Re: virus: Death, Destruction, Sex

Tyson Vaughan (
Mon, 30 Oct 1995 17:09:13 +0000

David Leeper:

First I want to say I thoroughly enjoyed your comments! I can definitely
identify with your cynicism, both as humor and wry observation.

I do want to make one clarification:

>>One more point. I care about my memes. I don't give a damn what my genes
>>say, except as they are indirectly represented in my memes.
>Perhaps you consciously don't give a damn. But I find it hard to believe
>you have complete control over things like hunger and sex drive. If you do,
>you're a rare individual. For most people, gene's are sneaky little SOBs
>that effect our thinking without us even being aware of it at times.

I included the phrase "except as they are indirectly represented in my
memes" as an escape valve for allowing such things as you mention.

It is possible for a genetic instruction to control human behavior without
that instruction being translated into a concept or meme, but even the most
basic biological functions have associated memes which add further layers
of instruction or protocol to the situation.

Genetic and memetic instructions can affect and modify each other.

However, your general skepticism about overcoming genetic instructions with
memetic ones is well-founded. It takes consistent, large-scale effort to
overcome genetic instructions over a period of time, because the genes will
continue to be there, hard-wired, for a LONG time. Memes are generally
more flighty. They are software, subject to updates and revisions and
edits and deletions.

It is true that many of our problems today arise directly or indirectly
from genetic instructions more suitable for a much different environment
than our current one.

Tyson Vaughan
Memetic engineer
Graphic designer