模倣子 Immunomemetic Cheese-Dicks in the Platoon

In the movie Platoon one of the derogatory names used by the experienced soldiers deployed in the infantry in the Vietnam War for newcomer soldiers to the field was "cheese-dick". This is a fairly obvious reference to smegma. There are all sorts of strange memes associated with this word, this concept. Well, all memes and memetic systems (memeplexes) tend to be strange, but lets have a look.

First off, since smegma, whatever it is, accumulates under the foreskin, and most American men, certainly almost all men at the time of the Vietnam War, are circumcised, they wouldn't have smegma. Again, whatever the hell smegma is, Americans wouldn't know what it is with any level of detail from personal experience.

This is an interesting example of an immunomeme and how immunomemes can function. The idea that one is somehow surrounded by others in the platoon who have cheese on their dicks and that derision is being heaped on them as a result makes the circumcised boy happy that he is circumcised, even though he might otherwise be quite unhappy about it, and thus this immunomeme defends the circumcision memeplex. In other words, a non-existent, effectively imaginary other person is being hated for some property which effectively no one possesses, certainly not visibly.

One can see a similarity to homophobia and also religion here. Homosexuality is invisible and most (American) men would never see it or otherwise encounter it personally, but at some level they know that it is a horrible thing and to avoid it like The Plague. They know that touching other men in certain ways or in certain contexts or talking about certain things or wearing certain clothes will all potentially attract the attacks which are constantly and viciously directed against these "others" who are somehow "real" even though one never sees them. By the same token, religionists preach of "the wicked" and "sinners" or the "children of Satan" who are at least invisible, perhaps walking among us, and in the extreme don't exist at all, and yet "the faithful" live in fear of them and even more so of becoming them and reaping not so much the wrath of G-d almighty as the active and readily-demonstrable hatred of their fellows in the congregation. Other examples, such as drug addicts, abound.

Back to "cheese-dicks" and smegma and the "alogic"1 of immunomemes and memes in general. The whole concept breaks down under the most basic application of logic. "Smegma" is apparently a Yiddish term which simply means "odor". Even American medical documents describe smegma as "cheese-like", and they also state that smegma appears under the foreskin and the clitoral hood. Men with foreskins produce the same odor as women2, which, again, Americans probably also don't generally know. This odor has little to do with washing. Yes, it will go away after a wash, but it comes right back about twenty minutes later. It is perfectly natural. If one goes for days and days without washing, either ears, eyes, teeth, toes, vulvas, or foreskins, one might expect cheesy stuff to develop on any of these places, but that might prompt one to then wash, or to visit a medical professional3. Naturally not only do few if any Americans have any truck with men with cheese-like substances on their penises, they probably have seldom encountered women with cheese on their clitorises, whatever their sexual predilections.

Obviously non-Jews survived for thousands of years without cutting off their foreskins. When I pointed out to a nurse friend that women somehow survived without an equivalent procedure to preserve much-needed hygiene, she replied "you can't just lay us open" effectively saying that because you could cut off half of the skin on a man's penis that somehow made it necessary. Again, memes are alogical, and medical professionals are not immune. Americans somehow miraculously survived prior to 1870 when circumcision was begun, too. Our pre-Stone-Age ancestors were obviously barely hanging on until they invented stone blades and were able to slice off their deadly foreskins, even though the procedure would've been fatal in easily 50% of cases. All of this is clearly sheer nonsense, yet comfortably resides alongside other American cultural mainstays such as stopping the car at stop signs, brushing one's teeth, answering the telephone when it rings, and flushing the toilet.

The point is that it seems to be possible to heap perfectly illogical and inconsistent hatred and derision on some group of invisible others which on the most cursory reflection can be shown to not even exist, certainly not in the form suggested. Further, the "abuse" of this imaginary other serves to preserve and defend the status quo by causing the individual to cherish and even actively cultivate their difference from this imagined "hated other". At the risk of anthropomorphizing the memetic system (memeplex), the shape and form of the imaginary "hated other", which is more easily manipulated since it is not real, can be used to shape and control the desired behavior of individuals in the memetic cohort4. This is very relevant to memetic engineering5, however. Churches, as mentioned6, many (if not most) governments, Harry J. Anslinger, the Father of the American Drug War7, and even Edward Bernays, the Father of Public Relations, are interesting examples of organizations and individuals who have used this principle to great effect.

1Memes are neither logical nor illogical. They are one or the other when it serves them, and a logical meme may pair up with an illogical one in the same memeplex without it being a problem. "Inconsistency" is an alien concept to memeplexes.
2caused by the compound squalene, found in tomatoes and sharks, which apparently explains the fishy odor, again, present in both women and (uncircumcised) men.
3In America this could be problematic, however, since while cheese between the toes would prompt a prescription for an ointment and a recommendation for a better washing régime, the same or lesser condition with the foreskin would lead directly to amputation. Go figga.
4The collection of people, minds, who share the same memetic system in question.
5The activity of designing and implementing an artificial memeplex, or deliberately altering an existing one.
6Creating ideas such as "the sinner", "Satan", their own conception of "G-d" (which varies from church to church and which they fight over endlessly), "witches", etc.
7Anslinger spend vast resources to create an artificial image of the "marihuana [sic] smoker" (see Reefer Madness, et al), and the "drug addict", to justify his activities and policies.


模倣子 Sex, power laws, and networks

From the book Linked, numbers of sexual partners don't follow a bell curve but a power law distribution. Swedish  and American data.

Female strategy: to mate with one exceptional male and then trick one or more inferior but reliable males into helping with the resultant offspring. Ideal siring male is by definition not one of the assisters since exceptional males are, again, by definition, impregnating multiple females, since that is the definition of "successful".

This suggests a percolation phenomenon, that is, the pressure from females on males is to be "loyal" until a male "graduates" to the state of being "desirable by everyone" in which case total lack of loyalty is forgiven, even expected.

This can be seen to resemble nodes in a scale-free network. There may be nodes at all levels, for example the Earvin "Magic" Johnsons with 20,000 sexual encounters (which is apparently not really so exceptional) to others with only a few hundred or even more commonly (for men) a half-dozen or fewer. A male who is a Don Juan at a local level may be a minor node as we move toward the "Magic" Johnson level.

Nonetheless, at every level we expect the same sort of phase transition from schlub to suave, from boner to debonair. It's the female sexual strategy that seems to drive this phase transition morphology, if indeed it exist. I wonder if there's some preëxisting set of data or experiment that could be done to test this stuff.

I'm not sure if anything similar could be said about the male mating strategy. Women are trying to trick men as the primary focus of their strategy, but it seems men are also trying to trick men. But how, and is there a phase transition, power law, or scale-free network process going on?

Paternity is probabilistic, for one. However, it's a fact that women tend to for whatever reason have sex with their lovers during their most fertile times, so there may be a skewing from mere number of couplings.

Maybe there's a reproductive payoff, that is, go big or go home, or, unless one exceeds a certain threshold of lovers, being a Don Juan doesn't pay. Biology, including tribe size, "culture", and available resources, govern the female choices that basically determine how easy or difficult it is to be a "dupe" or a Don Juan. For example, if the females demand high levels of support from the males and do nothing but direct care of young children themselves, then men will tend to be schlubs and there will be greater reproductive reward (for males) from being a schlub. But also a much greater downside risk of loss (to males) if one is the victim of a Don Juan, that is, if one's female partner "cheats" with a Don Juan.

Memetics may have something to do with this, by the way. It may have little influence on female sexual strategy, but a meme-driven world could have a drastic impact on the male strategy and on the position of the percolation point where a male switches from a schlub to a Don Juan (raising it). In other words, just impregnating lots of women transmits one's genes but not ones memes so the transition of a species, like humans, to a genetic-memetic dual replicator dynamic should produce increased male "loyalty" but not increased female loyalty. Being loyal serves male memes (if not their genes), and so produces downward pressure on Don Juanism.

By contrast, if females are very self-sufficient and get most or all of their livings independently, in theory all females will try to copulate with the most desirable males whom they will only expect to be around for impregnation purposes and make do with inferior males the rest of the time. In the latter case, a schlub male would sire offspring only by dint of persistence and effectively by dumb luck. It seems that increased female self-determination drives Don Juanism upwards1.

This brings us back to the idea that whatever determines the expression of female reproductive strategy, sometimes described as the "choosy girl" versus "easy girl", or perhaps more cynically, tricking males openly or sneakily, is the thing that governs this phase change phenomenon in the male, that is, schlubism versus Don Juanism.

But this doesn't seem to fit exactly with what we discussed above, and also seems unfair to the female in general. It seems no matter what females do they're lying or cheating somebody. Whether women are supposed to "be loyal" or "not cheat" or what-have-you implies a kind of ownership of women, by men (and by each other?). The historical extreme "solutions" have been locking women up in harems, chastity belts, nunneries for young girls, cruel enforcement of fidelity in marriage6, and on the other side the denigration of and even violence against independent women such as spinsters2, prostitutes4, career women3, and so forth7.

Even if we set aside the horrible cruelty and ridiculousness of these "solutions", we have to recognize that they are highly, if not totally, ineffective (at preventing female "infidelity"). It may behoove men, or rather, society in general (since women are just as involved in their own oppression), to recognize that women's sexuality is simply too powerful to be controlled or contained, and that it probably doesn't make sense to try anyway. Perhaps we need to think of "preventing female infidelity" in the same kind of terms as "preventing the invisible purple elves from splurfing our magic pancake syrup". In other words, we made up these imaginary things like "invisible purple elves" who are able to "splurf" (whatever that is) our "magic pancake syrup" (sounds tasty, and I can almost imagine what it is, but not really). Maybe things like "wife" and "cheat" (that sounds like something familiar...but at what?) and "marriage" all need to be thought of in similar terms. Science has been doing this sort of thing for a long time with concepts and terms like "elements"5, humors, phlogiston, plum pudding model, orbital model, the ether, Newtonian gravity, quarks, black holes, relativity, strings, photons, alchemy, etc.

We get hung up on terms and concepts and their relationships, but eventually we get over it and we invent new ones.

 1But is this even true? There is also the milkman or the "wait a minute Mr. Postman" effect of males who are in regular contact with females who are ostensibly committed to (married to) other males. This is similar to the effect of young women being in office environments, à la Mad Men or "office ladies" (in Japan), but these women are not pretending to other men that they are committed to them, i.e., they are not cockolding anyone. That is, they are honestly "available".
2Women who could make enough money with the then-miraculous invention of the spinning wheel to support themselves.
3An expression for marrying a woman is to "make an honest woman out of her"...go figga.
4Calling them "working women", slut, whores, etc., both by men and by other women (internalized oppression).
5Used to be earth, wind, fire, and water, now we think in terms of hydrogen through uranium.
6Including divorcing women when the system allowed them no other means of support.
7Witch burnings targeted women of independent means.

漫画 Hidden (Underpants) Matrix

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模倣子 Memetic Invasion

The processes of immunomemetic attack and memetic invasion are clearly related. The way in which a memetic system repels an invader is relevant to a memetic invasion succeeding, i.e., a novel, alien meme or memeplex insinuating itself into a virgin memetic fabric(1).
Earlier I put out the idea that the mechanism where by an immunomeme "shuts down" an attack is by making the salient individuals, i.e., the targeted in-group cohort, less receptive to incoming memes. One model I'm working on for this is the concept of a memetic state. A memetic state is a set of the possible memes which may be invoked, that is, which will resonate, within the given cohort at the given moment. Signal memes serve to alter the cohort by signaling a higher level of group intimacy, e.g., we're all a member of some more specific and intimate group so that we may all begin to use an appropriately expanded set of memes such as religious metaphors or references, jargon, epithets, colorful language, sports or hobby references, etc.
An interesting counterexample is the "D&D nerd" who starts going on about their latest "character" or "adventure campaign", blissfully unaware that none of his (or her, but often enough "his") interlocutors are non-players and are less than fully able to appreciate the earth-shattering significance of how a modified die roll led to an "epic hit" and so on. Instances where these signal meme interactions fail to establish the appropriate memetic state or to re-establish a "lower" memetic state when inappropriateness is detected are perhaps telling but also perhaps for another essay. Non-counter-examples include specialists in the same field (scientists, engineers, artists, etc.), religious people, sports fans (of the same sport), beer/wine/coffee/cigar/music aficionados, etc. Out-group members can attest to a feeling of alienation, which points up the increased level of intimacy engendered by these signal memes and the "permission" they give to enter a higher memetic state where a broader range of memes are available to be deployed and resonated with.
I mentioned earlier how the number of in-group and "secret" in-group memes between the genders in America is huge compared to the number of "interface" (2) memes. Some (American) men may have had the experience of being in a group where the number of women and the fraction of women is large enough that they "forget" that there are out-group members (men) present and begin using in-group memes and even "secret" in-group memes (3). Is this the same as sports fans or D&D players going on about their own little hobbies while excluding others who do not share them? The attraction of a higher memetic state is strong. Immunomemes may sometimes be successfully deployed to shame such people back into a state of not deploying memes that others cannot resonate with, i.e., denying other members of the cohort the memetic reward of the memes they are deploying, but these are not always available or effective, or strong enough to overcome the resistance.
But it's not just these trite examples. If a cohort gets enough critical mass, it ceases to have what we would term "shame" and keeps growing bigger and stronger, and if the memeplex if something more annoying than sports or D&D and more like racism or Naziism or sexism, then it's a problem, and I suggest that it's the same sort of mechanism.
I suggest that the driving force behind fanaticism is this urge to reach a higher memetic state, necessarily with a smaller and smaller group of people (but one hopes to enlarge that group, which is another issue), so one can have access to a larger number of memes that all members may user, deploy, and resonate with, i.e., get more and larger and more frequent memetic rewards, or "memetic or-gasms" in a kind of "memetic or-gy". This makes the memeplex into a kind of memetic "black hole" whose members try to attract more members so that this experience may be more intense and more readily available. Also, since invading alien memes will tend to blunt or disrupt it, they will tend to product more and more immunomemes to prevent this, to block the invaders.
But how are these immunomenes produced, and what is the exact mechanism of their function?
I put forward the idea that an immunomeme has the effect of bringing the cohort down into a lower memetic state, rather than a higher one. This could be described as "there is a traitor/heretic in our midst" effect. This discussion seems to be degenerating to the level of deconstructing cocktail party conversation as opposed to that of important political and philosophical discourse, but perhaps we should press on nonetheless. Is just ignoring an alien an omniphagic immunomeme? I have the idea that it's something else altogether. Christians know that they are non-Christians out there. But there existence is not really an invading alien memeplex, as such, unless it actually tries to invade.  What does that look like? An invading meme, by definition, shall we say, tries to displace or replace a meme in the targeted memeplex. For example, that one should not have children unless one is married.  This has lots of implications. Homosexuality is right out, since a homosexual couple must needs involve a person neither is married to in order to produce a child. Single mothers are anathema. Single fathers are not good, either, but are somehow not so bad. This means that ideas such as public help for single mothers, gay marriage, parental rights for non-marrieds, and so forth, all constitute invading alien memes. The "marriage is sino quod non for sprogs" memeplex is thus threatened, but how does it spin off immunomemes for all of these things? How are they generated, and how do the function to resist these invaders?
The God Memeplex is a kind of omniphagic immunomeme, and an anchor for others, i.e., a sort of MIAO (4), in that it can attack anything by saying, "It's against God" as kind of a catch-all. I suggest elsewhere that the God Memeplex, while useful and powerful and quick-and-dirty to apply to anything, may actually make the Western cultural memeplex as a whole more "brittle" than others, such as the "Eastern" memeplex (Japan, China, et al). So one could posit that the God Memeplex, and later, the Jesus Memeplex were created, rather by accident, say, and then large numbers of followers and memes accreted around that center like the aforementioned black hole. It's kind of a first-takes-all network formation scenario, so to speak. Maybe that's all there is to it, and that would dovetail well with the Darwinian nature of memes and memeplexes, that is, that they appear by random mutational events, but based on copies and variations of earlier instances, they attract adherents, i.e., infect minds, they interact with their environment, and if they do that well, they survive and infect more minds, and new minds as they come along.
So maybe immunomemes just "pop" into existence, like so. But we still need to understand the mechanisms of their functioning. I'm not crazy about the "popping" idea, either. It seems like more could be described there. What are the "amino acids" of immunomenes? What are the building blocks? People just throw together ideas and words and actions, almost always from things they've seen before and are therefore imitating, and they put them out there. They put them out there in the hope that they will catch on. They are out for memetic reward, and the more they deploy memes without getting them, the less successful they are. How does the system "spank" us for that? For not being successful?
Maybe that's why we work (at jobs). It often seems like a fairly stupid activity otherwise, in most cases.
Is there a memetic state where we try to think up or generate memes that are immunomemetic in nature? Is one property of immunomenes that they are novel?  How are new memes generated?
Maybe it's not such a big deal. Some people are good at generating new, virulent (successful) memes, and those that survive become part of the memetic system. Immunomemes are simply those that are triggered by alien memes as opposed to memes within the given memetic system. Meme triggering would appear to range from the very general to the very specific, i.e., some memes trigger or can be triggered by almost anything, while others have a very narrow range of use. Hence there appear to be omniphagic immunomemes, i.e., catch-alls. All memes have the potential to alter the memetic state of a cohort (or perhaps always do so to some degree).
Perhaps still more thought required on what immunomemes actually do, and how memes trigger one another generally (if this is even really what's going on).

(1) a collection of the minds of a connected population of people
(2) memes that two groups use to interact with one another. As opposed to "contact" memes which are memes, potentially superficial and incidental to the in-group, which out-group members use to identify another group.
(3) memes which are only deployed around other in-group members, or in higher memetic states which are reached when only "solid" in-group members are present (salient).
(4) Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object


Mushrooms Around Moscow

These were just bursting up out of the soil, like others I've seen. Mushrooms, unlike plants, seem to burst up through the soil with their caps already open, as opposed to opening after erupting.

Japanese Class

模倣子 What Happens When An Immunomeme is Deployed?

What is the actual effect on the target person, and the surrounding people, if any, when an immunomeme is deployed? Is the distinction between omniphagic immunomemes and specific immunomemes meaningful, or even accurate? If so, what distinguishes an omniphagic immunomeme from a specific one. Is a useful definition of an immunomene that it results in a different effect on the target person (or persons) than the in-group persons? Is this also a working definition of a group sharing a given memetic system?
By "effect", I mean, what is the exact mechanism whereby the immunomeme "shuts down" the invading alien meme? What is the relationship to memetic hacking(3), if any, i.e., may this mechanism be understood with this technique? Is it just that the person is unable to garner a memetic reward (or "memetic or-gasm")(4). I suggest that in fact the person targeted by an immunomeme does in fact get a memetic reward, but is it a negative one. I suggest that such a targeting marks the individual so targeted as an out-group member, or, if you like, possibly a group that is "oppressed" by the immunomeme-deploying in-group. If this describes the interaction, then it suggests a multidimensional aspect of memetic reward interactions, e.g., there is a reward, and that reward may have a negative or a positive aspect. The reward is sought either way, the potential or directionality(5) is a separate issue. This would seem to have bearing on things like racism, sexism, patriotism/jingoism, religious intolerance, classism, and possibly also activism, i.e., being the target of the immunomemes of another group, as opposed to one's own, and perhaps even seeking out the experience of being targeted thereby. Is this masochism, or is it something else?
This still brings us back to the question of what actually happens when a person is targeted by an immunomemetic attack? I have already theorized that the attack is like bullying, and that all bullying may indeed be an immunomemetic attack. But the question is really how does an immunomeme defend the memetic system from an invading alien meme, which also leads us to the question of how does an invading meme succeed in the face of this resistance? If we can answer that question, then we may be quite close to answering fundamental questions about how to go about memetic engineering(6). Do we need to deploy a memeplex, a memetic system, around the meme we're trying to inject, or do we need to enlist the memes and/or immunomemes of the system we are invading in order to succeed? The latter seems more likely. We must engineer a meme (or memeplex) that, when attacked, provokes (or "signals"(7)) the invaded system's own memes to defend it, and/or when deployed, resonates with in-group members, which in either case produces memetic rewards.
Is this a complete and accurate description of successful injection? Are we any closer to a mechanistic description of the function of immunomemes in defense of a memetic system?
Is it enough to say that when an alien meme invades, it triggers immunomemes, which are simply memes triggered by foreign memes or by undesirable memes within the given memetic system itself? In that sense the invasion attempt produces memetic rewards. Does it then induce a memetic state in which the salient persons are less receptive, i.e., their available memetic inventory is decreased? If this process continues to its extreme, i.e., the number of resonant memes available to the given out-group member drops to zero and there is at that point no possibility of memetic rewards for themselves or for them to induce them in any of the salient individuals (or most of them).
A politically non-loaded example is a stand-up comic who is bombing, i.e., none of their [sic] jokes are working, and the audience is becoming less and less receptive, perhaps because they found none of the jokes funny, or they were offended and slipped into a less receptive memetic state.
A more loaded example could be gender relations, particularly in the United States. Each group has an enormous inventory of purely in-group memes, and a comparatively much smaller inventory of intergroup memes, i.e., those that resonate with members of the other group. Many of these are stereotypical, which distinguishes them from purely in-group memes, which are more secret, i.e., which the other group literally  does not know about, and which if shared by an in-group member with an out-group member can trigger immunomenes against the "traitor", which is effectively the distinguishing characteristic of these "secret" memes.
This brings us to the idea of "contact memes". These I define as those that mark or distinguish members of one group to members of other groups, but which may not in fact be all that "important" to in-group members, e.g., not memes that they employ to identify each other, i.e., they are not important signal memes, although they are obviously memes, since in-group members do imitate (or "deploy") them. Gender interactions could be examples of this, although including this as an example might impoverish the term.
On example is religious garb. Yarmulkes, Mennonite "bun hats", Islamic veils and burkas, or Mormon missionaries' wearing short-sleeve white shirts, black ties, those black tags on their pockets, perfect haircuts, and riding bicycles around in pairs. Out-groups identify them and stereotype them by these, but they may, and probably do, fit into the memetic economy of the in-group quite differently to the observing out-group. Characteristics, or memes, that distinguish nationalities are another example.
Can contact memes be immunomemes? I imagine they could perform an immunomemtic function, but in a more passive way. As signal memes, they can trigger a memetic state such as "oh, we speak the same language" or "we enjoy the same traditional foods" or "we are interested in the same cultural, entertainment, or political developments" or "we could have sex with one another" (again, perhaps a troublesome example, although homosexuality might be useful). The presence of an outsider, or an outsider who tries to make contact, would have the effect of dropping the salients out of this "heightened" memetic state, hence in-group-relevant contact memes can be seen to have an immunomemetic function or effect.

(1) general action, attack anything
(2) attack specific alien immunomemes, probably or usually just one. may need a better term for this.
(3) exploration of a memetic system by interview or interacting with a single individual. This allows the person to be less committed to the memetic system (rather like the "Bystander Effect") more objective and open about the memes and immunomemes of the system since there are no other in-group to deploy immunomemes or to whom the person may be tempted to deploy in-system memes non-introspectively.
(4) A physiological response to successfully deploying a meme or resonating with a meme deployed by an ostensible in-group person, a group member ("meme-ber"?).
(5) term needed here
(6) Designing of memetic systems, or changes to existing memetic systems.
(7) triggers memes which are not immunomenes themselves, but may trigger, cause to be deployed, other signal memes or immunomemes, or alter the memetic "state"(8) of the memetic fabric of the salient individuals.
(8) the collection of memes which are available for deployment related to the perceived exclusivity of a given group, i.e., the number of memes that individuals present, or salient, are able to resonate with, e.g. a fanatical political or religious cell, or a group, such as scientists or engineers in the same specialty, who share jargon and are working on the same project.

漫画 Lulu Divests

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模倣子 Immunomemetic Knee-jerks

I've already written about how people deploy immunomemes, effectively, bully one another, because they can. It remains to illucidate how individuals select which immunomene to deploy in a given situation. This decision is made very quickly, and is very decisive, typically. That is, the right meme is selected and it's delivered with precision, i.e., it's a very exact copy of what everyone expects. It does not appear to be spontaneously generated as a novel action.  Immunomemes, moreso than other memes appear to be regurgitated very much by rote.

This can manifest itself as The Urge to Kibbitz, or make knee-jerk suggestions. This is a slightly less injurious form of immunomeme, but is an immunomeme nonetheless, since it has a conservative effect of the memetic fabric by suppressing novel memes.

The intolerance of genius is almost certainly a manifestation of the same thing, either outright hostility or the blunting of productivity and effectiveness.

More on this later...

漫画 Loading the Sensor Vector

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The Intolerance of Genius

This is so true. I worked with and later for a woman in Silicon Valley who said that she was a "genius shepherd" at DEC at one point. Her role was varied, including matchmaker, spin-doctor, etc.

Of course, where I went to school there were some of these kind of (genius) people scurrying about. It was interesting to rub elbows with them.


模倣子 What Does It Mean to be "Mean"?

My theory is that telling a joke, a friendly greeting, saying something nice, or a cutting remark are all examples of the same thing: expression of a meme, or an imitated action.

Even if the speech event seems to be "original", it's still really cobbled together from well-known building blocks of conventionality.

Successfully expressing a meme gives a reward to the person doing it. It also gives a reward to the people who respond to it. That is why humans imitate each other -- there is a reward, some kind of pleasurable feedback that comes with doing so1.

I characterize the first three, the nice ones, as being "signal memes" while the last would always in theory be an "immunomeme". The difference is that a signal meme serves to reënforce that the expresser and the receiver are both members of the same memetic system (or memeplex), in other words that they share a common culture or ideology. An immunomeme is a response to an alien meme, or one not part of the given meme system, and it's function is to shut down expression of alien memes in order to protect the memetic system from being contaminated and perhaps damaged or destroyed. A religion for instance has lots of definitions for things like "heresy" and has stock responses that believers and clergy are able to make when they encounter these enemy memes.

However, one can see the possibility of a so-called "glutton for punishment" or someone who is masochistic in seeming to invite abuse in the form of immunomemes or even action memes consisting of physical violence or denial of needed resources, etc. The point is that friendly, nice exchanges and mean, cruel ones are really two examples of the same thing in the world of memes. The are both forms of memetic interaction with the rest of society. The truly different is the state of being ignored, where one has no access to memes, or only a very limited set of memes, to interact with the society in which one finds oneself. Examples might be invalids, mentally disabled people in institutions, and possibly prisoners (there may be some particularly telling examples here). The example of deeply marginalized and isolated groups of poor immigrants has also been put forward by Slavoj Žižek2.

In any case, theoretically, being ignored is a very different thing than being abused or oppressed, though they might appear similar in their effect on the individual.

Back to immunomemes and masochism, the art world is perhaps an extreme and interesting example, since there is an entire class of people, the art dealers, critics, publishers, etc., whose entire existence is to decide whether to accept and validate or to bully and deprecate every given person or piece of art that is produced.  Again, obscurity is the hell of not even being harshly criticized or "dismissed". A "dismissive" review is much different, and one could argue, far better, than simply being ignored. Some artists go to great lengths to get "noticed" even if the notice paid them is less than charitable.

The artists themselves play an interesting role, as well. Their whole purpose is to shovel out "art" to be judged by the "judging community" and perhaps only after this, the public at large. The Internet Web may have changed this, i.e., provided a direct pipeline to the public, or it may have not. Artists' work is adjudged "good" which usually means "orthodox, but not an obvious copy of something else that was also orthodox" or "bad" (for the same reasons). It is, it seems, easier to be a "knock-off artist" than a true "innovator". The former may be judged against a preëxiting standard, and, more importantly, the whole inventory of memes, e.g., commentary, descriptions, comparisons, comments of appreciation or of dislike, etc., may all be brought to bear, and so the memetic fabric, i.e., the collection of all of the minds in the Art World, may glom on to the knock-off artist's warmed over dreck with next to no effort, while there is no immediate and handy reaction to what the innovator provides, hence, no way to say if it is "good" or not, which really only means that it takes time to form a reaction to it, and there is lots of competition in the memesphere between new memes for reaction to other innovative works. Hence a work may "fail" due to "competition" from other works for the primary reason that it takes more time and effort on the part of the collective minds of the Art World to form a reaction to the given new piece of artwork than others coming out at the same time, and thus goes under-noticed because of a kind of "memetic starvation", i.e., people "can't figure out how to talk about it" (quickly enough).

1This, by the way, may be a route to scientific proof of part of the Theory of Memetics, i.e., if some kind of measurable brain response takes place in response to imitation, that is, expression of a meme, then that may provide the physical proof of this "memetic reward" phenomenon.
2c.f., The Pervert's Guide to Ideology (movie)

模倣子 Socially-Sanctioned Bullying Opportunities and Immunomemes

People aren't "mean".

I'll say it again. People aren't "mean".

They aren't really "robots" either, or even "sheep". Sheep don't pretend to be intelligent as they flock around with each other, following the alpha-sheep or his human replacement.

When humans bully each other (and I'll cover this more elsewhere), or are "mean" to one another, it's really in response to memetic pressure and the perception of memetic "opportunities" which give a memetic "reward" which consists of deploying an immunomeme, i.e., something that blocks what the victim is trying to do, and which  other people accept for one, and even better resonate with.

It's equivalent to others laughing at one's joke. Not laughing at one's joke is not really immunomemetic, but a still worse response, i.e., apathy, ignoring the victim, alienation. At least if somebody attacks you, they are paying attention to you, using you at a way to get a "memetic orgasm" that, without you, would not be possible.

If we posit the idea of a memetic reward, or a memetic orgasm of some kind that motivates people to imitate, and that imitation can consist of  regurgitating some kind of ultimately conservative (with respect to the given subgroup) imitation of an established "appropriate" speech even or action, then we can get a whole new view of bullying, prudery, oppression, racism, sexism, nationalism, xenophobia, homophobia, and so on.

Otherwise we're still in the zone of "the Devil made me do it", the problem of Evil, "it's because of the Patriarchy" or other such imaginary explanations, or at least explanations -- they don't really deserve the title of "theories" -- that are non-extensible. For example, will bad things happen to me and my family if we decide to move to Cleveland? If we go and light candles in the church, or give lots of money to the church, will that obviate these bad outcomes? Or exceptions are hard to account for. If the Patriarchy idea dictates that all men want to keep women down and deprive them of economic self-determination, but then a man makes a substantial donation to the local midwife advocacy group, how do we categorize that? If midwifery is good for women, then that man has helped women, but if in some alternate reality hospital obstetrics are better for women, then he has effectively set women back, i.e., oppressed them as men are meant to do, but his intention was still to help and his contribution was real.

The problem seems to be the idea of intention. If we ask, "why are people so mean?" then we are really question-begging, because we really want to ask  what causes their actions, and we are mixing up this idea that they have an intention to be mean, or a "mean disposition". We then further beggar the question with statements such as "I know people are not evil, so why to they act so mean?" or "If people are mean, then it must just mean that they are evil". We then engage in no end of hand-wringing about racism and sexism and religious intolerance, etc.

If we throw out this myth of "intention" and just look at how most people are sometimes mean to others, but other times not, and what factors cause this to happen sometimes and not others.

Memetics theory to the rescue! I further posit that "immunomemes" are imitated actions that act in response to "novel" memes (actions) evinced by outsiders or "deviant" members of the group infected with the given memetic system. We can perhaps examine also how concepts as "power" and "abuse of power" may be explained by this illumination. I propose that immunomenes always take the form of bullying behavior, i.e., abuse of an individual in a socially acceptable manner, and against which the victim cannot retaliate.

Why do people deploy immunomemes? Precisely because they can. Just like telling a joke and having people laugh.  If one has a joke and one perceives that the people around would be receptive, then they laugh at the joke, which is a memetic response on their part, and their making an expected and validating response to the joke teller gives the feedback that "you did it right" or "you imitated it successfully" and the concommittant memetic reward, i.e., a postive pleasurable rush.

Telling a joke is a variety of "signal meme" i.e., a unit of imitation, a quantum of imitation which hopefully resonates with the target individual(s), to evince a response. There are a number of possible responses, e.g., emitting another signal meme, or an immunomene, or an action meme, or having a physiological reaction such as laughing or crying, or going into a new "memetic state", i.e., a state in which a new set of memes are now available, e.g., the recognition that we are all biologists, Christians, Republicrats, etc., and that it is safe to use a specific set of memes that would not otherwise be good to use.

This is a version of the way that social bullying works in the larger society, and how things like racism and sexism works. American society is prudish and sex-negative because Americans are allowed to deploy shaming (bullying) memes in cases that would not occur to people in other cultures. Memes to do with nudity, gender relations, child-rearing and so on all have a large set of very specific memes (and some general ones, which I term "omniphagic immunomemes"). Examples include "I can't be a slut", "I can't telephone a man", "hitting your kid is bad", "bathing with your kid is perverse", "if the kid has teeth or can ask for it, then should shouldn't breastfeed them", "you shouldn't enjoy  breastfeeding", "you have to be married to have sex/children", "everything is oppressive sexism against women", "men are sex maniacs (and women aren't)", "women are 'objectified' (and men aren't)", "male infant circumcision is fine, even good (and female circumcision is perfectly horrible)", and so on and so forth.

All of these represent immunomenes which may be deployed to bully "deviant" members of society, and they work because they resonate with the other members of society, including the victim.  So immunomemes are ultimately conservative in nature, i.e., they keep the society, the meme system (or "memeplex") stable and unchanging, or at least changing only slowly.

In a future installment I want to discuss the difference between immunomemetic bullying and being ignored and how the former is actually inclusive while the latter is exclusive. I also want to cover how things like race and sex and "memetically sticky" and so memes are attached to them which are effectively being broadcast all the time which can invite the deployment of sexist and racist immunomemes without the victim actually doing anything, and how this is also actually an inclusive phenomenon (although nonetheless oppressive). In other words, oppression can (and perhaps always does -- this requires further theoretical development) actually include a group in the larger society, albeit in a victim role, as opposed to alienating them completely, which could lead to things like genocide (more theory needed here, and even still this might be an inclusive phonemenon).

漫画 Vector of Sensors

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So sorry!! Pardonez-moi! ¡Disculpa! Извини́те! ごめなさい!
I am THREE DAYS LATE with the next comic!
Please keep reading!

Start of National Novel Writing Month! I have been very busy writing and forgot! Sorry!


русский шутка

поцему заклюцоне в гулге учить русский язик?

чмо он может в адин день гавариты па-русски свободна.

Fixed version 

漫画 空中線制御装置に超光速通信機能?



模倣子 Tacit elements and emergent properties of 2nd languages

I worry that I'm forgetting French (Spanish may be  a lost cause!) and I'm wondering if there is a network involved that degrades and loses functionality slowly at first and then it finanlly all collapses -- or is that even the model or the behaviour?  Is that similar to a memetic ananysis of  a text? What is the relationship between knowledge of a language and the ability to perceive "socio-political" messages (memes) in that language/culture?  are they related? can they be quantified?

And then does this take us back to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, i.e., that the structure of one's languages determines the kind of culture one can have, e.g., the Greeks were logical because of their language.  Lots of people would have a lot to say about Chinese, too, I think and that's one of the big reasons I want to learn (finish learning) that language, i.e., because I want to understand how ideas and poetic/literary notions may be expressed and what that looks like.  Example, Japanese 俳句 haiku are highly evocative/connotative as opposed to descriptive/denotative, and I have the impression that Chinese is even more so, and even more generally so.  All poetry is more or less evocative, i.e., it relies on a "knowledge substrate" of cultural and emotional presuppositions on the part of the reader, as opposed to prose, which puts forth more information.

However, I think everybody has the impression that their [sic] native language is highly denotative and all foreign languages are connotative and have tons of tacit implications wrapped up in them, and just as one has the impression that as one crosses into fluency the "volume gets turned up" and suddenly things that one could not hear clearly start to stand out (it's like a percolation/phase change phenomenon) and all of those connotative implications suddenly make perfect sense (although the ability to explain them/ translate them across languages may not be concordant -- that seems to be a separate ability which some seem to have and others not).

漫画 Begin the Lesson

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