see this. Memes are shortcut-keys, if you like. They
> > > are quick references to more complex functions. Kind of like KMO's
> > > Buddist Temple Lion? I'd never thought of meme's like that. That's
> > > quite a useful model, cheers.
> >
> > I'm glad it worked for you. Not to well thought through, but it seems to
> > have made the point, I guess.
> Unfortunately, David McF disagrees.

I agree with David actually. And you, to a point. Calling them
"shortcut-keys" may not be an accurate portrayal of what a meme /is/, but
was under the impression your questions were more about a memes role in
decision making.

Looking back on this post I see some places where even I want to attack
the holes in my arguments, but I'll leave that to you. It's that
intentional mis-communication thing Alex was talking about.

Prof. Tim