Re: menes or gemes? (was Re: virus: Martyrdom)

Martin Traynor (
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 16:11:15 +0000


On 27 Aug 56 at 21:14, David Leeper wrote:

> Perhaps a third dimension should be added to this graph: physisics.
> An extreme example of this would be if I were teleported to the
> surface of the sun. My actions would be to burn to a crisp, regardless
> of the desires of my genes and memes. More day-to-day examples
> would include pollution, overcrowding and natural disasters.

This strays a little from what I'd intended which was more to do with
motivations for behaviour, so in my model the laws of physics
wouldn't directly affect my motivation; my *awareness* of the laws of
physics combined with my survival instinct would (meme-gene
combination). I probably didn't express that though, and
thankfully so for it has facilitated your mutation in a direction I
think may be useful.

> If this is valid, we then have a three dimensional graph:
> 1 1
> G| / P H Y S I C S
> E| /
> N| /
> E| /
> S|/
> -1-----------0-----------1 M E M E S
> /|
> / |
> / |
> / |
> / |
> -1 -1

This is better. The separation of gene / meme into two axes allows
for more flexible mapping, even using my motivational model (ignore
the physics axis for this purpose) and the addition of physics lets
us map a whole new set of possibilities. I saw in another post that
someone (can't remember who, sorry) trimmed the minuses from the
graph, allowing only positive points on each scale to be plotted (or
have I misremembered?). I would agree with this in regard to the
physics axis (you *cannot* argue with the laws of physics so you
needn't allow for the possibility) but not for the gene or meme
scales. We *can* behave in a manner which is contrary to our genetic
drives and we *can* behave in a memetically contradictory way, which
suggests to me that the minus scales are needed.

> I think this little arrangement also forms a heirarchy. Physics
> creates environments in which genes may thrive. Genes create
> environments in which memes may thrive.

Sounds sensible.

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