markpasc (markpasc) wrote,

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Fish factories

Since someone was nice enough to give me a copy as a shareware fee, I'm reading Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach. It's a collection of his columns as published in Scientific American. The third, "On Viral Sentences and Self-Replicating Structures," is about memes and such, so this excerpt from a reader letter makes sense in context, but the metaphor shear [of the last sentence —m] is still shiver-inducing:

System S:
    S1: Blah.
    S100: It is your duty to convince others that System S is true.

Statements S1S99 are the bait which attracts the fish and conceals the hook [S100]. No bait—no bite. If the fish is fool enough to swallow the baited hook, it will have little enough time to enjoy the bait. Once the hook takes hold, the fish will lose all its fishiness and become instead a busy factory for the manufacture of baited hooks.

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