Re: virus: New Ideas

Dave Pape (
Mon, 26 May 1997 13:40:38 +0100 (BST)

At 23:04 23/05/97 -0400, John wrote:

>>I kind of see producing linguistic output
>>and sending it back into myself later, as being quite /similar/ to other
>>people reading it.
>I think that's a fairly canibalistic concept, in a way. Consider: when the
>host either dies or becomes incabable of supporting a virus, the virus
>dies. If, on the other hand, you pass it along to someone else, the virus
>has a better chance at survival. Memetically If later on you die (a likely
>event) or you become so memetically modified you can no longer "buy" the
>older meme, then the virus-meme will be pretty much dead -- unless you
>passed it on to someone else. (Don't mean to make this sound like AIDS,

Points taken... I'm just (at the moment) getting into the idea of cognitive
and neural darwinian processes within single brains, so I'm not
distinguishing as much between processes which replicate BETWEEN heads and
processes which replicate WITHIN them. IE, ideas replicate and spread across
cortex, and the unitary concept of "I" breaks down (partially) into a sort
of interaction between committees of ideas and neural circuits.

Now remember, in cellular terms, DNA gets replicated by MITOSIS for ages,
and just occasionally by MEIOSIS, in sexual reproduction. Maybe this is the
analogy: intracortical cognitive reproduction is mitotic, and memetic
transmission is the occasional, sexy stuff. Hope that doesn't make you feel
cheap 'n' dirty.

>>>3) For knowledge to spread, it must reach a receptive audience.
>>This seems a tiny bit black-and-white...
>It does appear to be kindof a "well, duh" statement, but I'm amazed at how
>few people grasp this... I'm convinced that a good number of the "yOu GyEzz
>su(k, KriST is KinG!" type arguments are not just picking a fight but
>actual attempts at convincing someone.

Ah! Now then, is this where I'm not expressing myself well enough? Erm...
see, I don't see much of a difference between fight-picking and
Maybe what I'm not getting across is: convincing someone still involves
memes competing ("fighting") for resources in your target's mind... even
though "you", as an emergent personality, might not feel like you're geared
up to fighting with them. In that, maybe you're not producing much
epinephrine, maybe your neckhairs aren't standing up... the fight isn't at
the personality level, but I'd say there's analogous stuff going on at a
neural/cognitive/memetic level.

>I think acceptance without evidence is a positive virtue, to an extent. i
>accept many things based on an expert's say-so. IE: that this or that drug
>will cure my sinus infection, that this or that drug will give my offspring
>four hands. Have i seen evidence? No: I've only heard of it.

This is what I meant by "technically" taking scientists' word for things.
Saves time and gains you benefits, /AS LONG AS they've been doing their work

>Faith, of course, is a bit more of a cognative leap.
>As for whether or not Religion has the ability to abuse this power, I
>dare-say it does. But no more perhaps, than advertising (which also
>requests that you accept without evidence -- *and* without an attempt at
>any sort of justification, philosophical or otherwise.)

Well yep, but I never said that we should trust or lay ourselves
deliberately open to advert-faith, either.

>I'm a Progressive. I know I'm right, and what i want to do is for the
>betterment of everyone. If it's Machiavellian, so be it. :-) [Sound of me
>taking cover from the ends-justify-the-means guns]
>(incidentally, back in my really active MUSHing days, I was known as
>"Machiavelli." I'm a little more goofy, though.)

Like Machiavelli, only more goofy? ROFL :) Nice one!

>>Hey, of course it does! Wouldn't have it any other way, kidder. Top source
>>of "new" ideas. I think, a bit of both. The stuff about you and your dad
>>sharing stories is a cool example of ideas triggering other ideas which
>>back-trigger the original ideas, in a two-brain context.
>Stuff like this interested me in Language and Sociology. :-)

>I love picking up new memes. I love collecting them, modifying them, and
>kicking them out again to other people. More fun than TV! :-)

Saw some statistics yesterday that said that a (narrow) majority of PC users
would now rather give up their TV than their comm'd up computers. READY!

Dave Pape
I am ready.

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