by lsusr1 min read26th Nov 201926 comments


Social & Cultural DynamicsRationality

Antimemes are self-keeping secrets. You can only perceive an antimeme if you already know it's there. Antimemes don't need a conspiracy to stay hidden because you can't comprehend an antimeme just by being told it exists. You can shout them to the heavens and nobody will listen. I'll try to explain with a fictitious example.

Suppose we all had an invisible organ behind our ears and our brains kept it secret from our consciousness. If I told you "you have an invisible organ behind your ear" you wouldn't believe me. You'd only believe it exists if you deduced its existence from a trail of evidence.

You can deduce the existence of an antimeme from the outline of the hole it cuts in reality. If you find an old photo with a gap where a person has been painted out then you can be confident that someone has been disappeared. You can then figure out who it is with conventional investigative methods. The challenge is noticing the gap in the first place and then not dismissing it as noise.

Different cultures have different antimemes. The more different two cultures are from each other the less their antimemes overlap. You can sweep up a mountain of antimemes just by reading a Chinese or Arabic history of civilization and comparing it to Western world history. You can snag a different set by learning what it was like to live in a hunter-gatherer or pastoralist society.

You can do the same thing with technology. Developing a proficiency in Lisp will shatter your tolerance of inferior programming languages. Once you've internalized defmacro you can never go back.

As for jobs: once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur[1].

Comprehending an antimeme takes work. You slog toward it for a long time and then eventually something clicks like a ratchet. Until then everything you've learned is reversible. After it clicks you've permanently unlocked a new level of experience, like stream entry.

Stream entry is another antimeme, by the way.

Antimemes are easily dismissed as pseudoscience. Pseudoscience is a meme, not an antimeme. You can distinguish antimemes from pseudoscience at a glance by examining why they're suppressed. Pseudoscience is dismissed as fraudulent. Antimemes are dismissed as inapposite.

  1. There are two different kinds of entrepreneurship. The more common form of entrepreneurship is self-employment where you sell your labor. I'm not talking about this common entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship where you exploit an overlooked market opportunity is an antimeme. ↩︎