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.