There are certain words which seem to trigger a very rigid reaction in folks during conversations about how we should run things, how we should conduct business, or how we should discuss and eventually reach decisions.  I have seen these kind of “duck and cover” or “turtle” reactions from people I have worked with or been in clubs with at the mention of a “committee” or a “script.”

What is going on here? Are these words examples of parameterized immunomemes, with the words being inserted into a template, or are they really just triggering a whole monolithic immunomemeplex associated with just that one word? This may in fact prove to be a very fruitful and interesting line of inquiry into the nature of immunomemes.

Parameterized Immunomemes

But are they really? We think of memes around words such as “committee,” “vote,” and “script,” and how they convey negative images— but which ones? — for which everybody seems to have some kind of negative narrative, ready to go.

It’s even interesting to think about how all the mechanical aspects of Democracy, writ large, may have negative narratives, negative blobs of blah-blah built up for them, and how this could actually serve to undermine democracy. Is there an invisible memeplex, or MIAOplex behind it all? Democracy is in some ways an exercise in mistrust, in rigid ways for everybody to have a chance to have their say, to be heard, and then everybody gets to decide, as Heinlein termed it in Starship Troopers, to commit an act of violence by the act of voting.

But back to the idea of omniphagic versus parameterized immunomemes versus some new type which we might term “focused” or “specific” immunomemes. We know that there are...actually, what do we know? I think we can say that there are omniphagic immunomemes, and you can easily name a few, like “that’ll never work,” “you’re just making more work for yourself,” “you’re the only one having that problem,” or just automatically committing certain acts of violence against given targeted groups with or without other provocation.

One problem I have with the idea of parameterized immunomemes, depending upon how we define them, is that there is a certain implication of order or organization which strikes me as anathematic to macromemetics. To say, as I do in my short story, Electoral College Professor[1], for example, that a candidate being “anti-woman” makes them vulnerable, susceptible, to immunomemes associated with women’s issues, in this case, “issues/memes to do with women.” It’s as if memes are somehow “catalogued” by some kind of memetic Dewey decimal system, and you can look them up by category. That seems to be looking for order and logic where theoretically none is supposed to exist. I guess it’s not a problem if things are left fairly broad. One could imagine “automotive-maintenance-related” memes, and how there might be a parameter that would bring those memes into play.

I feel like I’m chasing my tail some days. Parametric immunomemeplexes are really like a kind of MIAOplex, and a negative one. The MIAOplex, which is a relatively familiar concept in our discussions so far, then becomes, in effect, the parameter. This is really the point I make in Electoral College Professor, that is, that deploying the wrong memes opens one up to immunomemetic deployment by “enemies” which associate one with a “negative” MIAOplex. It’s effectively tying one’s “campaign,” one’s identity, to this large collective of negative memes, memes which undermine one’s position, which are all tied into a MIAOplex, such that invoking any of the memes, or now the ill-fated immunomemetic victim and their memes.

That appears to be the mechanism.

Caught in an Immunomemetic Web

So it looks like there are omniphagic and targeted[2] immunomemes. It might even be more descriptive to talk of immunoMIAOplexes, that is, collections of memes and MIAOs interlinked, for which the major purpose is immunomemetic responses to threats to a given megamemeplex. But that that point, we start to lose any distinctive functional differences between an immunomegamemeplex and a “regular” megamemeplex. And an immunomemeplex may not necessarily “belong” to a given memeplex in any quantifiable way.

Conclusions and Summary

The concept of parameterized immunomemes may have to give way to the idea of memes which link to a given memeplex, which is effectively an immunomemeplex, but only in the sense that much of it’s memetic content results in what we would characterize as “immunomemetic behavior.” We still have to nail down what that is. It may well be related to oppression, so that needs to be rigorously defined.

The idea that words like “committee” and “vote” and “script” are “allergic” for some people is interesting and the point of departure of this essay. However, the idea that they are “parameters” in the fabled “parametric” or “parameterized” immunomeme may in fact be a dry hole. They may just the be most obvious features in otherwise garden variety targeted immunomemes. The real interesting thing may be the mechanism whereby they actually undermine democracy.

One issue about parametric immunomemes is that who is the invisible hand that puts them into these near categories such that they can be invoked together in response to a certain parameter? A more macromemetic solution, or image, is that of a memeplex, or MIAO, or MIAOplex, that are “linked in” by some kind of memetic invocation or other.

Perhaps I haven’t accomplished much, but I may have at least lighted the way a bit. If the mechanism of immunomemetic action is that of “linking” an individual or memetic system to some “immunomemeplex,” then a number of questions leap to mind. First, how does this “linking” work? Are there examples? Does “post-linking” look the same as oppression?[3] Finally, if all that works out, what do immunomemes and immunomemeplexes and even immunoMIAOplexes look like? Can they then be characterized?

[1] Otherworlds anthology. Westing Press

[2] I need to find a good term for this. I may have already done so somewhere.

[3] As in the oppression of minorities, the poor, et al.