Re: virus: Maximum development of memes

Vicki Rosenzweig (
Mon, 10 Jun 96 14:22:00 PDT

This raises an interesting question. I've tended to think of a successful
meme as one that has lots of hosts, rather than one that propagates
quickly. For example, consider a hypothetical meme of the form
"tell one friend about me, then forget I existed." Such a meme could
propagate quickly, but only ever have one host. I'm not convinced that
this meme would be more successful than one that was held by a billion
people, each of who did their best to pass it to their children.

Vicki Rosenzweig
From: owner-virus
To: virus
Subject: Re: virus: Fractals and memes
Date: Monday, June 10, 1996 12:34PM

>In my context I was using infinity as a
>synonym to "maximum developement". (snip) At this point the meme that
>followed the same path as the fractal would in the end reach the same state
>maximum developement. At maximum devlopement the meme would start to lag
>technology/society continued to develope. (snip)
>Have I cleared this up at all? Am I still making sense? Let me know what

I think I see what you mean. A meme which has reached it's maximum
development is incapable of further propagation. While it seems that a
total monopoly on meme supporting resources is a memetic vicotry, the
cescation of replicative activity is also memetic death. hmmmm....

The interesting question which seems to arrise from this line of thinking
is, "Has any meme ever reached it's maximum developement?" At first blush,
I would say no. It seems that as long as there is additional matter to be
refashioned into meme supporting architecture, a meme (meme-complex) can
always contiunue to propagate by directing its hosts to reshape available
material to form new meme-sustaining enivironments.
When all the matter in the universe has been restructured to support memes,
and when one meme has commendeered all of that meme-sustaining matter to
the exclusion of all other memes, then I'd say a meme would have reached
its maximum development. Even then, a successful meme might find a way to
create new universes full of matter to reshape into meme-freindly stuff.

when you're down it's a long way up
when you're up it's a long way down
it's all the same thing
no new tale to tell