virus: Hello - and some observations

Andy Cheyne P&T-SP (
14 Sep 95 14:20:49


I'm delighted to make your acqaintance. I am simultaneously heartened to
find such a rational and directed group of thinkers and dismayed that you
(we?) are in such a minority in the world that a concept like Virus seems
either (a) unusual or (b) necessary!

Having happened upon the Web page, I've spent a couple of days digesting
the mailing list archive, and there are a couple of points which I'd like
to see a little clarification on - I apologise if I'm asking you to go
over old ground, but I'm really keen to get up to speed.

1 Some discussion centered around Crowley's "Do what thou wilt shall be
the whole of the Law". Most of the responses seemed to assume that it is
possible for a human being to follow a course of free will, whereas I'm
sympathetic with Hofstadter's assertion (in one of the articles in
"Metamagical Themas" - I'm sorry, but I don't have the exact reference to
hand) that what we call "free will" is, in fact, very severely
restricted. Not only in the sense that there are physical limitations - I
can't fly, unaided, no matter how hard I "will" it to happen, but also in
the sense that we operate within a very restrictive moral code. It's not
"free will" that prevents me from murdering the guy next to me on the
bus, it's some very deep-seated moral conditioning.

2 The "Personality Cult" thread, IMO has some broad implications. Virus
proclaims itself to be a "church" largely, I understand, for provocative
reasons. However, churches have proved to be very successful at
propagating memes. I'd like to see some discussion about what aspects of
religions Virus might appropriate for its own purposes, and which Virus
must oppose. For example, is there a case for developing rituals? (My
gut reation is "no", though!)

3 I'm a little worried at the weight that has been attached to the
creation of stories ("parables") to illustrate and expand on Virian
ideas. Care must be exercised here. Of course, fiction can be a
powerful aid to understanding, but the tendency is to use extreme, even
exceptional, scenarios for two reasons: (1) this is a greater tests of
the moral framework and so on and (b) it's more entertaining this way.
One of the problems with theistic religions is that myth and parable
tends to be mistaken for truth - hence fundamentalism.

Andy Cheyne