virus: The Shape of Memes to Come

Tim Rhodes (
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 12:15:46 -0800 (PST)

On Tue, 18 Nov 1997, David McFadzean wrote:

> >Imagine this: Each meme isn't a solid particle, but rather a wave. Some
> >cause interference patterns with others. How do you apply "mutually
> >exclusive" to a waveform?
> When one wave counteracts the effect of another. This happens when
> they are "out of phase" with each other.

Okay, this was a shaky analogy that came off the top of my head (and I
still haven't come up a better one). But waves have to be exactly of
phase with each other to completely destroy each other. There are still
ripples left over from most interactions. (I remember trouble-shooting a
piec of equiptment once and not being able to figure out why the circut
kept blowing even though it only had 5v DC on it every time I checked it
on the meter. Then I just happent to check it on an ocilloscope and found
an AC spike hiding under the DC wave that I never would have thought of
looking for otherwise!)

What I'm thinking here is that that ever elusive meme we keep chasing not
only has components that interact directly in a causal way with other
memes structures, including <self>, but also a sort of
cloud/waveform/membrane around it that interacts in a more indirect way.
Like the way mood effects brain chemistry and therefore the manner in
which information is processed. Likewise for each meme there is the more
rational Tab A/Slot B level of interaction with other memes and the more
instinctual/emotional/relativistic Spices-in-the-Soup interaction as well.

As I said, I'm having a hard time coming up with a linguistic expression of
what I'm envisioning, but I'll work on it.

-Prof. Tim