Re: virus: level 3 minds

Jason McVean (
Tue, 22 Oct 96 11:58:42 MDT

Reading over what I have written below, I thought it sounded kind
of sarcastic. I want to say that the intension is not to insult and that
I tried to let the concepts concerning level-x minds sink in
before reacting. Perhaps I'm lacking information, or perhaps I
will never attain level-3. Whatever the case, here is my reaction:

I've been trying to let the description of the level-x minds sink
in before reacting as was suggested. One problem I'm having is
that it seems that Brodie's definition of the level-3 mind is
unassailable. Firstly, it is fairly vague. The gist of it seems
to be that a level-3 mind chooses a goal and then pursues it
single-mindedly, probably at the expense of other goals and beliefs:

In Level 3, you pick a purpose for your life and hold it
as your highest priority. If you commit strongly enough
to this purpose, the cognitive dissonance created with
old memes that don't support this purpose will result in
some reprogramming.

Setting the unsavory implications of this aside, it still isn't
very clear how this is much different from plenty of motivational
schemes offered by others. I'm assuming there is something more
to it than that. [Is the jump between level-1 (instinctual,
unreflective existance) to level-2 (learned introspective
academic) on the same scale as the jump between level-2 and
level-3?] So I'm left with a vague description of a
level-3 mind and no real information on how to attain it.

Secondly, the disclaimers and warnings effectively oil the walls
of the level-3 fortress:

At this point, you may be wondering which level you're
in. Again, most people are in Level 2. No one comes along
and taps you on the shoulder saying it's time to move up
to Level 3. In fact, you will have tremendous resistance
to even considering that Level 3 exists, or if it does,
that you're not already in it. [...]

I'm now going to say something about Level 3. If you're
in Level 2, your first reaction will probably be to
compare what I say to something you already know and form
a conclusion about it. That is a Level-2 learning
strategy that does not work in Level 3. I invite you to
read with the possibility in mind that there's something
here that's different from what you already know, and
just kind of sit with that awhile.

So right from the start, to doubt the existance of level-3 is a
level-2 activity. Furthermore, you can't use any learning
technique you are familliar with to attain an understanding of
level-3. To do so constrains you to level-2. To reach level-3
one must sit and meditate with an open mind until you suddenly
grok the level-3 mind. These kind of instructions usually go hand
in hand with fasting and/or hallucinagenic ingestion.

Of course, this is exactly what you'd expect from a level-2
mind. Firstly, I'm doubting that level-3 represents another
intellectual plain equally high above level-2 as level-2 is above
level-1. Then, to top it off, I compare the apparent means of
attaining it to something I have heard about in the past.

Do you see how the assertion of level-3 is unassailable? Any
arguments against the position are used as evidence for the
veracity of the position. That doesn't mean that the position can
withstand any attack. Rather, it seems that the position simply
cannot be attacked, in much the same way that you can't tell
Groovy Joe Naturespath that he isn't really one with the universe
when he smokes up.

Kenneth Boyd wrote:
> (1-(10^(-9))^2)^(0.5).
> My Hewlett-Packard calculator "botches" this calculation; it thinks this
> is 1.
> To 32 decimal places, this is 1-5*10^(-17). There's no practical
> difference, but the second is closer to "true" than the first. [It's not
> "true" i.e. completely accurate, either.]

I'm not sure if Brodie would agree with this. I thought the
assertion was not that there is some truth but it is never
known precisely (although it can be approximated), rather that
there simply is no such thing as truth?

Either way, it seems that the truth is regarded as unimportant,
the usefulness of a meme being preferred. In fact, it seems that
to worry about the truth of a meme is fundamentally a level-2
concern. If it's useful, use it. If it happens to also be true,
great, but that's not really an issue. Truth may be correlated
with usefulness, but I suppose usefulness does not have to be
correlated with truth.

This brings me to the point that originally occurred to me. We are
told that there is no absolute truth so we must assume that the
level-3 mind meme is not true. Also, the meme is not well
defined, and so is not terribly useful. However, I suppose that
once the meme is grokked, it is supposedly very useful. On
another level, the meme is obviously very successful since there
have been several discussions concerning it dispite the fact that
few seem to really know what it's about. Or does that mean the
meme of the level-3 meme is successful even if the level-3 meme

Well, back to work...

Dept. of Physics and Astronomy University of Calgary

"And it would have worked if it weren't for those meddling kids."