virus: A Rich Inherent Dance

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 1 Aug 1997 12:45:32 -0700 (PDT)

I beleive that we can employ a limited number of filters in our verbal
conversations before they effect the nature of the conversation itself.
Often we run several of these at once. One I've found amusing to use, of
late, is to note how often a term or phrase I've introduced into the
conversation is employed by the other person(s) and how long it takes for
it to come back. Mentally tallying when my words are spoken back to me by

Often, in the case of a word or small string of words, it will resurface
later, well after the conversation has moved to another topic or even
several topics later. I suspect that the use of a meme-fragment in
conversation highlights it in the mind of the listener and moves it into
the list of words-at-hand that are chosen by the listener when they go to
speak later in conversation. The words recently used are simply more
readily at hand and are thus picked first over comprible, but less
convienent and freshly selected terms.

(Or perhaps it is a formating tool we adopt in order to signal "this is a
conversation", "we are communicating", "we have a connection" to ourselves
and others.)

An interesting aspect of this filter, as I am capable of employing it at
least, is that, although I can note when I hear meme-fragment that /I/
have used previously, I am unable to detect when I am parroting back a
fragment that was used by the /other person/ first. Therefore, the best I
can do in note its trail after it leaves me. I haven't found a way of
getting past this particular bug yet.

But it is an intersesting experiment to do and I was reminded of it
when I saw:

> Tony
> Who has been informed that using his full name seems so formal and has
> now reverted to something less formal.

-Prof. Tim
Who is having a fight with his muse at the moment and needs to be
distracted by any means neccessary.