Re: virus: Re: AIDS Meme

David Leeper (
Wed, 23 Oct 1996 01:07:39 -0500

Lior Golgher,

On the topic of the Martyrdom meme-complex (Part 3):

This discussion uses Cohesive Math (CM). An overview of CM, including an analysis of the
Christain Mass using CM, is at

Any meme (or meme-complex), assigned to the number 1, has as its opposite the meme (or
meme-complex) -1. In a world filled with memes, each struggling for survival, two questions
arise: How can we tell which meme is the opposite of another, and given two opposite memes, how
do we choose which meme we will act as a carrier for?

The answer to the first question seems to be that given two opposite memes, one will attack the
other. An analogy in the physical world is Preditor and Prey. Examples from memetics include
Christian and Atheist, Communism and Capitolism, and Liberal and Conservative. This gives us a
"Black Box" function called Attack(), which takes as a parameter the meme opposite of the meme
invoking the function. Attack() seeks to destroy its parameter, i.e. reduce it to 0.

Now, given two memes, one or both of which are invoking Attack(), how do we decide which to act
as a carrier for? Assuming that our minds are hosts to many functions such as Attack() or
Love() or Play() and that most of these functions use memes as input, it would seem that the
following rules apply:

A] Accept memes which can be used by the functions of the mind.
B] Reject memes whos Attack() function can be used against the memes of the mind.

The physical analogy of A] is eating. We'll eat steak because we can use it in our bodily
functions, but we don't eat wood because it offers no value to us. The physical analogy of B]
is the body's immune system. It rejects anything that it believes could do harm to the body.

Of course, memes come and go; we learn and forget. Given two memes, 1 and -1, and given that
(say) 1 is accepted and -1 rejected, what happens if -1's Attack() function destroys the host of
1? 1 has already spread to an new host, but if that host forgets 1 then 1 is forever lost.
Given that 1 is of importance to the new host, it will benefit the new host to expend resources
to ensure that 1 is not forgotten. Methods of doing this include writing about 1, talking about
1, and keeping 1 clearly in the mind. The resources spent preserving 1 will probably be in
proportion to the importance of 1 to its new host.

David Leeper
Homo Deus