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模倣子 Why are Laughter (and Tears) Contagious?

Laughter is the goal of comedic performances, as well as any effort, political or otherwise, to heap derision and ridicule on someone. I like to think of these as 'leaf nodes,' i.e., there is no transition to another clearly determined memetic state from a state of laughter or crying. Is that even true? However, if somebody is laughing (or crying?), is our being drawn to start laughing as well an example of a memetic phenomenon? Do we get a memetic reward from starting laughing when others are already doing it, or even just starting up ourselves when we perceive that the time is ripe?

Are things like applauding or giving standing ovations similar?

If They Laugh, It's A Thing
Comedy is the subversion of expectations, and these are psycho-cultural in nature. This description is fundamentally macromemetic in nature. I have long advocated whether something is in the media, or whether it makes people laugh as a razor for determining whether a given meme is part of the supermemeplex, and also how it is connected to the system and how it is used.

Sad Songs
I find that I cry upon hearing the US National Anthem, and indeed other national anthems as well (1). I also cry upon hearing any number of other songs. You can think of a song as a MIAO, but you can also think of it as a sequence of memes (words, notes), so for an individual, or a cohort, it's a sequence of memetic states that one jumps between, one after the other, to finally arrive at a state where one is weeping or feeling some other feeling.

Blueprints for Experiments
An interesting filter for which memes could be of interest to investigate, or which systems of memes, could be those that make people laugh. Why do the French (supposedly) laugh at Jerry Lewis movies? It probably says something about French culture. But what does that mean? It probably says something about some of the minute details of the structure of French culture. Do Americans laugh at Monty Python because of how it explores fundamental human existential absurdity using the lens of British upper-middle-class culture and history...or is it just the funny accents and the superficial silliness?

If something makes people laugh, that means they have internalized the MIAOs and memeplexes that allow them to resonate with the memes that make up the comedic content. Start with the laughter and 'work backwards.'

Further, rather than MRIs or such to identify the reward centers (3) of the brain, coming up with a set of memes that induce comedic responses, how these are set up, how subjects interviewed (2) follow paths that lead to a laughter response .

Summary and Conclusions
The hypothesis is that laughter (and tears) are a memetic resonance response. It follows that the telling of a joke, the setting up of a comedic situation and eliciting a laughter response from an audience (cohort), is an example of a successful memetic deployment by a memetic agent or memetic nexus.

It further follows that the memes deployed to set up the joke, the MIAOs, are all part of the memetic inventory of the cohort, hence we know them all and their structure and memetic state interaction matrices a priori. Starting from the laugh and working backwards to the set-up, we effectively get a memetic state transition sequence (memetic loop) 'for free' that we know leads to resonance. It's much harder to just 'dive into' the sea of the memetic inventory of a cohort and start cataloging, hoping to unearth some memetic loops in the process.

It's an easy path to getting a lot of meaningful pictures of some of the memetic transition matrices, memetic loops, and state transitions. It could also point to actual memetic nexuses, which may be harder to spot than one might think (4). An end-to-end memetic loop is nothing to sneeze at, even if it's not a 'complete' picture of the whole supermemeplex (5).

In short, if they laugh, it's a thing, and you can easily get a picture of a fairly complete set of memetic transitions within the system.

(1) Such as Kimigayo, though ironically I'm not too sure about La Marseillaise or God Save the Queen. Go figga. I'll have to double-check those.

(2) i.e., subjected to memetic hacking, i.e., an interview process to evince, without the subject's direct knowledge, which memes of which they are inurred. A more aggressive form of memetic hacking seeks to evince the immunomemes of the subject's idiomemeplex, and this is accomplished by challenging the subject's memeplex, resulting in deployments, or meme-deployments ("what if....") of immunomemes shielding their memetic system.

(3) Which is still a super-good idea, by the way -- it's just that comedy would probably be cheaper and easier to carry out, easier to get lots of data from.

(4) One could imagine various kingmakers or éminences grises that would be hard to find without a deep memetic analysis of some kind. It may not be that all memetic nexuses have their own talk show, best-selling book, or hold high office.

(5) As if there's much hope of getting that completely characterized!




模倣子 Why Do We Like Negativity?

We seem to prefer to say negative things about things over positive ones. It's easier to rubbish somebody or their idea than it is to support it. Is this real, or is it just a perception? I think Macromemetics should be able to provide an answer to both these quandaries.

Enter the Immunomeme
What is an immunomeme? I'm still working on a good definition for them. First off, memes are memes are memes, and calling something a 'signal meme' or an 'immunomeme' is probably going to turn out to be a judgement call rather than an appeal to a hard definition. The definition of an immunomeme, that I'm working with, is as follows:

An immunomeme is a meme who's primary action in the operation of the memeplex that comprises it is that of preventing said memeplex from changing. That is, any change in the state transition matrices of the memeplex, in other words, from losing existing memes, gaining additional memes, or the way in which memes trigger one another within the memeplex.

That brings us to the First Law of Immunomemetics:

Any stable memeplex must contain an immunomemeplex.

A Nod to Hard Science
I'd like to quickly mention, sort of as an aside, that a major goal of the development of Macromemetics is to develop a system of units of measure. I believe this to be possible, but so far I have made few inroads. I have identified a number of system properties, such as residual memetic debt, for example, but have not yet successfully quantified them. Being able to quantify something like RMD, based on quantitative measurements, would be a huge boon to sub-fields of Macromemetics, such as Macroeconomics, in being able to provide solid numbers for things like sensitivity of interest rates or wages or other things, again, for instance.

This brings us back to the idea of Macromemetics being a real-life implementation of the dream that Isaac Asimov put forward in The Foundation Trilogy, that is, the science of Psychohistory, put forth by Hari Seldon, in which the exact behavior of large numbers of people could be predicted deterministically with high levels of accuracy. My hope is that Macromemetics shall provide this, and not even with the requirement that the population in question be "large."

At any rate, I'm getting together more and more concepts and bit by bit the laws that govern them, and the next step will be assigning units to these quantities and identifying the real-world measurements that are needed to feed computations based upon these laws. After that, begin experimentation to test the theories. Of course, I'm already conducting experiments to confirm the qualitative validity of many of these principles, I just don't have an experimental and theoretical edifice in place to allow me to quantitatively make claims about exactly how much it will cost or how long it will take to shift such and such interest rate, increase employment or education, will this or that political election campaign, sell that product profitably, win that war, etc.  My belief is that it can be accomplished, however.


Back to Negativity
Do we need to define 'negativity' in order to do this? Perhaps. Do we need an exact working definition of an immunomeme in order to do so? Why would I even ask that? I had a chat with a friend the other day about talking about people talking about films they like or don't. She said she doesn't like The Big Lebowski, while I identify as a The Big Lebowski liker (1). Let's imagine the two as memetic systems (2), i.e., TBL- and TBL+. Actually, let's not imagine that, since we may not have a good idea of what a memeplex is (2). What we can immediately agree on is that we have a memetic inventory (4) associated with the film (8).

Examples include Jeff Bridges wearing a bathrobe through the whole film, wearing sunglasses, calling himself 'The Dude' and such. John Goodman's behavior was readily identifiable, i.e., he carried firearms where not permitted, he yelled about a lot of things (not everything), etc. There were the 'Germans' who dropped a ferret in the bathtub, and so on.

A concept which I have not completely fleshed out or included into theory yet is that of 'parametric immunomemes' and 'omniphagic immunomemes.' These may also be thought of as 'immunomeme generators,' in other words, simple 'machines' that generate immunomemes from some memetic inventory, presumably that of a film like TBL, possibly also including a bigger set of

'Omniphagic' means 'eats anything and everything' and so could consist of immunomemes such as 'it was dumb,' 'there wasn't enough action/sex in it,' 'it lacked originality,' 'I just didn't like it,' etc.

'Parametric' means that the immunomeme (3) is a kind of template that generates specific memes based on inputs, which can be other memes (6). Elsewhere I use the notation for memes as say_its_stupid! while an all-caps object is a MIAO, e.g., TBL_FILM. We could go further, break some new ground, by imaging TBL_FILM.BATHROBE to denote the bathrobe Jeff Bridges wore the whole time, the fact that he wore it the whole time, the bathrobe-wearing as a part of the character 'The Dude.' Indeed, we could posit the additional MIAO of TBL_FILM.THE_DUDE (7).

Now we can see how a parametric immunomeme could generate actual immunomemes against the position of somebody holding the TBL+ view.

tackedon![TBL.BATHROBE] = bathrobe_tackedon! = 'Jeff Bridge's character's bathrobe-wearing image seemed tacked on.'

takedon![TBL.BOWLING] = bowling_tackedon! = 'The characters' interest in bowling seemed tacked on.'

annoying![TBL.GOODMAN_RAGE] = goodman_rage_annoying! = 'John Goodman's frequent rages were annoying.'

Is the relative ease with which anti-TBL (or any film, or any idea) memes may be generated a factor in why negativity is 'easier' (which may not even really be true)?

Do Immunomemetic Generators Equal Negativity?
My immediate feeling is 'no,' but it think it's worth exploring. It's kind of like the matter-antimatter imbalance in the Universe (9). What I'm trying to say is that we may find that it's easier to conceive of immunomemetic generators that generate negative immunomemes that attack positive ones than it is the reverse. Or it may be more correct to say that more immunomemes that a successful memeplex can generate to defend itself tend to be negative. It may be harder to generate lots of positive immunomemes, say, that defend a liking for The Big Lebowski, than it is to generate immunomemes to attack it, that is, to defend the system for disliking the film.

A graphical approach may shed light.  First, we have the MIAOs of the system, represented by 'solid' balls, since they usually represent real objects.  As mentioned before, symbolically, MIAOs are written in ALL CAPS, like here with BATHROBE and BOWLING.

fig 1. MIAOs of TBL

Next we talk about 'Memetic States.' A State is still kind of a nebulous object (and it is shown as a 'cloud'), since it represents something like the memetic deployment readiness of the cohort at a given moment, typically thought of just after some meme has been deployed. This is simple to imagine in the case of a memetic cohort of two people discussing their disagreement about the film, The Big Lebowski, i.e., turn-taking, what each person says presents the other person with a set of possible responses, and depending upon what the response a choice is returned to the previous person. It's rather like a ping-pong match.

With large numbers of people you of course start to have all sorts of race conditions and 'jinx events,' to decide who is the next person to deploy a meme, and how many other people will actually receive and respond to that meme and so forth. We also see emerge things like memetic nexuses, etc., but I think we can look at our positive-negative immunomeme idea in a simple two-person system.

Memetic states are written in CamelCaps. And of course as we've seen, memes are written in lowercase with an exclamation mark at the end (10), with underbars allowed, e.g., steal_this_book! We are now positing the idea of a meme that can produce other memes, in this case, immunomemes. Those memes then potentially become permanent members of the memetic system, in this case, the memetic system that denigrates The Big Lebowski, or more to the point, people who claim to like the film.

AnyState [TBL.BATHROBE] say_bathrobe_cool! => denigrate! [TBL.BATHROBE] = 'The bathrobe was dumb.'

This effectively takes us to a state where the film has been criticized in some way. This also by the way represents creation of a meme that links two MIAOs together, in other words, just mentioning the MIAO gives the opponent the chance to meme-pair it with a negative MIAO, in this case 'dumb-ness' but it could be anything. We could wonder about whether it's meme-pairing or MIAO-pairing. Invoking a MIAO is effectively a meme, rather like forwarding a cat video to a friend -- the meme is the forwarding, since you are not imitating the cat video itself, which is a MIAO, or in this case, a 'meow-meow.'  And MIAOs are anchoring points for memes, i.e., more mean stuff to say about your favorite movie, so we've effectively created a new MIAO, TBL.BATHROBE:DUMB, which may be used later.

But why can't the TBL+ person create something like TBL.BATHROBE:COOL, and if so, why is this a weaker new MIAO than TBL.BATHROBE:DUMB?

Summary and Conclusions
I'm trying to keep these regular essays short, and apologies for not creating more graphics to go with this one, and for wrapping up early. I still don't feel that I've nailed down what an immunomeme is, but I feel that I've hit on a number of new and interesting ideas. Among them the idea of the immunomemetic generator (12), as well as the idea of MIAO or meme pairing as the result of the action of an immunomeme (11).

If I can identify a mechanism for this, make it clear, then I can probably start to answer the original question of this essay, which is whether negativity is more 'prevalent' and a fundamental reason why this should be so. Or perhaps I can demonstrate that it is not in fact the case, as show why it should appear to be so.

This could turn out to be something like Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem, which concludes that it's easier to ask questions than to answer them and gives a mathematical proof of this. There may be a macromemetical proof in the offing that it's easier to be a knee-biter than it is to actually do or say something constructive and productive.

(1) A distinction, i.e., "I like it" as opposed to "I'm an X liker," which may prove telling.

(2) I have a few essays that describe some of my attempts to describe memetic systems visually and/or mathematically. One introduces the concept of memetic states and the other uses that to describe 'cheating' and other behaviors within the Blue Shirt Tuesday Doughnut Experiment. Finally, in another I describe a mathematical/computational model of memetic states within a memeplex which may lay the groundwork for modeling a memetic system of any size.

(3) or the 'immunomeme generator.' A parametric meme takes some imitable behavior, in this case, speech events about a film, and alters or adds to them based on some parameter. For example 'X is boring' or 'X is unoriginal' which could produce 'John Goodman's rage is boring,' or 'The Dude's bathrobe in unoriginal."

(4) And a lot of it is memes, and a lot of it is MIAOs (5). memes are imitable behaviors, MIAOs are objects, ideas, etc., which anchor and invoke memes.

(5) Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object

(6) Actually, I may have to think on this one -- it may be the parametric immunomemes require as input MIAOs. I tend to stick with textual/speech events, but the idea of putting out your hand to shake and then raising to a salute (like President Donald Trump did with the North Korean generals during his visit), may represent a kind of 'memetic hack' that might be able to be characterized as parametrically immunomemetic in nature. Food for thought.

(7) So we can go with TBL_FILM.THE_DUDE.BATHROBE to be equivalent to TBL_FILM.BATHEROBE -- it doesn't really matter. But we have the concept of 'nested MIAOs' where we can start to think of something along the lines of an entire culture along the lines of USA_CULTURE.MOM, USA_CULTURE.APPLE_PIE, USA_CULTURE.JULY_4TH.FIREWORKS. Indeed, we can have a memetic state like BePatriotic [USA_CULTURE.JULY_4TH] set_off_fireworks!, bbq!, watch_parade! In other words, a special set of memes are available to the memetic state of being patriotic when it's the 4th of July, in America.

(8) Bathrobes, sunglasses, wheelchairs, German Nihilist, area rugs, bowling, guns, names like "The Dude," and so forth, as well as more complex ones.

(9) I may be trying to explain something simpler in terms of something more complex, or at least explaining something that requires a lot of specialty knowledge to grasp using something (the fact that the Universe is almost all matter and almost no antimatter, and nobody has a good explanation as to why).

(10) In Japanese, a meme is written with the katakana letters 'suru' at the end, regardless of whether the name of the meme is a verb or a noun.

(11) The idea of the special action of an immunomeme being that of pairing two ideas, or MIAOs, is an old idea for me. I just have never gotten all that close to a way of expressing it until now.

(12) I have been kicking around the idea of omniphagic versus parametric immunomemes for quite some time now, and I feel I've gotten a few insights here.