Re: virus: Re : sociological change

Alex Williams (
Sat, 21 Dec 1996 16:48:49 -0500 (EST)

> I'm concluding that memetics is a somewhat insightful, but jumbled up
> quasi-religion parading as science. I'm still trying to understand what
> Hofstadter has to say, since he seems to take a more sober approach, and
> because he puts a great emphasis on reflexivity, which also happens to be a
> central concept in Giddens's theory of modernity.

The memetic cynic points out that, memetically, science itself is a
quasi-religion parading as Catholicism (in the original
`every/generic' sense of the word catholic). One of the joys of
memetics is that, in its extremity, it turns practioners of its
thought philosophy into the most extreme cynics, privy to insights
about what they `choose' to do and completely unable to avoid
responsibility for the effects because there is no entity that /can/
avoid, merely the conglomerations of meme-complexes that `define' a
human mind, just as a conglomeration of individual particles `define'
a cloud of smoke.

Reflexivity (in the machine-computational sense) is one of the most
insightful parts of the memetic philosophy. The `reflective tower' of
scale, from memes, to meme-complexes, to human minds, to sub-cultures,
to societies, to meta-societies, is built on a cohesive theory of
operation related as much to evolutionary information theory as to the
epicurian observation of the behaviour of systems along the way.