Notes from the happy meme breeding ground

Okay, so, I’m watching my CDs get ripped into OGG at a prodigious rate. I’ve decided to undertake, in between working on paying work, the herculean task of ripping my entire CD collection. Now, understand, I have a LOT of CDs. 500 would not be a underestimate. So this may take a while. On the other hand, when I’m done I’ll be able to listen to all those B-sides that I never listen to any more because since the whole mp3 thing happened I can’t be bothered to deal with physical media.

I’ve been thinking about how in the last ten years the internet has turned into the happy meme breeding ground – kind of a bizarre monument to humanity. You want a snapshot of the good, the bad, the ugly, of humanity and human emotion and thought, the internet definately gives you that. And it literally is a happy breeding ground for memes. I’m glad that I’ll have it to entertain me when I’ve gotten old.. if I don’t die first.

It seems hard to beleive that I Happened to be born just as the Net happened to be coming into widespread use. Unlikely in the extreme.. I feel almost as if I were directed here somehow. Yet another point on my ‘reasons I suspect there are higher and lower powers’ sheet.

I wonder what new memes the ‘net is breeding as we speak, and if it is improving humanity. Of course, back to my old evil-thinks-it’s-good-and-we’re-evil motif, I guess part of the problem is that different people define improving as different things. For example, I think complete irradication of all STDs and conception only by human volition would be a improvement, but lots of those right-wing-bible-belt types think that it would be completely evil because it would let people have sex with whoever they want and not have babies. ANything that feels good is a sin and must have a punishment associated with it! Ya!

I promise I’ll get off this religion kick soon enough. In the meantime, has anyone heard of a religion called the B’Nai or something similar? The infamous Christian On The Plane mentioned it to me as a religion that tried to synergize all of the world religions into one cohesive text, which sounds both fascinating and like something I’d be very into.

I’m heading towards a daylight schedule again, so perhaps I’ll be able to actually go to church or something. My parents always used to go to church for Christmas Eve, and I’m oddly tempted but don’t know how welcome I’d be at a completely unfamiliar church. On the other hand, there’s that line from Larry Niven’s Fallen Angels – ‘It’s God’s house, aina? All are welcome..’. Then again, that’s from Minnesota where everyone is all welcoming because another warm body means that much less heating oil needs to be burned.. 😉

Okay. Back to the happy meme breeding ground concept.. one of my possible views for the origins of free will is a combination of a programmable filter and a noise (i.e. true, cryptographically random noise) source. [side note: I’m beginning to entertian the idea that there is no such thing as a true random number generator]. The filter gets ever more complex as you load more data into it by having various experiences, reading, thinking, etc. The internet is a enormous source of data to shove into the filter, and what’s more, represents a chance for data to resonate back and forth between people, so the filters can grow more and more complex as a group as well as as individuals. A few great examples of meme breeding grounds are livejournal and everything2. (And for those of you who’ve never tried out everything2, you really should.

This whole free will thing is important to me for a couple of reasons:

1) I have never seen a computer show anything that even remotely resembles free will. On the other hand, they only have a couple of million transistors to our billions of neurons, so it may just be that it’s a emergant property that requires a more complex network than we can yet put togeather.
2) I’m writing a story about a computer virus that accidentally causes the internet to become a sentient individual with free will, and details some of the complexities of the authors of the virus interfacing with their creation, among other things

Anyway, that’s probably enough of my inane rambling for now.

4 Responses to “Notes from the happy meme breeding ground”

  1. rarkrarkrark Says:

    Are you kidding? At many churches the congregation gets *much* larger for just a few day in December, and then again in the spring. My relgion teacher used to refer to such folks as ‘Christmas and Easter Catholics’ — but all the mainstream denominations have ’em.

    However, many christmas eve services are held late, around midnight, so I’m not sure being on a daylight schedule will be useful to you 🙂

    Happy Solstice.

  2. rarkrarkrark Says:

    I knew someone who was B’Nai, but I’ve lost track of her.

  3. brassratgirl Says:

    1) I think you might be thinking of the Bahá’í Faith : B’Nai is a Jewish organization.
    If I recall correctly, and I may not be, it was one of the few religions Sally could tolerate.

    2) you wouldn’t be the first person to show up just on xmas. Also, yay for day schedules.

    3) I’m beginning to entertian the idea that there is no such thing as a true random number generator: I thought this was a well-known fact of mathematical programming? Maybe not. Or are you talking theoretically?

  4. sheer_panic Says:

    > 3) I’m beginning to entertian the idea that there is no such thing as a true random number generator: I thought this was a well-known fact of mathematical programming? Maybe not. Or are you talking theoretically?

    Yes, it’s a well known fact that all functions you can do with a digital computer are deterministic, but I mean more in the sense that there’s nothing random, anywhere, ever.

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