Re: virus: Bait, Hook and Threat.

David McFadzean (
Wed, 2 Aug 1995 11:41:53 -0600

At 12:10 PM 8/1/95 -0600, Duane Daniel Hewitt wrote:
>David and I have been bouncing around some ideas. Here is a brief
>distillation of those thoughts.
> The purpose of life is to create meaning.

BAIT: The part of a meme-complex that promises to benefit the host (usually
in return for replicating the complex). The bait usually justifies, but does
not explicitly urge, the replication of a meme-complex. (Donald Going, quoted
by Hofstadter.) Also called the reward co-meme. (In many religions, "Salvation"
is the bait, or promised reward; "Spread the Word" is the hook. Other common
bait co-memes are "Eternal Bliss", "Security", "Prosperity", "Freedom".)

I agree that the main benefit to Virus is the knowledge of how to create
a meaningful life. That's what everyone wants, right? The great
philosopher Calvin says so:

> Meaning is effectively created through rational thoughts and actions.

HOOK : The part of a meme-complex that urges replication. The hook is often
most effective when it is not an explicit statement, but a logical consequence
of the meme's content.

This is trickier. Why bother spreading the word of Virus? We certainly don't
advocate altruism (not that I believe it even exists). Deron said as much in
his last message where he states "The danger is not that Herald readers will
believe him -- they may, but they don't matter." Do the uneducated and gullible
really not matter? I tend to disagree. The rest of the population affects our
lives more than any other factor.

I think the tact to take here is to postulate that most of what is wrong in
society today can be attributed to irrational behaviour. Educating other
people about rationality, skepticism and critical thinking not only helps
them, it helps *us*.

> Without rational thoughts and actions the potential meaning of
>your life will be lost to entropy.

THREAT: The part of a meme-complex that encourages adherence and discourages
mis-replication. ("Damnation to Hell" is the threat co-meme in many religious

I like the intent of Duane's threat, maybe it would have more impact if
made more concise:

Without Virus, you will almost certainly become a victim of entropy.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.