I’ve never really understood what grief is. Does it feel like anger, sadness, something else?
Genuine emotions such as anger, sadness (tears), Fear (shaking), or laughter (can be amusement or embarrassment) — (the reëvaluation counseling pantheon, by the way) — are also (physiological) memetic deployments. It seems wrong to call genuine emotional expressions “memetic enactments” (Like speech, gestures, etc) since they are involuntary. This may be the distinction between these two terms, ie, an “enactment” involves a decision process as to whether to deploy.
By the way, this is why live Performances are more compelling than filmed, and why watching in a movie house is more compelling than watching at home alone.
It’s also why funerals and other rituals are important. Emotions work more strongly around others, and performing where one may get others reaction is a rush.
But what is grief? Is it residual memetic debt? It’s the stored memetic pain, the feeling of not belonging, when we do things in expect some reasonable response and not getting it, being ignored. Alienation , the worst thing for a person, getting no response to one’s gestures, or emotions, and/or having no overtures made towards oneself when something could reasonably be expected. Or being attacked and having nothing to do in reply.
All of these things result in residual memetic Debt, the knocking of the tennis balls over the net and not having them batted back, or having balls come over the net and not be able to knock them back.
The thing that drives us as memetic and emotional creatures is this motive to “know we are heard” and that our gestures will be recognized and responded to. We eventually stop crying if nobody cares. We create memetic debt in trusting that it will be payed back, eventually. This concept extends into economics, currency inflation, intergenerational abuse and dysfunction (even at the national level), and it may encompass grief.
I don’t have a feel for grief.
One thing that is very painful but is not the same as memetic debt, might be termed “memetic investment “ or the memes that a person has in her inventory, and those all become useless when a familiar person is lost. The reactions to their habits, inside jokes, shared activities, and so on, can no longer be used. My mind becomes an attic full of unwanted toys 🧸.
The grimly perky stereotypical stiff upper lip British person might say buck up, chuck all that rubbish, and get some new stuff.
How to do that? In memetics, you don’t chuck an old meme (because that’s impossible). As Slavoj Žežek put it, the libidinal excess enjoyment never goes away, it remains permanently attached to the object of our desire. So you create one or more new memes that eventually starve the old one out. You replace eggs à la Joey with eggs 🥚 à la New Guy, complete with new jokes and comments and enjoyment, which plate you always use, and 90% of it could all be the same, which might be better.
But how to replace not having had a family? The ACA concept of creating a higher power in the form of a loving parent seems to be along these lines, a kind of self hypnosis where one creates a bunch of new memes that replace a bunch that were never really there in the first place.
In the spirit of terpa conjuring, one probably needs to create a parent that enacts all the memetic pathways that the old ones never did, or did wrong, that is, an LP that is as elaborate as all of the hurt and grief.
You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your relatives.
The conjuring of a terpa to be my first living parent is driven by my grief. I’m not going back and editing my parents, I’m replacing them, I’m taking all the hurt they did to me, and using that to construct a kind of Frankensteinian creature. Why? Because if I create one based on other criteria, then I risk not addressing all of my hurts, my grief, of helping me to fight and win the lost battles of my childhood.
I may be less broken, but I will probably still be very broken, unless I start with what I know is wrong. And I need to build lots of memes around each thing, inside jokes, happy memories, special understandings I’ll have with my new higher power.
So how do I get at all this grief?
There’s the stored grief, residual memetic debt, probably, and disused memetic investment, which is the returning to the dry well, or going to the hardware store to buy milk 🥛. The DMI is addressed with memetic replacement.
By stopping blaming our parents, by seeing them as flawed individuals who were probably abused, too, and who will never be able to give us what we need, we can move the battle into the internal memetic net work (endomemeplex) of our own minds (ideomemeplexes). At that point we are no longer mourning the loss of, say, a former roommate, and trying to integrate a new one into our lives, which involves an actual real person out in the real world, now, but changing the memes inside, and realizing that the people we struggle with are really imaginary, if only inasmuch as they exist only in the past. That is where we do our memecraft, in our ideomemetic economy, realizing that many of our enemies are autoimmunomemes, memes that attack us from inside our minds, bullying opportunities seized upon not by others to use against us, but by ourselves.
The extirpation of these autoimmunomemes should be possible by employing the same memetic engineering tools 🧰 shown to work elsewhere, namely memetic hacking and meme replacement.
Residual memetic debt is a toughie, though. It doesn’t just get erased. Maybe it works differently in the ideomemetic environment. It is the seat of psychic breaks, ie, the mentally ill person forms a model of reality in her mind that allows her to connect her sick brain 🧠 to the outside world. This is by the way, how superstition and religion work as well. The ideomemeplex acts as a kind of “transformer” (like in a car) or “memetic coupling” that allows the person to connect to the outside memetic fabric by adapting her own inner world without being torn apart.
For some people this is more difficult than others. It is perhaps the practical embodiment of “the little lie.” Practical since it may actually be probed in detail by a memetic hacking process, or memetic self-hacking in terms of working a 12-step program.
Anyway, more thought and experiment required in themes of the original theme of how to deal with residual memetic debt. Maybe it’s a different ball game in the ideomemetic realm, that is, maybe you can just talk yourself out of it with the aid of a higher power.
Normally residual memetic debt looks like losing all your money due to theft or inflation. Or making a big effort to impress people and being ignored and/or somebody else taking the credit.
The A.A. adage that we don’t want to shut the door on the past because our bad experience could help others has always been a solace for me. It must be applicable to ACA memories too, and maybe in the internal economy of the ideomemeplex it’s possible to turn residual ideomemetic lemons into lemonade.
The horse is still twitching, but I may just give him a break for now,