Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

David McFadzean (
Fri, 04 Apr 1997 17:44:23 -0700

At 11:25 AM 04/04/97 +0100, Tony Hindle wrote:

> Are you familiar with Dennett's suggestions in Darwin's
>Dangerous Idea regarding how memes and consciousness may have co-evolved
>and continue to do so and thus extend our consciousness higher into
>design space? This aproach suggests many answers to psychological and
>philosophical questions to me.

This reminds me of a very well-written essay on the same subject entitled
"Intelligence as an Emergent Behavior; or, The Songs of Eden" by
W. Daniel Hillis (inventor of the Connection Machine) reprinted in
"The Artificial Intelligence Debate" (MIT Press, 1988). Personally I
found it very influential.

Here's a little teaser:

Once upon a time, about two and a half million years ago, there
lived a race of apes that walked upright. In terms of intellect
and habit they were similar to modern chimpanzees. The young apes,
like young apes today, had a tendency to mimic the actions of
others. In particular, they had a tendency to imitate sounds. If
one ape shrieked "ooh, eeh, eeh," another would repeat "ooh, eeh,
eeh." Some sequences of sounds, or "songs," were more likely to
be mimicked than others.

Let us ignore the evolution of the apes for a moment and consider
the evolution of the songs...

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Church of Virus