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memes never die

February 16, 2017 Leave a comment

From William S Burroughs vs. the Qu’ran by Michael Muhammead Knight:

Cihan informs me that in our syncretisms and subcultural dipping, we’re actually creating a new meme. I Don’t know what a meme is, but in my head I get an image of the Arabic letter م, the Meem. A meme’s a unit of consciousness, he says. It could be seen as something like Yogacara Buddhism’s bija, seeds produced by thoughts and consciousness, and produce the external world as we understand it. Cihan says that we’ll have to be careful when we put our new meme out there, since it will grow and eventually escape our control and then never go away because memes never die – memes are like matter or energy, impossible to create or destroy. Memes only swallow up other memes and keep adding to the collective brain of the world.

From Buddhism Portal:

In Hinduism and Buddhism, the Sanskrit term bīja (Jp. 種子 shushi), literally seed, is used as a metaphor for the origin or cause of things.

The metaphor is considerably extended in the Consciousness-only teachings of the Yogacara school of Buddhism. According to this theory, all experiences and actions produce bija as impressions, stored in the alaya (storehouse) consciousness. The external world is produced when the seeds “perfume” this consciousness. This view of bija has been equated to memes, with the theory itself positing an extreme form of memetics (ie. reality and existence consist purely of memes).

and from Wikipedia (which includes the above definition):

In Vajrayana Buddhism and Hinduism, the term bīja is used for mystical “seed syllables” contained within mantras. These seeds do not have precise meanings, but are thought to carry connections to spiritual principles. The best-known bīja syllable is Om, first found in the Hindu scriptures the Upanishads.

Khanna (2003: p. 21) links mantras and yantras to thoughtforms:

Mantras, the Sanskrit syllables inscribed on yantras, are essentially ‘thought forms’ representing divinities or cosmic powers, which exert their influence by means of sound-vibrations.

(source for that inserted quote = Khanna, Madhu (2003). Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity. Inner Traditions.)

Categories: memes

memes + innoculation

October 1, 2010 Leave a comment

formerly at Wikipedia’s entry for meme, but now rewritten:

A meme (pronounced /mi?m or m?m/) consists of any unit of cultural information, such as a practice or idea, that gets transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another. Examples include thoughts, ideas, theories, practices, habits, songs, dances and moods and terms such as race, culture, and ethnicity. Memes propagate themselves and can move through a “culture” in a manner similar to the behavior of a virus.

deleted from Wikipedia’s entry on memes, subsection on memetic engineering:

Memetic engineering consists of the process of developing memes, through meme-splicing and memetic synthesis, with the intent of altering the behavior of others. It consists of the process of creating and developing theories or ideologies based on an analytical study of societies, their ways of thinking and the evolution of the minds that comprise them. The term was coined by Leveious Rolando, Gibran Burchett, and John Sokol.[citation needed] Attempts at Artificial Meme-Phrase Creation have not met with noted success, though apocryphal stories tell of the putative origins of these sorts of memes.[23]

Sometimes people modify and fabricate memes consciously, even intentionally (think the self-image of advertising agencies, for example – though some argue that the intention comes from the memes).[attribution needed] This would help to explain how rapidly, extensively and usefully memetic evolution has functioned in and for culture.[original research?] People apply many ever-evolving meme-based systems of analysis and error-correction to all information flowing in and out.[citation needed] Just as genetic material has developed gene-based error-correction models, memetic systems have “found” it advantageous to associate with meme-based error-correction models.[citation needed]

However, attempting to popularize a fabricated meme or an unproven theory often results in a backlash against said meme: the originators of a meme may appear to have a hidden agenda, as in the case of intelligent design.[24]

deleted from Wikipedia’s entry on memes, subsection on propagation of memes:

In modern times, the advent of the Internet – and more specifically of email – has provided memes with a high-fidelity propagation medium that enables highly prolific memes to propagate quickly. For example, chain-emails furnish a significant instance: in-depth studies have examined their evolution and mutation based on their differential survival rate.[original research?] Paper-based chain-letters, predecessors to this meme-distribution net, have also attracted study,[27] but they have a lower propagation-rate due to the higher copying effort, and a higher mutation-rate may have occurred due to manual transcription or degraded photocopying, thus potentially reducing their lifespan. It seems plausible that the first email chain-letters started when recipients transcribed paper-based chain-letters to email[attribution needed], suggesting that memes can move from one propagation medium to another (more efficient) one.[original research?]

an important concept, given the viral metaphor, but now deleted from Wikipedia’s entry on memes, subsection on resistance to certain memes:

Karl Popper advocated memetic caution in the strongest possible terms: “The survival value of intelligence is that it allows us to extinct a bad idea, before the idea extincts us.”[citation needed]

Resistance to violent and destructive courses of action has formed a common meme that can guide human cultural and cognitive evolution away from disastrous paths[attribution needed] – for instance the U.S. and USSR stockpiled but did not deploy nuclear weapons in action in the period of the Cold War. Some cultures can consider ignorance a virtue – in particular, ignorance of certain temptations that the culture believes would prove disastrous if pursued by many individuals. See for example the operation of the Index librorum prohibitorum.

The Internet, perhaps the ultimate meme-vector to date[attribution needed], seems to host both sides of this debate[original research?]. Opposition to use of the Internet can stem from any number of memes: from ethics to intent to ability to resist hacking or pornography.[attribution needed]

from Stuart Moulthrop’s No War Machine:

McDaid’s nuclear war script is not a virus in this sense. Because it operates only on its own code, it cannot infect other objects or files. It is actually a recursive accretor, a strange parody of a virus that only infects itself — a “suicide machine” in Deleuze and Guattari’s terms (356). Yet the implications of the script are clear enough: the technologique that produces interactive fiction is deeply allied to that which produces invasive, self-reproducing texts. David Porush has observed that the encounter between fiction and technology produces a “soft machine” in which writers seek to “innoculate” their literary imagination against the inroads of machine culture (x). As Porush points out, the overture to viral language is among the most powerful of these innoculations. McDaid’s script illustrates this quite clearly: the script is not a real virus, only a fairly benign approximation. (There are no real viruses anywhere in the Funhouse.) But innoculation, like all homeopathies, collapses the opposition between sickness and health, benignity and malice. So we might learn from McDaid’s quasi-viral escapade that the mutant machine of hypertext always implies its viral alter ego. We can understand hypertextual fictions only if we consider them in the context of cybernetic viruses — or to be precise, viral fictions.

The promiscuousness of the virus sets off a disastrous explosion of discourse, much as McDaid has shown. But the promiscuousness of hypertext points elsewhere, not to manic reiteration but toward a plenum of differential possibilities, or polylogue. As in the case of the virus, the full development of this mutant discourse is only approximated in current examples. Hypertext fictions as we know them represent what Joyce has called “exploratory hypertexts,” structures whose multiplicity is strictly limited by authorial design (see “Siren Shapes”). These writings may not be “electronic books,” but they are definitely cases of technonarcissism, multiples that collapse into an essential unity. But just as we have the myth of a self-evolving, artificially intelligent virus, there is also a myth of advanced hypertextuality. This is what Joyce calls “constructive hypertext:” an unlimited, dynamic, collaborative body of writing shared with many reader/writers across an information network — a primitive analogue for the consensual hallucination of cyberspace. Discursive promiscuousness in this context would mean, at least in some degree, a flattening of hierarchies and a revision or dissemination of authority.

from Edward Rothstein’s Technology: CONNECTIONS;Beyond ‘The Selfish Gene,’ where ideas alter the ways in which we think (at NY Times):

Various notions of meme are circulating, but most compare the meme to a disease or computer virus. Mr. Dawkins tended to consider a meme to be a kind of grand illusion, “informational parasites.” Even a profession of “faith,” he wrote, was a sign of a meme: the object of faith owes nothing to reason or evidence, but is still felt to be unquestionable; God, he suggested, is a meme. The impact of related memes is evident in cults that seem to break down any kind of mental “immune” system, allowing the memes to “infect” the brain. Self-preservation becomes less important than meme-preservation, which is why a cult leader can inspire mass suicide. (…)

Yet we suspect that more is going on. Even Mr. Dawkins wants some nonmemetic priority reserved for science since “the selective forces that scrutinize scientific ideas are not arbitrary and capricious.” He sees science as a means for inoculation against memes. But cultural ideas are not arbitrary; we deem them so at our risk. Ideas have power beyond their ability to replicate. There is a world beyond memes.

{Commentary: Rothstein does not seem to appreciate the difference between “natural selective” forces (being blind, random) and other non-random selective forces. This gets back to Popper and the analogy between natural selection and scientific progress.}

from Glenn Fleishman’s Viruses of the Mind:

How to fight a memetic virus? With good information (memetic antibodies) and with inoculation. The antibodies and inoculations represent individuals who try to assemble the actual facts and post of E-mail them to the same forums where the viruses originated in the first place.

from Damian Peterson’s Genes and Memes in a Nutshell:

Over many millions of years we’ve adapted clever ways to detect whether someone has good genes or not and we’re quite picky about who would make a good partner to make copies of our genes with. But we’ve only been doing the meme thing for a relatively short amount of time and with the volatile mixture of poor meme-recognition and the sheer speed at which memes can mutate we have to be very careful not to allow bad memes to spread. A bad meme can do infinitely more damage than genetic heart defects and cancer. Just ask a victim of the crusades, the holocaust, jihad, Rwanda, Somalia, Bosnia, Pearl Harbour, Hiroshima, Afghanistan, the KKK, the slave ships, the Inquisition or the Roman Empire.

One of the best ways to inoculate your body against a bad meme is the liberal application of rational thought. Most bad memes don’t stand up to reasoned scrutiny and most bad memes occur in environments that discourage free thought and criticism. If a meme doesn’t encourage scrutiny or open criticism then it’s possibly hiding something. Stay on your guard; life’s too short for bad memes.

formerly at the dawkins forum, now apparently down. this was cached here at some point: http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:IZo1zrctIF4J:richarddawkins.net/forum/viewtopic.php%3Ff%3D46%26t%3D39626%26start%3D0+inoculation+memes&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=37&gl=us — attribution unkown:

The reason I ask is that I’ve come to the realization that cults (evangelism included) are not just caused by a meme, but by a highly evolved, pathogenic and infectious meme. (I suspect that lots of people might already see it this way, but it is rarely written as if to come from such a perspective. Has anyone formally published a meme theory of contagious mental illness, as in a parallel to the germ theory of disease?)

The key to a pathogenic meme is that most memes are just replicators, but these pathogenic memes actually alter the way people think. As Sargant has shown in Battle for the Mind, there are physiological controls on how/what we think, and these things can be triggered by thoughts alone. That is, in the most extreme cases, high-intensity or a severe deficit of anger, fear, pain, and other emotions and stimuli, can alter your core beliefs and how your mind actually processes information. Anyone who understands how life has evolved should be able to instantly recognize how these replicating thoughts have evolved, by random mutation and selection pressures, the ability to control human beings in order to reproduce themselves more efficiently.

Attacking the dogma totally ignores the mechanisms by which people have become ill and remain ill. As I said you are fighting symptoms instead of trying to go after the cause. It also doesn’t protect rational people from being infected because these memes do not work by convincing people via rational thought, they are highly evolved to be able to bypass and subvert those defenses.

I don’t know if it’s possible to find a “cure” for viral memes, but what I am positive about is:

-Everybody who is not mentally ill is susceptible to brainwashing/mind control. Certain personality types are resistant to some techniques and less susceptible to others, but NOBODY is immune to them all, unless they do not have a physiological brain. This includes you and me. (I think accepting this is the biggest obstacle.)

-Nobody will ever find a way to destroy or reverse viral memes by denying their existence or blaming their victims.

-Like life, viral memes are continuing to evolve. The information age has vastly increased their replication rates, and the competition between these virii and is probably ratcheting up their rate of evolution. At some point they will find the key to subverting those personality types who are more resistant and they’ll quickly fill that niche… our minds. What happens to the world when the rational ones are knocked off by this type of thing?

You won’t destroy cult memes by debunking their dogma because it is not the cause of their insanity, it is a result of it.

In long,

Knowledge is in this case the vaccine against mind viruses. Like all vaccines they best work on those that are yet to be infected. By the preventive spread of the meme it stops spreading. By showing the truth behind what they try to say, it strips the power of that idea and kills it.

But as the old quote goes “it is easier to take a fortress from within by stealth the from without by force”, so by attacking the idea directly will only steel them in their resolve. Though by creating doubts, their own mind will destroy these ideas from within, again this is done by showing the truth of what they say. Hence why we probe the devout and don’t take them directly on.

But the hardest thing to do is show them a world where they don’t need their gods, to fight the fear which forms the basis of their beliefs. This can only be done once they start to question everything.

What is that fear, The fear of death, which really is fear of the unknown.

Categories: memes

random notes on memetic engineering

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

from disinfo’s old dossier:

Memetic Engineering developed from diverse influences, including cutting edge physics of consciousness and memetics research, chaos theory, semiotics, culture jamming, military information warfare, and the viral texts of iconoclasts William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, and Genesis P-Orridge. It draws upon Third Culture sciences and conceptual worldviews for Social Engineering, Values Systems Alignment, and Culture Jamming purposes…

The savvy memetic engineer is able to isolate, study, and subtly manipulate the underlying values systems, symbolic balance and primal atavisms that unconsciously influence the individual psyche and collective identity. A highly educated but susceptible intelligentsia, worldwide travel, and information vectors like the Internet, cable television, and tabloid media, means that hysterical epidemics and disinformation campaigns may become more common. This warfare will be conducted using aesthetics, symbols, and doctrines as camouflage that will ultimately influence our cultural meme pool.

from jrank:

Thus the idea of memetic engineering consists not only in choosing which memes to be influenced by but also in counterpropaganda and countersloganeering designed to purge from the meme pool those ideas deemed deleterious to society at large. The essential component in memetic engineering is faith in human reason to discern the most advantageous memes.

Categories: memes

random mutations of offbeat activities

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

from John Pfeiffer’s The Creative Explosion:

Think of the hundreds of thousands of useless things that are going on in the world somewhere right now. There seems to be no limit to what people will do, provided it is sufficiently off-beat and has never been done before. All the new games and experiments and assorted forms of dare-devilry, everything from double somersault ski-jumps, walking tightropes between skyscrapers, and setting the record for the most parachute jumps in a 24-hour period, to wrapping cliffs in cellophane, swallowing new drugs and combinations of drugs, playing Dungeons and Dragons, attempts at levitation, and on and on and on. Such activities represent the cutting edge of evolution, human-style. They are analogous to the random genetic mutations of organic evolution. The vast majority of mutations are harmful or useless, and so are the vast majority of offbeat activities. But someday as society changes at a mounting rate, one in a billion may payoff, and it’s impossible to predict which one.

Categories: memes

memes as metaphor engines

January 28, 2010 Leave a comment

From Mike Godwin’s Meme, Counter-meme

When a meme catches on, it may crystallize whole schools of thought. Take the “black hole” meme, for instance. As physicist Brandon Carter has commented in Stephen Hawkings’s A Brief History of Time: A Reader’s Companion: “Things changed dramatically when John Wheeler invented the term [black hole]…Everybody adopted it, and from then on, people around the world, in Moscow, in America, in England, and elsewhere, could know they were speaking about the same thing.” Once the “black hole” meme became commonplace, it became a handy source of metaphors for everything from illiteracy to the deficit.

Categories: memes, metaphor

quantum un-civil war

July 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Newsgroups: sci.physics, sci.skeptic, comp.ai.philosophy,
alt.alien.visitors, alt.paranormal, alt.mind-control
From: Jack Sarfatti
Date: 1999/07/19
Subject: Re: The Quantum Un-Civil War

Actually, even though Nick Herbert embraces the wrong Bohrian mystical ontology of possibility waves collapsing into actual things that have no real properties when not observed etc, Nick’s power is his ability to brainwash and mesmerize the gullible public with vivid often amusing metaphors and memes in plain English. That is why Nick is so dangerous now that he is flirting, even if only jokingly and satirically, with Neo-Nazis and their agit-prop spreading over the Internet. I have a similar power, but I am trying to communicate with the superior ontology which is Bohm’s. So this Psi War of Wizards is primarily between me and Nick. The others are merely Bit Players on The Stage of Destiny. Actually, Saul-Paul Sirag is pretty good at this as well. Fred Alan Wolf is also good at it, but he is squarely in the same mystical camp as Nick. See “The Cradle Will Rock”. We are shaping the Culture Paradigm. Let no one be unaware that what we are up to here has enormous political and policy ramifications for the near future. That’s why, for example, the CIA and other Intel Agencies monitor all of this via Ron Pandolfi and others on the list. They are right to do so. Remember “Space-Time and Beyond” had an enormous pop-culture impact way beyond its 200,000 copies by transforming the consciousness of a lot of movers and shakers in media and government and business. “Space-Time and Beyond” was a psychotronic weapons system in memetic engineering. It was much more than a book. Of course, Fred, me and Bob were “useful idiots”, Forest Gumps, sleep walking through the mine fields of Cold War Intel Games involving Ira Einhorn, Andrija Puharich, Uri Geller, Fritjof Capra, Tim Leary, George Koopman and many more.

Categories: memes Tags: ,