Re: virus: Level 3 and more on Autocatalytic sets.

Dave Pape (
Sun, 1 Jun 1997 19:45:58 +0100 (BST)

At 20:14 29/05/97 +0200, Chitren Nursinghdass wrote:
>At 15:44 28/05/97 -0400, vous avez =E9crit:
>>>Help me out here guys: is this even possible? Can I use a meme without
>>>being "infected" by it to a certain extent. Could this in fact be
>>>"Level 4" as it were... the ability to use /all/ meme's and be
>>>/unaffected/ by any of them?
>>I doubt it, but I do think it is possible for someone to *believe*
>>something, while recognizing the possibility that it may not be true.
>Or even stranger : you don't necessary believe in that something, but
>you don't rule it out entirely, you just hold it as a hypothesis
>somewhere in memory for later use eventually.=20
>Something like : "could be true, could be untrue but is an existing=20

Have you got any working definitions for "true", "untrue" and "believe" IN
TERMS OF MEMES? Cos I reckon that "to believe something" means that the meme
in question currently outcompetes its immediate rivals.

I was wondering what your scenarios re: beliefs and hypotheses would look
like translated into memes language.

>BTW, I've thought about something : how two autocatalytic sets can fuse.


>Imagine two separate autocatalytic sets (of any size except null).
>They could be linked by a single (one-way) meme. However, this wouldn't=
>a new autocatalytic set, because there would be no cyclic path (I view
>it a graph here).
>Hence there should be at least two memes to link the two autocatalytic=

What do you mean by a "one-way meme"? I always think about ideas in terms of
associative connections between them, which are kind of two-way. Are you
thinking in terms of propositional logic here, whereby

a -> b doesn't imply b -> a ?

Cos... that's not how I think memes relate to each other in minds, which is
why I think not many people instinctively implement that propositional rule
very often.

>Now if you view a meme link as a set of more fundamental, serial logical
>memes, you can understand why it is very difficult indeed for someone
>to expand his meme set if he/she rejects all apparently contraditory
>For example, a new meme link consisting of 3 fundamental memes could
>expand an existing meme set; the memes are logically linked thus :
>If somebody rejects all memes perceived as untrue, then all three
>of these memes separately are rejected.

Now I agree with an associative reading of this... in that, if you reject
lots of little memes, you'll end up rejecting a metameme which emerges from
their ecological relationship.

Mind you, what's this word "reject"? I'd argue that when you "reject" an
argument, the memes coding for that argument are still in your
mind/memory... they're just outcompeted by encumbent memes in your=

>However, if somebody can accept a partial linking, say he can
>enable his set to fuse with fmeme1, then if he doesn't know
>about fmeme2 and fmeme3, there is no cylic path in his meme set,
>the fmeme is rejected.

This is... suspension of disbelief? I can see this working... your memes
don't go into savage conflict with new sub-meme arrivals... and thus the way
is paved for the metameme coded for by interactions of the new submemes.

>Same happens with a partial linking of fmeme3.
>fmeme2 is akin to an idea so unexpectedly alien it cannot even be
>partially linked by some.
>Hence, only somebody who is able to store the fmemes until the
>puzzle appears to solve itself can expand his meme set.

Well... I'd rather rephrase this in less on/off, black&white terms... I'd
say that your memes not immediately and heavily inhibiting new memetic
arrivals would increase the chances that combinations of those new arrivals
(metamemes) get a foothold in your memetic ecology...

>Incidentally this reminds me again of paradigm shifts as Thomas Kuhn
>described them in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.", which to
>be completely honest, I haven't yet read, I only know for having
>read extracts and summaries from the net.
>What happens is that a scientist is not willing to accept an idea
>that apparently is different from his worldview. It is only
>when a synthesis of new ideas brings forth a coherent meta-system
>that one is willing to change/evolve one's worldview.
>Good side : no one has o rediscover everything, a person who synthesizes
>information can bring about a paradigmatic shift.
>Bad side : huge inertia in scientific circles, hypothetical synthesizer
>is usually attacked from everywhere (you are crazy, Albert, and in fact we
>all know you were a retard), need ofr a paradigmatic shift whereas we all
>know that evolution proceeds in gradual steps (well, "we" who believe in
>the Dawkinsy type of evolution, not the Gouldy nor the Eldridgey typey).

Now then... evolution proceeds at different speeds under different
conditions, and in some conditions (eg Galapagos finches) it seems to happen
over just a few generations... I've heard (accepting science on faith,
module 2.3). I'd argue that, if you analyse even a large pardigm shift
(atoms are not the fundamental particle, eg) that the memetic processes
underlying the Shift can be made to look gradual, on some time scale. Rather
like Dennett argues that Gouldian evolution looks gradual on a shorter time

Evolution isn't perfectly gradual and cock-up-free. It chases down blind
alleys, there's mass extinctions and so on... maybe you can view paradigm
shifts as evidence-memes hammering into an existing ecosystem (of ideas),
conflicting with currently dominant ideas and decimating them, leaving
clever-looking generalist ideas to burst into massive new niches in the
future. I dunno, it's a frighteningly sketchy image, but... I don't think
evolution's as smooth as you imply, and I don't think paradigm shifts are as
rough/sudden as you imply.

>BTW, can anybody give me a quick briefing of what the LEVEL descriptions=
are ?
>Who proposed them ? Dawkins ? Somebody on this list ?

Richard Brodie proposed them, I still don't agree with them (on
over-simplification grounds), but then what the heck, that's just my memes
inhibiting someone else's.

Dave Pape
I am ready.

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