June 5, 2011

... as if we created a "doom machine" VClip ?

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"The Corporation" a documentary from Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott, Joel Bakan

^^w MM: ^^w^^w^^u^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w Schieffer on Corporations free speech. Run the company for office. The corporation that ran for office. -Schieffer, FTN, March 14, 2010, 10:54:51

Woman vs. Machine VClip ?

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Democracy NOW!, Feb. 13, 2006

For what concerns me in this inquiry is not the public image of Anglo-American idealism that was shattered by the Dresden raid, but the crime against humanity which was perpetrated. That it was decided to bomb a city of no military value simply in order to impress Stalin. That a fire storm was deliberately created in order to kill as many people as possible, and that the survivors were machine-gunned as they lay helpless in the open --all this has been established without a shadow of a doubt. What remains is to ask how decent, civilized politicians enthusiastically approved such mass murder and decent, civilized servicemen conscientiously carried it out. --R.H.S. Crossman, Apocalpse at Dresden, Esquire, November 1963

"I was part of a mechanism that, in a sense, recommended it." VClip ?:

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Former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara 'The Fog of War'

In The Constant Gardener, in particular, it was quite extraordinary to go to Basel, to get among the young pharmaceutical executives in a private way, promise them that I would never tell-divulge their names, and listen to them pouring out their rage against the work they were doing, at the people who were making them do it. But they were still taking the penny, and they were still doing what they were doing. They were still contributing to the invention of diseases. --British Novelist John le Carré on the Iraq War, Corporate Power, the Exploitation of Africa and His New Novel, "Our Kind of Traitor," Democracy Now!, November 25, 2010

by Dr. Porkchop
on Wed, 01/05/2011 - 22:41
My dream to have a small bit of decent land so that I can grow food. Not necessarily farming, but growing food organically. For me, it's the same as the idea of investing in PMs. It's about refusing to play in the rigged global system.
I work in lower level management job that brings me no satisfaction whatsoever. It pays the bills, but I hate it. When I went to school in the 90s, they preached college and hi tech jobs.
I'm an intelligent person, but I get satisfaction from working with my hands. I did a basic blacksmithing course a year ago and it was the best. Pounding hot metal on an anvil.
I want to be able to pass on some practical knowledge to the kids, I think they'll need it in the future. --To Bee Or Not To Be?

"Officials themselves were as terrified of the laws they imposed as were the common people." VClip 4:

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"China: The Dragon's Ascent," HistoryChannel.com"

The Sorcerer's Apprentice VClip ?

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Walt Disney's Fantasia, (1940)

...if only you'd been in a position of power ... VClip ?

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Real Time, March 19, 2010

There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop," the 21-year-old said. "And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all. - Free Speech Movement's Mario Savio, December 2, 1964 and the video, "Mario Savio: Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1946"

Memetic Machines

-- It's Not the People, It's the Machine, by Michael Gaddy [INCLUDES REFERENCES TO "GOD OF THE MACHINE" LEFAVRE, ETC.] + ok MM: ^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w^^w --A Demon in Need of Exorcism by David Calderwood [ARGUES THAT IT'S NOT AN ORGANIZATION THAT ACTS, BUT, RATHER, THOSE IN IT]

If you remember in Chapter 10, How Reflexes, Instincts and Drives Work, we suggested that, "Much of our lives are lived beyond our conscious control -- controlled by our drives, instincts - - - and our learned drives and instincts." Further, we observed that, "While we do have reflexes, and perhaps even a few patterns that would qualify as 'instincts,' we are more likely to be operated, in our 'cat rubbing' type behavior, by more open-ended 'drives.' And/or learned programs that work similarly." You're hungry, a drive. But how do you find food? That's your problem, remember.

In this chapter, we'll attempt to develop and flesh-out our understanding of these "learned drives and instincts" -- by which "we are more likely to be operated in our 'cat rubbing' type behavior." We'll further attempt to extend that understanding to the closely related concept, "memetic machines," which, in addition, operate distributed among groups of individuals and even -- typically moderated and powered by "money" -- into "extended order" or "economic" society, where they are often behind the emergence of what, once we recognize it, we perceive as "spontaneous order."

We will begin by looking at "learned programs" which are largely operationally equivalent to inherited "drives and instincts" but are acquired from others, created by an individual, or evolve within a group. They fulfill the same sorts of functions as their genetic cousins.

Remember though, there's at least one important difference between genetic patterns and acquired ones: As we learned in Chapter 12, Where Altruism Came From, these learned programs are hugely more flexible than genetic programs. The learned programs can change and evolve much more quickly than their inherited counterparts -- days, hours, or even minutes vs. generations. It is this quick behavioral flexibility that "learning" bestows which is the main thing that gives us humans our greatest adaptability and survival potential. But there are also pitfalls, remember.

Also in Chapter 12, we brought in Dawkins' concept of "memes" -- thoughts and ideas, remember -- as parallel to "genes." And, importantly, we've also previously suggested that like genes, memes also commonly have behavioral implications -- perhaps you take an umbrella because of a meme from The Weather Channel. It is the similarity of memes to genes -- particularly that memes can be transmitted from person to person and that they often have behavioral implications -- from which the notion of "memetic machines," the theme and name of this chapter, grows.

How about a couple of examples of just what I have in mind? First, for a genetic analog, remember the doctor tapping your knee to check your reflexes. Your knee kicks and the reflex is complete.

And now, a learned analog: Did someone teach you how to cross a street? If they did, they probably "installed" a "memetic machine" in your "operating system" in the process. In particular, they probably taught you to "look both ways before crossing." At first, they probably told you verbally -- in words. They then showed you what "looking both ways" looked like by doing it themselves. You learned the behavior the words symbolized. You look left, then you look right and the behavior is complete. More than likely, that same "look both ways" behavior sticks with you even today. That simple behavior is the result of the operation of what I'm calling a "memetic machine," albeit, a simple one.

The "looking both ways" behavior is almost certainly now automatic and no longer requires verbal activity -- or even conscious thought -- unless you've been teaching kids to cross the street. That is, while engaging in the behavior regularly yourself, I'll wager you've probably not consciously focused on it -- especially the verbal part ("Look both ways before crossing, honey!") -- for quite awhile. Until this paragraph called it to your attention perhaps. None the less, you still always look both ways before crossing.

The action of "looking both ways before crossing" has become what I call a "learned reflex." If the behavior were more complex, I might call it a "learned instinct." Both learned reflexes and learned instincts are, in my terminology, "memetic machines." That is, they exist in your memory rather than come from your genes -- and, none the less, they specify, cause, and control behavior.

We might make a further fine distinction: Unlike the "looking both ways" behavior, some memetic machines retain the use of verbal content. For example, if you've ever flown a plane, you know about the check-lists. A check-list is a comprehensive list of things to check out before you take off. The lists are a little different from plane to plane, and there's always supposed to be a sheet with them printed on it in the cockpit. While you remember most of them, you often use the check-list to make sure you do them all. It's difficult to clean the windshield, kick the tires or check the oil once you're in the air. [^^w SPECIFIC EXAMPLES FROM CHECK-LIST]

So, a memetic machine can be almost completely verbal in nature (checklists -- and when you were first learning how to cross the street), almost completely non-conscious and automatic (looking both ways now), or somewhere in between. Please note then: A memetic machine may be basically verbal - - - but it doesn't have to be.

Another refinement: Memetic machines may count on other memetic machines -- or parts of them -- to function. You must have learned to understand language to use checklists for example. Memetic machines may also count on the use of genetic characteristics and programs to function. Crossing the street requires you to be able to walk for example.

Additionally, a memetic machine may determine how you think. If you think of "thought" as behavior, you can see that some "memetic machines" might specify mental behavior.

Let's say you're on a diet and every time you see the refrigerator, you've trained yourself to think, "I must not open that door" -- or giving up smoking, you've trained yourself to imagine what a smoker's lungs look like any time you're tempted to light up. These would be examples of memetic machines that directly affect mental behavior.

Ultimately, you hope these machines will help you affect the physical behavior of eating and smoking. Since all so-called "habits" are in essence, also "memetic machines," in these two examples, it's machine vs. machine. At least at first.

Some memetic machines may primarily affect only mental behavior with only incidental physical effects{, however}. Meditation techniques for example. Also any idea upon which you take no action.

Distributed Memetic Machines

Up to now, we've been looking at simple, relatively "local" memetic machines. Local to your mind and body, that is. But memetic machines aren't limited to being either simple or local. How about some analogs we've already visited as examples: Foraging ants, bees, and slime-mold for instance. These all involve the complex activity of many individuals with "control" distributed throughout the colony based on changing information as a result of changing local conditions -- with no permanent, central, controlling entity, remember [LINK TO CH. 18?].

Likewise, human memetic machines aren't limited to one individual either. Remember the "Critical Mass" bikerides from Chapter 19, Spontaneous Order.

And sports teams carry out "plays," behaviors that require the coordination of many or all of the players. In basketball, a "zone defense" for example. The zone defense requires a lot of co-ordination (and thus information exchange) as opposing players are covered by first one defender then another. While the players are carrying out the zone defense, we may think of them as operated by the "zone defense" memetic machine. [SEE "MOTION OFFENSE" AND "Bo Ryan" (recommended by flinney May 10? 2008)]

Clearly in such cases, memetic machines "operate" using more than one individual. In co-ordination with each other, defending players have to decide when to pass coverage of an opposing player off to one another. Despite the fact that there is usually a coach and a designated "team captain," there isn't time for either to exercise much centralized control while the zone is in progress. Information and control are both "distributed" among the players.

Usually then, such behavioral programs require the regular exchange of information among those involved, not only because different individuals have different knowledge, but because "local" information is not only different in different locations, it is also constantly changing -- reflecting "the process nature of reality" remember. To handle this, once again we have "distributed decisions made as the result of distributed information," which, as we already know, requires co-Operation -- and was how our small-group ancestors got unsolitary things done, remember [LINK?].

Thus we may tie "distributed memetic machines" directly into our previous discussions by observing that their functions (and the behavioral programs which specify these functions) are distributed between or among more than one individual. When such a situation counts primarily on memetic rather than genetic control, we have a "distributed memetic machine." Once again, then -- and not surprisingly -- we find distributed information used in making distributed decisions.

The ultimate human distributed memetic machine is, as we've previously suggested, free trade in free markets.

Distributed Memetic Machines Often Become Independent of Those Operating Them

ENRON: Example of a memetic machine VClip ?

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CNBC's ENRON: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Any distributed memetic machine involving more than two or three people may come to exist almost independently of the particular individuals involved in it. That is, often a particular distributed memetic structure may keep operating even when one or more of the individuals currently involved in it become unavailable for some reason. If/when this happens, individuals may be replaced or their functions taken over by another participant or the function may be dropped. If, for example, a player is injured or gets tired in a basketball game, he is replaced from the bench. In the case of hockey, a team continues playing even though a player is in the penalty box. Thus, even without the individual -- or even the function they perform -- a memetic machine may continue to operate. [1]

In significantly larger organizations -- and especially in the case of intensive use of IT -- this effect is much more pronounced. When the World Trade Towers in New York City were destroyed on Sept. 11, 2001, the management and staff of Cantor-Fitzgerald, a key U.S. Treasury bond selling firm, was decimated, losing an estimated 70% of its personnel. [2] Yet when the markets reopened six days later, Cantor-Fitzgerald was back in business.

Clearly Cantor-Fitzgerald was nearly independent of most of the individuals involved in it, and thus fits our definition of a distributed independent memetic machine.

George Chapman & Ezra Taft Benson vs. the Mormon Machine

In the early 1980s, George Chapman was the chairman of the Libertarian Party of Utah and an interesting acquaintance of mine. He had become friends with Ezra Taft Benson, Agriculture Secretary under Eisenhower and head elder of the Mormon Church at that time. During that period, there was a lot of Mormon agitation and violence against gays, including at least one suspected murder. From the libertarian perspective, this is not acceptable -- and, as George pointed out, it wasn't acceptable from the official Mormon viewpoint either. In fact, there are several Mormon doctrines that spell this out. The strongest in George's opinion, was "Free Agency" which says, essentially, forcing someone to be moral is not an effective way to salvation {-- for either party -- }because someone forced to be "moral" has not made that choice {voluntarily }hirself.

George first asked if Mr. Benson and the other Mormon Elders believed in "Free Agency" and if George understood it correctly. Benson affirmed both points. Then George made his point about the undesirability of attempting to force gays to be otherwise and asked if his interpretation of the doctrine was correct. Again Benson affirmed.

At that point, George told me, he thought he had nailed Benson. He then asked why the elders didn't issue an edict declaring that good Mormons, in accordance with the doctrine of "Free Agency," should leave gays alone to seek their own voluntary deliverance from their "affliction" and thus clear everyone's path to salvation.

Benson fixed George with his trademark penetrating stare and asked, "What do you think would happen if I and the other elders -- and we do agree with you -- issued such an edict?"

Knowing the anti-gay pulse of most Mormons at the time, George said he knew the answer immediately. "Almost no one would change their behavior -- and the church membership would likely replace you with other elders who didn't take such a principled but unpopular position."

Once again Mr. Benson affirmed.

Clearly, if the Mormon Church can't be controlled by its "Council of Elders," it is, in an important sense, nearly independent of most of the individuals involved in it and thus, along with Cantor-Fitzgerald, also qualifies as an "independent" distributed memetic machine according to our meaning.

Where Does General Electric Exist?

If you're like me, this notion of memetic machines that exist independently of the specific individuals that participate in them -- including their assumed "leaders" -- may be hard to "get." Let me try another approach. Let's do a "mind experiment" as Einstein called them.

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and everyone in the world had selective amnesia. No one in the whole world remembered anything about General Electric. Not the customers, and particularly not the people who worked for or managed General Electric. No one even remembered the name, nothing. The physical plant and all the equipment is right where it was last night. All the people are still alive -- only their General Electric memories, the GE memes, have disappeared. All the signs, logos, etc. are still there, but no one remembers anything about the company they iconify.

Clearly there would be a lot of confusion. But no one can remember. Only the memes are gone. Everything else remains.

Would General Electric still exist? Still function?

Only the memes are missing. So it's the memes, not the people who contain the memes, that make General Electric. Of course, people are still necessary to do the memes' bidding. Like Cantor-Fitzgerald after the 9-11 attacks, if enough memes and motivation survived, GE could eventually be reconstituted -- but without any of the old personnel.


It is in this sense that GE, "The Mormon Church," Cantor-Fitzgerald -- and other memetic machines -- exist independently of the specific people participating in them.

So, where does GE exist?

Paradoxically, since we know these memetic entities exist almost exclusively as memes, they exist primarily in peoples' minds. It's just that it doesn't matter too much which minds they exist in.

In general and as a rule of thumb, the larger the number of people included in a distributed memetic machine, the less important each individual becomes to the continued functioning of that particular memetic machine. For you "Star Trek: The Next Generation" fans, it's a Borg kinda thing. "Stargate SG1" fans? Kind of like the replicators. The corollary is that the more individuals that are included, the more independent from them the memetic machine is likely to become.

We can assume that any memetic entity that includes more than, say, twenty people, is probably independent of most of the specific individuals involved in it, and it is almost certainly "independent" if it includes a hundred or more. Large corporations regularly replace even their COOs and CEOs without most people -- even most people in the organization -- noticing any significant change.

What DOESN'T Control Distributed Memetic Machines?


"The Constitution is nothing but a damned piece of paper." --U.S. President George W. Bush [FIND ORIGINAL SOURCE]
The first myth of management is that it exists. --Heller's Law


We're not in control VClip ?

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Ex Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan

Before we can proceed unimpeded we have to dispel the equivalent of "The Fallacy of The Chief" as it applies to nearly all memetic machines. That is, we have to be quite clear what doesn't control memetic machines. We already have the first solid piece of evidence - - -

From Ezra Taft Benson via. George Chapman and the Mormon Church, we've learned that "The Church" has it's own independent existence and will "correct" any serious "outlying" interruptions or disagreements, even if they come from its apparent "leaders." In fact, as Mr. Greenspan reveals as well, leaders, even powerful ones, usually have a great deal less control than we commonly imagine - - -

"Attila was a tribal leader. And he ruled by virtue of being the most powerful and being able to deliver the goods to his followers. If there was no gold and plunder coming in, they would be dissatisfied and go someplace else." -ATTILA: SCOURGE OF GOD, PERPETUAL MOTION FILMS, thehistorychannel.com

In this sense, such memetic machines are quite regularly not under any central control to speak of, not even by so-called "leaders." While "leaders" may influence details of what's done short-term, normally they have relatively little over-all long term effect. But, then, why do we tend to think leaders are in control?

A savvy politician looks for a parade already in progress, runs to the front and pretends to lead it. -six-term U.S. Congressman Sam Steiger, July 31, 1982

So a main part of the reason is that smart politicians pose as leaders. That is, savvy "leaders" are smart enough to "find parades in progress, go around to the front and pretend to lead them." When done well, this gives the impression that the "savvy politician" -- or other "leader" -- is "controlling" the parade. AND, unlike spontaneous order, such a {posing }"leader" is easy to see{, spontaneous order isn't}.

And, as in the case of Attila, the leaders had better stay in step with the parade - - - or else:

[World Bank] Staff are in open revolt over revelations that [World Bank President] Mr. [Paul] Wolfowitz was personally involved in securing an attractive secondment deal for Shaha Riza, a bank official with whom he was romantically involved." Wolfowitz remains defiant amid turmoil

Wolfowitz was forced to resign as a result of the incident.


AMY GOODMAN: What has happened with the [National Hurricane] center's director Bill Proenza, who was sent away on "leave" Monday, after, what, six months on the job?
CHRIS MOONEY: Proenza came in being extremely outspoken about essentially lack of funding for his center and for hurricane research. ...[The senior hurricane specialists] thought that he was undermining faith in their ability to forecast. So we can get into the technical details about that. So what essentially happened was a kind of staff insurrection, and they all went to the media. The Miami Herald broke a lot of the news. And they said, "You know what? We don't have confidence in him as a director. We felt like we had to speak out." And more and more members of the staff started signing on, and it pretty much undermined his ability to remain in that position, in my assessment, and so he stepped down. --Democracy NOW, Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming

So "leaders" don't necessarily control the memetic machines they are supposedly leading. Another telling example: At the end of the 18th century, Maximilien Robespierre, a main leader of The French Revolution, was executed as a counter-revolutionary -- under the "Law of 22 Prairial," [3] a law he had been instrumental in passing.

Are you being fooled by savvy leaders apparently leading parades? Because they pose as leaders, and because spontaneous order doesn't have an icon?

There are some transient examples of "leaders" apparently controlling large groups, and we'll take a look at some of these from time to time. There was Italian dictator Benito Mousolini. It was said of Mousolini that "he made the trains run on time." Well, that was one of those early little PR exaggerations: He made one train run on time for about a month -- by blocking other trains and thus causing many of them to be even later than usual. And clearly, whatever the facts, it wasn't Mousolini that caused that train to run on time, it was the memetic machine he seemed to head.

^^wWe'll find another such example just below -- with the entrance of the U.S. into World War II. What we'll usually find is that such presumed centralized control often isn't as effective, clear cut, precise, or pervasive as we may believe. What we'll also discover is that such apparent control is often more akin to savvy politicians finding parades already in progress - - - and that more "centralized control" isn't necessarily a good thing anyway.

And, from the Mormon example above, it's clear that not only aren't memetic machines necessarily constrained by "leaders," neither are they constrained by the written rules assumed to govern them. This shouldn't be too surprising: Memetic machines normally run on what's contained in distributed individual human memories -- which, for all sorts of reasons, does not necessarily directly correspond to the written rules. [PERSONAL EXAMPLE: 16th Amendment??]

A particularly egregious example is "The Government of the United States" -- which is supposed to be governed by the U.S. CONSTITUTION, and particularly, The Bill of Rights. We'll take a much closer look at that situation in Chapter tc.

[MIGHT WANT TO TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: Should be used in The Case Agsinst government too.]

It's very difficult to shake the notion that written documents -- and hierarchical leaders -- exercize iron-clad control over our memetic machines, so let's take a look at a few more examples -- from the ruling class of perhaps the most powerful memetic machine in history, the U.S. Government. Here's a hint - - -

MANUEL ZELAYA: [Honduran President Deposed by the U.S. Gvt.] [translated] We're talking about the United States, so it's an empire. The United States is an empire, and so Obama is the president of the United States, but he is not the chief of the empire. Even though Obama would be against the coup, the process toward the coup was already moving forward. The most that they tell a president like President Obama, that there's a political crisis going on. But they do not talk about the details that they were involved in in terms of the conspiracy... --Exclusive Interview with Manuel Zelaya on the U.S. Role in Honduran Coup, WikiLeaks and Why He Was Ousted

When Jimmy Carter took office as President of The United States, arguably the most powerful hierarchical position in the world, he issued an executive order freezing government hiring. Despite Mr. Carter's executive order, in the next year, The U.S. Government hired more people than it had in any previous year in history. When Ronald Reagan took office, he tried to freeze spending. The ultimate results were a failure similar to Jimmy Carter's. Regan_deficit_TimeBomb_Debt_Crisis_080217.VOB>

And Carter and Reagan weren't the only U.S. presidents to learn this surprising limitation - - - -

"The Presidency is a straightjacket" VClip ?

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Meet The Press, Dec. 31, 2006

^^w U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush also apparently felt the same sorts of pressures. He liked his boat out on the water. President on his boat driving his own machine. President on his own no one telling him what to do.

This is also echoed by ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton:

"...by the time you become the leader of a country, someone else makes all the decisions. You may find you can get away with virtual presidents, virtual prime ministers, virtual everything." --Bill Clinton, 1998 Monopoly Men

But it may be even worse than that - - -

...government changed us VClip ?

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Sen. John McCain, Meet the Press, Nov. 12, 2006

Obama: "...these things are hard to do." VClip ?

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Rebroadcast on Chris Matthews Show, June 5, 2011

Worse yet, then, even those we think we put in charge of controlling memetic machines don't control them. In fact, they may themselves be changed and controlled by the very organizations we hope they will control.

It's clear that ultimately, "memetic machines" regularly come to run the people involved in them -- even the presumed "leaders" -- rather than the other way around. There was an extreme example in the opening clips to this chapter: The Chin Dynasty -- where "[Chin-ese] Officials themselves were as terrified of the laws they imposed as were the common people." For reasons directly related to this, The Chin Dynasty only survived for 12 years. [4]

Now take a moment to review the clips at the beginning of this chapter. Seriously - - - - click the link here and re-view. The clips will make the point much better than I can{ with more writing}.

So the answer to our current question, "What controls memetic machines?", isn't usually, as we might normally assume, "leaders" or "the written rules."

What DOES Control Distributed Memetic Machines?

So, if leaders and written rules don't control large memetic machines, what does control them? We already have some very good clues! Remember those anthropologists and ethnologists attempting to understand our "acephalous" ancestral groups? And the reactions of those research biologists trying to understand "What Controls Spontaneous Order?" And, that in many cases, what we take for "leadership," especially today, is instead a savvy politician pretending to lead a parade. And, most explicitly, how our ancestors got things done -- namely by distributed decisions based on distributed information -- which requires co-Operation.

So the current hypothesis here is that most memetic machines, particularly the larger ones -- even ones that are considered hierarchical -- are more accurately thought of as controlled by distributed decisions based on distributed information.

Of course some may be more centrally controlled than others, and in fact a few may be largely hierarchical -- and thus even more centrally controlled. These, however, are in the minority -- and count on treating the inmates like mushrooms, you know, "keeping them in the dark and feeding them bullshit." At least that's the hypothesis.

And, as we'll see, such central control isn't usually a good thing. Even things we might consider "dictatorships" (Attila for example) -- and especially proportional to size -- are, to a large degree, controlled by distributed decisions based on distributed information -- with only marginal central control. And I'll even go further: ^^w Over the long run, the more central control that is exercized within a given memetic machine, the less effective and efficient it will be -- and the less likely to survive over the long run. Remember, for example, the Chin Dynasty only survived for 12 years.

So, what controls memetic machines? Rather than leaders or the "written rules," more often than not it's more analogous to what we suggested in the case of "spontaneous order:" If memetic machines, especially large ones, can be said to be controlled at all in the "normal" sense, it would have to be said they are indeed usually controlled by "distributed decisions" based on "distributed information." {Which segues nicely into our next section - - - }

Distributed Memetic Machines as Entities

In Vermont, a landmark measure has been introduced to revoke the granting of personhood rights to U.S. corporations. The bill calls for a constitutional amendment declaring "corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States." The measure's introduction Friday came on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision on the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending on election campaigns... --Vermont Measure Calls for Revoking Corporate Personhood, Democracy Now! Headlines for January 25, 2011
The Court hears argument on whether federal law gives business corporations a right of "personal privacy" shielding internal records from required public disclosure.
Case Pages * FCC v. AT&T
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Court will hear one hour of oral argument on a government appeal arguing that business corporations do not have a right of of "personal privacy" that shields from compelled public disclosure the records they turn over to federal agencies. Arguing for the Federal Communications Commission will be Anthony A. Yang, an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General. Arguing for AT&T Inc. will be Geoffrey M. Klineberg of Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, D.C. --Lyle Denniston Reporter, Posted Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 11:02 pm, * RSS, * Email Lyle, * Bio & Post Archive », Argument preview: Corporate "personhood" - again

Originally, because of their similarities to living entities, such independent memetic machines were thought of and recognized as "artifical persons." This recognizes that{ to some extent}, like slime mold colonies, ant hills, and bee's hives, such entities have a life of their own, not directly dependent on the individual participants{ -- and, with expressions like "hive mind," we sometimes aptly compare {certain }human organizations to them}. For convenience, and somewhat by convention, there are different catagories of such entities.

One of the more {important | useful} of these catagories is what we refer to as a "corporation," referring to "corporal" meaning "body." Thus "incorporated" literally means "put into a body" -- which is what {some people believe is what }happens to us when we're conceived and born. Thus the original "artificial person" nature of some of these memetic entities is included in the taxonomy of the word "corporation" -- often used to describe a certain IMPORTANT group of them.

We have just noted the similarities of independent memetic machines to living entities, so thinking of them as operated by analogs to "reflexes," "instincts," and "drives" -- as are we humans, remember -- isn't out of line. And just as with us humans, memetic machines tend to owe their existence to flexibility, so analogs to "drives," being more open-ended and flexible, would be the most useful to independent memetic entities.

"Drives," though, just like reflexes and instincts, require initiating, guiding, and terminating "cue information" in order to co-ordinate the behavior they control with other processes. Thus it's often useful to view distributed memetic machines as if they were, just like individual humans, operated by reflexes, instincts, and drives of sorts, coordinated with external process reality by cue information.

If you'll remember, in Chapter te, The Evolution of Trade, 'Money' and Credit, we expanded the notion of "cue information" from merely initiating, guiding, and terminating information to "motivating information." The chief difference between "cue information" and motivating information was that motivating information was not only employed to motivate ourselves, but to motivate others as well. Acrasin in slime mold, pheromones in ants, bee dances, ^^wcomradarie, -- and those strange sounds we make just before we take our dog for a walk were examples.

So, "motivating information" is to human groups -- and thus memetic machines -- what acrasin, peheromones, bee dances, etc. are to other organisms.

Thus we developed the logical extensions of motivating information to barter, commodity money, and various forms of I.O.U.s - - - from notes scribbled on scraps of paper to very formal I.O.U.s such as U.S. Government Treasury Bonds and T-Bills, originally printed in flowery designs on paper. AND Federal Reserve Notes, originally I.O.U.s for a specific amount of gold or other lawful commodity money.

With motivating information in mind, particularly when used for motivating others, we can easily proceed with our development of the notion of "memetic machines."

Sustaining Information

In the case of persistent human memetic machines, we will find it convenient to think of "sustaining information." Why, for example, do the Mormon Church, Cantor Fitzgerald, Sheehan's Grocery, and the U.S. Government keep operating year after year? The answer tends to be either "ideas" or "money," and often both. To some degree, negative -- and sometimes coercive -- motivating information may also be involved.

In the case of the Mormon Church it is probably comradarie, etc. -- and the sustaining ideas of an afterlife. In the case of Cantor Fitzgerald and Sheehan's Grocery, it's almost certainly mostly money. What keeps the U.S. Government going? So, for long- running memetic machines, we may assume there is something sustaining them over the long run, and that sustaining information is likely either ideas and/or money and/or negative motivations of some sort. [EXAMPLE OF SUSTAINING IDEAS?]

Money's Special Secret

You probably already know that money is special, but, as they say, "familiarity breeds contempt." So, let me spell out the understood but usually unstated "secret" money has. Unstated because it is so familiar to us, we don't even have anything to compare it with. Unless we invoke barter for contrast.

As we touched on ^^w above, indirect trade, using money, is much more efficient than barter -- and there is a concomitant hitch-hiking advantage: The aphorism "money can't buy you love" aside, indirect trade using "money," unlike barter, can buy almost any quantity of anything anyone wants to sell. With no time wasted in finding a barter -- or, using set prices instead, haggling over quantities. $5.29 -- rather than "a bushel and a peck" -- for that BigMac, fries and a coke.

And that's what makes money special. Psychologically special. Because it is the easiest {stand in | surrogate} for almost anything your heart desires, as well as for everything you need to survive, it is almost literally "the stuff of dreams." This makes "money" sort of "the Esparanto of trade," and these days, there's a "dialect" of it spoken by nearly everyone.

This is money's special secret, and it gives it an absolutely central position in not only economic life, but, usually and unfortunately, in "tribal" and personal life as well these days. Whatever you're addicted to, money can get it for you. Even a certain kind of "love." It's no wonder we've been cautioned, "The love of money is the root of all evil." None the less, for better and worse, we're stuck with it.

Next we'll look at a few human-based memetic machines with "motivating information" and "sustaining information" in mind and see what we can come up with.

Natural memetic Machines

We're now ready to take a closer look at memetic machines. We want to come up with some useful catagories for them. In particular, the types of motivating information that operate a given machine will prove useful in this regard.

To calibrate a bit, we'll first look at small, "local" memetic machines -- like the ones our small-group ancestors existed with. We can conjecture that such mechanisms are at least partly specified by our genes. Since elements of them are likely part of our genetic repertoir, thus "natural" to us, for convenience, we can call them "natural memetic machines."

We already know that these ancestral memetic machines were small, local, face-to-face -- and involved co-Operation -- which, remember, is valuable mainly because it enables us to make the best use of our unique distributed information -- which through co-Operation, gets us those benefits which "are disproportionately available to cooperating groups."

Because of the face-to-face requirement, such "natural memetic machines" tend to be quite small by today's standards{, the largest theoretically on the order of Dunbar's Number in size}. These are the kinds of "machines" we would, likely, feel most emotionally comfortable with.

While the band, troop, or tribe size remained relatively constant, the members were not, ^^w as we know, monolithic. As a result, over time, the "machines" formed within these groups were extremely flexible as to composition and size. They would fluctuate from day-to-day as first one group would form, then another, and perhaps the next day, the groups would overlap in membership. Etc. Remember, "one man might seem leader today and another man tomorrow, according to whoever was eager to embark upon some enterprise."

But what motivated the co-Operation, particularly at the cat-rubbing-like emotional level typical of these machines? That is, "What sustaining information powers co-Operation in small face-to-face ancestral sized groups? What do we use instead of cyclic AMP, pheromones, and bee dances?"

First of all, there are all those motivating ideas coded into those strange noises we make to each other. And all that face-to-face communication and body language -- as described by Steven Johnson -- provides a perfect vehicle for transmitting motivating information within small groups. We know that "alpha confidence signalling" -- over the very short term -- motivates co-operators to take direction from one another when appropriate. In fact, the most obvious of these alpha confidence signals are the "commands" we mentioned as a guiding force for the equivalent of memetic reflexes.

And there's the smile of satisfaction and high-five, the team handshake. The sounds, looks, and feel of the feast of celebration, perhaps after a successful hunt. Raucous laughter at an "off color" joke. The tears when a group member dies. That feeling of happiness and being "at home" with "our people." Those are the sorts of things that motivate co-Operation in "natural memetic machines." And, of course, in the modern world, money sometimes intrudes.

Perhaps these are some of the "symptoms" of the underlying drives that replace those bee-dances, etc. in our "natural memetic machines." But why do we get together to do unsolitary things in the first place -- and stay together long enough to finish them? {In other words, what sustained such groups? }

[THIS AND FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH POSSIBLY USED IN CHAPTER 26, EVOLUTION OF TRADE (etc.) TO DEVELOP THE "PROPER" PHRASE TO DESCRIBE THE MOTIVATION BEHIND SMALL-GROUP CO-OPERATION] I would suggest those cat-rubbing-like motivations are probably the genetically suggested emotional states we call "fun" (which comes in many flavors), comradarie, a sense of belonging, enthusiasm, with a little cupidity (forerunner of money and trade) all tied together with the feelings we get from shared purpose and/or shared values.

Perhaps there are other related sustaining "drives" as well, but for now, I'm opting for "fun, comradarie, a sense of belonging, enthusiasm, and a little cupidity, all tied together with shared purpose and values" as the underlying cat-rubbing-like sustaining motivations that keep "natural memetic machines" together and functioning long enough to do unsolitary things.

Econo-memetic Machines

Next we'll look at, archaeologically speaking, a very recently evolved but very important and ubiquitous type of distributed memetic machine. Rather than counting on "fun, comradarie, a sense of belonging, enthusiasm, and a little cupidity all tied together with shared purpose and values" for motivating and sustaining information, such machines count mainly on money instead.

Why do you go to work, for example? A touch less ambiguously, why did the folks at WAL*MART let you carry that 32 inch HD LCDTV out of the store? Why do you do what "the boss" tells you at work? Why does WAL*MART sell those 32 inch HD LCDTVs? Why does Sony make them?

In all cases, the answer is, mostly, "money."

Since we usually call the study of what people do with money "economics," for convenience, we may logically call such distributed memetic machines -- like Cantor-Fitzgerald, GM, Merk, Monsanto, Sheehan's Grocery, etc. -- motivated, sustained, and controlled by means of money -- "econo-memetic machines." Other sources may sometimes refer to them as "socio-economic machines."

As a rule of thumb, if a given memetic entity can operate without money, it isn't really an econo-memetic entity. And, of course, there are stages of evolution -- non-econo-memetic entities often gradually {morph | evolve} into memetic entities.

In the previous chapters we learned {of }the advantages of using "tricks-of-the-trade" -- and how trading the resultant surpluses saved everyone involved time and/or money. And further, how the competition inherent in free trade in free markets caused innovation -- and evolving products to have low prices and high quality. In fact, without these "tricks-of-the-trade," (developed through "specialization," and morphed by comparative advantage into division of labor), then driven by competition, and employed on a huge scale, we couldn't have such an historically high physical standard of living -- or nearly so many people alive in the world today (2008 A.D.).

Because "money" is sort of the Esperanto of trade, it has the potential to involve anyone who understands the "dialect." Thus money enables groups larger -- much larger -- than just face-to-face groups to interact through trade. In fact, it enables groups much larger than even those involved in what we've been calling "band-wide sharing." {And certainly larger than Dunbar's number. }Powered almost entirely by "money," these larger groups evolved to become today's "econo-memetic machines."

There are many types of such {distributed }"econo-memetic" entities: Partnerships, corporations, etc. Together with us as individual sellers and buyers, they comprise Hayek's "extended order" or, as we've been calling it, "economic society."

Because "economic society" involves people who can't know each other face-to-face, it is, in significant ways, foreign to the small-group context in which we evolved where groups were small and money didn't exist. There are, naturally, ramifications. [AGE OF CONSCIOUS DECISION]

Because they agressively exploit these "tricks-of-the-trade," saving huge amounts of the most un-renewable resource (time), econo-memetic machines -- to the extent they are true free-market entities (with competition and trade keeping prices in line and inducing product evolution and efficiency) -- are essential for the survival of large numbers of people today. The importance of econo-memetic machines for trade is why this chapter, "Memetic Machines," is included in Part II: The ROOTS of TRADE rather than elsewhere.

So "trade" -- and econo-memetic machines -- have become an absolutely essential part of today's world -- and "money" has become just about the universal "motivating information." And while there are some large memetic machines ("institutions" etc.) today that are not directly dependent on "money," we will not find many that are completely independent from it.

As a result of the use of money, then, of all human memetic machines, econo-memetic machines are, in general, the most likely to be the least local, the most wide-spread, the most complex -- and involve the most people. This has also made them, in the modern world, the most ubiquitous. We might even say that econo-memetic machines are the defining characteristic of the modern world.

Although money is essential to keep most econo-memetic machines working though, it isn't necessarily the only thing. While money is important to keep you at your job for example, in most work places, the inmates also often find shared purpose, fun, comradarie, and even a little enthusiasm too -- especially in the best work places.

--(not coercive)

Ideological [NOTIONAL] Memetic Machines


The conformist propensity of social institutions is not the only reason that erroneous theories persevere. However, once embedded within a culture, ideas exhibit an uncanny inertia, as if obeying Newton's law to keep on going forever until acted upon by an external force. --Henry Zemel

Neither Cantor-Fitzgerald (above) nor the Mormon Church depend on any particular members to function and so both are examples of independent, distributed, memetic machines. But, unlike Cantor-Fitzgerald, most members of the Mormon Church are not primarily motivated by money. Nor is the church entity itself.

Thus the Mormon Church is not directly an econo-memetic machine. Nor is it a natural memetic machine -- there are too many members involved who can't possibly all know each other face-to-face. What keeps it together then? It's fairly clear that, on the surface at least, it's a motivating idea related to "if you go to church you'll go to heaven, if you don't you'll go to the other place." So, rather than money, it's "ideas" that would keep the church together and functioning. Thus, to distinguish such larger memetic machines from other types -- and since they run mostly on "ideas" -- for convenience, we can call them, logically enough, "ideological memetic machines."

For convenience, we may call such a memetic machine -- in contrast to econo-memetic machines such as Cantor-Fitzgerald -- an "ideological memetic machine."

That is, motivating information is passed -- and the church is primarily controlled, if rather ambiguously -- by ideas and/or emotion rather than by {factors such as }money.

There are lots of such ideological memetic machines around, though they aren't as common as econo-memetic machines, nor are they normally as big. Chess clubs, not-for-profit theatre groups, the Elks, B.P.O.E, etc. [EXAMPLES]

If all its money suddenly disappeared, the "Mormon Church" would adjust and keep on going. So would your chess club. Such machines may be closer to ancestral organizations -- that is "natural" memetic machines -- where the "motivating information" comes internally in the form of "shared purpose, fun, comradarie, {a sense of belonging, }enthusiasm{ and, at times, a little cupidity}," etc.

According to our rule of thumb above, if a given memetic entity can operate without money, it isn't really an econo-memetic entity. If an independent memetic machine in the modern world, especially a large one, largely operates without money and thus isn't econo-memetic, then it's a good guess that it's ideological, that is, it largely counts on motivating ideas -- rather than money -- as motivating, sustaining, and controlling information - - -

As suggested above, it's a very good guess that any large modern memetic machine -- where the "motivating information" holding it together and operating it isn't mainly supplied by "money" -- is primarily an "ideological memetic machine." There are lots of these around; chess clubs, most religions, the rank-and-file -- but rarely the leaders -- of political parties, etc.

To the extent these groups become larger than ^^wDunbar's number, however, the internal face-to-face controls {become attenuated or even go | are} missing. None the less these days, ideological memetic machines are usually voluntary organizations. You usually can't be coerced, "shanghaied" or drafted into such machines. If you aren't interested, you don't have to join them or donate to the cause. And, when they no longer suit us, we are free to leave them -- though there may often be emotional pain involved in such a separation.

Perhaps this reminds you of natural memetic machines and the way egalitarian groups only included those who wanted to be included? It probably should!

Coercive Memetic Machines

{} {Thursday, July 17, 2008} [THE HONCHO FOR THIS SHOW, "THE WIRE" NOW DOING "GENERATION KILL," SAID IN NPR INTERVIEW THAT ALL MODERN INSTITUTIONS, COPS, GOVERNMENT, SCHOOLS, ETC. TAKE ON THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THUGS (MY WORD). THIS CAME FROM EX TEACHER, EX COP, ETC. DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT.] Although "natural," "econo-memetic," and "ideological" memetic machines are almost always voluntary -- that is, you don't have to join them, patronize them, or donate to the cause -- and you're generally free to leave -- not all memetic machines are {primarily }this voluntary.

As we pointed out above when we looked at Coercive Motivating Information the possibility of coercion is built into our genes in the form of dominance behaviors -- and appropriate responses -- usually invoked by "threats backed by the possibility of attack." And we can use this coercive motivation -- normally employing dominance related fear and it's surrogates -- to motivate behavior.

And, just as there are individuals such as robbers, rapists and murderers who use such fear and coercion for various purposes, there are also memetic machines which emulate them. The mafia when it coerces protection money is a good example. Such organizations use both overt, explicit threats and implicit ones (intimidation) as well. ^^w[EXAMPLES] For convenience, logically, and for obvious reasons, we can call such memetic entities, using force and threats of force, "coercive memetic machines."

A side note: Unlike the mafia, some coercive ideological memetic machines might have little or no interest in coercing money but much interest in coercing -- or coercively preventing -- certain behaviors. For example, fundamentalist Islam insists women cover their faces in public, and fundamentalist Christianity wants to prevent women from having abortions. As in the case of the mafia, however, the most normal way memetic machines are coercive is in how they get their money.

But whether in order to get money or to coerce certain behaviors -- or both -- the bottom line is that all such coercive memetic machines ultimately count on "threats backed by the possibility of attack" which translates into "intimidate" "browbeat," "extort," "alarm," "dismay," "scare," "frighten," and "terrify." Not by coincidence, these are {also }the tactics used to establish and maintain hierarchies, and "centralized political authority" remember - - -

Weber (1947) defines ... [centralized political] authority in terms of an ability to control the behavior of others through threat or application of coercive force, and we all know from dealing with the state highway patrol and tax collectors that such authority is pervasive in modern nations. [Italics emphasis added]

And especially when it comes to maintaining "centralized political authority," large memtic entities can get quite thoroughly coercive. The Chin Dynasty (above), which "Ruled by fear" and where "Officials themselves were as terrified of the laws they imposed as were the common people," is an extreme example.

In fact, ever since the Great Transitions beginning perhaps ten to thirteen thousand years ago, coercion and its surrogates have become increasingly wide-spread and deeply embeded in most levels of our cultures. We know from Chapter 7 that our modern (2008 A.D.) societies have become quite severely hierarchical, even below the level of centralized political authority.

Sadly, this has become the dominant ambiance of our entire societies -- and most of their dominant memetic institutions. So, coercion and intimidation in modern memetic machines shouldn't be a surprise. This is, in fact, a main if often unrecognized symptom of the hi-jacking of our civilizations.

Remember, by contrast, in small groups, there is "...{a positive insistence on the essential equality of all people and }a refusal to bow to the authority of others ..." and every individual's personal autonomy is of paramount concern "unless their behavior threatens the autonomy of others and therby becomes deviant."

Our ancestors very successfully surpressed coercive dominance behavior -- for good reason, remember - - -

When a young man kills much meat, he comes to think of himself as a chief or a big man, and he thinks of the rest of us as his servants or inferiors. ...We refuse one who boasts, for someday his pride will make him kill somebody. (Lee 1979:244-246 from Boehm 1999:45)

In general such techniques worked quite well, remember - - -

In many forager groups, ethnographic reports suggest a fairly smooth political equilibrium over a typical field stay of one or two years. There may be tensions about sharing, and a few interpersonal quarrels, but basically no one tries seriously to bully anyone else, nor does anyone try to extend into manipulative power the respect and influence associated with being a successful hunter. (Boehm 1999:44)

Yet in today's cultures coercive behavior is rampant, including in many of its memetic machines. Pro wrestling shows, boxing matches, UFC contests, etc. iconify it well. Not to mention the chronic wars promulgated by governments. All more evidence of The Hi-jacking.

Clearly, unlike natural memetic machines or econo-memetic machines, none of these coercieve entities are voluntary organizations. If you aren't interested in the cause, you may still be forced to donate. If you don't want the product, you may still be forced to pay. If you don't like their program, you may still be forced to participate. If they damage you in the course of their operations, tough luck.

For most people at least, even today, such coercive methods and behaviors are not acceptable are they? Our small-group ancestors seriously discouraged such things. Should we urban literate "moderns" be true to our genetic heritage and do the same? Particularly with regard to our memetic machines?

Mixed Memetic Machines

Why do professional basketball players play basketball? Is it primarily for the money -- or do they like the fun, comradarie, etc. of the game too? So sometimes memetic machines may use more than one kind of "motivating information." Nor does the motivating information for all four functions (initiating, guiding, sustaining, terminating) have to be of the same kind either. Bees, for example, apparently use both pheromones and "dances" -- pheromones to initiate food seeking, and dances to guide it.

[SENTENCE USED ABOVE?] While money is important to keep you working at your job, in most work places, the inmates also often find shared purpose, fun, comradarie, and even a little enthusiasm too -- especially in the best work places. Because your employees work for the money, there's also usually a certain amount of intimidation involved when you act as a "boss" and tell them what to do. For convenience, we may refer to such memetic machines, employing more than one kind of "motivating information," as "mixed memetic machines" and/or "multi-motivation" memetic machines.

As we already know, however, money is the "Esperanto of trade." Thus, in the modern "urban literate" world, dominated as it is by money and econo-memetic machines, it's a rare larger memetic machine indeed that isn't influenced by or involved with money in some way.

In the case of the Mormon Church, for example, the minister is paid in money, money is needed for grounds and temple up-keep, etc. As a result, the highly ideological Mormon Church, just like most other churches, counts on money in the form of "donations" or "offerings" in order to operate. Since such a machine is both ideological and involved with money, this makes it a "mixed" or "multi-motivation" memetic machine in our terminology.

As a rule-of-thumb, the bigger the machine, the more likely and intensive its involvement with money The reason is that "money" pretty much has a monopoly on universally motivating people, [5] especially when they're strangers and thus don't know each other well or face-to-face. Memetic machines that don't use money, then, tend to be smaller than ones that do. The corollary is that few memetic machines in the world today could be as large as they are if they didn't use money one way or another.

As a result, purely ideological memetic machines, especially larger ones, are rare in today's modern, westernized econo-memetic world -- and mixed machines predominate. There are degrees in the mix, however, from primarily economic (Cantor-Fitzgerald, Wal*Mart, McDonalds, Microsoft, Sheehan's Grocery, etc.) to primarily ideological (The Mormon Church, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, etc.). It almost goes without saying that coercive memetic machines are almost always involved with money -- it's usually in getting money that they are coercive -- and that usually makes them mixed memetic machines.

None the less, with the exception of coercive memetic machines, most -- though not all -- these memetic machines are voluntary organizations. If you aren't interested in the cause, you don't have to donate. If you don't want the product, you don't have to buy. Perhaps this reminds you of the way egalitarian groups only included those who wanted to be included? It probably should!

The Four Basic Memetic Machine Models

So, for the convenience of our discussion, we have now developed four basic models of distributed, independent memetic machines, four models based on which type of motivating information we use within our groups -- within our memetic machines:

1. Natural memetic machines use fun, comradarie, a sense of belonging, enthusiasm, with a little cupidity (forerunner of money and trade) all tied together with the feelings we get from shared purpose and/or shared values.

2. Econo-memetic machines primarily use money as motivating information.

3. Ideological memetic machines use fun, comradarie, and emotion, etc., much like natural memetic machines. They just have a lot more members.

4. Coercive memetic machines use "fear" and intimidation.

And, of course, "mixed memetic machines" use two -- or perhaps more -- of the above.


How Are Distributed Memetic Machines Controlled?


It's clear that having memetic machines under control is a very important consideration for us humans. This is especially true in the modern world where there are so many of them, many are so big, they may "have minds of their own," they can persist for a very long time -- and they can sometimes do a great deal of damage -- as well as a great deal of good.

We're now ready to look at probably the most important consideration most of us have in dealing with memetic machines: How are those of us who aren't part of a particular memetic machine affected by it -- and how may we, perhaps, affect it? In other words, how do we outsiders interact with the four basic kinds of memetic machines. In particular, do they affect us and can we control them? If so, how -- and how difficult is it?

Once we realize neither "leaders" nor the written rules are usually primary in controlling our memetic machines, our quest to understand how they are controlled leads to the question, "How are the results of "distributed decisions" passed around within the machine, enabling it to operate?"

In order for more than one organism to be involved, distributed memetic machines of all kinds clearly require the transfer of information among participants, particularly the transfer of "motivating information." In the case of ants, for example, it's their pheromones. How do the basketball players know to go to the zone defense? How do they know when to quit the zone and go to man-to-man?

But there's more than one kind of motivating information: In the "zone defense" machine for example, there's "initiating information," "guiding information" and "terminating information." This is typical of most memetic machines. ^^wThe coach or captain calls for the zone. That's the "initiating information." While the zone defense is in effect, there is a constant flux of information among players as opposing team members cross this or that indistinct boundary of this or that zone -- and coverage passes from player to player. For convenience, we might call this "guiding information." Finally the zone gets terminated: The coach or captain calls for a "man-to-man defense," the other team scores, turns over the ball, or the game's over. For convenience, we can call this "terminating information."

Of course, especially with larger and more persistent memetic machines, things are more complicated than that. Memetic machines may be "nested." For example, the "zone defense" is rather simple and just a sub-machine to the "game strategy" machine -- how will we play Loyola? When will we use man-to-man? How will we attack their zone? Etc. And then, wider still, there's the "basketball program" memetic machine -- how do we stay in shape, how often do we practice? And "above" that, the "sports program" machine -- and the college machine -- how do we screen our students, how do we recruit good basketball players, etc.

Memetic machines may spawn other behaviors, including other memetic machines. {As with simpler memetic machines, }they may also count on other memetic machines and behaviors to function. The "basketball program" memetic machine needs the "sports program" machine which in turn needs the "college machine" for example. In return, the "college machine" may need the "sports program" machine, since it is usually a large source of funds for many colleges.

In more long-lived, almost permanent, memetic machines, the "initiating information" is no longer important -- even lost in the mists of history perhaps. While interesting to a few and perhaps food for discussion once in awhile, it has become nearly irrelevant to the currently functioning "memetic machine." The "initiating information" for the Mormon Church for example.

In fact, memetic machines often {completely }lose their connections to their ultimate origins. We even have a word to describe one group of such machines: We often call them "traditions." I asked Ivan, an Amish acquaintence of mine, why they broke their groups up when they got larger than 40 families. He told me he didn't know, it was just a tradition. Often, when you carefuly examine the history of a "tradition," you find some practical considerations behind it. Sometimes not. And sometimes, you find traditions have become completely disfunctional or were based on incorrect information in the first place. In the case of the Amish splitting up their groups, we can surmise that it was the recognition of the down-side of exceeding Dunbar's number.

Much more significantly, and especially in more complicated and persistent memetic machines, often there is no terminating information as such -- sometimes the machine isn't meant to stop. GE, Cantor-Fitzgerald, and the Mormon Church are already functioning, and most of the people involved like it that way.

In many cases however, we want to be able to stop memetic machines, especially sub-machines. In some memetic machines, however, there is no terminating information as such -- sometimes the design is faulty, or the terminating information goes missing. Mickey's brooms in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" for example.

But guiding information of one sort or another is always present and important. In fact, in most memetic machines, it's the "guiding information" that signals the most complex, persistent, and long lasting phase of operation. In fact, in persistent memetic machines, while the initiating information -- and even the terminating information -- are often close to irrelevant, guiding information is always required. Without it, the machines would get out of phase with external reality. [EXAMPLE] "Guiding information" is what allows the machines to stay coordinated with external process-nature reality -- and how their participants coordinate with each other.

Clearly, in order for more than one organism to be involved, distributed memetic machines of all kinds require the transfer of information between participants, particularly "motivating information." In the case of slime mold, the "motivating information" is passed by cyclic AMP, remember. Ants accomplish this with their foraging pheromones, bees with pheromones and "dances." What do we humans use?

Insides vs. Outsides

The thing is, there are a LOT of memetic machines in the modern world. And, as individuals, we aren't a part of the vast majority of them. AND it's not always clear who is and who is not a part of many of them as we'll see, particularly in Chapter pg, Pseudo-groups. So, as trivial and/or obvious as it may seem now, it's important to be aware who is part of a particular memetic machine and who isn't. Who's "inside" the machine, and who's "outside" it.

Now is as good a time as any to nail this inside vs. outside thing. It's a lot more subliminal and ubiquitous than people commonly believe. In "Systems Analysis," the distinction between the inside and the outside of something is demonstrated by the semi-arbitrary boundary line drawn around an "element," thus arbitrarily distinguishing that element as separate from the rest of the system. That is, that arbitrary boundary line distinguishes an "inside" from an "outside."

Although this "inside vs. outside" distinction is largely mental, arbitrary -- and easily adjustable -- it's useful because our conscious minds can encompass only a certain limited amount of information at a time -- and for other more fundamental reasons.

As humans, one reason we're particularly interested in this "inside/outside" convention is because, though we find ourselves "external" to most of the memetic machines that comprise the modern world, we may still want to influence them -- or at least understand what does.

In general, "inside vs. outside" is a determination we make all the time, and often we do it only semi-consciously. It even has a biological basis within the organism. How, for example, does a body's immune system know what to attack and what to leave alone? [6] We will run into this "inside vs. outside" concept often and find it quite important in understanding many different things, from {"Pseudo-groups" and Dunbar's number }--- to memetic machines.

A rather tantalizing rendition of the ubiquitousness of this often unconscious "inside/outside" distinction we regularly make with our minds was presented by George Spencer Brown in his "Laws of Form."

"The skin of a living organism cuts off an outside from an inside. So does the circumference of a circle in a plane. By tracing the way we represent such a severance, we can begin to reconstruct, with an accuracy and coverage that appear almost uncanny, the basic forms underlying linguistic, mathematical, physical, and biological science, and can begin to see how the familiar laws of our own experience follow inexorably from the original act of severance." --(Laws of Form, 1972 edition, p. v) George Spencer Brown, Laws of Form (Calculus of Indications), Enola Gaia, An Observer Web Focus File

We suggested just above that the "inside/outside" distinction is largely arbitrary -- and easily adjustable. Is the coach in a basketball game "internal" or "external" to the game? During actual play, we can see the coach as mostly external -- until he sends a signal for time out -- or sometimes makes a quick substitution, etc. -- at which time he fairly clearly {briefly }becomes internal to the game.

With a little practice, and keeping in mind that with memetic machines, it's the {density of the flow }of all that motivating information that is most useful in arbitrarily deciding what's "inside" and what's "outside," I think you'll begin to understand what George Spencer Brown had in mind. And, perhaps, how it applies to "memetic machines." In particular, where are the "doors" or "pipes" thru which information enters and/or leaves the "machine?" If there are a bunch of them, you're probably still "inside" and haven't found a useful arbitrary boundary yet.

In dealing with our memetic machines, then, we'll find it at least useful -- and often essential -- to be aware of where the machine's boundaries seem to be at any given time, what is used to pass all this motivating information in and out (and around inside), and where it comes from -- or where it goes. In addition, we want to know the pathways that information follows as it travels to, from -- and within -- each machine, to and from each participant, and particularly to and from elements external to the machine.

In the case of slime mold, the internal "motivating information" is passed by cyclic AMP, remember. Ants accomplish this with their foraging pheromones, bees with pheromones and "dances." In all three cases, the external motivating information came directly from the "food." This isn't always the case however.

There are four different perspectives created by this "inside outside" orientation:

1. How do memetic machines affect and/or "control" physical reality and the entities outside themselves -- and what information do they use to do it?

2. How do physical reality and/or outside entities affect and/or "control" the memetic machine -- and what information do they use to do it?

3. How do memetic entities affect and/or "control" sub-elements or entities within their boundaries -- and what information do they use to do it?

4. How do the sub-elements within a memetic entity affect and/or "control" the memetic entity they are inside of -- and what information do they use to do it?

For convenience, we can group these four perspectives into two catagories: Grouping 1. and 2. above, we have catagory A. How memetic machines interact with the external world and, grouping 3.and 4. we have catagory B.: How memetic machines function internally.

Next we'll look at a few human-based memetic machines with "motivating information" and "sustaining information" in mind and see what we can come up with.

So, memetic machines may have a different type of information controlling them from "outside" than that which controls the internal interactions of members of the machine. A hunting party reacts to direct sensory information in the form of the sight of a buffalo herd, but uses memetic information -- hand signals perhaps -- to coordinate their hunting behavior in going after that herd. Thus we may often find it useful to differentiate between the information (memetic information usually) participants in memetic machines use internally to co-ordinate with each other -- versus the information they use to co-ordinate with external {processes | process-nature reality}.


It's clear that having memetic machines under control is a very important consideration for us humans. This is especially true in the modern world where there are so many of them, many are so big, they may "have minds of their own," they can persist for a very long time -- and they can sometimes do a great deal of damage -- as well as a great deal of good.

Given that particular outlook -- and recognizing that, in the modern world, as individuals, we are "external" to most memetic machines -- it's clear that of the four perspectives above, it is most important to know what external information controls memetic machines. So first, let's see how our four basic memetic machine models interact with the world "outside" themselves. That is, what external "primary physical information" and/or "pre-digested memetic information" can those outside the various memetic machines use to control or influence them?

What "primary physical information" and/or "pre-digested memetic information" controls "natural memetic machines" from "outside?" Very little. Perhaps, like foraging bees, a foraging hunting party may be "controlled" by the location of food -- or the reported location of food, etc. In some cases, groups may be influenced by the opinions and desires of peripheral group members -- "pre-digested memetic information" -- who are not currently or immediately group members, but overall, such groups are quite independent of most external human "memetic" factors. Unless they run up against another opposing group.

For convenience, we can call such memetic machines, largely independent of external control, "autonomous memetic machines." And, for the most part, such natural machines affect outsiders, if at all, with fun, comradarie, etc., and only those outsiders they can get to agree with them and/or join them, and except in activities like warfare, never ones who don't want to be included. So "autonomous memetic machines" can also be voluntary and non-coercive.

In the case of econo-memetic machines, we know that they are rather unambiguously controlled by money. Because of this quirk of history, of all the basic memetic machines, econo-memetic machines are most easily controlled and/or influenced by outsiders. They also use money to influence outsiders -- by hiring them or by buying from (or trading with) them. To a large extent, econo-memetic machines -- in free-markets especially -- are NOT autonomous.

On the other hand, ideological memetic machines, while they are almost always (slightly) mixed machines, operate primarily on ideas and/or emotion and, as do "natural" memetic machines, on comradarie, enthusiasm, shared purpose, etc.. If all its money suddenly disappeared, the ideological "Mormon Church" would adjust and keep on going. That is, the Mormon Church is not controlled directly by money, the "bottom line," our invisible hands -- or other external factors.

Thus ideological memetic machines aren't easily controlled by either external "primary physical information" or external "pre-digested memetic information." Like natural memetic machines, then, they are largely autonomous. And, reciprocally for the most part, such ideological machines affect outsiders with ideas (which are strictly memetic) -- and only those outsiders they can get to agree with them, never ones who don't want to be included. Thus ideological memetic machines are, though autonomous, often voluntary and non-coercive.

But there is that group of memetic entities that, because they use coercion, are not controlled directly by external market factors such as money, the "bottom line," or our invisible hands. Neither can they be easily influenced by external social pressures in the normal way. That is, they aren't easily controlled or influenced by Jefferson's "public opinion," local "community standards" -- or normal social sanctions. Thus coercive memetic machines have the potential to be even more autonomous than non coercive ones like, say, The Mormon Church, Greenpeace, the Church of Altruistic Science, etc. -- simply because they can. Is this good or bad? Since they don't count on trade, money, or social approval, they aren't so easily controlled or even much influenced by people external to the machine . Or, even, people internal to it. [US PUBLIC OPINION AGAINST BUSH AND THE IRAQ WAR -July 11, 2007. 70% want troops out of Iraq by April, 62% think Iraq attack was a mistake, Bush's approval rating at 29% and Congress at 14%.] AND, like almost all memetic entities, once they are large enough, they usually become independent of even those internal to it remember -- that is, not well controlled even by the people who power them, even though those people are internal to the machine. Modern examples would be the mafia, ^^w, etc. For convenience, we might call such machines, largely independent from both {central | direct} internal and external control, "autonomous" memetic machines. While not all autonomous machines are coercive, most coercive machines are autonomous -- who's going to tell the mafia what to do? Or the "government?"

The direct corollary is that such machines are, in general, the most difficult of all memetic machines for external people -- in fact, people in general -- to control or even influence directly on a personal basis.


Because coercive memetic machines use coercive techniques, as well as being largely independent from the people who operate them, they are often largely free of external restraints as well. That is, they are often free of both the constraints of the market and the constraints imposed by "community" sanction. That is, of Jefferson's "public opinion" -- and local "community standards" as well. Thus coercive memetic machines have the potential to be even more autonomous than non coercive ones like, say, The Church of Altruistic Science -- simply because they can be. Is this good or bad? The corollary is that most such memetic machines tend to nearly always be autonomous -- who's going to tell the mafia, etc. what to do? The direct corollary is that coercive memetic machines are, in general, the most difficult of all memetic machines for external people to control or even influence.

So coercive memetic machines are not only largely independent from the people who operate them, they're also largely free of market forces -- and, often, of Jefferson's "public opinion" -- and local "community standards" as well.

Because of natural resistance, remember, our ancestors couldn't even be told to stand up during a church service. Therefore, such "natural" memetic machines were almost always completely voluntary. Even today, usually, you can't be coerced, "shanghaied" or drafted into such machines. You don't have to join them or donate to the cause unless you choose to do so. And, when they no longer suit us, we are free to leave them -- though there may often be emotional pain involved in such a separation.

Natural memetic machines "control" the external world by ^^w

What Information Can Outsiders Use to Control Memetic Machines?

Autonomous Memetic Machines

At this point it's clear that not all memetic machines are econo-memetic machines -- and to the extent they are non-econo-memetic, they're largely free of control by market forces, meaning the money in our external (to them) invisible hands. Conversely, this means the folks external to non econo-memetic entities don't have an easy way to {control }or influence what these entities do. Or much ability to predict their behavior -- compared to predicting econo-memetic behavior. How, for example, would a non Morman get the Mormon church to do something? [Prigogine??] Is this good or bad?

And, in addition to being free of direct external market control, if you'll recall, larger memetic machines of all kinds also tend to be independent of the folks who operate them. Non-economic memetic machines, then, tend to be not only largely independent of the people who make them work, but also of external influence -- particularly the external influence of "money" and "markets." For convenience, we may call such doubly independent memetic machines, "autonomous" memetic machines.

The fact that what we're now calling "autonomous memetic machines" are relatively independent of external forces doesn't necessarily mean they are bad or dangerous. Certainly most folks don't worry too much about what the Mormon Church, or Amnesty International are doing. And we might point out that just as some of these relatively autonomous memetic machines may be dependent on external donors -- but independent from everyone else -- so econo-memetic machines are dependent on their customers and investors -- but independent from everyone else. Except, there are potential customers among that "everyone else."

So, even though autonomous, most -- though not all -- these non econo-memetic entities are voluntary organizations. If you aren't interested in the cause, you don't have to donate. If you don't want the product, you don't have to buy. If you don't like their program, you don't have to participate. If they damage you in the course of their operations, they must make restitution. Perhaps this reminds you of the way egalitarian groups only included those who wanted to be included? It probably should!

We haven't claimed that autonomous memetic machines are completely free of influence from outside forces. This is particularly true of mixed memetic machines which include an economic component. But even completely non econo-memetic entities are rarely completely autonomous. Let's see why.

A Completely Autonomous Memetic Machine?

By its nature, an econo-memetic machine can't be autonomous -- it depends directly on our buying decisions to survive. Since there are few completely non-economic memetic machines in the modern world, especially large ones, there are equivalently few completely autonomous ones. So, for context in our quest to investigate "autonomous" entities, let's do another thought experiment and create one.

Let's say the "Church of Altruistic Science" has one parish -- and the minister serves for free and doesn't pass the collection plate or take donations. She's already made her fortune and doesn't need money. Or else she has a job on the side and just "ministers" as a hobby -- or maybe in the spirit of community service.

Further, the church building is free and clear and this church, not opting for 501c3 "tax-exempt" status as so many churches inadvisedly have, pays no tribute to "the state" in the form of taxes. Further, since the church has no agreement with the IRS, the minister has no fear of having the church's 501c3 tax free status revoked. Thus, by virtue of the rights recognized but not granted by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, (from what is called "The Bill of Rights,") The Church of Altruistic Science has no restrictions or fees imposed on it by "the state." [7]

This is very close to a "pure" non-economic entity. But, while it is not controlled by markets, is it completely "autonomous?" Our minister still has to satisfy the church equivalent of "customers" if she wants folks to attend her services. Alternatively, she could give services even if no one showed up for them. Or perhaps she could pay folks to attend. And she could continue to do this as long as she wanted -- and as long as she could afford it. Then she isn't really constrained by anything. Is she?

Well, there are what economists call "externalities," that is, factors outside normal markets, that is, outside direct economic or monetary influence. So, while not directly constrained by "markets" and our invisible hands, our minister may run afoul of externalities -- local traditions for example. Perhaps she preaches and teaches forms of "birth control" that many folks don't approve of. Perhaps she advocates breast feeding anywhere women are able to go if they so choose.

If she lives in a culture of folks that think they have the right to interfere in such activities, she may find herself constrained by some of those "externalities." Maybe she's being shunned or ostracized -- or a modern analog, "boycotted" -- and that's why no one is attending her services! During some rare but memorable periods in history, she might have been stoned or burned at the stake, possibly as a witch.

So, within a social context, {especially a local one, }completely autonomous entities, including autonomous memetic machines, may sometimes find maintaining their autonomy difficult. Of course, our minister could find a culture that respects her independent nature, perhaps even reinforces it. She could, in short, look for libertarian neighbors who have acquired the noxious habit of minding their own business. Perhaps among the Free State project folks in Massachusetts, Wyoming, etc.

It is particularly noteworthy for later discussion that our "Church of Altruistic Science," although autonomous, affects most people in the community only indirectly if at all -- and only directly affects the folks who voluntarily choose to be involved. No one is forced to be involved, especially by being taxed to support it. Perhaps this reminds you of the way egalitarian groups only included those who wanted to be included. It probably should!

^^w So, to sum-up, we can observe that while nominally autonomous entities may be independent of control by our invisible hands through markets, they may still be effectively constrained in various ways by "externalities" such as {local }traditions, boycotts, etc. To the extent we save or fund ourselves, we as individuals are equally autonomous. And, importantly, just as with econo-memetic machines, autonomous memetic machines don't necessarily directly involve anyone involuntarily. They don't necessarily coerce anyone into participating in them in any way. If you aren't interested in the cause, you don't have to donate.

It's clear that smaller autonomous memetic machines can be and regularly are, for better or worse, influenced by local sensibilities and external folks even without being subjected to out-right economic market forces. In such cases, as Jefferson pointed out, "public opinion is in the place of law, and restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere."

Larger autonomous memetic machines, on the other hand, may be another kind of probem. As we'll particularly discover in Chapter ww, What's Wrong With Hierarchy? Part II, Problem 9, Large Hierarchies Are Inherently Dangerous.

But let's suppose we do have good management -- even a succession of good managers without a bad one in the bunch. However, as we already know, memetic machines aren't really well controlled from the top anyway: Remember Ezra Taft Benson. [^^w Linus Torvald on managing software development] And when Jimmy Carter took office as President of The United States, arguably the most powerful hierarchical position in the world, he issued an executive order freezing government hiring. Despite Mr. Carter's executive order, in the next year, The U.S. Government hired more people than it had in any previous year in history. When Ronald Reagan took office, he tried to freeze spending. The ultimate results were similar to Jimmy Carter's.

Here's probably the place for FDR's WWII induction plan.

[DOES THE FOLLOWING GO JUST BEFORE SUMMARY??] To sum up, then, pure econo-memetic machines nearly by definition, cannot be autonomous. While coercive memetic machine are, almost by definition, autonomous, not all autonomous memetic machines are coercive.

It is worth noting that since econo-memetic machines are, by definition, motivated and run directly for and by "money," "markets," and our invisible hands, it is unlikely you will find an autonomous econo-memetic machine. If you think you've found one, it's likely it is actually coercive (and so really isn't econo-memetic) or is getting financial hand-outs from a third party, often {one that is | a coercive memetic machine}. If it is an econo-memetic entity but is acting like it isn't, as our invisible hands inevitably get a hold of it, it won't stay autonomous for long. If, on the other hand, it's capable of being autonomous, it will almost certainly convert to a purely autonomous entity. So, what controls non-economemetic machines??


Influencing Memetic Machines

At this point, it's fairly clear that it's difficult to control larger memetic machines, especially autonomous ones, at least in the top-down hierarchical way we expect them to be controlled. So, in order to avoid the sin of self-delusion, maybe we should talk of, possibly, sometimes "influencing" these larger memetic machines rather than of "controlling" them.

We should keep in mind in the following discussions that, because of bottom-line "invisible hand" control, econo-memetic machines are inherently more easily controlled than are non-economic memetic machines. That is, it is a characteristic, especially of non-economic memetic machines, that they are more likely to be more autonomous -- and thus harder to influence -- than are most econo-memetic machines as we'll see. And, in the special case of governments, they are also much more likely to be intrusive.

BUT, even in smaller groups operating co-Operatively, someone makes a decision -- and some or all of those included go along with it. It may not always be the same someone, and in fact, probably usually shouldn't be, but none the less, when concerted action happens, usually someone or some core group is the catalyst and may appear to be in the lead. More than likely in most such cases, the apparent "leaders" were just the folks who best spoke the conscious -- or even subliminal -- thoughts of a significant portion of others.

Birds flocking and fish schooling might be the appropriate analogy here. And remember Sam Steiger's insight about politicians -- the savvy ones find a parade already in progress and pretend to lead it.

But, despite human flocking and schooling -- and the difficulties we've outlined -- even large, autonomous, memetic machines -- even "governments" -- are clearly sometimes influenced and controlled by something more localized, identifiable, and specific than distributed decisions based on distributed information. Going to war is one of those relatively unambiguous times we can be fairly sure governments -- representing memetic machines in general -- were so influenced and controlled -- and quite dramatically so. Let's see if we can learn anything using a few of these war inductions as examples.

[DOES THE FOLLOWING GO JUST BEFORE SUMMARY??] To sum up, then, pure econo-memetic machines nearly by definition, cannot be autonomous. While coercive memetic machine are, almost by definition, autonomous, not all autonomous memetic machines are coercive.

It is worth noting that since econo-memetic machines are, by definition, motivated and run directly for and by "money," "markets," and our invisible hands, it is unlikely you will find an autonomous econo-memetic machine. If you think you've found one, it's likely it is actually coercive (and so really isn't econo-memetic) or is getting financial hand-outs from a third party, often {one that is | a coercive memetic machine}. If it is an econo-memetic entity but is acting like it isn't, as our invisible hands inevitably get a hold of it, it won't stay autonomous for long. If, on the other hand, it's capable of being autonomous, it will almost certainly convert to a purely autonomous entity.

Governments as Autonomous Memetic Machines

Now let's look at memetic machines inherently potentially even more autonomous than our newly foot-loose minister. Of course, originally the Church of Altruistic Science wasn't autonomous, at least not till our minister got enough money to be financially independent. But there is a quite unique class of memetic machine that has found a way around the difficulty of getting enough money to be autonomous - - -

These are certain organizations -- such as governments -- which all regularly use force (in the case of governments, the police force, the airforce, -- and the army, marines, swat teams, etc.) -- and thus have, generally, fewer constraints than do other semi or non econo-memetic machines.

"Governments" are independent autonomous, memetic machines of a particularly unique type. They, like our minister above, are largely immune to "external" factors, notably "money." This is particularly true because, unlike econo-memetic machines, governments operate as peculiarly unique mixed memetic machines.

While their motivating and controlling information is indeed provided almost completely by "money," governments don't get their money the same way other econo-memetic machines get theirs. Because of the unique way "governments" do get their money, your invisible hand thru markets and bottom lines, has little effect on them. So, our invisible hands can't easily control them in the normal free-market way.

That "unique" way governments get money is by exaction, more commonly called "taxation." But "exaction" is the more technically accurate word. When you look it up in the dictionary, "exaction" translates as "extortion." The important part for us here is that governments get their money regardless of the appropriateness or quality of the services (or goods) they render, even when the individuals being extorted and giving in to the exactions don't want the "services" rendered at all. {For example, the people who smoke marijuhuana. }

Additionally, governments tend to be largely immune to local traditions such as those that restrain autonomous machines like TCoAS. And because of the way they're financed, boycotting their services -- when possible -- doesn't effect them any more than it would a CoAS with a minister determined to preach each Wednesday whether there was a congregation or not. And, again because of it's unique financing methods -- and unlike the situation with the CoAS, everyone supports a government, regardless of interest or attendance.

The result is that not only can't you influence the quality of the services rendered, opt out of them, or not participate in paying for them -- you can't even easily avoid the ones you don't want. In fact, normally, you're not even heard by these organizations -- simply because without "bottom line" discipline, they don't have to listen. You have a herculian task just to find out if you've even been heard at all by these unique autonomous memetic machines. We know what that feels like from the "bottom" - - -

"It's very very difficult to influence ... government" VClip ?:

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Kathy Kelly, DemocracyNOW!, Aug. 16, 2005

Getting Through to the President VClip ?

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"I've done everything I could think of ..." VClip ?

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So it's clear that it's extremely difficult to even get a message thru to governments at all, which is particularly troubling since "governments" don't have market-imposed discipline forced on them by our invisible hands either -- as they would if they were normal econo-memetic bottom-line, market-regulated entities. - - - If you didn't like Cantor-Fitzgerald, you could go to another company. Or do without. Same for The Church of Altruistic Science, The Mormon Church, or Sheehan's Grocery.

Clearly, the discipline of "the bottom line" administered by our "invisible hand" -- which controls econo-memetic machines -- doesn't have a chance at controlling governments. Then what takes our "invisible hand's" place?

It seems this is an odd question -- but it's clear, there IS a need for something to control them - - -

But we soon learned that management is needed in all modern organizations. In fact, we soon learned that it is needed even more in organizations that are not businesses, [like] government agencies. These organizations need management the most precisely because they lack the discipline of the "bottom line" under which business operates. -Peter F. Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society, (New York: HarperBusiness 1993), pg 43

      The BIG QUESTION here is, "CAN management replace the bottom line?" We'll mostly leave that question till later when we have a few more relevant concepts under our belts to make an answer easier -- but, for what it's worth, my answer is a resounding, NO! In fact, "management" is quite often the problem that the "bottom line" must try to keep under control as we'll discover when we take a look at "fiduciary responsibility." ^^wThink about it. Of course, there is voting?? ^^wTotally inadaquate. Think about it -- and we'll take a close look at all this in later chapters.

But let's suppose we do have good management -- even a succession of good managers without a bad one in the bunch. However, as we already know, memetic machines aren't really well controlled from the top anyway: Remember Ezra Taft Benson. [^^w Linus Torvald on managing software development] And when Jimmy Carter took office as President of The United States, arguably the most powerful hierarchical position in the world, he issued an executive order freezing government hiring. Despite Mr. Carter's executive order, in the next year, The U.S. Government hired more people than it had in any previous year. When Ronald Reagan took office, he tried to freeze spending. The ultimate results were similar to Jimmy Carter's.

And then there was Italian dictator Benito Mousolini. It was said of Mousolini that "he made the trains run on time." Well, that was one of those early little PR exaggerations: He made one train run on time for about a week -- by blocking the other trains and thus causing many of them to be even later than usual.

But it may be even worse than that - - -

But worse yet, even those we think we put in charge of controlling governments can't control them. In fact, they may themselves, in a sense, be changed and controlled by the very governments we hope they will control - - -

...government changed us VClip ?

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Sen. John McCain, Meet the Press, Nov. 12, 2006


From the viewpoint of controlling memetic machines, then, this lack of "invisible hand" "bottom line" control has serious consequences:

If you don't like the lack of control you feel over giant corporations (which are not pure econo-memetic machines because they exist mainly through special government privilege -- specifically, "limited liability" -- and often "corporate welfare" as well), how do you feel trying to control an entity like government that forces itself on you -- and then forces you to pay for that indignity?

So, while it's clear that controlling memetic machines is extremely important, it's also clear that controlling them is hardly a slam dunk. Think of Attila losing all his followers if he doesn't deliver, ^^w[DO LINK FOR ATTILA] for example. And Robespierre. Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. And Kathy Kelly - - -

And these are all examples of governments -- or government-like organizations -- invariably hierarchical, and thus under what we would assume is the strictist centralized "management" control. After all, they're controlled by strong leaders like Attila, for example. Or influential ones like Robespierre.

In the case of governments, especially as compared to other more normal autonomous memetic entities (like the Church of Altruistic Science, for example), then:

1. You're always directly involved because: A. These entities, unlike, say, "The Church of Altruistic Science," claim the right to include you and force you to obey their rules -- whether you wish to be included or not, and B. they force you to pay their bills thru taxes, exacted, ultimately, at the point of a gun.

2. The methods whereby you may influence other memetic entities have been severely crippled because: A. You may not easily opt-out and refuse to be included or refuse to "buy" governments' services, B. You may not easily withold payment in case the services rendered are inferior -- or not wanted, and, C. The non-economic externalities whereby you may influence non-government entities (and members of small groups) -- such as traditional community standards, shunning, ostracism, etc. -- have been pitifully reduced {decimated }from voluntary exercise of your constant conditional buying decisions -- to merely voting for one of usually only two pre-chosen candidates once every few years.

In the case of econo-memetic machines, management must interpret the market -- that is, we "consumers" -- correctly, day after day, week after week, taking careful notice of our buying decisions. Or else. In the case of government managers, they only have to worry about elections once every couple of years at best -- and even those don't effect the bureaucracy much. [Government run casinos were our favorite. Valkenberg.]

And how much control do those government managers really have anyway - - -

So the real "bottom line" is, as paradoxical as it may seem to some, that it's far easier to influence and benefit from econo-memetic machines -- and/or avoid being discommoded by them -- than it is in the case of autonomous coercive memetic machines, particularly governments.

SHOULD You Directly Influence Memetic Machines?

But suppose you could centrally influence memetic machines. The question is, should you? And if so, how much? And when?

We should recall here that distributed information brought to bear in "markets" amounts to "a sum of facts which in their totality cannot be known to the scientific observer," that is, to any one central {controlling }entity. Not even Gosplan -- or Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve.

Through market processes, then, the controlling effects of that dispersed, decentralized information on econo-memetic machines' bottom lines, are, for better or for worse, inexorable. And for the fundamental reasons just outlined, these dispersed, individual, decisions control econo-memetic machines way better than any other controlling mechanisms -- such as central planning -- ever could -- because such other mechanisms must inherently use less information and/or less up-to-date information. Remember, it was the supposed "secret control center somewhere in the United States" -- which was really, instead, the relatively free -- and thus decentralized -- U.S. markets -- which baffled and beat the centrally Gos-planned Soviet economy, hands down. [CONNECT TO ww_What'.HTM Chapter ww, What's Wrong With Hierarchy? Part II AND HOW HIERARCHIES WASTE INFORMATION]

But we still have "emergencies" -- when only one or a few people know what's going on, etc.

^^w      In the case of econo-memetic machines, you want a manager, that, well aware of the "bottom line," the factors of production, and that he has to satisfy our invisible hands, acts accordingly. The most important part of his job is to see that his organization discovers what we customers will buy, and/or develop a buying habit in us, usually using advertising. Counter-intuitively, the easiest and most controllable part of his job is the production end. [Larry: What's the most important thing a business must have?]

So, what controls econo-memetic machines? "Markets" (thru the "bottom line") is the answer -- and as it turns out, this is the most efficient way available to control econo-memetic machines, or at least keep them civilized and, for the most part, serving the "common interest." In some ways, markets are too efficient for their own good, as we'll discover in Chapter wn, Why NOT To Trade.

New Christian Ministers are sometimes taught in seminary that "A shepherd must lead his flock, but not get to far away or else the flock will mistake him for an enemy and trample him." Likewise, especially since the Chin Dynasty -- which survived only 12 years -- Chinese Emperors are taught that [don't mess with the people too much] and the peasants know that the sky is blue and the emperor is far away.

Perhaps software developer Linus Torvald explains the reasons behind these traditions even better -- and from a more practical perspective. Mr. Torvald is best known as the originator of the operating system named after him, Linux. According to him,

Econo-memetic machines, on the other hand, are handy because they are clearly and rather directly controlled by money, which ultimately means as we now know, by the "bottom line" thru the "invisible hand of the consumer." That means you and I, brothers and sisters. In other words, econo-memetic machines (contrasted to non econo-memetic machines) are constrained -- by the voluntary nature of the relationship with their customers.

And that means we normally don't have to be included in any particular econo-memetic machine if we don't wish to be. [8] That is, we don't have to be customers or give money to econo-memetic machines if we don't want their products -- or don't like them for any reason. And even if we do like them, we can change our mind at any time -- or just, even, forget the brand name by mistake. [Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind: Who was the second person to fly the Atlantic solo?] If they fail to satisfy the wants and needs of enough of "we their customers" for any reason what so ever, they will shrink or go out of business. This is a very good thing as I think you'll see if you consider the alternatives -- that is, memetic machines that don't have to satisfy customers. Governments, for example.

So, paradoxically, econo-memetic machines are more likely to be under {benign }social control than are non-econo-memetic machines -- either ideological memetic machines or mixed memetic machines. Especially as compared to governments. Ultimately the question is, "Who 'programs' the memetic machine in the first place?", "How long will it persist?" And, "How can it be influenced or controlled in the mean time?"



Thus, just as Dawkins' selfish gene "uses" us to propagate itself by rewarding us with pleasure for passing it on through sex, similarly some memetic machines, especially distributed ones, use us to help propagate themselves by rewarding us for participating and passing them on -- even if sometimes "mutated" -- by rewarding us with fun, comradarie, self-respect - - - and money, etc.

The important consideration for those of us who are "outies" (say gays in Mormon country) -- or even "innies" (Robespierre) -- with regards to any especially autonomous memetic machine -- is that such a memetic machine may have a life of its own, almost completely divorced, even from the people that seem to operate it -- the Mongol "hordes" loyal to Attila only so long as he could deliver, for example. We may recall Dawkins' notion of "the selfish gene" and suggest that the notion of a "selfish meme," or, more appropriately, "selfish memetic machines" will prove to be even more useful.

On the other hand, the loss of a key person -- a key motivator or someone with key information -- may sometimes cause a particular distributed memetic machine to cease operating entirely. [^^w EXAMPLE] Thus "key man" insurance. As we'll see, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

These observations are particularly relevant to the modern world where some memetic machines involve millions -- even billions -- of individuals -- and may persist for generations. Nation-states for example.

Then What Do 'Leaders' Do?

[PERHAPS THEY DO WHAT LEADERS FROM SMALL GROUPS DO: TAKE LIST FROM CHAPTER SIX, LESSONS FROM LEADERSHIP. ALSO INCLUDE WHAT THEY DON'T DO. AND, remember, specialists are only consulted by tribal leaders, they don't dictate what people do]

Time is nature's way of guaranteeing everything won't happen all at once. --Unknown

They act as conduits and filters for key information.

[PARA HERE ON WHAT YOU WANT FROM A MANAGER IN AN ECONO-MEMETIC MACHINE -- MAY TIE TO something] + ^^w      In the case of econo-memetic machines, you want a manager, that, well aware of the "bottom line," the factors of production, and that he has to satisfy our invisible hands, acts accordingly. The most important part of his job is to see that his organization discovers what we customers will buy, and/or try to develop a buying habit in us, usually using advertising. Counter-intuitively, the easiest and most controllable part of his job is the production end. [Larry: What's the most important thing a business must have?] So, a business leader's job is to attempt to match the output of his business to the changing and evolving demands of we the buyers. And to some extent to discover what else it is we want, and try to influence us to want what his business outputs -- and discover new folks who want them.

Well, there is a certain amount of internal influence, even in econo-memetic machines, that can fit within the profit margin plus new funding. That's exercized in various ways, divided among the "managers" board, and last but not least, the "employees."

[UNITED TECHNOLOGIES, Uniontown Pa. -- now "United Defense Limited Partnership," Linus Torvald, & Southend Press]

But to a large extent, such business managers are mostly figure-heads.


If you've ever been in charge of an organization -- and you think about it a bit -- you realize I'm not just whistl'n Dixie.

In non-econo-memetic machines, the internal folks still don't have absolute control.

The Life-cycle of Memetic Machines

Memetic machines don't last forever. Some don't last for any length of time at all. We call them "fads" -- or in the case of econo-memetic machines, first-year bankruptcies. {Or, perhaps, it's the sufis. }We can usefully think of most memetic machines as having a definite life-cycle.

Some memetic machines may "go out of business" once their immediate purpose is satisfied. The Sufi essence embraces this approach. [QUOTE "THE WAY OF THE SUFI" BY IDRESS SHAW]

Often a "machine" is programmed by it's "founders" with no long range plan beyond it's immediate stated goal. The "March of Dimes," put together and programmed to eradicate Polio, is a good example.

"Huh??" may be the reaction of younger readers. "'The March of Dimes' was 'programmed' to fight birth defects, not to eradicate 'polio' -- whatever that is," you may be thinking. Perhaps as you're reading this, "The March of Dimes" no longer even exists and you may have to look it up on the "internet" or whatever it's now called. Once polio was pretty much eradicated, the folks who depended on The March of Dimes for their pay-check successfully morphed it into attempting to eliminate birth defects -- not by mistake I think, a goal likely to yield much longer-term job security for the administrators.

Other memetic organizations -- perhaps learning from The March of Dimes -- may have a less specified and more dynamic goal. "Make money" to survive, for example. Such more flexible machines, usually, for good reasons, econo-memetic machines, may -- just like microorganisms confronted by different antibiotics -- morph into different forms over time in response to market conditions and pressures. Good examples are General Electric, which makes few electrical products and instead depends on General Electric Credit for 45% of its bottom line and American Can Corporation, which, under the leadership of Jerry Tsai, morphed from the country's largest container company into Primerica, a bank and financial services company. "Duquesne Light" in Pittsburgh, PA no longer produces electricity -- instead it acquires and runs water companies and Consolidated Coal is moving into the oil business. Etc.

Non-economic memetic machines usually show much less flexibility. It's rumored, for example, that ministers in the Assembly of God Church sign an oath each year that they haven't changed any of their beliefs over the past year. Any econo-memetic CEO operating under the same constraints would almost certainly find himself presiding over a failed organization in relatively short order. The competition would over-run his organization.




What do monkeys and Congress have in common? by L Reichard White on Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 8:35pm

I don't know about monkeys, but this is true for quite a few human organizations I've been familiar with - - -

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

If you start with a cage containing five monkeys and inside the cage, hang a banana on a string from the top and then you place a set of stairs under the banana, before long a monkey will go to the stairs and climb toward the banana.

As soon as he touches the stairs, you spray all the other monkeys with cold water. After a while another monkey makes an attempt with same result ... all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water.

Pretty soon when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put the cold water away. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one.

The new monkey sees the banana and attempts to climb the stairs.

To his shock, all of the other monkeys beat the crap out of him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys, replacing it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment... with enthusiasm.

Then, replace a third original monkey with a new one, followed by a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him up have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs.

Neither do they know why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

Finally, having replaced all of the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys will have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, none of the monkeys will try to climb the stairway for the banana.

Why, you ask? Because in their minds...that is the way it has always been!

This, my friends, is how Congress operates... and is why, from time to time, all of the monkeys need to be REPLACED AT THE SAME TIME.

The Sufis and Memetic Machines

In contrast to governments and other such memetic entities which hold on to their autonomous memetic machines with both hands, the Sufis are at the opposite extreme: Any memetic machines they embody are almost immediately dis-created once they have served their immediate function. Who are these "Sufis?"

The Sufi are a mysterious and obscure religious "sect." It is suggested that Jesus the Christ got many of his ideas from sufi teachers during the period when he dropped from sight between the ages of twelve and thirty. It may be the sufi are mysterious and obscure mainly because one of their core beliefs is, "Once something becomes 'established,' it is no longer 'real.'"

Apparently they take this principle seriously; there is no visible sufi "establishment" anywhere to be found. In fact, a specific doctrine suggests that were a sufi "church" to become established, {with the very first act of establishment,} it would cease to be sufi. When some sufis feel a presence is appropriate, say at a particular parade, they show up. When no longer appropriate, they fade from view, leaving no trace, no "Sufi Parade Committee," etc. In other words, the sufi have very strict sunset traditions. Every "real" sufi activity dissolves when no longer appropriate to the particular here-now reality which spawned it.

I thought this all very quaint when I first read about it in a book called The Way of The Sufi by Idris Shaw, but not very practical. With no established institutions, how could sufi traditions persist? But of course, since I was thinking about them {just then}, I guess somehow they had. Since I began understanding just what the sufi mean by the word "real," I have come to appreciate sufi traditions about "established" things as extremely insightful. I think you will too. 'Who' 'Programs' Memetic Machines?

Some are programmed by individuals, some evolve through distributed processes that lead to "spontaneous order." Most human memetic machines are an amalgam.


A Cybernetic Analysis of Memetic Machines

Every once in awhile, we have to take side trips. This is one of those times. This time we want to look at a few rudimentary concepts usually introduced as part of the field called "cybernetics."

Cybernetics may be defined as the study of "goal seeking" or so-called "teleological" behavior." It includes not only the study of robotics, but reflexes, instincts, and most interesting for us, drives as well. The thing is, because the external world is in a constant state of flux -- which we perceive by noticing "changes" -- seeking goals isn't as easy as it would be in a static universe.

Consider shooting a bullet at a stationary target. You know where the target is and assume it will stay put long enough for your bullet to get there. You aim, pull the trigger, and, depending on your original aim, you either hit or miss.

But suppose you have a moving target. This is analogous to what most of the world -- process nature of reality, remember -- is like. Then you need something like a heat-seeking missile. That's where cybernetics focuses a lot of it's attention. You need a so-called feed-back loop, a way to have the missile check to see if the target has moved and if so, how the missile can adjust it's trajectory to still get there. One of the most sophisticated (2005 A.D.) applications of such technology is the U.S. Tomahawk Missile -- which seeks feed-back from GPS satellites and geographical markers.

Of course not all goal seeking is as final as blowing something up with a Tomahawk. Often there are on-going enterprises that have more general goals. Like "making a living," for example.

What we're particularly interested in in connection with memetic machines is this notion of feed-back. And particularly, "terminal" feed-back, that is the signal that tells the system the action has been successful or is no longer appropriate and thus should be over.

James Watt & his steam engine. In the case of your knee-kick response to the doctor tapping your knee, the completion of the kick itself is the feedback that signals things are over. Or when you're hungry and you eat, the sensation of "hunger" initiates food-getting behavior -- which could be as simple as going to the fridge, or as complicated as going on a hunt. You eat until you experience the sensation of "satiation" -- if you're lucky enough to have sufficient food. The satiation sensation tells your system, "the eating action has been successful and is no longer appropriate. For now."

James Watt's governor (the one on his famous steam engine), though, worked because it was controlling very "local" conditions from which "it" could extract all relevant data - - - because it was right there "on site" -- and was specifically designed as part of a particular machine that wasn't likely to change or evolve on-the-spot.

Rules vs. Goals: Static vs. Dynamic Memetic Machines

This is a lot like completely specified reflexes and instincts vs. much more flexible and adaptable drives which can be modified by "learning."

"Who" or "what" controls a given memetic machine or influences it in significant ways? Who sets the rules? The three point play & freezing the ball introduced in college basketball and how it affected the game.

|cm: Crichton; bottom-up programming from "Prey" |fn: emergent behavior, not necessarily predictable

Taken together, these procedures represented a huge change from the older notions of artificial intelligence, or AI. In the old days, programmers tried to write rules to cover every situation. ... But this common sense knowledge proved to be extremely difficult to program. The computer would make mistakes. New rules would be added to avoid the mistakes. Then more mistakes, and more rules. Eventually the programs were gigantic, millions of lines of code, and they began to fail out of sheer complexity. They were too large to debug. You couldn't figure out where the errors were coming from.
But distributed networks of agents offered an entirely new approach. And the programming philosophy was new, too. The old rules- based programming was "topdown." The system as a whole was given rules of behavior.
But the new programming was "bottom up." The program defined the behavior of individual agents at the lowest structural level. But the behavor of the system as a whole was not defined. Instead, the behavior of the system emerged, the result of hundreds of small interactions occurring at a lower level.
Because the system was not programmed, it could produce surprising results. Results never anticipated by the programmers. That was why they could seem "lifelike." -Prey, Michael Crichton, Copyright 2002, pg. 68. ISBN 0-06-621412-2

[8:04:14 AM] Rick White says: Hey Jo,

Interested in some more Critchton from Prey (on distributed systems)? [8:04:39 AM] jomama3 says: Of course. [8:06:51 AM] Rick White says: I haven't excerpted it yet - - - but it's meaty just as it is - - - [8:09:25 AM] Rick White says: Here comes - - - hope others may find it enlightening as well. Critchton is good at explaining detailed science in simple terms quite well - - - the following rings true & quite close to the reality I think. Perhaps Alan or other pro code-jockies have comments?? [8:10:13 AM] Rick White says: "


"And?" [ ...]

"We set out to make the camera. It was of course immediately obvious that we had a problem with distributed intelligence."

I was familiar with the problem. The nanoparticles in the cloud had to be endowed with a rudimentary intelligence, so that they could interact with each other to form a flock that wheeled in the air. Such coordinated activity might look pretty intelligent, but it occurred even when the individuals making up the flock were rather stupid. After all, birds and fish could do it, and they weren't the brightest creatures on the planet.

Most people watching a flock of birds or a school of fish assumed there was a leader, and that all the other animals followed the leader. That was because human beings, like most social mammals, had group leaders.

But birds and fish had no leaders. Their groups weren't organized that way. Careful study of flocking behavior -- frame-by-frame video analysis -- showed that, in fact, there was no leader. Birds and fish responded to a few simple stimuli among themselves, and the result was coordinated behavior. But nobody was controlling it. Nobody was leading it. Nobody was directing it.

Nor were individual birds genetically programmed for flocking behavior. Flocking was not hard-wired. There was nothing in the bird brain that said, "When thus-and-such happens, start flocking." On the contrary, flocking simply emerged within the group as a result of much simpler, low-level rules. Rules like, "Stay close to the birds nearest you, but don't bump into them." From those rules, the entire group flocked in smooth coordination.

Because flocking arose from low-level rules, it was called emergent behavior. The technical definition of emergent behavior was behavior that occurred in a group but was not programmed into any member of the group. Emergent behavior could occur in any population, including a computer population. Or a robot population. Or a nanoswarm. I said to Ricky, "Your problem was emergent behavior in the swarm?" "Exactly."


"It was unpredictable?"

"To put it mildly."

In recent decades, this notion of emergent group behavior had caused a minor revolution in computer science. What that meant for programmers was that you could lay down rules of behavior for individual agents, but not for the agents acting together.

Individual agents--whether programming modules, or processors, or as in this case, actual micro-robots--could be programmed to cooperate under certain circumstances, and to compete under other circumstances. They could be given goals. They could be instructed to pursue their goals with single-minded intensity, or to be available to help other agents. But the result of these interactions could not be programmed. It just emerged, with often surprising outcomes.

In a way this was very exciting. For the first time, a program could produce results that absolutely could not be predicted by the programmer. These programs behaved more like living organisms than man-made automatons. That excited programmers--but it frustrated them, too.

Because the program's emergent behavior was erratic. Sometimes competing agents fought to a standstill, and the program failed to accomplish anything. Sometimes agents were so influenced by one another that they lost track of their goal, and did something else instead. In that sense the program was very childlike--unpredictable and easily distracted. As one programmer put it, "Trying to program distributed intelligence is like telling a five-year-old kid to go to his room and change his clothes. He may do that, but he is equally likely to do something else and never return."

Because these programs behaved in a lifelike way, programmers began to draw analogies to the behavior of real organisms in the real world. In fact, they began to model the behavior of actual organisms as a way to get some control over program outcomes.

So you had programmers studying ant swarming, or termite mounding, or bee dancing, in order to write programs to control airplane landing schedules, or package routing, or language translation. These programs often worked beautifully, but they could still go awry, particularly if circumstances changed drastically. Then they would lose their goals.


That was why I began, five years ago, to model predator-prey relationships as a way to keep goals fixed. Because hungry predators weren't distracted. Circumstances might force them to improvise their methods; and they might try many times before they succeeded—but they didn't lose track of their goal.

So I became an expert in predator-prey relationships. I knew about packs of hyenas, African hunting dogs, stalking lionesses, and attacking columns of army ants. My team had studied the literature from the field biologists, and we had generalized those findings into a program module called PREDPREY, which could be used to control any system of agents and make its behavior purposeful. To make the program seek a goal."

[8:15:20 AM] jomama3 says: Survival is the goal. There is no other. Intellestink. [8:15:53 AM] jomama3 says: ...seriously [8:16:23 AM] Rick White says: Intellestink?? [8:16:36 AM] jomama3 says: ...and having a lot to do with cellular automata. [8:17:13 AM] Rick White says: The interesting thing is, it's bottom up - - - top-down doesn't work. [8:17:22 AM] jomama3 says: I shuda used the correct spelling. Interesting is what I meant. [8:18:15 AM] Rick White says: Or maybe it does, but only in small doses - - - which is where I'm at in my thinking at this point. [8:21:11 AM] jomama3 says: Of all the hundreds of cellular automata results based on a few simple rules in Wolfram's book, "A New Kind of Science", they were all pyramid shaped, starting at the top and "growing" on their own downward. Better to have inverted the pyramid. [8:21:43 AM] jomama3 says: Plant like. [8:21:51 AM] jomama3 says: Growing up. [8:22:09 AM] jomama3 says: ...from a seed and some water. [8:23:21 AM] jomama3 says: Life. [8:24:34 AM] Rick White says: Top down works during "emergencies" where only one or a few people's brains contain unique and critical info. But that should be very short-lived. [8:25:50 AM] Rick White says: Bottom up generates unique and different behavior and solutions - - - sort of R&D - - - [8:26:04 AM] Rick White says: Does Wolfram talk about that?? [8:26:18 AM] jomama3 says: Hunt and peck. I don't think we're well designed for anything else. [8:26:29 AM] jomama3 says: no [8:26:30 AM] Rick White says: (o) [8:33:38 AM] Rick White says: We (humans) have adaptability far beyond other animals. BUT if there aren't built-in "novelty generators" we don't exploit our capabilities. So, we have cat-rubbing-like drives (concept from Hi-jacking) that cause us to seek novelty, take chances, etc. [8:33:57 AM] Rick White says: Why Vegas lives. [8:34:17 AM] Rick White says: But "conservatives" hate that. Makes 'em nervous. [8:34:47 AM] Rick White says: That's why they tried to make gambling against the law. ROFLMAO [8:35:08 AM] Rick White says: Dumb fuckers. LIFE is a gamble. [8:36:14 AM] jomama3 says: I don't think we have a choice. Somebody once said we're 16bit processors living in a million or 10 million bit world. Wish I could find that article. Don't remember the numbers. [8:36:44 AM] Rick White says: But the conservatives DO have a function. Maybe. And I admit that grudgingly. [8:37:10 AM] jomama3 says: What might that be? [8:37:35 AM] jomama3 says: gotta run. Keep typin'. later.

[8:38:10 AM] Rick White says: Well, like in Crichton's piece, to focus on the goal. Remember Jimmy as the libertarian dictator thinking there could be only one goal. Sometimes that's important. [8:38:23 AM] Rick White says: Like in "emergencies."

The Federal Reserve Act. Etc.


[MAY GO BETTER IN "The State vs. Change" OR "The Case Against Government" OR "Memetic Machines" (OR "Why Not Trade?")] "...everything is too important ever to be entrusted to professional experts, because every organization of such professionals and every established social organization becomes a vested-interest institution more concerned with its efforts to maintain itself or advance its own interests than to achieve the purpose that society expects it to achieve." - Connected Historian Carroll Quigley, ex- president William Jefferson Clinton's mentor
Scene from "Sorcerors Apprentice" when the water-carrying brooms get away from Mickey.

(Ones that don't have controls imposed by negative feedback)

Large organizations which for any reason come to be in a situation where they no longer need to satisfy outies in order to continue operating -- either they have their own resources or get their sustinance (money) without needing to satisfy the wants and desires of outies -- are free of the constraints imposed by that need to satisfy. This isn't necessarily bad -- often artists and visionaries pursue goals so far outside the box, they need independence till they can prove their ideas. Christopher Columbus for example.

Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. got the resources to enable their enterprises by getting a patron (Italian for "father"). The problem comes when such an enterprise directly impacts others who would otherwise not be involved. Suppose the King and Queen of Spain, Columbus' patrons, increased taxes to finance him for example.

Governments pose as notional (ideological, emotional, subliminal) memetic machines, but they function as the greediest of econo-memetic machines.



Also see (I think) "The Ultimate Selfish Clique in Clips"

[MAY HAVE BEEN USED IN "Why Not Trade?" "The State vs. Change" or "Markets vs. The Establishment"]

"...everything is too important ever to be entrusted to professional experts, because every organization of such professionals and every established social organization becomes a vested-interest institution more concerned with its efforts to maintain itself or advance its own interests than to achieve the purpose that society expects it to achieve." Carroll Quigley, ex-president William Jefferson Clinton's mentor

"People in a very good structure spend 85% of their time and energy maintaining the structure and only about 15% working towards its stated goals." -Steiger's Law [9]
~"As you know, programs which are easy to begin or expand, are difficult or impossible to eliminate once a constituency develops which profits from them and so develops a vested interest in maintaining the status quo." -Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, 29 Jan 1998
Ron Insanna (RI:) "You tried last year to get rid of some of this corporate welfare --- what is it, twelve people in congress voted for it, voted with you? How easy is it going to be even if a commission makes specific recommendations?"
U.S. Senator John S. Mccain (JSM:) (R-AZ): "You know Ron, we proposed elimination of about 60 billion dollars in pork over seven years, over seven years, 60 billion dollars [about one half of one percent of the 1.6+ trillion Federal Budget -lrw] --- and we got 24 votes. And you know it is just incredible because we picked the twelve most egregious examples of corporate pork as come up with not by me, but by the Cato Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute who are at different ends of the political spectrum --- that they agreed on were twelve of the most egregious corporate pork. And frankly we got 24 votes and that's a long long way from 51 [needed to win a vote in the 100 person U.S. Senate -lrw]." -CNBC Inside Opinion, 06 March, 1996, ~12:04 EST, Ron Insanna (RI) & Sen. John S. McCain (JSM), R-ARIZONA

Selfish cliques vs. feed-back = market adjustments -- or Steiger's Law

Victims of the Machines

"There is a time when the operation od the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop," the 21-year-old said. "And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all." - Free Speech Movement's Mario Savio

^^w^^w^^w^^w Mother explaining being part of a clandestine movement to free So. Africa to her kids. -DN!, October 13, 2006, 11:29:02 S_Africa_Catch_A_Fire_DN!061013.VOB> + No Habeas Corpus in So. Africa. So mother was just snatched. It's a tough life for children. -DN!, October 13, 2006, 11:30:40

^^w^^w^^w^^w These guys are bitter at being made the bad guys. They were servants of the goverment and took the heat. Many of their wives left them. The leaders, who ordered what they did live in mansions and got Nobels. -DN!, October 13, 2006, 11:37:23 <VOM_TORT_MILGRAM_Robbins_SoAfrica_Catch_A_Fire_DN!061013.VOB> + In the end of the game, we are all victims. You can't walk out of the room after torturing someone without personal effects. -DN!, October 13, 2006, 11:39:42 <VOM_TORT_MILGRAM_Robbins_SoAfrica_Catch_A_Fire_DN!061013.VOB>

Also search above for this link -- there's a section there with some other examples. MARCH OF DIMES AS MEMETIC MACHINE, ESPECIALLY IT'S TRANSITION FROM POLIO TO BIRTH DEFECTS


KAMIN'S 4TH LAW |cm: REFERENCE_A:CLIPS/AntiCorpWelfare_01.vclp |fn: Americans for Tax Reform cite CATO on CNBC Inside Opinion

-Cato, etc. combine with John Kasic to fight corporate welfare by eliminating 75 billion annually in taxpayer-supported subsidies, such as $500 million to IBM. The coalition supports a flat tax. *-Businesses are embarrassed to defend the corporate pork, but in 1996, a coalition of Commerce Department bureaucrats DID -- because their jobs depend on these subsidies. (4:29:00?) -CNBC Inside Opinion, 19 Dec 1996 {TC00I 4:23:20} {Can go in 01_SmallGroups, search for "Buchanan."}

RI: is Inside Opinion host, Ron Insana, JL: is Jim Lucier of Americans for Tax Reform. -CNBC Inside Opinion, 19 Dec 1996, 12:17 PM EST

JL: Last year the CATO Institute identified about 75 billion dollars worth of direct appropirated taxpayer subsidies, not just to big business [$500 million to IBM etc.] but to small businesses and a lot of other interests that just don't need the help.
RI: Is that 75 billion in annual payouts or would those be cut over some period of time.
JL: That's 75 billion in annual payouts so you can see that this is a big ticket item that adds up. 12:13 PM EST
"Business, I think, is going to be embarassed to come out and protect a lot of this stuff. It's funny I've been talking about the Commerce Department which as I said I followed professionally for five years. The people who protected the Commerce Department the last time around were Commerce Department bureaucrats who actually set up a Commerce Department war room to fend off spending cuts." -Jim Lucier of Americans for Tax Reform, CNBC Inside Opinion, 19 Dec 1996, 12:17 PM EST {TC00I 4:29:??}
By a close vote, the Senate voted NOT to close debate on a bill significantly changing the way class-action lawsuits would be handled, making it easy for insurance companies and other corporations to move suits out of state courts (seen as friendly to plantifs), and into over-crowded Federal courts, seen as less friendly to plaintiffs. This move made passage of the bill less likely -- and was somewhat of a surprise because the insurance industry, etc. mobilized an army of at least 400 lobbists to press congress for passage. [That's 4 lobbists for each of the 100 U.S. senators. -lrw] -CNBC, October 22, 2003, 13:17:50
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part, you can't even tacitly take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop," the 21-year-old said. "And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all." - Free Speech Movement's Mario Savio

Report: FBI tracked dissident for years BERKELEY - FBI investigators trailed a 1960s student protest leader for more than a decade despite having no evidence he broke any federal laws, a newspaper reported Sunday. Hundreds of pages of FBI files, obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, showed that investigators collected personal information about Mario Savio, including documents on his marriage and divorce, without a court order. The FBI also obtained copies of Savio's tax returns in violation of federal rules. According to the files, the FBI feared the Free Speech Movement that Savio helped lead at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964 would spread to other college campuses. The FBI files showed that Savio was designated a "key activist" by the agency and was placed on a list of people to be detained without warrant in the event of a national emergency. Savio died in 1996. Report: FBI tracked dissident for years, 10/12/2004 Work on Germany's national Holocaust memorial has been halted after a company supplying materials for it was linked to the cyanide the Nazis used to gas millions of Jews.

      Degussa, which won a lucrative contract to coat the vast Berlin memorial with an anti-graffiti solution, was once part-owner of the producers of Zyklon B gas used in concentration camps.

...       Degussa used to own 42.2 per cent of Degesch GmbH, the producers of Zyklon B. Nazi gas link halts Holocaust memorial, By Kate Connolly in Berlin, telegraph.co.uk, (Filed: 27/10/2003)

Who allowed this [mom spent 8 days in jail because her kids got sunburned at a county fair] to happen. No one stoped it. I mean the Sheriff, the Sheriff's deputy, they all went along with this. -George Stephanopolus, ABC THIS WEEK, August 25, 2002, 11:53:21
Why stop with sunburn. Did she feed her kids cotton candy? That's bad for their teeth. Were they feeding them hotdogs? Those have fats and nitrates? Why start with sunburn, the least damaging? -Cokie Roberts, ABC THIS WEEK, August 25, 2002, 11:53:21

-Cathy Hulbert's "Bill Mill" -Larry Dodge (FIJA) N. Carolina legislator who thanked him for stopping his bad laws. -The Wizard Bill -Veto My Bill -- PLEASE BEST REFERENCE SO FAR: -The Emergency Banking Act of 1933 started the ball rolling toward> -U.S.A. Patriot Act DISADVANTAGES OF FREE MARKETS: ADVANTAGES OF FREE MARKETS:

"...ultimately the standard of living of human beings is determined by the output per worker." -Alan Greenspan, Testimony to US House, July 22, 1998

Survival gets easier as a result of the competition inherent in free markets forcing us all to share the increased efficiencies caused by our individual knowledge and "tricks of the trade" (leading to "division of labor") which gets spread around through lower prices. As Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan put it, "...ultimately the standard of living of human beings is determined by the output per worker." -Testimony to US House, July 22, 1998 Life becomes easier, and as suggested above, like the slime mold in times of plenty, we spread out and do our own individual thing (which operates as unconscious R&D).

- Competitive cliques forcing each other to pass on the fruits of their increasingly efficient "tricks of the trade" to their trading partners. The Hong Kong travel discounter exposing the marketing tricks of his competitor on the streaming display.

"Competition is a sin." -John D. Rockefeller


      We've discussed memes and how they are passed from person to person and that they are the symbolic equivalent of genes. It's not a great leap to suggest that a pattern or set of memes can act similarly to a genetic complex in controlling chunks of behavior.

Connection to Dr. Eric Bernie & "Games People Play." -dog training (Pavlov's dog) -militray training, especially boot camp -signal reaction

      For example {genetic machine and memetic machine corollary}

      Memetic machines can be installed unbeknowst to the installee and operate undisturbed and unrecognized.

      Cultural "values" are regularly installed, and those prescribing particular values and behavior can cause those folks infected by them to perform in a particular way. Like paying taxes. We can describe these behavior-producing memetic complexes as "memetic machines." They are built-up of what General Semanticists call "signal reactions."

* Former LBJ Secretary of defense Robert S. McNamara, often described as the chief architect and a main mover and shaker behind the Viet Nam "War", reveals in his autobiography (and tearfully admits in a news conference) that despite his public stance at the time, he believed the Viet Nam War was a mistake right from the start. -April, 1995 [all media]
"By the end of 1999," Gatto says, "75.5 million people out of a total population of 275 million were involved directly in providing and receiving what has come to be called education. In other words, the primary organizing discipline of about 29% of the entire U.S. population consists of obedience to the routines and requests of an abstract social machine called school." Public schooling's sad history [a book review], by Rachel Baxter, FREELANCE WRITER

Scientology as a memetic machine.

Most police-state operatives are operated by such "memetic machines."

Goldeneye speechs by Bond's MI6 nemesis point that out.

Peter Fisher: [10] "Think of the federal government as a gigantic insurance company with a sideline business in national defense and homeland security. This particular insurance company, it turns out, has made personal promises to its policyholders that have a current value of $20 trillion or so in excess of the revenues it expects to receive. An insurance company with cash accounting is not really an insurance company at all," he added, "it's an accident waiting to happen." -Peter Fisher, U.S. under secretary of the Treasury for domestic finance, Russell On Gold, $20 trillion in the hole... Gold anyone?, Richard Russell, Dow Theory Letters, 22 November, 2002
Examples of Memetic Machines

That blackout is deep enough that it's likely you haven't even heard that 2 new FBI whistleblowers have come forward -- one named, the other still anonymous -- vouching for the veracity of the claims of former FBI contract linguist-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who is once again pushing -- this time backed by more than thirty public interest groups -- for public congressional hearings into her case. An Open Letter to Chris Matthews Saturday, March 10th in News, War party by Scott Horton


So, we can consider a "memetic machine" as any {repititive and/or self-modifying }behavioral pattern that you acquire, directly or indirectly, that is, that you do not inherit. It may count on inherited characteristics and behavior patterns to function -- the "zone defense" {memetic machine }counts on you having two legs and being able to run, for example. A memetic machine may be verbally moderated -- or not. And the degree of verbal moderation may change -- usually thru use, becoming less verbal and more habit over time. You may acquire a memetic machine -- or parts of it -- from others (learn it) -- or create it yourself -- or some combination of the two. Because it is in memory however, it may evolve, change, and adapt over time{ in many ways}. The complete memetic machine may reside only in your memory -- or parts of it may be distributed among many interacting individuals. A hunting party -- or giant corporation -- for example. Of course, more than one individual may have acquired a similar self-contained memetic machine, usually through "learning" -- perhaps Bobo can now make arrows almost as well as you can. + A memetic machine that is distributed over more than one individual usually becomes atonomous and requires "motivating information" -- such as slime mold's cyclic AMP -- {or "fun" -- or money -- }to be passed around. While our small-group ancestors counted on shared purpose, comradarie, enthusiasm, and a little cupidity for motivational purposes, for better or worse in the modern world, we have come to count largely on "money" to do the job.

As it turns out, "markets" -- basically your hand in concert with all those other buyers' invisible hands (distributed decisions controlled by all that distributed information) -- are quite efficient ways to control econo-memetic machines, or at least keep them civilized and, for the most part, serving the "common interest."


[1] PRELIMINARY NOTE: From the other direction, Edward Friedman, "Generation to Generation" on family systems: If you get rid of one type of person in a group, another of the same type will evolve to replace them. --Rev. John Sweitzer, May 7, 2008, 23:16:21 return

[2] Cantor Fitzgerald lost every employee housed in the WTTC, 700 in all. Only one employee, because he went to see his 5 yr. old son's first day in school, was late to work and survived. -CNBC, September 14, 2001, 08:56:51 return

[3] "The proof necessary to convict the enemies of the people is every kind of evidence, either material or moral or verbal or written. . . . Every citizen has the right to seize conspirators and counter-revolutionaries and to arraign them before magistrates. He is required to denounce them when he knows of them." -Law of 22 Prairial Year II (June 10, 1794) return

[4] So, the Chin Dynasty's demise after only 12 years indicates a down side to "legalism." And Heyak points the way to another:

. . . What led the greatly advanced civilisation of China to fall behind Europe was its governments' clamping down so tightly as to leave no room for new developments, while, as remarked in the last chapter, Europe probably owes its extraordinary expansion in the Middle Ages to its political anarchy (Baechler, 1975:77) -F. A. Hayek, THE FATAL CONCEIT The Errors of Socialism, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1988), p. 44 & 45 return

[5] We need to note here that "money" isn't the only medium of exchange. Though money is more efficient, "barter" of various sorts is another form of exchange that also enables "extended order" memetic machines. return

[6] The old answer as to how the immune system made the "inside/outside" distinction, using a certain ubiquitous DNA sequence, unique in every individual however, may be giving way to a new more "emergent" paradigm. return

[7] So, how dumb is this that churchs opt INTO 501c3 status? Pretty dumb, but quite an instructive piece of history. return

[8] The exception is usually thought to be "monopolies" -- but persistent monopolies, while sought by business interests, usually can't persist in free markets for long -- and instead count on government force to protect them from competition. Or to set them up in the first place. return

[9] Steiger's Law:

Sam Steiger is a former six-term US Congressman from Arizona. This means he served in the US House of Representatives for some 12 years. He ran for governor of Arizona on the Libertarian ticket in {1984.} He's a genuine gentleman rancher and has the "people's touch." At a talk given July 31, 1982, at The Nevada Libertarian Party "CANDIDATE'S CONVENTION" in Las Vegas, Nevada, he suggested what he modestly called "Steiger's Law." He stated it as:

"People involved in a structure spend more time and energy maintaining that structure than in working toward its goals." -Steiger's Law

During a question period, I asked him "How much more?" After a moment or two of thought, he suggested about 85% was spent maintaining and about 15% working. He added with a twinkle, "But that's only if it's a very good organization." Thus for me, Steiger's Law became:

"People in a very good structure spend 85% of their time and energy maintaining the structure and only about 15% working towards its stated goals." -Steiger's Law return

[10] Peter Fisher's current job is to sell other people on the idea of buying U.S. bonds and T-bills!! Before that, he ran the super-secret "Working Group on Financial Markets," otherwise known as the "Plunge Protection Team," or "PPT." If Fisher isn't an ultimate insider, none exist. return

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