Re: virus: The Discipline of Translation

John Williams (
Mon, 30 Jun 1997 16:57:14 +0000


Reed, I like your graph but I'm not sure I fully understand. The best
way for me to find out is to try to re-explain it, or build on it. I'm
trying to build... so let me know if this seems a rational

I liked the idea of a three-dimensional mapping of the diagram, so I
played around and made one. You can take a look at it at:

I'm assuming ya'll've already looked at the others, so I haven't labeled
it as detailed.

This particular diagram demonstrates "Meme Projection." Meme-plane M
represents the memespace of the originatior. Meme-plane M' represents
the meme-space of the reciever. The red dot on M is the thesis, and the
red dot on M' is the same thesis, projected on the reciever's

The Z axis, for this example, I'm calling the "Axis of Divergence." If
we were comparing two different memes, I suppose I'd call the Z axis the
"Axis of Politics." The rod connecting the two red dots I'm calling the
"projection line" [1]

Consider this scenario. M says "Seafood tastes pretty good." This
statement has high "truth value" with moderate proof.

The listener, M', hears this and attempts to place the meme in his
meme-space; he picks up on the truth value M has assigned, but because
M' has a different Meme-space/evidence structure, the location will
diverge on the "evidence" axis, throwing it into the "loony" section,
causing an unfavorable perception of sanity [2], when M is perfectly
sane, in his meme-space [3], and has taken a logical position based on
his interpretations of his own evidence (ie, effects of operating

The Z-axis here so we can visualize difference in attitudes on the
Z-axis, which may indicate cultural differences. The further away the M
planes are, the more divergent the memespaces of the participants, and
the more likely the thesis-originating-locus and the
thesis-translation-locus will diverge. In a two-dimensional diagram,
what may appear to be a minor difference requiring only slight
translation, could actually be a rather serious one.

When the Z-axis length is large, but the differences in translation
appearences are slight, we can assume "same conclusion, different
evidences." Example: a liberal secular humanist and a liberal Christian
both agree that it is the role of the government to take care of it's
citizens. Although their meme-spaces are actually opposed to each other,
they reach agreement on many issues: they argue not the "what" but the

The weakness, of course, is in judging the Z-axis length; as your
perception of the distance on the axis of divergence relies either on a
sort of radar-bounce off of the projected meme in your opponent, or, in
the case of spectator, your own projection of the meme being projected
AND The projection locus; IE: you're not just projecting one dot, but
the entire graph, which makes us truely n-dimensional and my head starts

Am I applying this correctly? Do I seem to have a grasp of what you're
saying, Mr. Principal? I mean, Reed?

John "Not Making Sense" Williams

[1] M-planes close to each other -- ie, where the projection line does
not cross the y axis or x axis -- I guess could be called "Axis Allies."

[2] Misjudgement of the truth value assigned causes divergence on the x-axis; if the projection line crosses the x-axis, this is a "miscommunication," since the M' thinks that the M has said the opposite of what M actually meant.

[3] This does not mean that M is not a nutbar; but sanity is somewhat relative, right?