Re: virus: Memetical Axioms

Brett Lane Robertson (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 15:39:56 -0500


I got to thinking that this was not really an attempt to design axioms but
rather an attempt to break down any definition proposed into parts which can
be argued against so that each member of the list could *believe* that they
were instrumental in coming up with a definition. At which point, I
realized that if I proposed a definition (the ulterior motive of this
persuit) that I would be violating the implied purpose. So, in order to
pretend to be average or ignorant of my own intentions, I will attempt to
hide the proposed definition in "axiomatic" form so that when I arrive at my
definition everyone will think (including me?) that they helped it to evolve.

Beginning with #1 (which is itself operationally defined by the usage of the
word "meme")

#1Memes exist. (I am using the word meme to posit the existence of memes.)

#2 Memes control what we do. (I am defining meme...let this one read "Memes
produce a more evolved form [of themself]"; since, this is an extension of
#1--that memes define themself--and states that they do this in a way that
there is a change...we are saying that there is an effect which can be measured.

#3 We are capable of selecting memes we let control what we do. (Would now
read that "Memes are capable of selecting for evolution"; which follows from
#1"memes are capable" and #2 "memes select": This *does* add to #2, though
by generalizing memes ability to select their own more evolved form to their
ability to selecting evolved forms in general...we are saying that they
exhibit an evolutionary mechanism [they exist...have a form and a function] )

This follows David's logic:

D>I would like to suggest another:
>(1a) We are our memes.

D>So from (1a) and (2):
>(4) We control what we do.

D>>From (1a) and (3)
>(5) Our memes are capable of selecting memes we let control what we do.

David is saying that like ourselves, if memes exist and can do something in
relation to themselves; then, this thing that they *do* should have an
effect which can be observed at levels independent of their own being in
such a way that they confirm their existence.

#4 is therefore: "There is a process which can be defined"

#5 becomes: "There is a product/producer"

#6 Memes are self-referential (dichotomous) and change in such a way as to
both remain what they were and to become something different (saltatation)

#7 The producer is the control variable and is held constant so that the
change can be studied ("a meme is a crystalized form").

#8 The product exhibits the process ("the carrier is the viable form of the
meme" which still exhibits the process *in* process)

#9 Name this process (A process which exhibits evolution in such a way as to
complexify itself in an ordered fashion exhibiting a stable form and a
viable form, "replication")

#10 Find an un-named *thing* to hang this process on and call it a meme so
that it becomes the supposed cause of itself (I have suggested neurons).

#11 demonstrate the process.

#12 Use the demonstration to "prove" itself and thereby the definition:
Memes are: "That which produces a more evolved form through the process of
dichotomy and saltation: The form produced which is a complex arrangement
(of information) crystallized within a shell, or "carrier"--carrier being a
viable form of the meme in that the arrangement of said form is still
subject to change (through replication)." (Date: Sat, 13 Sep 1997 18:49:40
-0500,To:, From: Brett Lane Robertson, <>,
Subject: RE: virus: Existence and Ego)


Rabble Sonnet Retort
Vital papers will demonstrate their vitality by
spontaneously moving from where you left them to where you
can't find them.