An individual who is able to deploy and resonate with memes deployed by other agents. An agent can be a person, an animal, a machine (computer system), an organization. In terms of animism or theism or other superstitions, a tree, the weather, the sea, the volcano, a handful of bones, tea leaves, or some "god" is not a true agent (at best a quasi-agent) because while they may be able to broadcast their "state" to other agents, they are not able to respond to the memetic deployments of other agents. "...he sends rain upon the just and the unjust alike." (Matthew 5:45) However, if you believe that sacrificing all those virgins really did make it rain, and that it would not have rained otherwise, then a superstitious attribution of agency may work, in a way. In fact, as with all things human, macromemetics may shed a great deal of light on superstition. Mother Nature herself is a kind of memetic agent, from the point of view of the scientist. It's not so much whether there really is a Tree Nymph, and that we have angered her, and that certain bad things will happen and not others, and that we must appease her by sacrificing olives around her tree, or apples, if it's a Tuesday, it's that we believe that she exists, and our memetic relationship with each other, that counts. It's a bit like watching TV. Even if we can't change what comes over the TV by our actions, we can talk about it with each other.
See memetic destitution. Alienation is the state where an individual has a paucity of memes which he may deploy with any hope of resonance within the population in which he finds himself. This suggests a physiological quantity, i.e., the minimum number of possible memetic interactions available to produce the level of memetic resonance necessary for health.
The attempt to model how some agents (benefactors, allies) help other agents (beneficiaries, protegées) to success. The object of study is what sort of memes to allies and protegées deploy, how does it change the function of the memetic matrix. Another focus of study may be the opposite of Alliance Theory, that is, Oppression Theory, where instead of allies deploying memes and even creating states that make it easy for protegées to rise, we have oppressors (name TBD) and victims, where oppressors deploy memes that make it harder for victims to succeed, even place additional obstacles in their paths, or bad things that can happen to them and not to others. Recent riots and movements have drawn more attention to race and class problems which have always been there, so there must be a lot of interest in development of this body of theory, and the ability to clearly understand this situation and manipulate it and remedy it with an actual engineering discipline. An example is The Dining Philosophers where Plato and Confucious help Socrates avoid bullying by the other great thinkers, and also The Candy Conspiracy.
See also immunomemes. Behavior towards an individual in response to the memes they deploy which is negative or injurious in nature.
(see also "memetic fabric") The collection of individuals inured of a given memeplex. A cohort is the group of people who are inured of the given memeplex or in a shared memetic state. Related to a memetic fabric. However, a cohort refers to the set of all individuals that participate in a memeplex, whereas a memetic fabric can be a superset in that it is the set of all collected brains in communication with one another in an interconnected community all of which may or may not be inurred of the memeplex in question. See memetic polarization.
For example the Joe Piscapo sketch from Saturday Night Live, "Oh, you from Jersey? I'm from Jersey! What exit?" The joke is people from New Jersey identify where they live by which exit is closest on the New Jersey Turnpike. From what I gather from my friends who are from New Jersey is that no one from Jersey says this and that they find it offensive. Stereotypes would seem to be related to this, to these memes that evince a strong response in out-groupers to recognize in-group members, or that in-groupers are being referenced. As with all memes, there is nothing guaranteeing that these be logical, consistent, or kind.
Residual Memetic Debt
Related to a memetic loop and to memetic reward. Memetic debt is incurred during the effort to enact or to learn to enact a meme Once the memetic loop is closed, i.e., the meme is successfully enacted and this is rewarded by resonance from the cohort (which the individual may have just entered), the memetic debt is resolved. Residual memetic debt is incurred when the individual is not allowed to enact the given meme(s), or is not rewarded appropriately for doing so. This is another micromemetic concept which is one of the few I include here. This is how intergenerational abuse functions: the child (victim) is not allowed to reciprocate, or close the memetic loop, on the abuse heaped on by their more powerful abuser (who may also have the prevailing memeplex on their side), until they themselves become a parent and are finally able to close the memetic reward loop with their own children, effectively getting to enact the other half of the exchange which was denied them up to that point. The pent-up desire to redeem residual memetic debt is a motivation for remaining in abusive situations.
The interconnectedness of a collection of memes in a given state of a given group of individuals (community). Also, the likelihood that deployment of a given meme will produce a strong resonance. This is related to a memetic orgy, i.e., a state in which there is a rich choice of deployable memes which will produce a strong reaction in the rest of the group. The number of meme pathways that are dead ends or which are not shared by a high percentage of members are few.
(see also "Enactment" or "Performance"): the act of enacting a meme for others to see, also "performance," and "enactment" though these latter can mean going through the actions of a meme, but not in front of others, i.e., "rehearsal," or "practice."
Performing the act of imitating some behavior, i.e., a meme. Are memes simply triggered as the result of an incoming meme? That is not the model, really, that is, an automaton. The idea is that given a certain memetic state, the individual has the opportunity to deploy certain memes based on their perceived chance of garnering memetic rewards, which is a physiological gratification response (also somewhat light-heartedly known as a "memetic orgasm"). There are a couple of problems here: one is that the individual's assessment of a chance for reward may be wrong, and they may not be perfectly skilled at deploying the meme which would otherwise net said reward.
The process whereby the next meme will be deployed and by which agent in a given state.
A specialized mathematical notation for a memetic deployment. Some examples in this essay.
The chance for an agent to deploy a meme, a context, a state, when there is some chance to actually enact a meme. The idea is that there would be a chance for resonance. In the case of an opportunity to deploy an immunomeme, we have the special term of a "bullying opportuntity."
Enactment: see "Deployment"
Endomeme: (see also "idiomeme" and "exomeme") Obsolete term.
The degree to which an agent has a large or small numbers of deployment opportunities of a large or small memes. A "memetic enlistment gradient" for an agent, or for a cohort of agents, if is positive, then the member agents of the cohort will favor the state transition and the memetic deployments that will cause it, even adding their own deployments to that end, while if negative, the agents feel themselves losing power, they may deploy immunomemes against the state transition. This is distinct, perhaps deceptively similar to memetic injection, or the degree to which a meme is familiar to a given cohort. They are related, but not the same. One is focused on the states of a memeplex, one by one, and how available a meme is and to which agents, while injection refers to how many agents are "injected" or "inured" of a meme (or "infected" with a meme) across a whole population, or cohort.
This is an important concept, and has a lot of bearing on the discipline of memetic engineering. The term "enlistment" may seem paradoxical, but it refers to the portion of the memetic inventory that is available to a given agent (or population, or such). So it is the memes in the inventory which are "enlisted" and not the agent or cohort or state. So if an agent has access to deploy, say, all the memes, in a memeplex in a given state, they could be said to be "fully enlisted," and as that portion of the total memes available dwindles, it finally reaches zero, or memetic destitution (or "alienation"). So memetic destitution is a state where the agent's (or cohort's) memetic enlistment has dropped to nil.
The matrix formed by all the minds in a memetically connected population (as opposed to a cohort (2)), specifically the capacity of that matrix to support the activity of memes copying and transmitting themselves and competing with one another.
(See Leaf State and Compelled State) Childlike play in which there are no "rules." Any game or sport with rules is not free play, because they involve the interplay of the deployment of memes and immunomemes. Free play can be looked as a non-memetic activity, or an extramemetic activity, as may meditation, dreaming, and sexual activity.
A memetic hacker (a person with whom I have a purely meta-memetic exchange, i.e., we talk about the memetic system, not through it, as with a psychologist, a memetic researcher, or a trusted spiritual advisor), I can enact any meme I like, since I am not out for a genuine memetic reward.
(see also Leaf State, Compelled State, Free Play) The fact that humans are memetic creatures (memetophilic) inextricably condemned to engage in memetic transactions with one another as part of their basic drives.
Idiomeme Obsolete term.
A special class of signal meme which is enacted in response to an alien meme, that is, a meme which is not in the memetic inventory of the given memetic cohort.
Laws of Immunomemetics
1. Any stable memeplex contains an immunomemeplex
2. A system of rules or laws translates to a collection of bullying behaviors
3. An immunomeme is a meme that works to prevent a mutation to a memeplex (see MADSAM)
Whether an individual resonates with a given meme. More research and definition needed here. A person may be passively receptive, i.e., recognize the meme but not react outwardly to it, react outwardly (such as laughing at a joke or following a line of discussion in which the meme is a pivotal element, etc.), or even actively propagating the meme from simply repeating it (deploying or enacting) when opportunities arise.
The process of introducing a meme into a population. "Injectability" is a memetic engineering term for how easy or hard it is to introduce the meme, and theoretically the transmissibility or "success" or "virility" of a meme is positively related to this quantity. More research required here to demonstrate the truth of that theory.
Island Meme (semi-obsolete term)
The internalization of a given meme (or memeplex) such that one resonates with the enactment of said meme(s) by another, or is able to enact them in response to appropriate signal (triggering) memes.
Look under M and I respectively in this glossary, and MADSAM.
(see also Memetic Debt) Along with the memetic reward, the concept of the "memetic loop" forms the motivational basis for an individual to participate in a memeplex, even a dysfunctional one. When one individual enacts a meme and a second uninurred individual shows they have learnt it by imitating it back to the initiator or resonates (enacts an appropriate response meme) with the enacted meme, the loop initiated by the first person is closed, or completed, giving a physiological reward to all involved. Note that this theoretically forms the basis for intergenerational abusive behavior, but that is outside the scope of this essay.
The study of systems of memes (memeplexes) at a large scale, i.e., large numbers of memes interacting with one another as systems withing large human populations, interactions between large memeplexes. A comparison could be drawn with Hari Seldon's Psychohistory from Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, i.e., a deterministic, mathematical discipline for accurately predicting the behavior of large populations of human beings. Contrasted with micro-memetics (or just "memetics").
Laws of Macromemetics
1. An agent deploys memes in order to achieve optimal resonance
2. Deployment of a meme causes a transition to a new state
3. A mutilation is a Modification, Addition, or Deletion of a State, Agent, or Meme (see MADSAM)
A mnemonic for how a memeplex can mutate. MAD is a Modification, Addition, or Deletion. Theoretically memes, rather like General Douglas MacArthur's take on old soldiers, never die, they just fade away. Memes are best removed by injected a more virile meme and have the old one atrophy from disuse, but that is a memetic engineering issue. States are similar, i.e., they atrophy, displaced by better ones. Agents tend to be people, so "adding" or "deleting" them starts to sound like the mass-murderers of history. The hope of macromemetic engineering is to make possible massive political change without things like genocide.
The property of a meme that it is either easy or difficult to distinguish (9), that is, that the meme has been deployed or not. This can be if the meme is itself ambiguous, like symbols or expressions that are too complex and don't stand out, or are confusingly similar to others, for example. It can also be the "who made the coffee?" problem where the marking of the meme is poor because nobody can observe who made the coffee outside of the time they actually make it, and even if there's some kind of a log or something (since this could be forgotten, and inspecting it is not part of the main flow of the process). The coffee maker is perhaps an interesting example of poor marking, but high closure (10), since it's impossible to reliably hang memetic potential on who actually made the coffee (bad marking of that individual), it is nonetheless clear that the coffee has been made (11).
A conceptual, mathematical representation of how a memetic system evolves over the course of individual actions and the reactions of other agents to those actions, and so on. The structure of the memetic matrix is related to the first two of the three Laws of Macromemetics. The matrix is composed of states (7), each containing a list of agents and those agents' "deployment opportunities," or memes which each of them is allowed to deploy in the given state, and possibly some kind of probabilistic weighting for each possible deployment decision. These matrices are known as "Transition Matrices." The deployment of a meme by any agent leads to change in state (second law). Obviously, "deployment decisions" (in natural memeplexes) is a huge area of study, but artificial memeplexes (8) provide illumination. Of course, if a memetic engineer can limit and control the number of states in the system she is designing or trying to manipulate, she can greatly simplify and linearize her task, i.e., make it look more like a simple, artificial memeplex, with a simpler memetic matrix to grapple with.
See Susan Blackmore, Wikipedia, Dawkins, et al. A meme is an "atomic" behavior which may be recognized and imitated (6). A meme relates to culture much as a gene relates to biology.
See Susan Blackmore, The Meme Machine; et al. I also refer to his as micromemetics, so as to contrast it with macromemetics. The study of how the human brain processes memes. This has a lot to do with our Dunbar Number, our mirror neurons, our ability to watch others' behavior, interpret it, and imitate it, our relationships to artifacts and culture, how we can judge whether some action or artifact is the same or different than another, our ability to teach each other complex behavior, the way we use and process language, and so on. In macromemetics, I take all of those things that an individual does "as read," and go from there, looking at how large groups of individuals doing these very human things behave.
Memetic System (see "Memeplex")
See Susan Blackmore, Wikipedia, et al. See also "Memetic System." A memeplex is a collection of memes that work together as a system. In order for a meme to be considered part of a memeplex with other memes, it must be able to cause in invocation (deployment) of other memes in the memeplex, as well as be able to be invoked by other memes in the memeplex. See also "Island Meme" and "Isolated Meme".
A memeplex involving millions of minds (agents). See also "Supermemeplex."
A memespace (2) is the set of all active memes residing within a given memetic fabric (or memeplex). The term finds its major use in macromemetic engineering (3). The "carrying capacity" of a memetic fabric is limited, so if new memes appear and grow, they will undermine existing memeplexes, weakening them if not replacing them outright.
An object (can be abstract) to which memes may be associated. Appearance or invocation of the MIAO makes all of the associated memes available. Branding is an example of MIAO creation/engineering.
Shared MIAOs are another important concept, particularly as concerns racism, stereotyping, and cultural cooption. MIAOs are objects to which memes may be attached, that is, they invoke memes when they appear. This is where the sometimes fine line between memes and "iconic objects" comes in. An object or image such as a coffee cup, a cat (or a caricature of one), a swastika, etc., is clearly not a meme since it cannot be "imitated". One could draw or make one, but that is not imitating the object itself. But what do we mean by a meme being "attached" or "anchored" to an object? We could say that when a person is exposed to a MIAO, there are all sorts of memes attached to that MIAO, and if they are interface memes for reaction memes for the memetic state that person is in, then the MIAO can effectively trigger those reaction memes.
A situation where a memetic agent (person, robot, organization, etc.) is at the center of a network such that memes that agent deploys are immediately received (after one jump, or a few jumps) by all the "subscribing" agents to the memetic nexus. The nexus deploys memes on a regular basis. This is so that subscribers regularly receive their doses of memes, and they all get the same ones at the same time, so they are able to exchange memes with each other, which allows them to have reliable memetic exchanges, even memetic orgies, which is the benefit of subscription. Quality is less important than regularity. I theorize that the memetic nexus phenomenon is closely related to power, though I now suspect that Alliance Theory may play a big part.
Some rather surprising examples of memetic nexus include the news, the weather, science, Mother Nature, sporting events, reporting on sports events, the body of human literature and entertainment, to name a few. The Office of the President of the United States of America is a good example, since if the President says or does something, within half an hour billions of people know of it.
A memetic orgy is a chain-reaction situation produced when a cohort are in a state where almost all memes deployed resonate and continues to build and maintain a high level of memetic resonance over an extended period. Obviously the deployment of memes in this scenario produces very reliable rewards, which is a major point of this essay.
The extent do which individuals comprising a fabric respond to a given MIAO by enacting any of the memes within a given memeples associated with the MIAO. For example, there are a number of memes surrounding religion, feminism, or any other dogma or "belief system", which might be classed as "for" and "against" (I use these terms loosely). The degree to which individuals in a fabric tend to resonate to or enact any of the memes of the memeplex attached to a given MIAO is the memetic polarization of the fabric (as opposed to some cohort). For example, if wearing a T-shirt with a given image or slogan elicits some kind of response within a given memeplex from most ever person in a community, one could say that the fabric is highly polarized around that MIAO. For example, when I wear a gun rights shirt in my community, many people notice and respond positively, including inquiring where they might obtain a similar shirt. However, wearing a "The Patriarchy made me do it" shirt elicits only very occasional response (sometimes quite strong), but largely no reaction (despite my community have a large population of young university students). This suggests that the fabric here is not very polarized around the concept of "The Patriarchy", i.e., many people either are unaware of the concept or have no memes to enact around it, in other words they are not members of any cohort related to "feminism" or any reaction group against "feminism". This could be related to "apathy", but this is another concept I hope to explore later, i.e., "apathy" as an immunomeme.
See MADSAM. The theory is that mmes cannot be "deleted," per se, they must be replaced. The reason is that existing memes have investment by some cohort, they are enlisted, and so agents that are infected with them are reluctant to give up these memes because they represent resonance rewards. The key is to create new memes that are "more appealing" than the undesireable memes, which replace the lost resonace, or memetic reward potential. The other thing is to stop the deployment of the bad memes, again, by directing away, not by interdiction. In sum, create new memes, stop stimulating the bad memes, so that they atrophy.
This is part of a mathematical representation of how a memetic system progresses through a series of (meme) deployments, using a memetic matrix.
A memetic state is a transitory condition of a memetic agent or a collection of agents in a memetic fabric with one another where each of them has a deployment opportunity, described by a Transition Matrix.
A graphical way of representing a memeplex, showing states, and transitions between states. The role of individual agents is usually not depicted. A couple of exceptions I have are The Dining Philosophers and The Candy Conspiracy where I specify on a state diagram which agents can make a deployment.
A collection of still-interconnected memes which are all part of some larger memeplex. See also "Supermemeplex." Note that simply taking a random sampling of memes from a memeplex may yield only a "memetic inventory" or a "subset of the memetic inventory of a memeplex" and possibly one or more submemeplexes and disjoint memes, but not necessarily a single functional submemeplex. The sampling must be a coherent, functioning subsystem.
Not to be confused with a megamemeplex. A supermemeplex is a larger memeplex made up of a collection of smaller memeplexes. One could think of one dialect of American English as opposed to the collection of all of the dialects of English together. This would be an "overlapping supermemeplex" since most dialects of English have a lot in common. However, knowing how to put on your shirt, socks, and shoes (both lace-up and slip-on) would be a collection of four or more memeplexes which are almost totally independent, hence a "non-overlapping supermemeplex."
Three Narratives Model
The three narratives are The Radical Narrative (aka The Fundamental Narrative), the Conservative Narrative, and the Liberal Narrative (aka The Pseudo-Liberal, Crypto-Conservative, or Status Quo Apologist Narrative). The Conservative Narrative grows by taking memes from the Radical Narrative (all people are equal, killing is bad, everybody should have food and a place to sleep, etc.) and "wrapping" them with other memes (eg, men and women are sometimes not equal, people can have food and bed if they can pay for it, people can kill others if they deserve it, etc.). The Liberal Narrative, instead of "fixing" the "flaws" in the conservative narrative, as it purports to do, fixates on some conservative memes, typically pulls out some radical memes, and generates a new memeplex which it imposes on the memetic fabric usually in the form of "Stop doing that BAD THING," and possibly "Do this WEIRD NEW THING instead." Per the principles of macromemetics, such memetic injections result in polarization, allowing everybody to continue accepting the "bad" memes, either by accepting or rejecting (or accepting it's opposite) the new memeplex. The result of this process is that conservative memes get progressively wrapped in more and more layers of "acceptance" and "justification" all the while the memetic inventory grows of the Conservative Narrative grows with more and more memes added from the Liberal narrative.
Triple Narrative Model (see Three Narratives Model)
It is what describes how the system may change (to which new state) based on the actions of the agents in the system. It's a matrix (7) with a list of agents on one axis, and the list of possible memes on the other axis, with each node of intersection between them the state to which the system transitions if said agent deploys said meme. A transition matrix is one node in the memetic matrix of an entire system.
See "Compelled State"
Memetic Destitution (incurs) memetic debt
Nice to see such comprehensive glossary of memetic concepts! I wonder if it would be useful to provide a separate page where these terms are organized in a concept map (like, for example, the ones used on the hyperphysics site)?ReplyDelete