Re: virus: Re: Rationality (meme make-up)

Tony Hindle (
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 17:05:37 +0000

In message <>, Dave
Pape <> writes
>Into ecologically-related components! The kick I got from James "Gaia"
>Lovelock came from thinking about /myself/ as an ecology, and about all
>genes as evolving do to arms-race & symbiotic pressures imposed on them by
>other genes. Thus, every cell in your body's a bit like an ecosystem of
>endosymbiotically gathered components, your body itself is a differentiated
>colony of cells kind of like an ecology, and the biosphere is a massive
>system of nested and interacting ecologies on all possible scales.
I can buy this as a fruitfull way of seeing things Dave,
you have a way with words. Exapting them into new contexts that
make me think I can agree exactly with what you are saying (of
course I only agree exactly with what I think you are saying, it's
possible this is a totaly different thing.)
I think a lot of poeple have problems with Gaia only
because of their own time chauvanism. If a galactic timescale
lifeforce was to examine the earth perhaps they would see a lot
more functions that would point towards a lifeform (we havent yet
had time to see a single reproductive cycle yet). Maybe if we could
examine the electron clouds of atoms slowed down a billion times we
might see more life-type functions.
>And so with memes. As with some of the arguments I was making to David
>McFadzean recently, I reckon that trying to delimit and describe any single
>idea AS a single idea is always going to be an oversimplification (but
>probably a necessary one) because you're not taking the idea's full context
>into account (ideas being defined by their context and all).
True, I dont think a meme can have any meaningfull
existence outside of it's context.
>Trust me people, ecology's the key. My position is that (almost?) all memes
>are in fact memecologies, all contributing to a overall global memecology
>(which some people like to describe as an emergent Global Mind or whatever,
>though I suspect this won't win them many friends down the Young
>Reductionists' Social Club).

>And I'm into the idea that everything we'd normally call a meme is in fact a
>fuzzy-edged ecological colony of idea things. Single nerve stimulus mapping
>to single muscle ending sounds massively unlikely to me... with the human
>nervous system being as complex as it is, I reckon the chances of any input
>neuron mapping neatly to any single output neuron are vanishingly small.
Yes, I picture our heads full of memes breeding and
competeing for limited electrical firing of the neuron-complexes
that are the substrate on which they live. A dormant meme is a
memory trace which, when active (pulses are firing through it, it
resonates into electrical activity) represents that meme being
active in our consciousness. The electrical activity of any single
meme also excites all memes which are "semantically close". (Martz
has a great concept of semantic distance which helps in
communicating these matters.)

Tony Hindle.