Re: virus: Limiting

tom.holz (
Tue, 09 Dec 1997 23:51:11 -0500

> this is what i wanted/expected to see on this list: perspective
>taking on the memetic process.

And when it happens, it's all made worthwile (or "It's all good."). All
the heartache, all the pain, all the "my meme is better than yours."

> (what we appear to have instead is essentially the same unexamined
>process of memetic warfare that goes on in the rest of the world, with
>memetic terminology thrown in occasionally as a rhetorical technique.)

How long have you been here? I find it's convenient to date the current
set of threads to the message wherein Richard Brodie declared he had found
god. About the first of September. (right now it's at the top of the list
archives on

I remeber at the time I tried--and failed--to start a discussion on the
memetic properties of various aspects of <xianity>. Like how <"Never take
the Lord's name in vain"> helps a host sniff out memetic mimicry. I know
my Mom would think less of a Christian (and possibly attempt to strengthen
their <xianity>) if she heard them saying "Good God".

> unfortunately for most of *my* memes, there is a significant
>(short-term?) advantage given to those memes which successfully
>annihilate any critical discussion of themselves.

What sort of critical discussion do you get about <meme>? "Memes can't be
physically measured", "How can seemingly good, rational ideas be nothing
but self-reproducing structures"?

> God, Love, etc, exploit this weakness by being "undefinable," which
>is to say they encompass whatever definition is most appropriate at the
>moment for avoiding criticism:

hmm.. neato. Personally, <xtianity> survives in my head by saying "I'm
merely a usefull meme-complex, just like the <science> and everyone else
you use." I remember having a lot a critical-destructive thought--like you
describe--a few years ago, but my memecology has changed quite a bit, esp.
thanks to <meme> which has just found itself an impenetrable niche.

> "let's see what the Self meme thinks. it's in charge."

Yikes! I had forgotten how fundamental/low-level this is.

> layers under layers of defenses. and unfortunately there is no
>particular reason you should wish to break them down: unless, like me,
>you host a meme which endorses the idea.

Is "break down" the best analogy? I prefer sticking to the "X is to
memetics as Y is to genetics" typy of thinking. I /also/ prefer this
internal sort of natural selection over overt inter-person memetic war.

> remember:
>THE OBJECTIVE IS: the survival of the meme.
THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE: memes which can replicate do so.

nevermind, I think it might be more usefull to remember what you said.

PS--I just read "Snow Crash" (Neal Stevenson), and recomend it sooo much.
brings memetics to a higher (lower) level.