Re: virus: ZIP of the Mind

Eric Boyd (
Tue, 18 Jun 1996 00:33:30 -0500

Reed Konsler wrote:
(post snipped at will -- hope you don't mind)

> So now you have a viral "vehicle". All you have to
> do to make it a "Virus of the Mind" is insert a little
> detail:
> A: Activate B and C
> B: Activate A and say "REED IS GREAT!"
> C: Generate 1 unit of energy
> D: Create A,B, and C for X units of energy

Would it not make sense also to say:

A: Activate B and C
B: Activate A
C: "Eric is Great!"
D: Create A, B, C for x repetitions of the meme C

Why produce energy? Not that this really matters...

> One of the most significant points I think Richard makes
> is that once you successfully initiate a Mind-virus it
> propogates more or less out of your control. By
> manufacturing a "living" entity to do your bidding you
> catch yourself in Pygmalion's dillema: your creation
> will eventually overcome you.
> Perhaps God had the same problem.

Wow. I'm interested in the origin of "Pygmlion's dilemma" From a book?
Mythology? wherewherewhere?

<snip enlightening part on virus programs>

> The reason the data can mutate freely:
> "<your advertizement here!>"
> Is that the quotation marks enclose an
> information set which is not intended
> to "make sense" to the computer, ever.
> You program the computer to print what
> it is that the people "need" to see. From the
> computer's perspective what is betwenn the
> lines is a string of characters it must
> make visible in order to get to the next line.

hmmm. I'm not sure exactly how well this actually carries over in the
world of memes. It looks good, but I'm having trouble discerning the
"split" in the meme-virus that you have created above. Which part of
your average urban legend is the "computer instructions"? What I'm
saying here is that while you have set up a great metaphor, I'm not to
sure that we can work it backwards into memetics again.

(hmmm. Later on in this post I disagree with the what I just said and
agree again with you. Need some work here, I guess. )

<snip memetic meme-space reallocation story>
> So, before we even get to evaluating the ideas,
> memetics has provided a serious boon...and who
> knows, perhaps that free space is enough that you
> never even need to evaluate. You can cram any
> old junk in there, so long as you stick to 200 proof
> <ideas> and throw away the shells.
> Kind of like cracking nuts, eh? Perhaps Richard really
> is right:
> "If you're hungry for more ideas, try memetics!"

I think you are at least partially right here. By doing away with the
virus components and just using the actual data of the meme's, ones
brain functions /much/ better. No more endless loops of repeating
useless memes just becuase of their virus shells. No more infection
unless you /choose/ so. And freedom. Freedom to do and use whichever
meme's you want, not becuase they have infected you and you are carrying
out their orders to infect others but becuase you seriously believe that
some particular meme is useful or valid. Level 3

> You know, I just noticed that I neglected to include
> Christianity in the reorganized mind above.
> Interesting.


> Memetics is the practice of forgetting yourself
> in order to free up enough attention to keep
> track of all the things you need to.

No. Memetics is the practice of /awakening/ yourself enough to see that
meme's don't have to be infective. Free yourself (your mind) from the
burden of the virus shells of meme's, and you will not only have
_simplified_ your memecology, you will have gained more control over it.

> "The spoken word was the first technology by
> which man was able to let go of his environment
> in order to grasp it in a new way."
> Marshall McLuhan
> Understanding Media, p. 57

And Zen/Buddism was the first religion that preached the removal of
language and "grasping" in an attempt to bring back the old way...