Re: virus: Re: virus-digest V1 #120

XYZ Customer Support (
Fri, 27 Dec 1996 12:40:15 -0700

> From: Schneider John <>

>XYZ: please be careful that you properly distinguish what I wrote,
>and what Stephen wrote. A good portion of your post is actually
>response to stuff that Stephen wrote.

Sorry if that bothers you John.

>>>>This [memes] is changing the way people use media.

>>How has it been *directly* responsible for that?

>Kinda hard to prove, ain't it? 'Memes' are rather abstract...
>not quite as simple as electrons.

Abstract or not, that has never stopped science before.

>I suppose it's good to hear that you do not dismiss memetics

It is the approach and the reasons for accepting memetics that I
dismiss straightaway.

>>Paradigms are a shift in thinking and not a way of thinking.

>Me: Agreed. The above statement remains valid: memetics
>represents a shift in thinking.... from thinking about how
>culture affects ideas to how ideas give rise to culture.

To be a paradigm, it has to be a RADICAL shift in the way of
thinking, which memetics isn't.

>>Sesationalist as used by journalists, is when something is
>>portrayed in a false light, merely for the effect it have from
>>pushing the audience's buttons and selling papers or TV time.

>Me: Agreed. Nice example. But 'applied memetics' (don't hack away
>at the term, please) is largely about pushing buttons. It should
>hardly be surprising that you see it as sensationalist, then. Your
>buttons, have, in fact, been fairly well pushed, too.

Yes, my buttons have been pushed, but they haven't had the effect of
controlling my behaviour or distorting my thinking. Everyday,
thousands of things push my buttons, but I respond back only to a
very small amount of them.

>Me: Stephen's the artist; I'm the math/physics/computer guy.

Thank God! Hehehe!

>>Expressing memes is not the same as knowing memes.

>Me: Agreed. I was getting carried away in the 'usefulness of
>memetics' once again. I'm open to suggestions for how to show
>'scientific support' for memetics, or memes. Although, I'm
>beginning to see the distinction that Stephen saw initially...
>In 'meme-speak', I simply note that the meme-complex 'scientific
>method' is forcing you to look for scientific verification of
>memetics, regardless of its usefulness, while the meme-complex
>'memetics' is causing us to conclude that 'scientific verifica-
>tion' of memetics is besides-the-point of memetics.

The scientific method is not a meme...hold that thought for a moment
(while I infect you with it -- Hehehe!)...No! Really!...

>Me: Agreed. We're using the English language, an addition to
>'meme-speak', and 'science-speak'. No wonder our communications
>are so erratic.

There is no such thing as "science-speak". I am speaking of the
scientific method which is simply a checklist of things to be
performed in a logical manner to verify the reality of "meme-speak".
Does anyone have even a remote idea of how to determine the
difference between reality and imagination, optical illusion,
hallucination, fantasy, and make-believe? How does one know which
catagory memetics belongs in? Remember that just being "useful" has
been shown to be an invalid test. Just being able to describe the
world as you see is also invalid since memetics has invented things
which do not exist or cannot be proven to exist.

> Me: Well, then Memetics is very similar to semantics.

Then memetics is a fad.

>>This is not a memetics experiment. This experiment has already been
>>done and it doesn't prove anything about memes but it does prove
>>that people are suggestable and can be preconditioned. Let's come
>>up with an experiment that can ONLY (or mostly) be explained by

>Me: Agreed. Your turn to suggest something. :-)

Ahhhh! I am glad you are in this group John. Now we are really going
to get somewhere...I think!?

First we have to decide what a meme really is. A meme is not simply
an idea. A meme is not a method. A meme is not button pushing. A meme
is not the communications of ideas. A meme is not an idea that

I can get an idea in my head that you and I should go out together to
a local restaurant for some coffee and donuts. I can communicate that
idea to you via the english language. That idea spreads to you and
you accept that idea and say, "OK!". This entire incident had nothing
to do with memes.

A meme is a special kind of idea. It is an idea that seems to "have a
life of it's own". It reproduces. It mutates. It has a lifespan.
Somehow, when a person is "infected" with a meme, they have no need
to put any effort into remembering it, since it will take-up residence
in memory on it's own. You will remember the meme without any effort
at all. Not only that, once the meme is communicated by any means
available, it will immediately take-up residence in the recipient
without the recipient even having to consciously think about it.
Sounds a little far-fetched, doesn't it? It sounds like the beginning
of a good sci-fi novel even. It sounds like everybody is so enamored
with the beauty of the concept, that they have put all common logical
sense and reasoning ablities aside just so they can all stand around
and admire the wonders of something they don't even know exists or
not. But you and I are different John. We are meme hunters. A special
breed of meme-free humans that scientists have secretly breeded just
for the very purpose of saving humankind from the grips of the meme
invasion (prove to me that I am wrong about this -- Hehehe! It is useful
and it does explain the reality of my life as I know it!).

Some things to ponder while discussing this are: Is racism just a
"good idea" or is it a meme? Has anyone ever really encountered a
meme in their personal life? What are the minimum "system
requirements" for a meme to successfully exist (In other words, can
retarded or semi-retarded people be infected with the same memes as
normal people can?)?

>Me: Oh, so after all, you do understand the limitations of science?

Yes, but do you understand the limitations of the scientific method
(the limitations of science ARE NOT the same thing as the limitations
of the scientific method for starters)? I will give you a hint: The
limitations of the scientific method are not even remotely addressed
by memetics or the discussion of memetics. And remember that this is
going to be a discussion for future arguments and nothing current now
since it isn't related to the discussion at hand. End of discussion.

BTW, Beavis laughs like this: Heh Heh Heh and not Hehehe!