Re: virus: Hello - and some observations

David McFadzean (
Thu, 14 Sep 1995 15:33:14 -0600

At 02:20 PM 9/14/95, Andy Cheyne P&T-SP wrote:

>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

I concur, the ability to "do whatever I want" seems prima facie
unlimited, but a closer inspection reveals that the actions belonging
to the set of "whatever I want" is an infinitesimal fraction of
all (physically) possible actions. The best book I've found on
free will is Daniel Dennett's "Elbow Room" (MIT Press, 1984).

>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

Virus is a church because it is designed to compete directly with
traditional religions in their particular memetic niche.

>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!)

As I mentioned in a recent message about Thelema I believe rituals
have wide appeal. (I think it would be an interesting thread to discuss
the possible reasons for this.) I don't find it hard to imagine a
magickal (a la Crowley) spinoff of Virus that included rituals and
the anthropomorphizing of memes (maybe identifying them with the faeries,
sprite and demons of mythology). Since I don't want to preclude this
particular evolution of Virus, I think it is important that "orthodox"
Virus remains agnostic on the question of whether memes are actually
alive in some sense.

>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

I'm not sure what stories you are referring to here. BTW I like the
new adjective "Virian".

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.