Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thought Viruses

I have been doing some reading about "Narcissistic personality disorder" and "Borderline personality disorder" for various reasons.    While there are all sorts of aspects to these conditions, they are essentially a set of "thought patterns" which are expressed as a grab bag of symptoms of varying intensity by the victim. 

The key point being that these "though patterns" are "trained in" by an abusive parent(usually).  They are do not stem from a physical injury or anything else.  Essentially the child is fine before hand, then afterward is broken by exposure to the parents condition.  Similar to PTSD.  

The complex issue that I have recurringly thought about is that these particular conditions are repeated down the generations unless interupted during transmission.  The condition is self-replicating and self-maintaining.  I.e  a parent with a mild case of NPD can damage a child who manifests a strong case of NPD... so the condition does not "weaken" over generations.  

To me, this is a perfect example of a "Though Virus".    The same sort of pattern seems to happen with bullying (although I have not read as much about it)  where the victim of a bully may go on to become a bully themselves, thus replicating the condition. 

I'm sure there will be a bunch of these kind of "though patterns" that are transmitted from generation to generation. Some we call "wisdom", "habits", "myths", "family culture" etc.  But like all symbiotic relationships, its the negative ones that get called names.  

The interesting aspects of these constructs is that:

A) If they can be given to someone, they can be taken away. (More or less cured... in theory.  This ignores any damage done while the victim was carrying it; which could be substatial)
B) Can we develop an immunisation for this crap that will remove it from society?
c) Is there are liability for society by allowing parents to infect their children with this kind of negative thought pattner?  If so, should society identify and treat before the infection can jump to the next generation? 
d) These things can only work in a particular context.  NPD depends on isolating the victim(s) and creating and re-inforcing an alternative "reality bubble" around them.  Can this be defeated simply by not leaving infected parents alone with un-infected children? (This is probably the cure for all sorts of shitty parenting....)

e) These kinds of though patterns could potentially be transmitted to artificial intelligence and back again.  Something to think about... 

 Once you start looking at thought patterns as a transmittable "thing" you start to see all sorts of passive and active mechanisms that may be playing large or small roles in this process.  I have seen a few articles such as "Playing computer games is re-wiring my brain.." kind of thing.  I know logically this is true... I have just never considered the full extent of this kind of massed, repetative rewiring.  Its funny to see social conventions emerge and propogate on game message boards.... and then to see them make a jump into social memes... but in reality this is how society has evolved... a collective set of through patterns that are self sustaining, transmissible, and self-reinforcing.  Keep in mind that all though patterns are emergent (random, chaotic and useless until re-inforced by utility) its easy to think of "intelligence" as one big virus.....

Once you conceive of the human brain as simply a virus laden organ which can be infected by other viruses.... it gets weird. 

But as a mechanism to explain intelligence, thought, society etc... its pretty neat and tidy.

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