Re: How Memes Work

JD (
Mon, 04 Aug 1997 06:59:58 -0400

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Anders Sandberg wrote:

> On Sun, 3 Aug 1997, JD wrote:
> > But it wasn't important! "Kilroy" imparted no important
> > characteristics to Western Culture.
> OK, what about Copernicus theory? It was not supported by the rich
> and powerful, yet it spread and eventually became dominant.

What? It never occured to you that rich and powerful
factionsof Society wanted to overturn the intellectual oppression of the
Church? Of course, it was such groups that spread the
theories! Ask the Traditionalist Catholic conspiracy theorists, some of
actually still claim Copernicus is "unproven"!!!!

> > > > 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.
> I was ignoring that, since I don't have the time to make a realistic
> model right now. But the model can of course easily be extended to a
> finite population, with resistance gradually building up. See any
> standard epidemologic textbook.

Yes, but you are ignoring (again) how early resistance generated by
the Establishment can and will stop a new vigorous meme dead in its
tracks if there is enough at stake.

> > 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.
> Conspiracy theory memes are interesting in themselves (lots of clever
> strategies to replicate, including the ability to explain away lack
> of evidence, "us vs. them", becoming stronger by being persecuted
> etc.). But I think you are infected by a conspiracy theory meme
> yourself in this case: what is the evidence that the estabilishment
> cracks down on conspiracy theories more often than other memes?

The Establishment cracks down on conspiracy memes because
theycan lead to revolution. Two examples that immediately come to mind:

1. The anti-John Birch Society hysteria whipped-up the the
in the late 1950's and early 1960's. This campaign bore its fruit in
Goldwater defeat of 1960.....

2. The recent media induced witch hunt against conspiracy theorists and

all anti-Statists following what Clinton admits was the fortuitous OKC
Suddenly conspiracy theorists, militia members, and, often all,
libertarians and
other anti-Statists are lumped together as "anti-Governement" and beyond
the pale.

Really....there is no problem coming-up with evidence, though designing
a controlled
experiment is pretty difficult.

> > > 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?
> I suggest that you read my paper about the lifecycle of memes for a
> better discussion of it. My assumption above was of course an
> oversimplification, but the model was intended to show my point, not
> to be qualitatively correct.

Models can be designed to get the results you want. They
provenothing unless the constants and relationships can be empirically
which I am sure you know very well. Look at the "limits to growth"
non-sense of
Meadows and what's his name!

Evidence looks clear to me that the powers that be to remain so,
and do control memetic infection when the chips are down. Of course,
all ruling classes and/or sections thereof fail in this mission and fall
into the dustbin
of history. Just follow the activities of the great Foundations...they
spend most of
their money promoting Statist memes! Just an irrelevancy I suppose?

> > > 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!
> This is too bad, I don't have the time to analyse your statements
> more in detail to show how your reaction easily could be deduced from
> the conspiracy meme you are carrying. Anyway, what I believe doesn't
> matter, look at the facts instead.

Likewise, I am sure! Tis I that am looking at the facts and
empiricalevidence! You are creating equations out of thin air chosen to
your pre-chosen conclusion in line with the memes you are carrying.
Actually, I used to carry the same pluralist memes as you until I looked
at some of the
undeniable evidence of ruling class existence, activity, and dominance
1967. Your reactions are not all unpredictable either. All I have to
do is listen
to my own old tapes.

The feed back loop through which certain memes increase the
financial power of certain segments of society thereby increasing the
available to propagate that meme should be key in any model of memetic
Society has very effective defenses against new memes. These defenses
are financed
by big money. Why do you avoid this aspect? Huh?

By the way:

All ideas become memes to the extent they spread and thereby create
a new social organism however small or feeble, but not all memes are
ideas in the sense of modeling reality. So, of course, everything I
say can be deduced from my ideas (memes to the extent others share
them). The scientific method is our only test as to whether models are
close enough to reality to be useful or just the "idea cement" or meme
of some social entity. Unfortunately, it is difficult indeed to apply
the scientific method rigorously in the complex field of study we are
discussing. But apriori reasoning won't cut it.......

> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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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