Memetic Index - Bibliography - Footnotes - Memetic Glossary
We're starting to get a grasp of what alliances are in a macromemetic sense through macromemetic notation, particularly, it would appear, through the notion used for immunomemetics.
What we want to know is how to build alliances. For that we need to understand how they work in terms of what the various participants in the alliance are doing, and how they stand to benefit from these exchanges.
I suppose the next useful area to inspect is what might be termed "transactions of trust." It's always good to go back to basic macromemetic theory. Humans always like memes that have good marking and closure, which don't produce residual memetic debt (1). My instinct is that forming alliances provides a whole new set of memes for the mentors and the protegees alike, perhaps equally, perhaps one or the other benefitting more. Further, I expect that these new memes will be better marked and closed (2) than existing memes, or that existing memes will become "enhanced" so as to be better marked and closed. Basically, more memes, cleaner memes, and memes that supply greater reward. In the Candy Conspiracy study, we see how allies make new memes available, and new states that don't exist without the alliance.
Rewards to the Protegee
It might be good to reiterate the benefits that a protegee, or beneficiary, of an alliance expects to get. Any schmoe memetic agent is in the same situation: a paucity of memes to deploy. Having more memes means more states to which the state can transition, which the agent (protegee) controls. Another is to make existing memes easier to deploy, or to make them go to new and better states.
I went into how mentors can help protegees in an essay on notation (4). It might be good to look at it a bit more. A mentor deploys memes that help the protegee. In principle, this takes one of two forms. One is where the mentor deploys a meme that enables to the protegee to deploy a meme that they would otherwise not be able to (3). We could call this "potentiation" (5). The other situation is where the protegee deploys a meme that would otherwise not work, but provokes a deployment by the mentor which makes it work, and we could call this "amplification" (5).
Maybe an analogy from an imaginary sport might shed light. In order to score! a protegee needs to get the ball. Also, they need to complete passes downfield, and ultimately score against goalies who are trying to stop them. The state of having the ball is hard to get to:
NoBall.protegee.get-ball! => HasBall (difficult)
NoBall.mentor.pass-ball!(protegee) => HasBall (much easier)
fig. 1. Potentiation Memes by the Mentor
So this represents a case where the protegee has a hard time getting into a productive state without help, but the mentor can get them there easily. Now the protegee can execute passes and try for goals.
HasBall.mentor.run-downfield!protegee.throw-pass!mentor.catch-pass => PassComplete
HasBall.mentor.block-goalie!protegee.score! => Scored
fig. 2. Amplification Memes by the Mentor
Rewards to the Mentor
How does it help me to use my influence (whatever that means) to pave the way for a protegee? Theoretically, it all comes down to how appetizing the memes I'm able to deploy as a result of the alliance (27). What memes does the mentor deploy in the service of the alliance?
NoBall.mentor.pass-ball!(protegee) => HasBall (state where protegee has control of the ball)
HasBall.mentor.run-downfield! => PassOpen (protegee can make a pass)
HasBall.mentor.block-goalie! => GoalOpen (protegee can score a goal)
fig. 3. Memes Deployed by the Mentor and States
What is one of the worst things for a mentor? A protegee who doesn't appreciate one's help, who doesn't act reliably to profit from the opportunities afforded by the mentor is no good, we know, but macromemetics gives us a reason why. A big advantage to a mentor is that the memes they deploy reliably produce resonance (even if the result is failure for the protegee).
Trying and failing? Does a protegee need to win in order for the mentor to profit from it? Does the mentor garner reliable resonance regardless?
Alliances and Memetic Nexus
In theory, memetic nexus is related to power. I also theorize that alliances are related to power, which seems more obvious. Perhaps they are related to one another in a straightforward way.
I don't really, as of this moment, have a notational system for memetic nexus. It's perhaps a priority to develop this now. A memetic nexus deploys memes and its subscribers in turn deploy memes, and the point is that this downstream deployment is reliable. If not, then one is not a memetic nexus, by definition.
The second law of macromemetics states that a successful meme deployment causes a change in state. The effect of a state change is that a (potentially) different set of agents are able to deploy a (potentially) different set of memes. For instance, a simple example of a nexus is a gossip who has a circle who listen to him and share the gossip amongst themselves. Every day (starting with Day1), the gossip supplies new bits of gossip, or tidbits, to a group of hearers, known as the cohort of the nexus (6). Sharing these tidbits back and forth allows the hearers to remain in a relatively tight core of states where they all have a rich set of memetic choices at their disposal, and which may even go so far as producing a memetic orgy (7).
Day1.gossip.[tidbit11!, tidbit12!, tidbit13!] => Orgy1
Orgy1.[hearer1, hearer2, hearer3].[tidbit11!, tidbit12!, tidbit13!] => Orgy1
fig. 4. Memes Supplied by and Consumed in a Memetic Nexus
While "Orgy1" may or may not be a "compelled state" (8) per se, it may share some properties. The center of the memetic nexus puts all of its subscribers into a state of membership in which they all share a set of memes, which means they may exchange them with.resonance. For example, if your football team loses, and loses to the football team of somebody else, you may be forced to exchange memes that you don't like, but that's hard cheese because you are in the nexus. The football industry itself is the nexus, and Game1 having been played is the state. The memes are we-won! and you-lost! or team1-won! and team2-lost! so fan1 is happy, and fan2 is sad, and fan3 may not care, so he can deploy either meme (including you-won!). Talking about Game1 is effectively the orgy. Hence we see:
Game1.results.[you-lost!, we-won!, team1-won!, team2-lost!, you-won!] => Game1
Game1.fan1.we-won! => Game1.fan1.you-lost!(fan2) => Game1
Game1.fan3.[team1-won!, team2-lost!] => Game1
fig. 5. Memetic Orgy about a Sports Game
One fun extra angle could be an attempt to get off the subject of how my team lost by deploying a meme like last-week! or drop-it! for which any of the memes in the state Game1 could serve as an immunomene, e.g., "you just don't want to talk about how your team lost" or "we're not going to change the subject" in other words, you-lost! This drags us back into the memetic orgy around Game1.
Game1.fan2.last-week!.OldGame.results.[team2-won!, etc] => OldGame
Game1.fan2.drop-it! => BackToWork, etc.
Game1.fan2.[last-week!, drop-it!].[fan1, fan3].[you-lost!, we-won!, etc.] => Game1
fig. 6. Immunomemes Block State Change Attempts
Here we see how the memetic deployment descriptors of a memetic nexus, whether it be a gossip monger, a sport, or other, look like the kinds of memes deployed by a mentor for the sake of a protegee, and how they all also look like the deployment of immunomemes (11). Memetic nexus deployments, in the maintenance of a memetic orgy anyway, behave like an immunomeme (13).
The Least Common Denominator Effect
The First Law of Macromemetics tells us that agents choose which memes to deploy in an effort to maximize resonance (14). Agents choose memes to deploy based on how much resonance they can expect and how likely that is. In the end, reliability wins out, at least theoretically. And this plays into support. You can't deploy a meme if your audience can't accept it (27). The larger the audience, the smaller the set of usable memes becomes. A state that encompasses this shrinking set of memes is a state that immunomemes like to return to, that is to say, the audience will welcome the deployment of immunomemes that resist the transition from a high-inventory state to a "low-inventory" (15,27) state.
How are immunomemes selected, or even generated? Are they generated spontaneously (16)?
I think we have something in terms of a Principle of Positive Inventory (27) as far as nailing down what "optimizing memetic resonance." If I deploy a meme that resonates with the cohort, i.e., a large number of people have memes that resonate with the meme I deploy, then that's good, and if they deployment of said meme transitions the system to a new state that has the same or greater degree of memetic enlistment (17,22). Experiments need to be conducted before we can say things like memetic deployments are governed by the Principle of Positive Inventory or the Principle of Positive Enlistment or whatever. It seems very promising, however. There's the idea of the audience, who like a memetic deployment leaves them in a state where they have fewer memes and connections.
We may need some new terms for some of these quantities. For instance, memetic enlistment to describe how able an agent or cohort is able to deploy "lots of memes" in a given state. Another might be memetic saturation for the perceived presence of a meme or inventory of memes, as opposed to infection, inurement, or injection, which all describe the extent to which a meme is present in a population. Memetic saturation and enlistment can be a problem for an oligarch, who has a lot of power, but by exercising it she alienates others, since they perceive that they have no deployment opportunities themselves, and their perception is that all memetic deployments are coming from one source: the high-status, high-profile, high-power leader (31). One way around the saturation and enlistment "image" problem is alliances, others acting on behalf of the oligarch, so now the perception is that there are many actors and many memes.
Summary & Conclusions
I did a lot of writing in the footnotes. It is probably worth reading them as their own document.
One interesting conclusion is the similarities between alliance transactions, nexus transactions, and immunomemetic deployments. I made my first attempt to devise notation for memetic nexuses. An ally seeks to achieve a state transition through the action of a protegee, a nexus seeks to achieve memetic deployments, of their subscribing cohort (who often remain in a small core of states), and a bully seeks to prevent or divert a memetic state change by deploying immunomemes.
Some light may have been shed on deployment theory in the course of this writing. The likelihood of success in effecting a memetic state change, getting everybody to accept the meme you deploy, may depend on two things: the risk of incurring residual memetic debt as a result of the failure of the deployment, and the risk of "losing control" of which state the system winds up at due to failure.
There is the idea that a "good choice" for a target memetic state (which is determined by a successful memetic deployment) may depend upon the change average "memetic enlistment" (27) of the cohort. Those who have fewer promising memes to deploy after the change will tend to oppose it, to want to deploy immunomemes, and if they can club together and reenforce one another, the effect could be significant.
These ideas may all have bearing on things like privacy, government power, societal stability, in addition to the function of allies.
It seems that any continuous exercise of naked power will inexorably push a system towards a situation of increased alienation of a growing majority of people, and thus ultimately lead to violence. Alliances (in the memetic sense I've been using the term) may be a way to introduce stability (30).
I've made it clear elsewhere that one fundament of macromemetic design is polyvariability and pseudomutation, i.e, the promulgation of the idea that "everybody else is doing it (27)." I'm introducing the term "enlistment" for this. That's what makes memes strong -- the impression that if one deploys it, it will resonate favorably with a large number of others (which depends on what state we are in). The long-term exercise of naked power conveys precisely the opposite. As it turns out, resisting the dictator, even by just protest and demonstrations, makes clear the message that "Yes, it really is just him, the rest of us disagree." The dictator realizes that once widespread resistance appears, even passive, as Gandi showed, it signals the beginning of the end. The dumb dictator tries to suppress expression of resistance, the smart dictator (before the resistance starts) tries to exercise power through many channels, so loyalty is paramount, and the exercise of alliances makes this work.
In short, the structure of alliance transactions gives the mentor/benefactor polyvariablity and pseudomutation (28). Their actions seem to be happening through multiple people, and they seem to come from different places, even though there is a central, single source. This is the same effect of a nexus, although with the nexus one knows the source, which gives you polyvariability ("everybody is saying it!") but less of the mutation effect (the message IS coming from one source). And finally the deployment descriptor notation I came up with for immunomemes works for these, precisely because they incorporate this virtual state or compelled state concept that appears to be intrinsic in all three.
Start.protegee.try!ally.help! => Goal
Start.protegee.try!bully.block! => Start
Start.nexus.broadcast!GroupState.[agent1, agent2, agent3].[meme1!, meme2!, meme3!] => GroupState
fig. 7. Hidden (29) States in Alliance, Immunomeme, and Nexus
I didn't exactly come up with a concise idea of how to cultivate alliances, or to get mentors or beneficiaries, so there's more work to do there. Some big things I think I've uncovered are how mentors profit from alliances, and how that ties into deployment decision theory, for example, how a given state transition may be generally appealing based on how "enabled" most of the agents will be after the transition. Also, one question is whether being able to shunt off residual memetic debt to protegees is a major motivational factor or benefit to mentors. It's there, certainly, but is it central to the formation of alliances is unclear.
I did come up with a couple of new terms, potentiation and amplification (5) to refer to the two types of aid that a mentor may provide a protegee, that is, actions that create a chance for a protegee to act, and those that respond to an action by the protegee in order to ensure success.
More research into these areas required. Deployment Decision Theory remains shrouded in mystery, but the principle of enlistment may actually help to crack that nut.
Deployment Theory has come a little more into focus. I need to look into the stability issue (22,23) to do with a theoretical oligarch steadily painting herself into a corner by forcing the system along pathways that increasingly favor her own memetic deployments, but ultimately alienating a greater and greater population, ultimately resulting in immunomemetic pushback. Can this be mathematically modeled, and ultimately identified in the wild? And can alliance theory, the formation of alliances, avoid this progression, if it is indeed a real phenomenon.
I need to write an essay on this, using some kind of model. I'm not sure what kind of system be appropriate. I guess a good name might be "The Convergent/Divergent Deployment Dynamics Problem." Does a memeplex converge to an oligarchy, or does it always bounce from oligarchy to anarchy, or something else. Is it random, chaotic, linear, something else? The mathematics of this may be a bit beyond me, but if I can write some essays that describe a system rigorously, somebody else (even a YouTube personality) might be able to have a bash at it. I'm just guessing at this point, but a good model might be a Chess board where each of the players is somehow a memetic agent. This might evince the properties of a continually transitioning memeplex. Maybe some kind of "many worlds" where each move forks off a new reality and that might somehow be tied to residual memetic debt. I'm just brainstorming at this point, so comments and suggestions welcome.
I should write a third Dining Philosophers essay focusing on compelled states (aka virtual states or hidden states), and the nature of alliances and bullying. I don't know if much about stability and deployment theory could be eked out of such an essay, but perhaps something on residual memetic debt, and how to accommodate it with notation, for instance.
I still need to write up the baseball system. The still unachieved objective is systematic, deterministic production of strings of deployment descriptors for all possible game outcomes such that the probability in of each (virtual) state transition happening may be applied in order to determine the likely outcome of any given game state. I've boiled it down to a "triangular diamond" (two pages and home plate) and only one outfielder for the very simple reason that it has fewer states, fewer transitions, fewer possible memes, so it's easier to work with. The qualitative research direction is to expand the system to real, full baseball (all bases and positions) and work out how to plug old baseball stats into the system and see if the system reaches the same conclusions. Then, try to win big bucks betting on games based on players' statistics at given positions (possibly against other players) plugged into the model. Baseball may prove too chaotic to get the model to produce those kinds of results, but that remains to be seen.
Comments and suggestions vigorously encouraged!!
A First Look at Alliance Theory (lots of notation)
Notational Conventions and Dynamics of Alliance Theory
Case Study: The Candy Conspiracy, cooperation for unreachable results
What Do Memetic States Look Like?
(1) Check out the Memetic Glossary for discussion of these key terms.
(2) Having good closure translates into low residual memetic debt (1). It's the idea that the transaction is clean, and so there is no leftover feeling of wondering as to whether the meme exchange is finished. "Do I need to do more, or are we done, can I expect any more, or is it over?"
(3) See The Candy Conspiracy.
(4) I also have an essay (half-completed) that touches on the state transition diagram as well as the deployment descriptors I'm using in this essay, i.e., State.agent.meme!(object) => NewState. See also (10).
(5) "Amplification" and "Potentiation" are new terms which I have not used so far elsewhere. Potentiation can be used to describe where the mentor deploys a meme which makes possible deployments by the protegee, not otherwise possible (or very difficult). Amplification can refer to action taken by the protegee which is followed up by the mentor deploying a meme which achieves some end, which may or may not be a meme which the protegee
(6) We say that the gossip is at the center, or core, or the nexus, or as a shorthand, that he is the nexus, or that the nexus is his.
(7) A "memetic orgy" exists amongst a group of agents, a cohort, where every meme deployed resonates strongly with another meme in at least one other agent, so that a memetic chain reaction may be sustained for an extended period. Each deployment keeps the cohort in the same state (or a small set of tightly connected states) to which all deployments keep returning.
(8) A "compelled state" is one where the recipient of the meme is obliged to immediately deploy a meme to change to another state. It acts like a deployment by agent1 in State1 resulting in a direct transition to State3, but in the middle there is a deployment by agent2 to a State2 which the system immediately leaves for State3. This sort of interaction is like following an order, or adhering to a politeness convention, and so on. A simple rule of thumb is that "humans hate compelled states" and will go to great lengths to avoid them. This may not apply to alliances (18) and memetic nexuses, however, and this is an area for further research. We have "virtual states" or "hidden states" in cases where "they don't hate them," but are still similarly transitory states.
(9) A deployment descriptor is a notation of the format: State.agent.meme! => NewState. We can also have details like multiple deployments either through an implied or compelled state, such as State.agent1.meme1!agent2.meme2! => NewState. Memes may also take parameters (10), such as meme!(parameter)
(10) I went back and forth on the syntax for a parameterized meme between meme(parm)! and meme!(parm), that is, the exclamation point that marks a meme as a meme (a lowercase hyphen-delimited string with no exclamation mark is an agent). I inclined to the meme! format, so as to keep it clear that it's a meme and not separate the exclamation point from the meme name too much, since there could be a long list of parameters, with long names. See also (4)
(11) An immunomeme, by the third law of immunomemetics, works to impede the mutation of a memetic system (memeplex) by the acronym MADSAM (12). Think of this as akin to a compelled state (8) where the "objective" of the deployer of the immunomeme is to redirect the system back to a "safe" state or keep it in the same state.
(12) A memeplex mutation takes the form of a MADSAM, or a Modification, Addition, or Deletion of a State, Agent, or Meme. This can take the form of a new meme being created, or an existing meme used in a novel way, or by a new agent, or agents stop using certain memes, they go away (typically through atrophy).
(13) This is the beauty of a memetic nexus. It supplies some cohort a brand-new set of memes all at the same moment, so they have a whole memetic inventory they can enjoy, exchange with one another, and if there are enough memes coming at once, remain in that "memetic orgy" indefinitely. Then, at the next news day, game, change in the weather, scientific discovery, etc., they can start all over again. Again, a memetic orgy depends upon a supply of memes which can keep the system of agents and memes continually coming back to the same state or core set of states. An immunomeme (11) serves a similar function, that is, to drag the system back to the core, safe set of states, thus preventing novel memes, or novel uses of old memes by new agents. For instance, some agent1 might try to employ a new meme, new!, to go to a new State, State2, but another agent2 deploys a block! meme which brings the system back to State1.
State1.agent1.new! => State2 (if new deployment is uncontested)
State1.agent1.new!agent2.block! => State1 (immunomeme diverts away from novel action)
fig. f.13.1. Immunomeme Thwarts Novel Transition to New State
And here we see how an immunomemetic block, or diversion, looks like a single meme, as in agent1.new!agent2.block! is two deployments with only one transition. Hence, it resembles a compelled state (8), in that the system does not linger in whatever state (above, State2) is prevented by the immunomeme.
(14) "Maximizing memetic resonance." This is kind of a slippery concept as far as comping up with a quantitative conserved quantify or other such which one hopes to see in a natural law goes. Deploying memes works rather like Ethernet (more so before star networks became the norm) in that there are collisions and higher-status senders and so on. We also need to nail down a quantitative definition for "resonance." The stand-up comic who "got some laughs" as opposed to "killed" is an example of how resonance can vary, and not just over "how many people."
(15) High-inventory to low-inventory transitions (17,22) mean that a given state contains some set of agents and some set of memes (a state transition matrix) and transitions out of that state (or core collection of states) are felt as decreasing the available inventory of memes, that is fewer agents with fewer memes among them as a result of the transition. The other direction, more memes for everybody with a richer set of transitions, such as is provided by a memetic nexus (and concomitant memetic orgy), is welcomed. People like more memes, and hate having memes taken away (without better replacements). This is why racism and other ideas are so hard to irradicate, and why stupid fads and other ideas seem to spread like wildfire (and then are hard to eradicate).
(16) There's a basic problem with immunomemes, and that is that if they are responding to defeat novel memes, or novel deployments, in other words, something more or less out of the blue, then they themselves are in a sense "novel memes" or "ad hoc memes." There are fairly generic "conversational" and fairly mindless immunomemes like "oh, we already talked about that" and simple "parametric" immunomemes (16.1) like block!(input1, input2) for example "Why can't we eat (spaghetti) for (Thanksgiving)?" Is there such a thing as a non-novel immunomeme? Immunomemes themsevles are a kind of "memetic cancer," just like novel memes themselves. Beyond a certain point is all that's left for the most high-status agent to deploy a least common denominator meme and take everybody to a state that is at least acceptable to some plurality of powerholders, if we can imagine that. Is that a description of demagoguery, coups d'état, and revolutions?
(16.1) On the parametric meme front I'm keen to try some stereotypical joke formats, like the "knock-knock" jokes, "two guys go into a bar" jokes, and perhaps one or two others. It would be an exercise in notation, among other things.
(17) "Memetic enlistment" can be thought of as the greatest number of memes available to the greatest number of agents.
(18) Compelled states in the context of alliances may be different for the protegee and for everybody else. In second Dining Philosophers essay, Plato and Confucius are allies of Socrates when the other philosophers, Voltaire and Descartes (those French guys, quand même!), try to bully Socrates when he tries to serve everyone tea. Plato and Confucius thwart these bullying attempts, these deployments of immunomemes, by deploying memes that bring the system back to the state that Socrates was aiming for with his tea service. At the time that I wrote this essay I was not thinking about alliance theory, but I did hit on the idea of a compelled state, which could also be termed a "virtual state." Compelled states, or virtual states, seem to be key to both bullying and alliances, and the fact that similar notation works for both would seem to bear this out. A protegee deploys a meme, such as tea!, and a bully attempts to deploy a meme such as ignore! or complain!, and instead of leaving the state of Eating or Sleeping, and the ally deploys the immunomeme (or counter-immunomeme in this case) of nudge! or defend! respectively. Just to clarify terminology, Socrates offering tea is a bullying opportunity, and Voltaire complaining the tea is weak and Descartes ignoring the tea offer and continuing to doze are both immunomemetic deployments (bullying memes). Finally, Plato nudging Descartes to wake up or Confucius defending the strength of the tea are immunomemes against the first wave of immunomemes, and so could be termed counter-immunomemes. Philosophers only have three states, Thinking, Eating, and Sleeping, and offering tea, or offer-tea! forces everyone to drop whichever chopsticks they have in hand, wake up, and go into the Thinking state, proffering their rice bowls to receive the tea. In other words:
Thinking.socrates.offer-tea![wake!, stop-eating!]drop-chopsticks!proffer-bowl! => Thinking
fig. f.18.1. What Socrates is attempting to accomplish
This is a compelled state, because the other agents have no choice if this meme deployment succeeds. Think of a virtual state, TeaOffered, and the only way out is to wake up or stop eating and put down your chopsticks, and end up in the Thinking state. The French philosophers try to circumvent this with immunomemes and avoid a state change.
Thinking.socrates.offer-tea!descartes.ignore! => [Sleeping, Eating, Thinking].descartes
Thinking.socrates.offer-tea!voltaire.complain! => [Eating, Thinking].voltaire
fig. f.18.2. Immunomemes to avoid state change.
To prevent the French philosophers from subverting Socrates, they can deploy counter-immunomemes thusly:
Thinking.socrates.offer-tea!descartes.ignore!plato.nudge!(descartes) => Thinking
Thinking.socrates.offer-tea!voltaire.complain!confucius.defend! => Thinking
fig. f.18.3. Counter-immunomemes helping original offer-tea! to succeed
So we can see some compelled states, or virtual states, where Socrates is offering tea, incurring memetic debt, but success is uncertain because the French philosophers attempt to bully, which incurs memetic debt on their part. If the French succeed, then they recover their memetic debt, and Socrates is left with residual memetic debt, and thus is demotivated to attempt offer-tea! in future, while the French come away with assurance of future success. However, Plato and Confucius counter, likewise incurring memetic debt of their own. If their bid to counter-bully succeeds, then they recover their memetic debt, as does Socrates, and the French are left with residual memetic debt.
A lot of interesting stuff here. It might be fun to write another version of the Dining Philosophers essay specifically focusing on residual memetic debt, compelled (and virtual) states and alliances and immunomemes, and the notation both in terms of deployment descriptors and state transition diagrams, all of which are touched upon in the original (second) essay. But so far we have the risk of incurring residual memetic debt as a motivator (19)
(19) What is the "opposite" of residual memetic debt? If we posit that the prospect of incurring residual memetic debt is a demotivator (20), what is a corresponding motivator? Deployment of a meme is a bid for resonance, opening a memetic loop, and incurring memetic debt. See this essay where I talk about my discovery of residual memetic debt in the Koffee Klatch experiment. We're starting to get deep into unexplored deployment theory territory (22). If residual memetic debt is a major determinant of memetic deployment, presumably as a negative, are there other negatives? One possible clue that I've only hit upon in the course of writing this essay is that the assessment of the number, or "weight," of favorable memes for oneself, but also for others (who might deploy immunomemes) might be a major, possibly the major factor in trying to deploy a given meme. Even cohort members with "higher status" might be willing to stand aside if somebody is trying to deploy a meme which will lead to a state that gives the high-status person more deployment options (23).
(20) According to theory, and a body of evidence, residual memetic debt it is at the root of things like the fear of inflation, how hard it is to get a currency accepted as tender, revenge, vendetta, genocide, and intergenerational family abuse. I think we can think of it as a kind of "tit-for-tat" or "karma" or "delayed gratification" that exists in the human nervous system, or another way of expressing those things is macromemetic, and hopefully rigorously scientific terms. An interesting manifestation of residual memetic debt may exist in the middle-class worker on salary who steals pens from the company. His salary doesn't increase even if he works more, and so he might think that he "deserves" extra. I saw the same kind of behavior in the Koffee Klatch experiment, and I put it down to poor meme design, namely, marking and closure (21).
(21) See my short story, "Electoral College Professor" in the anthology Otherworlds.
(22) Deployment Theory deals with the ways in which agents decide to deploy memes. This is where looking at models such as baseball and The Dining Philosophers problem help clarify things, since they are highly "stateful" and "clocky" and so easy to model the transitions between states. Agents have a clear set of choices in front of them, clear results to expect for each move, and "unlimited" time to make them, i.e., no "race conditions," or, in the case of baseball, the results are cleanly decided and only one decision is in play at a time. In practice, it's potentially quite messy. How does "status" figure into it, for instance? What about collisions ("jinx events"), or race conditions? The criticism might be leveled that if macromemetic theory cannot arrive at a clear description of how meme deployment works, then it's impossible to model any real-world thing and the whole thing is worthless ("Oh my god, we're almost as bad as economists!"). Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a big problem and some solution must ultimately be found. Even if some kind of computer simulation, or mathematical model were found that seemed to closely track how humans decide to deploy memes, it might still be little more than a glorified guess. Deployment theory is to macromemetics rather like black body radiation was to turn-of-the-century physics, i.e., a make-or-break question. The answers may come from theories to do with residual memetic debt applied to statistical analysis of social media data, or possibly from medical research and neurological imaging. My hope is that I shall be able to come up with theories that work well and are easy to understand at small scales, and which scale up to larger populations. At this point it's unclear if this will be so, which is why I'm looking at systems with small numbers of states like baseball and dining philosophers in hopes of at least getting things that work and developing a notation system so I can move on from there. It's the Wild West for now.
(23) High-status agents and deployment options. This may be the crux of alliance theory. If I'm relatively high-status, then perhaps I can deploy memes that will keep me able to deploy lots of memes, but I have a double-bind in that my moving the system to states that increasingly favor me, they may ultimately disfavor enough others that they can deploy immunomemes against me, defeating my state change, and diverting the system to a state I no longer control.
There's probably a mathematical argument that may be made here. Chaos is a condition, a state or collection of states, if you will, in which the powerful (or let's be frank, the élite) are unable to control the direction in which the system is going (25). The memetic deployment decisions of a large number of people begin to control the series of memetic states through which the system progresses (24). The point I would make, and there may be a whole series of essays, some of which delve deeply into deployment theory (22), that come out of this, but for any agent who has the power to make a state change runs the "risk" of disenfranchising some number of agents at any such deployment. However, if such an agent makes a deployment that only goes into a compelled or virtual state, and allows some other agent to successfully deploy a meme for a different (but possibly same or related) state change, the agent of the first part may thereby sidestep said "risk," and also, whether the delegated deployment succeed or fail, slough off the attendant residual memetic debt.
This may start to get at the heart of alliance theory. The benefits to the protegee are fairly obvious. If "hidden power" is crucial to societal (memeplectic) stability (25), then influencing the smaller changes via virtual (compelled) states may avoid immunomemetic attack (or at least redirect the residual memetic debt away) and exercise a finer control, making the exercise of power more like a razor and less like a sledgehammer.
(24) Yes, and this may be a description of "democracy."
(25) I hesitate from making this argument (yet), but since the direction of a society is steered by macromemetics, not by any abstract concept of "everyone's best (material) benefit," chaos is no good. War is an organized expression of "things not going too well" (as is genocide) and everybody dying of starvation or drowning in their own waste or pollution is a less organized one. This is a very conservative and elitist comment, but it may be that for a society to be stable and reasonably prosperous, a certain elite faction (or factions, more on that elsewhere) must be in control such that the personal decisions of that elite group for their own personal benefit lead to a reasonable benefit for the society at large (26). In other words, "everybody being in control" or everybody's memetic behavior having equal influence on the state transitions of the society may lead inexorably to chaos, civil war, everybody starving, and ultimate invasion, colonization, and subjugation by an outside power that has its act more together than we do. History is rife with examples.
(26) In British political history there's the expression "the King lives of his own." From A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill. A state in which the monarch subsists from the rents and revenues of his own personal holdings, without the need to ask Parliament for taxes. This is regarded as the zenith of prosperity, when the King and the Government were not indebted to some bank or foreign power or other such.
(27) I think I may go with the term "Memetic Enlistment" to describe how the degree to which agents are responsive to and able to use some inventory of memes in a given state. In this sense, a given agent is positive about a memetic transition (according to the 2nd law of macromemetics) to a state in which they are "highly enlisted," and negative about a transition that leads to a state in which they are less enlisted.
(28) We could think of a term for this kind of smearing out or dispersion which we like to see in memes and how well and to what extent any given agent perceives a meme to be present in the memetic fabric. "Saturation" might be a good term. However, the term "injection" may cover this already, and there may not be a need for it. Actually, I think that saturation can be a state-oriented concept and depict the perception of how prevalent a meme is, while injection (and inurement and infection) is more about the absolute loading of the collected minds of the fabric with a given meme or inventory, regardless as to how said meme or inventory is distributed throughout the states (and agents) of the memeplex.
(29) A hidden state is basically the same as a compelled state or a virtual state. A compelled state is more emotionally loaded, a virtual state is there, but the system doesn't really stop there, but me may want to give it a name nonetheless, and a hidden state is really one that is technically there, but really doesn't need a name. They are all basically the same, but for the sake of clarity, so you don't have to say "why is it compelled?" when it's not important.
(30) This may ultimately point to an explanation of what might be termed American Exceptionalism, for instance, how the United States seems to be super-stable despite seeming very chaotic, and avoiding economic degeneration (as economics predicts from things like prices, profit erosion, labor changes, etc.). This may or may not actually be a question in need of answering, but if it is, the theory of alliances and the concept of enlistment as a drive for the progression of memetic and state transitions may provide a lot of answers, and a scientific approach to it.
(31) Even in a dictatorial situation where the majority of people are alienated and lack political or even informational self-determinism, there is still the "Bread & Circuses" angle of The Great Leader or a surrogate acting as a nexus, pumping out memes for the consumption and orgiastic use by the alienated population of agents, which gives them an inroad to memetic participation, if a politically impotent one.