Sunday, January 8, 2017

模倣子 Stating the Obvious

Stating the obvious appears to be another form of immunomeme, and often shows particularly how an immunomeme need have little or nothing to do with the meme(s) it defends against, in fact, it may be quite generic. Study of this form of immunomemetic defense may also shed light on whether immunomemes are parametric (1).

I think this essay may ask more questions than it answers. But I will try to answer them later, or determine that some of them are nonsense.

How do Immunomemes Function?
This seems like a really obvious question, but I've been trying to construct a theoretical model to underpin it, and it's not been easy, and I'm not sure I have enough data to support anything at this point. I'm working on the idea of memetic states (4) and (memetic state) transition matrices (6), all which run off of the theory that the function, or rather, action of memes within a memetic cohort is to cause a state transition. 

What about MIAOs? 
Is any immunomeme deployment the invocation of a MIAO? A simple counterexample such as "I don't think so" (7) suggests otherwise. Or does an immunomeme prevent the invocation of new MIAOs, or state transitions? Does a MIAO (or collection of MIAOs) define a state? Is it possible to think of a state which somehow exists independently of any MIAO? This is a very serious theoretical question. If in any given state of a cohort, is it always possible to identify the MIAO or MIAOs which are in play, and in any state transition is it possible to specify which MIAOs are deactivated and which new MIAOs are brought into play?

It may well be the case that, for example, extreme political movements, as we see time and again, use familiar MIAOs (or constellations of MIAOs (17)) and then anchor new memes to them, or as often as not, merely change the connections of memes to MIAOs, possibly tying MIAOs to one another in novel ways (17,18).

Equivalence of super-MIAOs (MIAOplexes) and memetic states
At this point a great many questions and possible theories to help describe the nature of memetic transitiions have been laid out. Do we like the idea of one-to-one equivalences of MIAOplexes to memetic states, i.e., does the deployment of any single meme, which, according to one theoretical model, result in a different set of MIAOs coming into play? Or, does a MIAOplex define a set of states and a set of memes linked to each state by a set of transition matrices?

This may provide us the beginnings of a practical definition of a memetic system, which further allows us to tie together MIAOs and memes and how memetic cohort membership is determined by them. A given MIAO may have many memes anchored to it, but it may be that when MIAOs are lashed together into MIAOplexes, only a subset of those memes are able to be activated, rather like the allowed electron states in a given atom are changed and restricted when the electron is bound up into a molecule.

Could this "memetic inventory pruning" process even be deterministic? Again, rather like the electrodynamics of molecular chemistry? In other words, if two MIAOs are brought together (or even more), is it possible to say a priori which memes will be active and which suppressed? Or is this always a tailoring/engineering process, and if so, how may it be accomplished?

Matrix Transitions
I would further like to posit that selection and optimization (2) are a matter of individual skill. The individual who is skilled at selecting high-resonance memes at many junctures may be able to become a memetic nexus, for instance. Said person may also be highly motivated to (and skilled at) deploy memes (and influence others to do likewise (8)) which keep the memetic pathway directed back into the memetic system in which they are the most skilled, i.e., towards their own "power center". In many cases, these deployed memes are probably immunomemes. Do powerful people tend to be infuriating, super-conservative, and could this explain why?

Again, memetic systems, which, we are thinking, are made up of MIAOplexes, with memes that are attached to each of the MIAOs (19) are strong or weak based on whether there are few or many easily-reached pathways that lead out of the system.

But how do memes cause transitions...?
It seems we're still at sea as to what a meme causing a state transition looks like. We can clearly identify memetic deployments, i.e., the invocation of a given meme (whether it's parametric or no), but how to identify memetic state? Perhaps the MIAOs involved (the "subject" of discussion or action) sheds light. This seems very relevant to immunomemes, since in principle these prevent transitions, but what kinds of transitions? Invocation of new MIAOs? Do immunomemes always resonate more than invader memes, and is that how they work? They provide a low-risk "go to option" for the memetic cohort, and therefor "snuff out" the invader since the invader is perceived as having high risk for uncertain reward? Could this be the basis for sycophancy? Agree with powerful person (memetic nexus?) and get guaranteed high reward?

In principle all memes in the entire memetic inventory of a cohort are available, but the perceived resonance (reward) potential may be so low that they are effectively not available to the transition matrices of the given MIAOplex. Hence the memetic inventory pruning associated with MIAO bonding and MIAOplex formation.

In the end, the definition of a memetic state is the memetic sub-inventory of deployable memes in a given situation. This implies that each person has a separate inventory (22), an ideo-inventory, if you will, and a separate set of states, in other words, their [sic] own transition matrix (22). This makes sense, since gender, age, position, status, etc., influence which memes one may deploy and which states they might lead to (23). Also, which meme succeeds in causing the transition (if simultaneously deployed by different individuals)? Theory states that whichever the cohort resonates with, which is predicated on the perceived reward, and this may cascade (24).

Summary, if not Conclusion
Okay, I've rambled quite a bit, and most of the substance of this is in footnotes. Rather than "conclusions", I think I have a lot of theoretical "maybes" to summarize:

1. MIAOs may be the basis for identifying what a memetic state is.

2. There may be such a thing as a MIAOplex (super-MIAO).

3. MIAO may join (bond) into MIAOplexes based on common, or shared memes

4. This theory of MIAO bonding and MIAOplexes may pave the way to a rigorous theory of the practice of memetic engineering

5. The Theory of MIAO bonding may or may not shed much light on disinurement theory

6. Immunomemes may function simply by "drowning out" invader memes (by offering more reward), and the status of the person deploying the immunomeme may be very relevant.

7. A "pruned" subset of the memes in a MIAOplex is all that is available to the sub-cohort

7.1. The pruned memetic inventory may be deterministic, or it may have to be tailored/engineered
7.2. A memetic state is simply a vertex on the directed (?) graph of the memes which become available at each memetic deployment, i.e., a transition matrix = a memetic state
7.3. Is it possible to identify memetic transition matrices and specify them rigorously?
7.4. Is pruning predicated on shared memes in the bonded MIAOs? If so, how?

8. The "granularity" of MIAO membership in a MIAOplex, i.e., which MIAOs are in play -- does this reveal anything, e.g., a "local" memetic inventory, the need for a meta-transition matrix, etc.?

9. The "robustness" ("strength") of a MIAOplex (memeplex) is predicated on the shortness, tightness of it's memetic pathways, and the paucity or prevalence of "exit memes" (25).

9.1. Inclusion of more MIAOs may strengthen a system, or weaken it? Why?
9.2. Do tightly bonded MIAOs in MIAOplexes strengthen a system and make it more conservative? Why or why not?

10. Physiological responses are memetic "dead ends" and this may form the basis of their appeal in human society (and also the shame, fanaticism, and fetishism associated with them).

11. What is the relation, if any, between "conservatism" and memetic nexuses, sycophancy, (short) pathway "circuits", and paucity/prevalence of "exit memes" (25)?

Okay, so lots of stuff to think about, including how to test these hypotheses. As usual, sub-cultures and small, memetically isolated cohorts are valuable testbeds.

Please comment!!

(1) Can the immunomeme substitute into its "text" part of the "input" of the meme it defends against (the "invading meme")? For example, "We should let women/African-Americans/Latinos into our club" could be defended against by "This isn't a club" or by stating the "obvious" (or unassailably (3) well-known) "We've never had women/latinos/afro-americans in our club before". The deployer of the defending meme tries to choose the "best" (2) immunomeme, i.e., the one most likely to resonate, or resonate the most strongly. The big question appears to be whether immunomemes really are  parametric, or merely can be, or indeed always are in one way or another, and whether this is important to their functioning or classification.

(2) How does deployment selection optimize? Or does it do anything like optimization? A model or algorithm for this seems to be an important part of theoretical development (see elsewhere). Also, what role does "risk" play in selection, i.e., gambling on a "bigger" memetic reward as opposed to a more "certain" one. The gamble is bigger/wider resonance vs. alienation (no resonance/reaction). Another decision is where a negative (or possibly self-deprecating) reaction is acceptable (see oppression of minority groups elsewhere). There may be a number of "catalytic" effects, e.g., high-status people deploying the meme, isolation of context, etc., that make meme deployment more attractive, i.e., perceived as more likely to resonate.

(3) Against which no successful memetic counterattack may be mounted. This is an important property of complaining immunomemes (complainomemes), and their appeal due to the fact that they provide reliable (if often modest) memetic rewards to the deployer (and resonators).

(4) The working definition of a memtic state is a collection of memes which are available to be deployed. How memetic states are related to MIAOs (5) is as yet unclear.

(5) Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object. A familiar, iconic (usually simple) object to which memes may attach, and the invocation of which makes all said memes available to the cohort.

(6) A state transition matrix has columns of memetic states (memetic inventories, effectively) and rows which are memes. Elements of the matrix are destination states. Thus, deployment of a meme causes the transition from the current state to the destination state. The transition matrix defines all of the memes available to the cohort from a given state, and the changing of the function of a meme, e.g., it's repurposing to cause it to transition to different states, or the addition of novel (or extant) memes as new rows, or extant (or new) states as available to transition to (as new rows). How new states may be created is unclear, but things like stories and games suggest themselves. MIAOs may be very important here. The relation between MIAOs and memetic states is unclear, but interesting. Creating novel memes and repurposing (changing the connections between rows and columns in the transition matrix) is still mysterious, but neologisms (which seem to spring up all the time), objects of art, and so on, appear to be examples.  How this all relates to selection optimization (2) is unclear, as is whether selection criteria (optimized or now) may be fit into this model or whether a further model is required.

(7) This immunomeme takes no parameters, and does not directly reference the meme it is countering, which is excellent for use in political rhetoric, by the way. I noted that Donald Trump, in the recent political debates, was quite skilled and consistent in not mentioning Hillary Clinton by name (while she mentioned "Donald" in almost every sentence), and thus avoided creating or reinforcing memetic attachments between (Hillary's) memes and pre-existing memes. Hillary on the other hand, was continually saying things like "Donald says he can fix the economy, but...something, something..." or "Donald says ObamaCare is a failure, something..." which is effectively, from a memetic viewpoint "Donald = fix economy" and "Donald right (me wrong): ObamaCare = Failure". This is basic linguistics, by the way, in terms of how humans understand speech events. So, in effect, every time Hillary Clinton opened her mouth, she was reinforcing (8) Trump's memes and MIAOs, while Donald Trump studiously refused to return the favor, so to speak. Trump diligently hit his own memes again and again, and these memes were virulent (9) and made simple assertions which usually avoided mentioning Hillary Clinton, e.g., "ObamaCare is a disaster", "Bengazi was a disaster", "The economy is a disaster", etc., except when to directly attack Clinton, e.g., "Hillary (11) bungled Bengazi (which was a disaster (12))", "Hillary is a liar/cheat", "Hillary failed as a Senator", "Hillary's lying about her e-mail scandal", "Hillary should be put in prison (for lying, cheating, e-mail, etc. (12))", etc.

(8) An example of pseudo-mutation, by the way. If a meme is perceived to come from multiple sources, it is seen as more "credible" or more "virulent" (likely to garner memetic rewards by having a broader cohort base). By restating Trump's memes over and over, Clinton cemented his MIAO configuration (state transition matrix) at the expense of her own.

(9) Marketing people would say "sticky" (10) instead of "successful" or "virulent". They propagate well, usually because they contain simple (and familiar ideas, usually MIAO-invoking)

(10) I define "sticky" as an inherent property of an "object" or MIAO which cannot be removed or hidden, e.g., gender or race, the national or company origin of a product, etc. An individual cannot (easily) change their skin color or gender characteristics, and thus are "stuck" with the memes attached to them, e.g., racial prejudice, misogyny, bad (or good) brand reputation, etc.

(11) I was struck by the "personalization" of the campaign, i.e., the use of first names and such. This effectively served to MIAOify the opponent, making it easier to attach memes. Hence, it could be argued that consistent use of a label (or icon) for the opponent advances that, as well as the consistent use of the memes themselves, including forcing the opponent to repeat the attacking memes verbatim (as could be argued, Trump also did well). Also, it seems possible to establish a separate MIAO for one's own attachment of positive qualities (memes) and forcing the opponent to attach their negative memes to another MIAO, or invoke the positive one. Hillary Clinton chose to consistently deploy negative memes by referring to Donald Trump as "Donald", leaving her opponent free to heap positive memes onto the "Trump" MIAO, which indeed, he had done for his entire career, so Clinton's invocation of the Trump MIAO would've hurt her in any case. By contrast, Trump invoked "The Clintons" (MIAO) and thus immediately summoned up the (largely negative) memetic historical inventory of both Hillary and Bill over the past 40-odd years (Bill's sex scandals, both their business dealings, and so on) and hammered on those memes, as well as attaching all sorts of new negative memes to the "Hillary" MIAO (7). Trump even managed to stand up a "The Don" MIAO which, being subtly grammatically different, could also act as a positive meme anchoring site, and thus allow people to make the tiny jump from the Hillary-beleaguered "Donald" MIAO to the semantically neighboring "The Don" MIAO.

(12) Memes can also re-enforce one another within a memetic system, usually by causing each other to be repeated, or re-enacted, in the course of the following of memetic pathways (13)

(13) Memetic pathways are series of transitions between memetic states in the set of transition matrices that make up a memetic system. Pathways that lead out of the system (15) weaken it, while "circuits" or "loops" (the tighter the better) strengthen it and tend to enlarge the cohort (14) by making it easier for new members to join thanks to fast repetion.

(14) at this point, an entirely theoretical assertion.

(15) This may be the function of comedy and other forms of entertainment resulting in laughing or crying, since these are effectively memetic dead ends (16, 14).

(16) A memetic dead end, as the name suggests, is a member of a transition matrix that specifies no destination state (14). A physiological response may be such an element, that is, laughter, tears, sexual orgasm, sleep, pain, possibly meditation, drug experience, etc. Memes may invoke them, but they themselves represent a kind of final state, or system "reset button", from which no specific set of memetic transitions are defined. They resonate, i.e., the invoker of the triggering meme and the triggered cohort all receive a memetic reward, but they enter a "non-memetic state" as a result.

(17) If we determine that MIAOs are intimately linked to states, or that they are somehow synonymous therewith, then we immediately have the question of whether MIAOs may function in concert. I strongly suspect this is true. We could posit "micro-states" in which only one MIAO at a time is in play, which might yield a finer granularity, or this could be a red herring. It could also be the case that collections of MIAOs determine states (in terms of the contents of transition matrices) or even that the memetic anchoring of MIAOs is dependent upon the constellation of MIAOs rather than individual ones.  Further research required here.

(18) For instance, the Nazi "Jesus hates Jews", or the post-WWII American "women belong at home (and all the concomitant memetics attached thereto)". The stickiness (10) of Jewishness and femaleness greatly facilitate meme anchoring, although the Soviet "counter-revolutionary" or the American "communist/pinko" or "drug/sex/etc. addict" are more generally applicable, while being less sticky. In other words, Jewishness is a MIAO, Jesus is a MIAO, so the lashing together (20) of these two MIAOs forms a super-MIAO to which things like "the Jewish problem" to which further "The Final Solution" may be anchored. Likewise, "womanliness (sticky)", "the virtuous woman, wife and mother", "hearth and home", and "the protective/providing/hard-working man" are all shopworn positive MIAOs, and their lashing together yields a super-MIAO to which all sorts of memes of the subjugation and oppression of women may be anchored, including but by no means limited to lack of right to education/employment, presumption of stupidity/ineptitude, lack of sexual freedom, absolute need to be married (for men as well, but moreso for women), lack of right to own property, men's absolute need to always be fully employed (no "stay-at-home dads"), and questioning of women's right to vote.

(19) Could it be possible that shared memes between MIAOs are what determine whether said MIAOs may form a super-MIAO or MIAOplex? If so, this simplifies things enormously, since we can engineer novel memetic systems by adding memes to certain MIAOs, which in turn makes them able to be attached to MIAOs (or MIAOplexes) to which they previously could not. Such memes may even exist latently, and if re-enforced, disparate MIAOs may be joined, rather like the function of a catalyst in chemistry, which again, enormously simplifies and clarifies the process of memetic engineering.

(20) For instance, by strengthening the "(Jewish) King Herod handed Jesus over to the Romans to be killed" and to a lesser extent "Jesus was betrayed by (Jewish) Judas (who also kept the money for the group of disciples, i.e., money-grubbing Jew meme)" (19), the lashing together of these two MIAOs into a Nazi MIAOplex may be accomplished. Forget that the Romans actually killed Jesus, that Jesus himself was a Jew, Jesus is the Son of God so getting put to death is no biggie and he rose again three days later anyway, Jesus' crucifixion and death were the fulfillment of the Covenant of Abraham and the gift of Forgiveness of Sin and Resurrection to Eternal Life are the basis for the entirety of the Christian faith, Christians believe Christ to be Elijah (the greatest Jewish prophet for whom an empty chair is left at seders) returned to Earth, Jesus' entire life (except for Joseph and Mary's refuge in Egypt just after his birth) was spent in the Jewish Holy Land, and it was all God's loving plan anyway, according to every tenet of Christianity, and so if anything the Jewish People, by giving birth to Jesus, providing the environment for him to perform his Great Works, and finally the context wherein he could be crucified by the Romans, were fulfilling their millennias-old role as God's Chosen People. But, as I hope I've made clear by now, memes don't have to be logical or consistent, or make any damn sense at all, or be good for human beings.(21)

(21) all the more reason to be wary of demagogues like Hitler and others (hopefully not Donald Trump...!) and the MIAOplexes they create by co-opting old ideas, since once these MIAOplectic monsters are created, they please themselves, and putting the genie back into the bottle (or the toothpaste back into the tube) may be very difficult indeed (and may require the deaths of millions, as we've seen time and again).

(22) Although this may average out to a very similar one in large groups, as in Hari Seldon's Psychohistory from Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy

(23) For instance, children are seldom listened to or taken seriously in American society, and the same goes for women and minorities. They have a different, often restricted (but sometimes larger) transition matrix, or they may have a number of memes that all transition to the same place.

(24) For instance, if a high-status person agrees/resonates with a deployed meme, then others may be able to obtain memetic rewards by resonating (agreeing with, laughing supportively, etc.) with the second person.

(25) Memes that transition out of the system, i.e., to a state where different MIAOs may be in play, or the set of available memes changing dramatically. More importantly, memes that begin a pathway that does not return to the main graph of the current system, or only by circuitous and/or unlikely routes. Can be thought of as a narrow bridge transition between "memetic islands" (graphs with lots of internal connections but few going in or out), and worst of all, only going out and never coming back in.
模倣子 Essay - Memetics

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