Re: virus: Power

John Porter (
Mon, 29 Jul 1996 16:41:47 -0400

KMO wrote:
> "Meta" indicates that we've abstracted from the previous level of
> observation, examination and discourse.

Yes, and that's what we've done when we have a "meme about

> 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.

Well, Metaphysics is kind of a special case. It's the "original meta",
i.e. the one from which we got our current idea of what "meta-" means.
What it means to us today is not what it meant to Aristotle. The
volume in Aristotle's encyclopedia was called "meta-physics" because it
came after the one called "physics".

> 'MetaX' doesn't always reduce to 'X about X'.

Of course not.

> A metamessage, for instance is not an explicit commentary on
> another message.

(Unless there is some particular usage of "metamessage" that you have
in mind), I think that that *is* what a metamessage might be.
Maybe I'm just getting hung up on the English language, but when I hear
"A yyy-message", "The yyy-meme", etc., I interpret that to mean
"A message, qualified as yyy", "The meme, qualified as yyy", etc.

Resistance is feudal.

John Porter