Self Replicating Meme Systems

These ideas are from DonaldGoing?, of Oxon Hill, Md, and cited in MetaMagicalThemas.

First, consider Sentence A:

	A: It is your duty to convince others that this sentence is true.

Sentence A, if believed, is a self-replicating meme. Taken alone, it is not compelling. Consider, however System S:

	S1: blah
	S2: blah blah
	Sn-1: blah blah ... blah
	Sn: It is your duty to convince others that system S is true.

DouglasHofstadter calls Sn the "hook" of S. The system S1-Sn-1 and Sn are symbiotic; neither survives long without the other, yet taken together they are persuasive, especially when Sn is logically implied by S1 to Sn-1.

Why does {S1,...,Sn-1} not survive long without Sn? It might not, but what makes its survival necessarily dependent on Sn?

Here are three examples:

	X1: Anyone who does not believe in System X will burn in hell.
	X2: It is your duty to save others from suffering.

Y: Y1: The whales are in danger of extinction. Y2: It is your duty to persuade others of Y (implicit).

Z: Z1: The bourgeoisie is oppressing the proletariat. Z2: It is your duty to protect the proletariat (implicit).

System Z is an instance of the ExtremistMassMovementPattern.

Paraphrased by Tom Stambaugh from MetaMagicalThemas.

There is an (out of place) discussion about Viral memes and Religion on PatternsAsMemes. However, I contend that it misstates the connection between viral memes and religion. For a better (or at least more fun) description read SnowCrash by NealStephenson.

Stephenson's viral religion meme has the following three attributes:

(1) It can be spread through words (reproduce) (2) It has a beneficial effect on the "infected". (3) The beneficial effect encourages the "infected" to pass on the "infection".

In fact, Stephenson's notion introduced a whole ecology of viruses and anti-viruses, but I won't go into that here. This just seems like a more reasonable statement than the one on the other page.

If you take this particular set of statements as the "reproduction strategy" of a viral meme, then patterns sure do fit the bill.

JohnBarnes?'s KaleidoscopeCentury? has a remarkable description of the Meme Wars, or what happens when memetics truly take off, with the help of computers.

I'm confused. From reading these pages, it seems a meme is like a gene, and a meme system is like blue-green algae. Yes, self-replicating blue-green algae ruled the world for a while, but it wasn't until nature's invention of mutation and sex that things got interesting.

Contrary to popular impression, there was a tremendous amount of evolution going on with single-celled organisms prior to the evolution of multi-celled organisms, which is precisely why modern cells are so remarkably sophisticated and complex. Chloroplasts and mitochondria, for instance, are symbiotes that used to be independent single-celled organisms; today, every plant and animal cell (respectively) depends directly on that symbiosis. Yet that symbiosis predates multicellular life.

The addition of sex does make things more interesting, but evolution doesn't depend on it.

Is ExtremeProgramming a meme? Or is it a meme system? A meme set?

See MemeSects.
See Also MemesShmemes
    BlahBlahBlah may also apply


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