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I am the research man....
Before I continue reading Major Transitions.. the thought occurs to me that it would all be absorbed more effectively if I were to get a few things off my chest.

There are several types of exposure to a meme. I will try to give them distinct characteristics in order to make it easier to distinguish between them.

Type 1: Accidental exposure to a meme in a static format. This includes, but is not limited to, billboard advertisements, an article in a paper or journal, etc. The meme may not be absorbed, but it will be known of.

Type 2: Deliberate exposure to a meme in a static format. This would include religious texts - an immutable description of an idea which is specifically examined, rather than stumbled upon. A condition of this meme is that it is presented in an objective format, rather than subjective (see Type 3). Typically, such a meme would be absorbed.

Type 3: Exposure to a non-tailored morphic meme. Examples include lectures, or documentaries on television. The presentation of the idea will vary depending on the person who is relating it (and typically the meme will also include a specific point of view), but it is not specifically designed to be absorbed by a single target.

Type 4: Exposure to a tailored morphic meme. An example would be a one-on-one tutorial or seminar, or day to day conversation with a person. The meme is not only specifically adapted to the person who is spreading it, but it can be further adapted on the fly to the intended recipient, giving it the best chance of absorption.

The order of these types is not arbitrary - rather, it refers to the sum of 'effort' required in the transmission of the meme. In Type 1 memetic transfer, the only effort is that of the recipient accidentally finding a meme - this is effectively zero-effort, since there is no deliberate or conscious decision. In contrast, in Type 4 transfer, effort is made by both parties to adapt the meme to the transfer medium and to the recipient. This involves the most effort.

As an aside, almost all my knowledge on Memetics comes from Type 1 exposure to the subject. I have never attended lectures nor had any significant discussion with anybody on the subject. I was introduced to the subject by articles I happened upon in New Scientist, and happened to find interesting. However, I never sought out further information on the subject, preferring instead to draw my own conclusions. I may well be one of a tiny number of people working in the field who has never read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, or indeed any other texts on the subject. I hope that fact makes a positive difference.

The key differences between types may not be obvious, so I will try to be more specific.

Types 1 & 2:
The difference is in the motives of the person being exposed to the meme. If they are deliberately seeking out an idea, they are likely to respond to it more favourably than if they have just stumbled upon it. For example, take the following meme:
"A Honda is a safe car"
If a person seeks out safety statistics and finds that a Honda is safe, then it is likely that they will absorb this idea. If a person sees an advertisement in a newspaper which states safety figures for cars which happens to show that a Honda is safest, they are less likely to absorb this information. This is partly due to the medium, but it is my belief that it is also due to the fact that the information is not sought after by the person who reads it.

There are several possible ways of demonstrating this through tests, which I intend to carry out in the near future. One such example involves giving two test groups identical magazines, and asking them to read through certain pages of them. Each group will have their own set of ideas to consider (for example, one group might be told "You are thinking of buying a house", in the knowledge that there is a relevant article on the housing market in the paper). After a given period, the groups will be quizzed on their knowledge of all the required pieces of information. It is obvious even now that for each piece of information, regardless of presentation, the group with more interest in finding that information is more likely to have absorbed it.

Though this test appears to be proving a trivially easy point, it can be expanded further. One can test how easily two groups absorb a given idea from a newspaper, where neither of them is required to know that information. The difference between the groups is that one group is required to know information in a related field, and the other should know information in an unrelated field. You can then determine whether related knowledge increases interest in a subject and therefore meme susceptibility.

In conclusion, there is a difference in meme transfer depending on whether or not the recipient is looking for that information.

Types 2 & 3:
Though both cases involve deliberate exposure to a meme, Type 3 transfer occurs from person to person, and Type 2 is from a fixed medium to a person. The difference is that in the Type 3 case, the meme has already been adapted to fit a human mind, and will be transfered in a way that is consistent with the way in which it was originally absorbed. This has the consequence that the meme will be in a human-friendly format, and will most likely be transferred in a way that makes logical sense to absorption.

Types 3 & 4:
This difference is more subtle than it might appear and the description above, though technically accurate, neglects to mention certain consequental conditions. For example, in a one-to-one discussion of an idea, it is likely that both parties will have an interest in an idea, even if one party disagrees with it. A meme is still successfully transfered if the recipient disagrees strongly - especially if they disagree strongly enough to communicate that meme as a part of an alternative point of view. For example, the collection of memes that make up Christianity are absorbed by atheists, despite the fact that they do not necessarily agree with those memes. And that atheist might will transfer some of those memes to other atheists, though neither party will incorporate the meme into their own beliefs.

It can therefore be assumed that for a meme to be classed as Type 4, both parties must have an interest (on some level) in discussing the meme. Given this, a more in-depth transfer can occur, and specifically, feedback can take place which can reinforce the meme. The following is a simplified representation of what happens:
  1. A tells B about meme M
  2. B questions meme M
  3. A tells B about meme N, which reinforces M
In this model, if a meme is not properly transfered in the first attempt, it is possible (and indeed likely) that further interaction will occur until the idea is understood, potentially with the use of a second meme.

As a meme is transfered, there are inevitably other memes which inhibit or promote it. For a meme to transfer, it is often beneficial for that meme to be a part of a person's beliefs, or factual matrix. Consider the following example:

A tells B about the idea of everybody having the vote
B is skeptical, and does not see why this should be
C tells B about the ideas of equality and fairness
B understands why everybody should be able to vote

In this example, a symbiotic relationship exists between the "one man, one vote" meme and the "everybody should be treated equally" meme. Though it could be said that the former is merely a component of the latter, the two are demonstrably different ideas. Equality is an integral idea in the USA, but black people were not permitted to vote until relatively recently. This is an example of memetic commensalism. Equality of voting benefits from equality of living, and is therefore more likely to be integrated into the political beliefs of a person, and therefore more likely to be transfered.

In actual fact, large groups of memes can work together, in a group. This super-meme can act either as a single unit, or as many individual memes, depending on the context. Equality is such a super-meme - there are many individual types of equality, between genders, races, age groups. Any one of these can be taken as an individual idea, or one can take the whole Equality Super-meme. To all intents and purposes, a super-meme will function in the same way as a meme, with the possible exception that in transfer, certain individual meme components may be lost. This is not always damaging to the super-meme.

For example, if I tell somebody from an alien culture about the notion that all people should have equal political and economic power, and that all races are equal, but I neglect to refer specifically to gender equality, it is possible that this will be inferred by the recipient of the super-meme. Another example is required:

If I describe a religion to a person unfamiliar with the idea, I might talk about how there is a God, and that everybody has an immortal soul, and there is a nice place where good people go when they die. While this does not contain any information about Hell in itself, the existence of such a place could be logically deduced from the fact that the souls must go somewhere, and they may not qualify for heaven. Note, it would not be a traditional "lake of fire" view of Hell, but nevertheless, it would maintain characteristics (i.e., it is where bad people go, and it is probably not as pleasant as heaven).

Indeed, it follows from evolution that the best super-memes are those which are not easily damaged by omission. The super-memes that would survive are those which can not only function without certain meme components, but which can even self-repair. In the above example of religion, the person that I transfered the meme to might transfer it to somebody else, and add the Hell aspect themselves, because it makes sense to them. And therein lies the key to self-repairing super-memes.

I therefore propose that a collection of memes is able to repair itself more efficiently if each meme logically supports the others. Furthermore, there should be a degree of redundancy in the collection of memes, whereby an individual idea can be alternatively generated by examination of the other ideas.

This would appear to hold true more often for spoken communication of memes than for written communication, where omission is logically more rare. Therefore, it is my assertion that the above theory can be tested by examining super-memes which pre-date the mass-production of written works, and those which are more recent. If I am correct, then redundancy is more likely to arise in the older memes, which should exhibit more signs of reinforcement and logical deduction. These traits would aid self-repair of the collective.

I am well aware that Spidrak may be the only person to whom this is even mildly interesting. However, it forms an approximation to the first part of the research paper I'm working on, and I felt it was worth putting here in case anybody had anything to say on the subject.... I do not expect it to be wholly accurate - I'm basing this on casual observation rather than scientific fact. I always rather thought that the work of others only serves to bias one's judgement. If I write on a subject where I do not know the existing work, I may well hit something that others miss, or provide a better explanation. As such, this may not consist with current thinking. Don't let that bother you :o)

(alternatively, I might have hit the nail on the head, and come up with exactly the same things that other people have come up with - in which case, I apologise if I am repeating obvious research)

Anyway, yeah, that's what's on my mind lately....

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you know, for the first time in a good long while I just looked at that and thought "nah, no fucking way am I reading that" ;o)

You'd never have understood it ;o)

I agree with David

Oh - well done on your test result. I was in a restaurant when the message arrived and I thought "Reply now or continue to eat spaghetti?" Guess which option won.

Dude, your dad and your best friend refuse to read that. Likewise myself.

u haec bene shund!

Cunts, the lot of you. I'm telling my mum on you.

... will smack your bot and make you wash your mouth out for using the c-word.

I really don't know where you pick up such disgusting language!

I hear where you are going with this , and you obviously grasp
the concept alot better than most on the journal-meme forum
who's only exposure to memes is silly web quizes, ( which ,
myself I consider the absolute underbelly of negentropy)but
for impact , instead of abstract concepts , I suggest providing
real life and proof of concept examples of your "types" in order
to maximize the clarity of the document.

A few come to mind:


o Abbey Hoffman & the LSD tainted water hoax that drew
the national guard.

o The "smart drugs meme" initiated by John Morgenthaler
in order to bring awareness to unpatentable drugs like
DHEA for treatment of HIV and AIDS


o GWB Sr's use of the Woody Allen / Mia Farrow Scandal in an
attempt to question the democratic parties morality.

Self Generating:

o Rodney King

I have a POC of my own @

which is in the field of information security, and it is a bit
difficult to grasp if you aren't familiar with the terrain, but
to make a long story short , it made it through to the worlds
biggest vulnerability databases and was accepted as reality
when in fact the whole thing was a construction.


google for "meme156"


Good luck with your endeavors.

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