Re: virus: Arts & Science

Reed Konsler (
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 13:27:14 -0400

Among other intersting things Ken Pantheists said (on Sun Apr 28, 8:32pm)
Hmm. Just read over all of this- and I really DO sound whiny don't I?

Well. What can I say. I'm unemployed.

Maybe my whole attitude will change when I get some money.

Brother, I've been there.

Me, I'm a teacher by training. A storyteller; a mystic; an identifier of
pattern. I also happen to be a chemist. Do you know how much teaching is
valued in chemistry?

Not at all.

As a graduate student (and a professor) in chemistry one is evaluated entirely
based upon the research they produce. Teaching (which is my passion) is
incedental. Are there training programs for teachers of chemistry at the
university level?


Are there jobs for teachers of chemistry at presitigious universities...I mean
really good dedicated, passionate ones?



As my advisor has told me:

"Don't think, just mix"

It makes me want to puke sometimes.

But the world is a chaotic place. If you fight hard enough, I believe, you can
find the position and the lever from which to move the whole Earth.

"Fortune favors the prepared mind" ---Pastuer

But it's a competition; a merciless one. There are many memes and limited
ideological space. There are limited resources and infinite dreams to be made
into reality.

In the end, you have to bend people to your will. That's the core of memetics.
If you want people to think "your way" you have to infect them with your
ideas. You brainwash them so well they act as if what you say is true, and
therefore they "believe". That's advertizing; that's teaching.

But it isn't easy, a lot of people are fighting for the same space. How do you
get from here to there? If I knew I would be King, and not a graduate student.

This forum was created because a group of people wanted the transmit the ideas
of Darwin, Dawkins, and Dennett (among others) and to infect people with those
ideas. And here we are, struggling with (and against) each other to define a
common ground from which we can, as an alliance, strike out against some of the
most successful meme-complexes in the history of culture.

Not an easy task.

But what an adventure!

In the end, each of us tries to make the world a closer representation of what
is in our head. The people around us are usually the most significant pieces
of the landscape, and it is therefore natural that we should try to manipulate
them (I use this word understanding it's negative connotations).

Or as Billy Bragg sings:
"If no-one out there understands, then start your own revolution and cut out
the middle-man!"

Culture is a conflict of ideas, and the most successful will win out over their
compeditors. That's selection. It's isn't good, it isn't right, and it isn't
directed by some overarching force.

If you want life to have meaning, then make it so. If you want people to
listen then place yourself in a position that requires attention. Memetic
engineering is an inexact requires a power, precision, finesse, and
a little luck.

In the end, I think I'm the good guy; that my ideas are the "right", or most
benificial, or most useful ones. What is that but a core meme? People should
believe what I believe because that is the best for everyone. Is this true?

I act as if it were so.

But is it true? I don't know. I haven't figured out the universe yet, and
never will. I have an opinion; if I'm good and lucky it's an infectious one.

That's as much immortality as anyone can hope for today. The immortality of
ideas. If I do this right then people will think like me and my ideas will be
transmitted into the future; little pieces of my personality replicated and
hybridized with others ad infinidum.

I'm sure as one who values language you recognize that the metaphors used to
describe teaching, learning, and conversation is primarily reproductive.

As a single example: One attends "seminars."

The world is not as you would have it, or as I, or anyone else would.

So who should we knock over first? I'm still in the mood to take on CNN...