Monday, March 8

Viral Memetics

[Viral Memetics]

I've been reading Douglas R. Hofstadter's Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern [loan from Jeremy] for a few days now. I find myself giggling and smirking and musing with furrowed brow while reading on the bus [almost] oblivious to the curious glances from my fellow passengers. If I care at all what they think, it's because I hope some of them assumes the truth: the book is fabulous and I am a geeky girl. Quoted in the book:
The performance value of an idea depends upon the change it brings to the behavior of the person or the group that adopts it. The human group upon which a given idea confers greater cohesiveness, greater ambition, and greater self-confidence thereby receives from it an added power to expend which will insure the promotion of the idea itself. Its capacity to "take", the extent to which it can be "put over" has little to do with the amount of objective truth the idea may contain. The important thing about the stout armature [an ideology] constitutes for a society is not what goes into its structure, but the fact that this structure is accepted, that it gains sway. So one cannot well separate such an idea's power to spread from its power to perform.

—Jacques Monrod in Chance and Necessity
[emphasis added]

Back to the book.