RE: virus: Existence and Ego

Tim Rhodes (
Sat, 13 Sep 1997 15:20:23 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Brett Lane Robertson wrote:

> Are you saying that memes are both influenced by the person and that they
> influence different people differently--that they are variable in their
> *application*?

Not in those exact terms, but very close. MEME(x) may be in the
environment of both you and I, and yet I may lack the mechanism for
incorporating MEME(x) into my internal narative and so, whould seem immune
to it despite exposure.

> While this would suggest that the exact "cost of relegating
> yet another mental process to the realm of the meme" cannot be determined
> (a) independently of the person, or (b) independently of the environment
> (manifestation)...can they be determined by the meme itself (a flu bug has
> different effects but is still a flu bug); or can we say in general that
> memes do "this or that":

Yes, we can say MEME(x) does X,Y, and Z. But I think we need to
understand that concurent with that, MEME(X) may also have factors x,y,
and z which, in relation to a given personality, effect whether or not
that MEME(x) is, to use geek jargon, downloaded and run.

> Is there some way to determine in a general way if
> we should encourage meme-infestation or discourage it?

I think there is, but it looks like it will be complicated process that
will no doubt resist our early attempts to uncover it. Whether a MEME(x)
is "good" would depend on what type of personallity you're targeting and
what effect you hope to have on that person.

> For example: Do memes limit conscious choice? Do memes favor more complex
> organisms at the detriment of average or below average survival? Do memes
> create states of mystification and trance? Are memes energy hogs? (and I
> say that all of these apply).

And I say, yes, *IN SOME CASES*.

*Some* memes limit conscious choice /when downloaded and run/. *Some*
memes favor complex organisms, some don't. *Some* create states of
mysticm, others don't. The interesting part is seeing which ones do
which. Some my produce both mystical feelings and rational ideas, for
example without them contradicting on another.

> If our psychological health can be improve
> through the avoidance and/or proper utilization of a meme (through ego
> choice?), what would that influence look like--I have proposed that meme
> development be discouraged (though now I am not so sure).

Glad to hear that, Brett. And you've hit the nail on the head--ego choice
is indead at the heart of the matter!

-Prof. Tim