Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Territorial Realm of Toxins of Power

In the science of memetics there is a notion of group where like memes circulate in the form of a group ideology.

A group ideology could be identified with a political party, a religious denomination, a liberal group, a conservative group, as well as many other groups of various sorts.

The central characteristic is that they think alike on various issues with enough intensity so as to cause individual members to identify with that group.

The memetic lexicon calls this a meme-complex, describing it as:
A set of mutually-assisting memes which have co-evolved a symbiotic relationship. Religious and political dogmas, social movements, artistic styles, traditions and customs, chain letters, paradigms, languages, etc. are meme-complexes. Also called an m-plex, or scheme (Hofstadter). Types of co-memes commonly found in a scheme are called the: bait; hook; threat; and vaccime. A successful scheme commonly has certain attributes: wide scope (a paradigm that explains much); opportunity for the carriers to participate and contribute; conviction of its self-evident truth (carries Authority); offers order and a sense of place, helping to stave off the dread of meaninglessness. (Wheelis, quoted by Hofstadter.)
(Memetic Lexicon). Of course this is not ipso facto or axiomatically a bad thing.

But it can become a bad thing, as noted in the book 1984, where a corrupted form of the meme-complex was associated with a toxic disorder called "groupthink".

In terms of toxins of power working on a group, follow the structural hypothesis series showing how memes in memory are corrupted within an individual's memory, then transferred via language to others.

In a group setting this is easier because the group is already predisposed favorably toward members of the group.

That means meme transfer via "language" communications between group members is easier, and thus, corruption can and does happen to entire meme-complexes or groups that way as a matter of course.

Likewise, when a corrupt group or meme-complex governs a nation the whole nation can experience the effects of the corruption.

The core hypothesis, then, is that an entire meme-complex can become corrupt by the toxins of power.

Once that happens it can be said that a nation is governed by corruption much in the same way that an individual can become corrupt, then proceed in a corrupt direction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Phase Three & Four: Toxin vs Meme

This post is the third and last of the series where we build a construct to visualize and conceptualize how a meme in memory is morphed from its original state into a corrupted state.

It is then promulgated to a new host via the use of language.

We dealt with the overall concept in the post A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes, then Phase One & Two, so now we are ready to complete the construct in this post.

The illustration, above, entitled "Memetic Strands Are Converted Into Language" shows a meme that was corrupted in memory and is now being converted into language.

The original meme in its language format was "It is always wrong to embezzle the people's money".

During the corruption phase the toxins of power were working on the politician's mind, such that some of the meme strands were realigned by first selfish, then later, corrupt thinking. The classic Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde conversion or morph transpired.

The language which resulted after that morph had taken place had become: "It is wrong to embezzle the people's money unless it is done for a good cause".

The politician, in this case, then used the English language to communicate the morphed and now corrupt meme, within that politician's own mind / brain, to a person on the politician's staff who was easily influenced by the politician.

When the meme was converted into language from thought, the corrupted meme was transferred then stored in the memory of the recipient as if it was not corrupt, because the recipient had been convinced of its validity during the communication session.

The illustration "Language Conversion Back To Memory" shows the final phase where the meme is stored in the new host, the politician's staff member.

I have not used technical language in these posts, but if you care to peruse some of the technical language used in memetics, a lexicon of memetic terms is located here.

A continuation of this discussion is here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Phase One & Two: Toxin vs Meme

The overall description of the four phases of a meme becoming corrupted by the toxins of power, then propagated through language, forms a foundation of sorts for this post.

That description is posted here.

In this post we are going to form a construct for visualizing / conceptualizing how the toxins of power morph a meme in memory from a pristine condition into a corrupt condition.

As we move from the macro concepts down into the depths of research details, we run into scientific controversy or conflict. It is said that "the devil is in the details". To avoid as much of that as possible we will stay in the areas of consensus where possible.

When staying away from controversial detail is not possible, we will show how the construct works with several competing hypotheses or theories for that section of the subject matter.

As an example take the notion of consciousness and cognition. Penrose and Hameroff postulated that those take place because human thinking is a quantum computer. In that Penrose - Hameroff theoretical quantum computer thought processes take place within micro tubules.

To the contrary, Tegmark published a paper countering that hypothesis, showing that neural networks can explain the notion better, because of various speed factors.

The task here is not to solve those problems of detail, instead, at a much higher level we envision a process where an explanation can be constructed showing how toxins working on memes in memory can morph those memes into a corrupted state.

We can use analogies of gravity or electromagnetism instead of detailed quantum micro tubules, for consideration of a construct to get a better handle on the notion of a "corrupting influence".

The toxins we are concerned with exert a push or pull (influence) on the cognition of politicians, who are thereby influenced to think more about themselves ("themselves" meaning the extended self too, such as family and friends) than they think about the public they are to serve.

The effect of the influence is measured in terms of increasingly selfish thoughts and deeds eventually benefiting the politician rather than the public.

Lets envision an interwoven fabric of memes, in the memory of someone in power, to be like the pattern in the first illustration to the right.

This original memetic pattern is balanced, orderly, aligned, and uniform, not having been exposed to toxins yet.

In the next illustration, lets envision that pattern having been changed by tugs and pulls of the toxins, with some memes now having a new location in a dysfunctional pattern.

The toxins are causing some of the memes to jump the tracks that link it to other memes, so that the network of memes then becomes linked to a map different from before.

Those memes in the illustration, which have red dots, have been moved out of their original pattern or configuration.

The individual memes as well as the memory map of those memes would likewise change.

We can see how the content of an individual meme would change by using the illustrations we already used to represent the original meme.

The original meme in its pristine condition is represented with the illustration "PHASE ONE" at the top of the page.

The corrupted meme, after the tugs and pulls of toxins change it, is represented with the illustration "PHASE TWO".

With this type of construct we can envision memes in memory as being part of a memory pattern. After toxins tug and pull on them, we envision a new memory pattern where some of the memes are no longer where they originally were.

We also see a change in the individual memes, in that, now some of the strands of coded mapping have been changed to record the meme's new location within the memory pattern.

As we will see in the next post, the new location and new strands of codified mapping end up causing a change in what this meme will translate into, as language, compared to what it originally translated into as language.

The next and final post in this series is located here, the first post of this series is located here.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Structure RE: Corruption of Memes

It will take several posts to completely construct it, but let's attempt to fabricate a structure which can follow toxins moving from that mysterious force we call power, into a meme in memory, thereby corrupting that meme.

Specifically, it will be a construct that shows how a power toxin infects a meme, is stored in that meme by becoming a part of that meme, and then is propagated to others.

The subject of memes is difficult, in the sense of the toxins of power, because it crosses several realms composed of both mystic and scientific knowledge.

It makes the subject of the corruption of those in power all the more difficult, because both power and memory are described in whole or in part, depending on who you are talking to, with the words of mystery and the words of science.

Likewise the distribution of memes is a difficult subject, primarily because the fundamental method of distribution is language, which has engendered a library of opposing, even contradictory, papers, books, lectures, and theory all by itself.

Lets try to focus, then, on the consensus of scientists when we touch upon language during this discussion of memes, such as:
It has been recognized for thousands of years that language is, fundamentally, a system of sound-meaning connections; the potential infiniteness of this system has been explicitly recognized by Galileo, Descartes, and the 17th-century “philosophical grammarians” and their successors, notably von Humboldt.
(Chomsky, Science Magazine, Nov. 22, 2002, Volume 298, p 1571). So when I discuss the structure or process of converting a meme out from within an individual's memory into the language mechanism (intending to transfer that meme from one place to another place) I will stick to consensus ideas about language.

The "sound-meaning" linkage theory, says that meaning is linked to sound in language, and inversely says that sound is linked to meaning in language.

This of course is talking about cases of meme transfer between those who can hear and speak audibly.

Obviously the hearing impaired would use sign language to transfer memes, which is visual-meaning linked, not sound-meaning linked.

Of course there are other means of communication as well, not of sound and not of sight, but we focus on the basic forms to illustrate the construct.

The process being used here to show how a toxin can contaminate a meme is shown as a four part process in the illustration "Four Phases - corruption".

Phase 1 shows the toxins of power working on a meme in memory; phase 2 shows the morph of the meme from a non-corrupt meme into a corrupt meme; phase 3 shows the conversion of the corrupt meme into language; and phase 4 shows the corrupt meme replicating by being communicated to the memory of the recipient of that language.

With this construct we do not postulate that the meme itself comes from power, rather we form a premise that a toxin of power distorts a meme already in memory.

The illustration "PHASE ONE" shows a meme in memory surrounded with power during phase 1 of the process.

This construct represents the meme as being constructed of various codified strands composing a web like structure.

The strands map to memory areas where the various components of the meme are stored. Links on a web page to other web pages might be a reasonable way of envisioning it.

The illustration "PHASE TWO" shows the same meme in memory at the completion of phase 2 of the process, where some of the web strands or links have been "corrupted" by the toxins.

The meme is no longer composed of its original codified strand links, which mapped to original memory areas where the components of the original meme were stored, because some of the links have become corrupted or broken.

Some of the codified strand links now point to areas of memory that will result in a corrupt form of the original meme.

Bad links on a web page might be a reasonable way of envisioning the distorted or corrupted state of the meme at phase 2 of the four phase process.

When the strands of the meme are unwound during the process that converts a meme into language, the corrupted strands are also converted into language.

Then when the language is converted back into the memory version of the meme the corrupted strands are handled as if they were the original, so the meme in the new memory is a meme depicted in the PHASE ONE illustration.

That is, it is as if it was the original in terms of how it is stored in the new memory after conversion from language back into the memory format.

The notion of distortion or corruption, as used in this construct, is the definition at the macro level already explained in the post "What Is Corruption?".

Thus, "corruption" as used in this construct, does not have the medical or psychological meaning in the technical sense.

The next post in this series is located here.