Re: virus: Power

Mon, 29 Jul 1996 13:48:30 -0500

John Porter wrote:

>I won't say your use of 'meta-' is incorrect, but it is different from
>what I have usually seen it to mean. Language about language is
>metalanguage. Mathematics about mathematics is metamathematics.
>cf. Hofstadter.

"Meta" indicates that we've abstracted from the previous level of
observation, examination and discourse. Metaphysics isn't physics about
physics. It's an examination of what underlying story about the universe
is consistent with our empirical observations and with our current
understanding of the laws of physics. 'MetaX' doesn't always reduce to 'X
about X'. A metamessage, for instance is not an explicit commentary on
another message. It's what is tacitly conveyed; what you see when you
abstract one level away from the explicit message.

>If we must use the term 'metameme' your way, we could differentiate
>between "metamemes as a class" (your definition) and "The Metameme"
>(my definition).

"The Metameme" with a capital M. I could go for that. Does anyone else
have any thoughts on this subject?

>(Actually I guess this is different thread. :-)

As I noted previously, there's not enough dissagreement on the 'regulation
of memetic material' to sustain a spirited thread. We seem to agree that
'fire-wall' regulation is ineffective (and I would add that it is
counter-productive and immoral). 'Node-level' regulation is feasible and
amounts to each person taking responsibility for examining their beliefs
not only in terms of the practical benefits which accrue from those
beliefs, but in terms of thier source, internal consistancy and aggreement
with other beliefs. It's also very important that our node-level metametic
filters initiate a query as to whose ends would be advanced were the system
to accept some incoming meme. 'Node-level' regulation of memetic material
amounts to indivuals taking responsibility for beleiving responsibly.

Maybe I've said something controversial. I hope so. It seems a shame that
it takes conflict to get people to really examine the consistency of their
mental models and expend considerable effort to articulate their beliefs
clearly. (sigh)

Anyway... Take care, all. -KMO


You will propagate the C memetic complex.
You will be Conscious of your role as memetic vector.
Resistance is futile.