Re: virus: Misc Questions

David McFadzean (
Mon, 30 Oct 1995 16:34:36 -0700

At 06:37 PM 10/27/95 PDT, David Leeper wrote:

>1) How does art fit into the Virus point of view. I've seen lots of
>intellectual postings, but nothing else. Are there drawings, songs or poems
>which talk about the Virus point of view? How much of the human psyche does
>Virus intend to infect?

Art is a vector. As such, art provides an avenue for personal expression,
a way for an individual to increase their own life's meaning by communicating
their ideas and feelings and thereby influencing the world around them. It is
also a valid but currently unexploited memetic vector for Virus itself. I think
it would be very cool to see Virian ideas show up in visual arts, music and
fiction. Philosophically I think aesthetics is amenable to an evolutionary
analysis. Think of artists introducing variation while the audience provides
selection; from this perspective it is easy to see how everyone could (and
should?) potentially get involved in the world of art.

>2) When Virus says it's a religion, what does this mean? How does Virus'
>definition of religion differ from what most people call a philosophy?

Insofar as a philosophy is "any system of beliefs, values and tenets"
Virus is a philosophy, but then so are all religions.

But I think the point you were getting at is that most religions have
churches, congregations, sermons, rituals and the like whereas Virus
has none of those. To that all I can say is that if churches,
congregations, sermons, and rituals are necessary to infect people with
the Virus memes, then Virus should be prepared to adapt or fail as
a religion.

>3) Other than evolving, what are Virus' goals? Is Virus just a place to
>talk about memes? To use the terms of Aliester Crowley, what is Virus'

Here is the latest (recently expanded) goal from the Virus Introduction page:

"Virus was originally created to compete with the traditional (irrational)
religions in the human ideosphere with the idea that it would introduce and
propagate memes which would ensure the survival and evolution of our species.
The main advantage conferred upon adherents is Virus provides a conceptual
framework for leading a truly meaningful life and attaining immortality
without resorting to mystical delusions."

The addition of the 2nd sentence was prompted by a discussion in Dennet's
_Darwin's Dangerous Idea_. Apparently Skinner was promoting his world view
in _Beyond Dignity_ as the only way the human race could survive to which
his critics basically said, "BFD, if we have to give up our dignity to
survive then it is better that we die". The message I got from that is that
survival of the species isn't a worthy goal by itself.

The goal, like all Virian doctrine, is provisional so discussion and
criticism are most welcome.

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects Ltd.