Re: virus: Autocatalytic Idea System Examples

Chitren Nursinghdass (
Thu, 29 May 1997 20:45:53 +0200

>Hello! Welcome to our shared world of Ideas Turbulence.

Sounds good to me.

>Could it? Maybe you were trapped in all sorts of local minimums... stuck in
>little basins of attraction, caused by connections between ideas/neural
>groups... Your claim here assumes that the process of memetic interaction
>leading to meta-concept formation never gets stuck. I reckon that, given
>stable conditions, you do get stagnation of memetic systems/ideas. Just like
>genetic evolution slows down when conditions and ecological relationships
>stabilise. It takes a kick to the system (although maybe only a small one)
>to knock the system out of its ruts. Ruts are such a fucking good image...
>local minima, man. ...Ruts. ...Yeh.

I think the real stagnation arises when one doesn't try to justify or think
a newly transmitted meme. Like say "I hope I'll find my soulmate", without
even trying to see whether asking such a question is jutified in the first
"is there such a thing as a soulmate.".

By thinking about new memes, you can separate the (relatively to your own set,
of course) "true" from the "false" from the "could be" etc...

>Okay... now then... my feedback thing, where I'm saying that feedback is
>like replication, is saying that feedback produces a metasystem, but it
>takes time to do it. IE consciousness is ideas (for want of a better word)
>emerging about the way your brain/memecology was just now... except the time
>and space positions "now" and "in your brain" need to be smeared a bit.
>You're never conscious of yourself BEING CONSCIOUS of HOW YOU ARE RIGHT
>NOW... see what I'm getting at? I'm sure this is where Robin Faichney was at
>when he was talking about potential infinite feedback loops in
>consciousness. So /you (the fuzzy version of) now/ is... the meta-system of
>/you a (fuzzy) moment ago/...? Am I talking shit here? Ouch...

But your belief of "You're never conscious of yourself BEING CONSCIOUS of
HOW YOU ARE RIGHT NOW..." will bring a sort of inactivity or stagnation
from where you will never really know if don't try. Logically, why would you
even try to expand your meme set if you really don't htink such a thing is
possible ?

Jaynes sez that Consciousness of being conscious is very recent indeed.
The greeks didn't think of thoughts as they own, they were Oracles, or word
from God.

Today we know, and feel that we are conscious of being conscious. You can step
a little further I think by observing other people and doing stunts like
rationalizing your emotions, or observing them, because usually it's difficult.
But the more you do it, the more you find ways of doing it efficiently (like
say not lying to yourself?) and hence, the more you understand about yourself.
And when you say for example "I've said that because I though this because that
happened" and you understand it, it means you have probably expanded your meme
set already, or else you wouldn't be able to explain things I guess.

How about being conscious of liking something, knowing why, and revelling
in the understanding of the process, while at the same time experiencing
the emotions ? This happens.

>>Robinson's FS has been used to make PROLOG, a language much used for
>>AI systems, an especially for Expert Systems. The basic idea is to
>>arrive at a new system of propositions (hope I'm not making any mistake
>>here)but in a reasonable amount of time.
>>The only way to achieve this is to try to falsify the new system
>>consisting of the old one and the opposite of the hypothesis you want to
>Sorry, I didn't really hook into that bit... can you give a bit more detail?

Yep, if you have a system H with {m1, m2, m3} and you're trying to see
whether m4 can fit in a H' with H, then you'd better try to find a contradiction
in H'' consisting of H and NOT m4, the opposite takes way too much time.

>1 Grab hold of a stable memetic ecology and stick with it. Hmm. That's
>a very Cartesian-dualist way of saying it. How about... you could have (be?)
>a thinking style in which memes and other cognitive entities put competitors
>down very fiercely. Maybe all that'd be needed for this is heavy-handed
>lateral inhibition circuitry.

Stable, yet non evolving ? Wouldn't that mean less adaptive to eventually
drastic spatio-temporal disturbances ?

Wouldn't it mean that other meme set which expand (while remaining stable)
would eventually take over (they should be selected because they have more
information about their environment, and hence can predict more precisely
any upcoming spatio-temporal disruption which could be detrimental for

>thoughts/ideas/memes... but the flipside would probably be that you'd
>"change your mind" a lot, and you'd "be indecisive", meaning that control of
>your behaviour would pass more fleetingly between competing memes, and
>memetic competitions would take longer to resolve. During those contests
>you'd just sit there, not actually implementing any of the competing memes.

You remind me of D'Amasio's "Descartes' Error" where it is said that emotions
play a greater role than we imagine in our decision patterns. It enables us to
economize time or else a really completely rational decision would take too
much time.

>Now, I think everyone exhibits both strategies, or lies along a continuum
>between the two extremes. BUT what I'm saying is that both strategies are
>valid in their way, and different mixes of both suit various different
>situations. Critically, I'd say that there's disadvantages as well as
>advantages to your memes/ideas competing less fiercely.

Or what about we can keep both strategies in mind as potentially valid
strategies that are adapted to various situations. Henceforth, you say to
yourself "This is my meta-strategy. I have here two apparently conflicting
strategies, but I know they only conflict if they're used at the same time.
But I know they can each be very effective in the appropriate situation" ?

>Thanks for the post... I'm definitely thinking about how I view
>personalities... reckon I may've fallen into an oversimplification-trap.
>Will print this out and have a think.
>Dave Pape

Well thanks to you. It's your mention of Autocatalysis related to memes
that sent me posting away. I've been thinking of the stuff for a while,
but had no one to talk to really.