Re: How Memes Work

JD (
Sun, 03 Aug 1997 09:36:27 -0400

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Anders Sandberg wrote:

> On Sun, 3 Aug 1997, JD wrote:
> > Too bad Extropians never seem to question Dawkins' extreme
> > reductionism. I have ding donged on this for years, but not lately.
> So
> > I will make my assertions again. I present the following as a
> conscious
> > hypothesis....too bad Dawkins is not self-aware enough to know his
> > reductionism is a hypothesis....actually he may be unconsciously
> > carrying a meme of the currently dominant scientific establishment.
> Wasn't it he who first pointed out that memetics was a meme too?

So? What does that have to do with his failure to look at the
characteristics of the whole engendered by the meme? Memes that
engender war, for instance, may create a successful Imperialist culture
that spreads through military force. Just look at history.

> > However, only the rich and powerful segments of a society can make
> > a new meme operational through a whole culture (hypothesis alert!
> > Begin testing it!).
> Counterexample: Kilroy was here. Was started by some soldiers, and
> was so efficient that it spread across most of the western culture.

But it wasn't important! "Kilroy" imparted no important
characteristics to Western Culture.

> There are plenty of memes not invented by the rich and powerful which
> spread well, but the rich and powerful can of course support memes
> more effectively (broadcasting is very useful).
> > Contrary to popular Extropian thought, then, the meme's
> > "attraction" for the host is less important than the physical
> > resources available for propagating the new meme.
> No. Let's make a BOTE mathematical model for memetic spread in a very
> large population (assumed infinite in this case). Let x(t) be the
> number of people infected with the meme at time t. They infect other
> people at a constant rate k.

Assumption is of diminishing returns sets
spread slows down after a long time if there is no resistance, quickly
if the establishment uses its power to squelch it early. Notice how the
Establishment periodically cracks down on "conspiracy theory memes"?
Conspiracy memes are quite infectious (partly because there is a large
element of truth) but the Establishment fights back hard through
Foundation supported propaganda every time they start to gain momentum.

> There is also some agency which spreads
> the meme deliberately, infecting new hosts at a rate l. Assume that
> infections last for life. Then we get the differential equation:

This second assumption is even more wrong than the first! New memes
have no such staying power....seen many "Kilroys" lately?

> x'(t)= kx(t)+l
> This has the solution x(t)=c exp(kt) + (l/k). Note that the first
> term, corresponding to the exponential spread of the meme
> person-to-person will overrun the second corresponding to outside
> insertion quite quickly.

So! The rationalization against "ruling class/conspiracy" theory
fails. Admit it! You just want to be in memetic resonance with the
powers that be! ...the manipulators of the State!

> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Anders Sandberg Towards
> Ascension!
> GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+
> !y

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