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Alexander Williams (
Thu, 05 Dec 1996 20:59:18 -0500

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Alexander Williams {   ||Member: Evil Geniuses
          }    ||For a Better Tomorrow
============================================// => Charter Member <=

"Perhaps we should lower our mental trousers and compare the size of our consciousnesses?" -- Jan Sands to Marvin Minsky ==================================================================== <>

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----- Unsent message follows ----- Received: by; id AA27981; Tue, 3 Dec 1996 10:12:05 -0500 From: Alex Williams <thantos> Message-Id: <> Subject: Re: virus: The Naked Meme To: Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 10:12:05 -0500 (EST) In-Reply-To: <> from "Eva-Lise Carlstrom" at Dec 2, 96 10:23:17 pm X-Mailer: ELM [version 2.4 PL24] Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Length: 2385

> I noticed this only on the second reading, but this analogy restores > the conduit metaphor, which I was trying to eradicate in my phrasing. In > language, the meaning is *not in* the words. It is only *associated with* > the words. No amount of unpacking or transforming can turn the words into > the meaning, or dig the meaning out of the words. All we can do is match

Let me clarify the `Tierra metaphor' for a bit. Within Tierra an individual researcher can set his own language for the virtual machine to interpret organisms constructed from. Not all of these languages are mutually exclusive, an organism `encoded' in one could be extracted from the running soup onto disk and that file (pattern of bits) loaded into the soup at another site which runs a very subtly different version of the symbolic language that currently represents it. Upon being loaded into the soup, one sees an entirely different behaviour from the organism that one did from its progenitor because of the different language under which its executing.

Looking at this from the `Zanderian Heresy' perspective, the organism ceased to be `an organism' once its pattern left the soup in which it was running; it became a static pattern of bits which the system behind the original soup intended to communicate enough information to rebuild it on the other side. At the point its injected into the receiving soup, its interpreted from those patterns but with a different language, constructing an organism completely different from the `intended' (as far as machines can have intent) organism.

[As an aside, its very difficult to avoid the encoding/transmitting phraseology in the very discussion of how these things aren't truly /transmitted/ so I hope the astute reader will try to interpret from these words what I intend rather than what I say, which in itself begs the question.]

> and signified. I don't propose we attempt to destroy all remnants of the > conduit metaphor, since it is obviously very deeply rooted in the human > psyche, but only that we try to be aware of it and its limitations.

All I've ever advocated is awareness; its amazing what knowledge of limitations allows you to transcend.

> (and thank you for your commentary, O Zander the Heretic who got me > started on this line of thinking ;) )

Well, at least I won't be the target of the Albegnesian Crusade ... :)