Re: virus: Re: Postmodernism and Truth

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 18 May 1996 15:56:53 -0400

*****Ken Pantheists(May18, 1:34am)
The reason why "hegemony" is a catch phrase in much of postmodern theory
is that there really *are* groups of people who control culture.
Electronic media (here, I mean TV) promotes the reality that, yes,
several million people can go hom from work and have nearly the same
experience. Postmodern thought asks people to question the truth of that

What did Marshall McLuhan say? "The media is the message" or something like
that. I think he probably gets right at this point. I admit to feeling a
little uncomfortable with McLuhan (he always was kind of a mystic) but I think
he had some really significant things to say about the way media functions.

I think this is again, where the strength of the "meme" idea comes in. A
"meme", in (as Richard said) a way similar to mass, is context/media
independent. However, the context/media through which a meme is expressed
changes significantly how is is reproduced/assimilated.

Maybe I'm just a sucker for mechanism, but I think I start to see a set of
categories/dynamics. Some ideas are easier to communicate by TV than by book.
All ideas communicated by TV contain the "TV-idea" (here's McLuhan's gig) as
well as whatever explicit memes are riding the signal.

As Stephen indicated earlier, a play has a different "flavor" depending of the
context of it's production. So, to, can memes have a different flavor
depending on by what media they come to you.

So if you want to communicate an idea you need to think about what media it
"tastes like".

I think (suspect) they (the idea of memes and this medium) evolved
syncronistically. I wonder if the model of "software" has translated
into how we think about thought. Memes are kind of plug-inable,
in-lineable, (erasable?, rewriteable? or read-only?)

Dennett argues that Darwin's greatest contribution was that he provided a
mechanism which made it possible for philosophers after Hume to concieve of a
rational for order without a rational designer.

As we learn we create. As we create, we change the environment. These changes
are not themselves the only new things to learn about. Every facet of the
universe chages subtly with each addition. Make automations and everything
begins to resemble a machine. Make computers and ideas begin to resemble

The thing to watch out for is "Greedy Reductionism". Life, expecially
conciousness is incredibly complex. Memetics will, twenty years from now,
probably look like Behaviorism.

"My God! They though they were being infected by ideas? How odd!"

And then, again, Kelly (In: "Out of Control") points out that to build a
complicated ecosystem usually requires chaperone organisms that aren't actually
part of the final ecosystem. I like memetics becuase it's an idea that gets
people thinking in fresh directions. Is is a science? Not yet. Is is THE
ANSWER? I doubt it.

Maybe this meme idea is just a chaperone into something that is more refined
and self-consistent.

However, I honestly do feel that this is the next, most productive step
in the dialogue between the controllers and the controlled.

This sounds a little like an Marxist meme: "us (the poor masses) vs. them (the
Man)". I don't know if I agree with it (but then, by some peoples' reckoning,
I'm the Man). I think power realtionships are more complicated and "the
opressed" or "the controlled" is an ill-defined group of people. I don't know
if I can popose a self-consistent counter-scenario, but...

In the Memetic dictionary is there an "Us vs. Them" meme? I think this is an
easily reproducible one, for reasons I'll have to think a little more about.

I'm wary of "Us vs. Them".