Re: virus: Memetical Axioms

Eva-Lise Carlstrom (
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 11:35:27 -0700 (PDT)

On Sat, 20 Sep 1997, Brett Lane Robertson wrote:

> And as for Brett's response, about how memes can control us if we control
> memes--Since our minds *are* our memes (in combination with innate
> features), the two statements are not contradictory. They are two
> different ways of looking at the same thing. The whole makes decisions on
> what parts to include, and those parts affect the decisions the whole
> makes. (Eva)
> List,
> There are not two ways of looking at one thing. There is one way of looking
> at one thing and an infinite number of incorrect or partially correct ways
> of looking at something. I do agree, however, that "the whole makes
> decisions on what parts to include" and that *can* demonstrate how "we" can
> control memes *if we are the whole*. I guess the assumption is (like you
> said) "we are not solely memetic creatures." I have questions as to whether
> we control memes or if memes control us; but, if we can manipulate memes and
> predict their effects--even if we can not control those effects--then that
> is sufficient for experimentation. (like saying we can manipulate a tiger
> but not control the tiger).
> Brett

There are always multiple ways of looking at a given situation or object,
and some of them will be more useful for specific circumstances than
others. If you want to claim that there is some ultimately True way of
looking at things, okay, but then I will maintain that that isn't
something we can actually achieve, only a useless Platonism.

If I'm looking at a ball and claim it's black, and you look at it and
claim it's white, and someone else says, "well, it's actually half black
and half white, you guys are just looking at it from opposite sides", does
that mean the third person's view is the correct one? In some senses it
is. But not if I'm trying to draw the ball realistically from where I'm
sitting. If I draw the ball while trying to use the third person's point
of view, at best I'll end up with a cubist still life, at worst an
incoherent mess (depending on your attitude toward cubism, this might not
seem like much of a range). Their perspective is not useful for my
purposes, however accurate it might be about the nature of the ball as a
whole. In fact, attending too much to what they know (rather than what
they can see) about what they're looking at is often a problem for
beginning artists. They try to draw more than they can actually see, and
thus end up *mis*representing the object. So what happened to the Truth?