virus: prev. Demon Thread

Ken Pantheists (
Sat, 27 Apr 1996 12:57:15 +0000

Marc Connolly wrote:

> I would say that Eastern religions offer the most efficient memes for
> replication and are less chaotic from a memetic standpoint.
> The Eastern philosophies (Buddism,Taoism,Hinduism) are vague (to say
> the least) but if you read stuff by Alan Watts he boils all things down
> to a basic yearning all people are affected by.
> He wrote in BECOME WHAT YOU ARE, "Is it too impossible to admit that
> all our well-laid traps for happiness are just so many ways of kidding
> ourselves that by meditation,psychoanalysis,Dianetics,raja yoga,Zen
> Buddism, or mental science , we are somehow going to save ourselves
> from that final plop into nothing?" I guess facing nothingness leads to
> the utter futility of everything. No rules, just face the fact that you
> are a shooting star in terms of existance and thats all.

I am unclear as to your position on the above. Do you mean that it is
too impossible to admit our insignifance and that is why we engage in
spiritual persuits? That we *are* fooling ourselve?

Or do you mean that it is too impossible, given the complexity of our
sense of (self and the elaborate memes we have created to express that
self) that we are an insignificant dust mote? That we *must* be
something more?

> Biblical approaches require a blind belief in supernatural events and
> repititous analysis of current and past world events all pointing to
> the end of the world.

Biblical approaches are the same as historical approaches. The bible is
a history book that tells the story of the people of Israel. Remember
that for a long period of history, there was no israel, it existed as an
idea, a history, an epic poem, a meme.

We can only hope to build on what has been done before if we know what
has been done before.

Evangelical Christians, Baptists, Catholics and
> Islamic, Muslim, Jewish followers all use the same historical figures
> in different contexts.

I agree with you here. There is an overlapping "cast of characters"
(like a spin off series eh?) but the approaches to the memes vary
drastically from denomination to denomination. I am not qualified to
comment specifically on many of them, but if you look at the difference
between Protestant denominations, Catholic Denominations and Orthodox
denominations in Christianity. Protestants, specifically Luther,
advocated a following of the letter of the bible and spawned a more
literalist interpretation of the events where as Catholic and Orthodox
churches emphasis the ceremony and meaning of the ritual. There is an
acknowlegement that it is *all* representational. Protestants
'protested' the excess to which the ritual governed the significance of
the meme. The roman church was collecting loads of money to keep
everything beautiful and sensational. Ironically we (people in general
and people on this list) look at the achievements of this period as
wonderful works of genius- Da vinci, Michelangelo, the great composers
of baroque music also composed masses. We cannot seperate the
acheivements of a few wonderful, rational minds from the context that
gave their memes meaning. They fed each other and were responsible for
one another.

(I wonder how many Evangelicals know how close
> Islam is to their beliefs )

I doubt they believe they share *any* common attribute with anyone who
is different from them.

As science and technology permeate human
> populations I think Taoism has potential for perpetuation in that it is
> atheistic and paradoxical in that the more rules and conventions you
> tie to it the further you stray from your unavoidable ride into
> oblivion. Easy and efficient to perpetuate. For me, studying
> evolutionary science doesn't prevent me from reading Taoist stuff but
> it certainly has closed my mind to all others.

Marc, this has caused me to think in the lines of another, possibly
dangerous, thoughtstream. (dangerous because it is hard to discuss
without making generalizations about people's ability to reason or

Does a person's predeliction for spiritual thought boil down to how much
*time* one has. What about resources, both intellectual resources and
'meat' resources?

The reason why I bring this up is that part of me feels uncomfortable
sitting at my computer in my climate controlled apartment passing
judgement on (primitive) memes. I believe that if you cast a stone at
one religion, you better be prepared to stone them all. This includes
religions that are tribal, prechristian etc. These balanced human
activity with the environment. Can we pass judgement on them as we eat
up the ozone layer and poison the world? (extreme, I know, but you get
the point)

What this thought is coming around to is this (and this is the possibly
dangerous statement). Won't there always be a certain number of people
who are happy to relinquish this responsibility of figuring out who they
are and the reason for their existence? Won't there always be people who
will just go jetskiing while we sit at our computers and argue over how
many angels can dance on the head of a pin? These people are the
consumers of our memes. They will consume either religious memes or
science memes depending on how they can use them- depending on what they
can see them DOING. I am coming around to the idea that all memes are

You can't build a rolls royce with a sledgehammer, but who needs a rolls
royce if you don't plan on driving?

The other reason I bring this up is there is another part of me (the
part that isn't guilty about slamming people's beliefs) that wants
desperately to knock you scientists down a few pegs. (I know, big
generalization.) I sense a hubris in some scientific thought. The hubris
lies in the assumption that when one door opens another closes. Instead
of looking for the meme that will kick all other memes in the ass, why
not look for a meme that will easily mate with other memes and produce
hybrid children.