Re: Measuring Memes -- as waveforms

Chris Lofting (
Wed, 16 Jun 1999 04:37:08 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes -- as waveforms
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999 04:37:08 +1000

-----Original Message-----
From: Robin Faichney <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, 15 June 1999 8:13
Subject: Re: Measuring Memes

>In message <>, Lloyd
>Robertson <> writes
>>Please give me an example of how a meme is a code. Are you using Dawkins
>>"A" and suggesting that it is a code for behavior or artifact making?
>Briefly, in memetic transmission, brain state codes for behaviour, AND
>behaviour codes for brain state.
>To expand -- when computer code is executed, the execution is in effect
>a decoding operation: what happens then is the meaning of the code. So,
>obviously, information in the brain codes for behaviour, and that is
>viewable as decoding, too. But if replication occurs, and the behaviour
>causes the corresponding information to be stored in another brain, do
>we call that encoding? We could do, but the distinction between
>encoding and decoding, between "clear" and "coded" forms, is an
>arbitrary one. Both are just reversible transformations of information,
>and we typically call the form that is most convenient to us, "clear",
>and the other, "coded". If we say that either the behaviour is the meme
>xor the brain information is the meme, it looks to me like that
>distinction is based on the clear vs. coded one, making it a false
>dichotomy. What we have here is cyclical transformation of information,
>which is equally present in brain AND behaviour, though in different
>forms. How could information be transmitted if not through every link in
>the chain?

If you treat memes as waveforms then you can create complex waveforms that
when transmitted contain 'hidden' meanings. For example, a word has its root
and associated meanings as 'baggage' and some of which are obvious to me and
some of which are not. If I learn a new word with a meaning 'X', but this
word originates from meaning Y+Z as well as X, and I then go to an analyst,
the analyst can dig-up the Y+Z and force me to believe that I knew this but
repressed it; the analyst disentangles the word revealing the 'hidden'
meanings that I may or may not be aware of, and then you can be convinced
that 'unconsciously' you 'must' have known!

Here you see the distinction of literal from metaphor interpretations such
that learning a word takes-on these two 'variations' where we use the
literal form and do not recognise the metaphor form where the word has

Once these 'implications' are pointed out we get a feeling that says 'of
course!' BUT that did not exist until it was pointed out; this alternative
meaning was a potential until the pointing-out 'collapsed' it into an

The 'of course' feeling suggests that the 'hidden' meaning was already
present, the word reflects a superposition of two (or more) meanings
conmpressed into the one 'space'.

If you do not experience the 'of course' feeling then the word you received
did not contain this 'other' meaning as a waveform but will do from now on
(and note that this is irreversible, you cannot 'unlearn' a word, you just
mark it as 'junk' but when you hear it again there is a spark of recognition
linked back to the first experience of the word.)

In humans it is emotion that is best described as 'wavelike' where a set of
fundamental emotions can be combined, or compressed, into the same space to
generate a complex emotion which we can breakdown into its parts, BUT, if I
experience the complex emotion before the fundamentals I can miss 'hidden'
elements since I take the complex as if fundamental until something comes
along to force the disentanglement of this complex into fundamentals.. .and
this can be a 'shock'.

This leads us into the use of language to hypnotise by putting tonal
variations on a stream of words such that a 'hidden' phrase 'rides' the
wave -- we use the 'simple sentence' as a modulator to carry the 'hidden'
element. (Hypnotherapist Milton Erickson seems to have been very good at
this and a lot of NeuroLinguisticProgramming material touches on this method
of by-passing the 'critical' mind; to pass through a 'wall' you have to use
waves and these can set you resonating without awareness of what is

Since we can do this with spoken language, there is nothing to stop it
happening in other forms of communication -- I recall something about Freud
refusing to read Nietzsche in case it unconsciously corrupted his
thinking... Rhetoric gets into this... Poetry, Music, Art can also do

When we review the structure of emotion there is an objective element that
we all share as members of the same species and it is the 'resonance' of
this that creates 'meaning' that we all share and agree is 'X'. The wave
bias that seems to operate here allows for emotion to code 'in parallel' and
so to bypass the serial process we usually use (where the serial is
experienced as something 'precise' simply because it is singular in form and
attracts our attention, our focus. We can block the serial form, the
parallel can sneak-up on us :-))

Since it is emotion that seems to determine 'meaning' so any manipulation of
the emotion system by a virus or problems with 'hardware' (novel wiring) or
'firmware' (hormonal behaviour) can generate 'meanings' that have no bearing
on the external context other than that which we project as an act of trying
to 'make sense' of what the hell is happening.

The emotion system seems to be linked to the abstract elements of the
brain-mind that 'map' reality by making distinctions of objects and
relationships. Recursive processes applied to these 'primitive' distinctions
act to 'refine' meaning. In this sense the waveforms that are
'words'/'symbols' act as resonating agents where frequency/wavelength sets
the emotions 'resonating' and this causes patterns of behaviour. (Put sand
on a surface and get the surface to resonate using frequency and you get
unique patterns -- now imagine those in 3 and 4D. Refined emotional analysis
is based on colours and chords, which happen to be the HARMONICS of the
visual and auditory systems and there are words that work the same way).

When we review the development of the brain-mind we see complexity at work
with the 'emergence' of forms that have the same characteristics as their
'parents' but are more refined and contain 'novel' expressions,only possible
at the particular level due to the robustness of the context. This suggests
that the processing of data at the 'top' level must in some way reflect the
same processes at the 'bottom' level and we DO see this sort of behaviour
(object/relationships) at the level of DNA/RNA where the DNA is more
relational in form and we cut'n'paste from this to form an 'object', a gene,
coded as a tRNA sequence and sent-off to the ribosomes for processing.

If we move up a few levels this same pattern is present in our neurons and
at the next level at the neural networks in that relational data is summed
(dendrites leading into soma) and from it comes a 'pulse', an 'object' (axon

The neurons are more the 'warp' of the system with the
neurotransmitters/neuromodulators being the 'weft' and from these
combinations come patterns, but note that we are now at the level of
emotion-based processes where we seem to see the same pattern repeated and
these in turn are repeated at the more abstract levels of neocortical
functions where we start to make the distinctions of 'objects' (wholes and
parts) and 'relationships' (static and dynamic). Note that these
distinctions are 'objects' in that we are now using words but these words
point to fundamental patterns of emotion that we share with all of the
species (at least).

What all of this suggests is that there is a code at the 'top' level that is
a refinement of the code at the 'bottom' level in that the RNA/DNA processes
for information processing are refined into the
object(tRNA)/relationships(DNA) processes we see in the neocortex and with
this comes all of the mechanisms we 'see' at the molecular biology level
(reverse transcriptions, selectivity in gene activation etc etc)

When we move from the 'gene' level, which is something 'hardwired' and so
'object-like' so we move more and more into relational areas and here we
move into memes best described as waveforms since I think they reflect a
more qualitative bias.

Since we can trace an information processing development path from RNA/DNA
upto neurological/psychological functioning of the brain-mind, so at all
degrees of scale the SAME methods are used, we start to see the potential
for parallel processing where there is communication between levels in two
or more systems (humans) that are at the same scale such that 'turns of
phrase' alone can affect behaviour in a way that one at first finds

(Note that each level can act as a feedback source for those beneath it and
directly above it)

In this sense there is no 'chain' but more a vest of chains woven together
with each chain manifesting a 'bias' to objects/relationships. From this
weaving emerges a 'pattern' that is the communication that causes
'resonance' and so a sense of 'meaning'. Memes do not have to be words but
more any metaphor/symbolism that causes emotional resonance and as we have
seen this can be 'hidden' from the individual; they can 'sneak-in' under
your guard and 'have fun' at your expense!

In our species, and others, the decode/encode system is our emotions but
unlike other species we have developed refined feedback processes that not
only let us encode/decode but also exagerate/playdown these processes; we
can play with qualitative elements to refine further the 'message' both in
transmission as well as reception (the latter being the use of memories). We
thus have a strong proactive element that enables us to preempt rather than
just be reactive and get 'pushed around'. This said there is still much in
the area of parallel processing that we still have to understand...

Best regards,


This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)