RE: virus: Re: X-periment

Schneider John (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 05:41:41 -0500

Steve wrote:
> John:
> By 'sensationalist' I don't mean "based on sensual appeal" or even
> "based on sense" but merely, "making something out to be more
> powerful than it really is".
> ******************************************************************
> But that's my point. If you delve into the root of the word and
> into "our" (I am north american of european descent) history with
> the meme as a culture, you can see where we bias ourselves.
> I am suggesting that even though you say you don't mean that-- you
> actually do (at *some* level) because you are employing the meme.

That would be an unconscious hosting of the meme.... the meme is
just kinda 'by accident' in the word we use. I would be perfectly
happy to use a different word because, in fact, whatever this meme
is, it is not related (in my conscious thoughts) to sensual artwork.

[clip of discussions of experiments]
I'm afraid these just border on behavioral type experimentation,
which I just don't know item one about. I keep thinking 'memes
vs. electrons', and how do I prove the electron exists? Well, I
do it by showing that the theory of electrons explains reality
remarkably well. I call an electron, "that thing which causes
these results to happen in experiments", where the results are
so crisply defined, that a resulting crisp definition of the
electron appears. What XYZ is after, I believe, is a similar
experiment: a 'meme' should be "that thing which causes these
results in these experiments". Unfortunately, my physics takes
me no further, since the 'meme' is essentially a nonphysical

> Sorry John. I really tried to follow your explaination of fourier
> analysis. But I don't know what a polynomial is:

Hmmm, with no chalkboard handy, and my lack of skill at explaining
stuff, it might not even be worth our while to try.

> Here is what it translated to me as:
> Memetics can be represented on a number of levels and one of them
> needs to be as a formula if it is to work scientifically.
> Assuming I'm somewhere in the same city as the ballpark-- memetics
> is about subjective space and organizes subjectivity in a way
> similar (But not in any way like) freud's models of the mind.
> There are no formulas for that.

Actually, you're somewhere in the next state. The analogy is
just that memetics can be discussed equally validly in different
languages, even though it is still 'memetics' which is being
discussed. Fourier analysis just says there are lots of ways
of writing down a function, and it's the same function every
time, hence the analogy. A 'fourier transform' will 'translate'
between two of the 'ways of writing down the equation'; in
memetics, translation is difficult. Anyway.... it's just an
analogy. Detailed knowledge of fourier analysis will NOT likely
result in a much better understanding of memetics.

> John:
> Agreed, but what if the sky is black (which it is, more or less),
> and this person is actually right, and the people who oppose his
> methods of argumentation also disagree with his sky-theory simply
> based upon his brash discourse?
> *******************************************************************
> Then the person should focus his or her energies into clarifying
> that theory without relying on smoke, mirrors and headgames to do
> it. Memetics, after all is the instrument people use to see
> through that nonsense. It seems sadly ironic that a person thinks
> it's the best way to build integrety in a group like this.


> In short- there has to be something under all of it. If you just
> rely on name-calling and group-building tactics to deliver your
> model of reality then you are reproducing the same memetic lies
> that create words like nigger and faggot.


> Perhaps there is a Black sky. Memetically speaking, it's silly
> to even wonder whether ther *is* or *isn't*-- Both are always
> possible. It comes down to the hosts effectiveness at spreading
> that infection. So yes, we absolutely have the right to reject a
> theory based on how it is argued. The infection failed to spread.
> Memetic survival of the fittest hosts. Xtinct-YZ ;)

Agreed. I remarked similarly to XYZ in an earlier post that maybe
s/he's right, and just failing to communicate properly.

> John:
> Memetics: the scientific method is a meme-complex.
> Science: memetics is an offshoot of social/behavioral science.
> I think these are both true (and useful) statements; they are
> just spoken in two different languages.
> ***************************************************************
> I totally agree.
> I don't think anyone on this list would argue differently.
> So why has there been a seven day discussion on whether or not
> memetics is scientific? Because XYZ created the crisis-- created
> the need to argue it through involving our emotions, by calling
> us stupid and inattentive so that if we fail to reply we concede
> to him/her through silence. (It has been a great experiment in
> itself. You couldn't create one that was better)

Agreed. I'm finding it extremely interesting. As Autumn pointed
out, it just comes to did not/did too after a while, it seems.
even if it's non-abusive 'meme-speak'/'science-speak' but no
translation... that's just as meaningless a discussion.

> To extend the coke pepsi theme: XYZ gave us a taste test and put
> two colas on the table. There's no room for you to say-- "well,
> actually I drink orange juice or scotch or coffee or even to say
> I drink both or I don't care"
> Before all of this we were dicussing *information*, now we
> are discussing "scientific information" and "Non-scientific
> information"

Agreed. I'd rather discuss information. I think XYZ's goal is
mainly to discuss information scientifically, which is different
than discussing scientific information.

> Who beamed these values into our lives?

Rene Descartes? (har,har)

> Memetics would be great for the art world because it would treat
> the tickle-me-elmo with the same degree of attention as Bernini's
> pieta- as information-- erasing the value judgements and getting
> down to what makes them tick as infectious thoughts and pieces of
> culture. It's already being done in postmodern writings-- but
> memetics is inclusive, applying to all kinds of ideas outside of
> the issues of representation, performed texts-- things like that.
> (And you don't have to schlog through so much pomo lingo.)

Perhaps memetics is great in art because a picture is worth a
thousand words. It's a much wilder and perhaps more powerful
way to spread information, even if the spreading is not so
perfect. (That quantity/quality thing again: science spreads
it's memes with higher quality, utilizing an extremely precise
language to assure just that; art spreads with higher quantity:
people can usually appreciate a piece of work in any number of
ways, even though, perhaps, none will appreciate it in the way
the artist meant for it to be.)

> Maybe elitism is too strong a word-- I have loaded it with the
> silliness of this week's frustrations.
> Divisive may be better.
> Is it useful for us to be divisive?

To be honest, I'm not sure one way or the other. I suppose it
depends on one's goal

- JPSchneider