November 21st, 2007

Sinfest: I Have An Ego?

(no subject)

I've been thinking about memetics a lot, lately. About how my memes seem to fall into two categories: those that I want to project (and consciously cultivate for this purpose), and those that I naturally embrace. It's surprisingly seldom that they interlace. For example, I love to read encyclopedias. I've been reading them ever since I learned how to read. My favourite book, when I was a kid, was Arthur C. Clarke's The Exploration of Space. I read it dozens of times. I love books that teach me a wide variety of facts in a concise manner. And yet, when ever I'm inquired about my favourite book, that's not what I say. What I answer depends on who's asking.

And the same is true for all sorts of memes. Music, cinema, art. Am I embarrassed of my first-level memes? I don't know that I am. But they're not what I wish to project. And what I project, I suppose, is a kind of armour between me and the world. Why I feel the need to do something like this is whole 'nother bag of potatoes, but I have been doing it, I venture, ever since I learned from childhood chums that there were things you were supposed to like, even if you didn't.

Maybe that's something everybody does, to a degree. Have private, slightly shameful proclivities. I mean, as far as dirty little pleasures go, I'm sure I could do a lot worse than Wikipedia. More sad? That's for you to decide.

But the question is, if I nurture two distinct conglomeration of memes, does that make me two different people? Is what we are merely an aggregate of memes and the memories that store them? Memes differ from genes in that we actively choose and reject them. And whence does the initial impulse for these choices come from, if not from previous choices, and yet more previous? Is it fair that the kind of person I am today is ultimately defined by, for example, the sort of cartoons I was made to watch as a child? The sort of toys I was offered, the kind of games I was introduced. And what sort of assbackward cultural factors went into making the all-important, all-defining question of modern of life "Who am I, really?", anyway. 
Naama: So Emo

(no subject)

Despite writing it out yesterday, and seeking out and reading Harvard Law Review's informative piece on street violence, I've still been near tears all day today. I'm not enough of a cyborg yet that it wouldn't affect me, that it wouldn't hurt. I mean, what a fucking thing to do to another human being.

I don't know what to do for catharsis that isn't just me punishing myself for someone else's misdeed. My usual coping mechanisms are famously dysfunctional. It's getting to a point that if it weren't for my obligations toward the University, I probably wouldn't go out on my own at all, anymore. And that's sad. Letting the world turn me into a wreck is like letting everything I find despicable about it take it over, let it win.

Something else that has been on my mind is memetic viruses. It's for things like this that I've become severely infected.