Re: virus: The Meme Machine

Dan Plante (
Thu, 01 Apr 1999 19:35:10 -0800

At 08:38 AM 01/04/99 +0100, Robin Faichney wrote:

>Yup. Like Dawkins says, I think this is memetics' best shot,
>by a long way. On the other hand, the fact she's a bit
>level-2-bound is a minus for me.

I see that this whole "level" thing has gained some currency with some old timers since my last foray. Did the Brodiemeister finally spill a useful definition, or did he keep beating you guys over the head with it until you did the work for him? ;-)

> E.g., she sees very clearly
>that "self" is a memeplex, but doesn't seem to realise that's
>equally true for consciousness and matter -- she talks about
>"the physical self" as if that would remain once all memes
>had been discounted. On the other hand, of course, if she had
>gotten all that right, there would have been nothing left for
>me to do! :-)

A group of information patterns, or memeplex, by itself does not constitute a self or an ego, any more than a filled-up hard drive sitting alone on a shelf constitutes a computer. Without a motive force (emotion/desire), it is inert. Even memory and emotion together, without intelligence providing the ability to recognise patterns (thereby identifying the objects of desire), produce nothing coherent enough to term a "self".

Also, the self (or ego) is not simply the sum of these three aspects of mind rolled up in a ball; it is a distinct, emergent thing that arises out of the dynamically stabilized interaction of the three parts.