RE[3]: virus: Hosts

Lior Golgher (
Mon, 14 Oct 1996 22:45:40 -0700

KMO wrote:
> On what basis do memes compete with one another? Human brains seem to
> have finite storage capacity, so there would seem to be competition
> between memes for this limited resource, but that would seem to pit all
> memes against each other equally in a memetic free-for-all. That
> doesn't seem to be the case. Some memes facilitate the propagation of
> some memes and hinder the propagation of others, i.e. there seems to be
> some memetic mechanisms which give rise to compatibility/incompatibility
> relationships between memes, but I have no idea what those mechanisms
> are.

The following excerpt explains how such a biological mechanism developed in the Penicillium mold. I believe
it's just a matter of time until we discover a similar memetic mechanism, since the conditions are the same.
I took it from Jack's "Bugs in the News" - What the Heck is Penicillin?

"Penicillium chrysogenum if given high amounts of all of the nutrients necessary for growth, will mostly just
grow - and will produce only small amounts of penicillin. Why is that? Well, genetics plays an important role
penicillin production by this fungus provides a nice advantage if the fungus is competing with bacteria for
limited food available. if there isn't much food around, the genetics of this fungus allows for the synthesis
of penicillin - which will result in the killing of any nearby bacterial competitors. On the other hand, if
there is plenty of food around, the mold will not make much penicillin - a waste of uneccessary energy - living
things have regulation of genes which respond to these environmental differences by making different things
which are useful only under very precise conditions - like the absence of a certain kind of necessary food. So,
knowing how genes work, and how this fungus responds to food availability - commercial firms (pharmaceutical
firms) induce Penicillium chrysogenum to make lots of penicillin by limiting the amount of food available
within the fermenter
where the mold is growing - the genes inside the fungal cells don't know that there aren't any bacteria out
there - are only responding to the decreased availability of food (which if in the wild, could result in
elimination of bacterial competitors - and at the same time provide nutrients made available from the dead

The question is - Which "commerical firms" would be interested in inducing memes to make lots of anti-memetic
substances by limiting the amount of thought-resources within our minds?
Tyrannies? Radicals? Preachers? Politicians?
Or maybe real commercial firms -- Coca Cola against Pepsi Cola, McDonalds against Burger King, even Microsoft
against Netscape...

Think about it