virus: Arts & Science

Ken Pantheists (
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 16:41:59 +0000

Reed Konsler wrote:

> Me, I'm a teacher by training. A storyteller; a mystic; an identifier of
> pattern. I also happen to be a chemist.

Looks like we have similar career streams. I taught college for six years and
have (not) been completing my MFA at the same time.

> 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

Amen Brother!

> 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.


> This forum was created because a group of people wanted the transmit the ideas
> of Darwin, Dawkins, and Dennett (among others)

I *should* get off my duff and read these people closely. I hope my posts have
not been too off topic. I am going from the point of view that you are discussing
"Memes" and adherent to that issue are issues of representation and discourse-
i.e art and culture.

> 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!

Absolutely! But isn't the conflict with (and against) each other invigorating? Is
that not the key to battling successful meme complexes?

Wouldn't that be a sensible place to shoot for?

A meme complex becomes a cultural truth when poeple think of it as "the one place
to stand; from which to strike at other memes."

I'm approaching this from a teacher's stand point now, but I'm sure everyone will
agree. The most 'dangerous' meme to put out there is the one that doesn't answer

Students often come up to me with a question about the "right way to perform"
something- the answer that gets the best work out of them is "how the hell should
I know? You're in the scene."

The best place from which to strike at strong memes is to ask people to trust the
chaos. To accept that two, three, a million or 8 billion truths are all 'right'.

> 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.

Culture is a heteroglot. Diversity is the key to survival.

I agree with you that there is conflict within the heteroglot, but one strong
idea rarely (and shouldn't) come out on top.

I heard something on te CBC, some lecturer talking about the emergence of a
global culture because of internet. I balked at it a bit. I agreed with his idea
that more of the world is sharing common experiences- that there is a definate
internet culture emerging. But internet is the medium only.

If anything we are taking a step backwards in terms of cultural hegemony. I just
visited the white aryan page yesterday. Where the hell am I going to meet a white
aryan in the real world? Where am I going to talk to one long enough to
understand all of their beliefs? Noewhere but in cyberspace.

I'm starting to ramble- but my point is that this is one technology that levels
the playing field and introduces a real means to develop critical thought,
tolerance, and gender/race/orientation/age/class non-biased experience. A truly
fragmenting thing.

Too bad it only comes in a box- for now. ;)

To use your metaphor of patterns in chaos. The most constructive meme to put out
there (It is by no means a new one.) is a de-constructive meme. Only after we
have allowed ourselves to fragment into ever increasingly smaller circles that
define ourselves can we reevaluate ourselves, take a giant step back (from the
picture) and appreciate the pattern.

We have a few major steps to take before we have a Global Culture.

Big talk.

But it is happening.

Look at the European Community. Now, I am no newshound so I shouldn't go
preaching about stuff I don't have a firm grasp of- but I find it ever so
interesting that all these countries are becoming one entity in the interest of
developing a "currency" (metaphor alert- conjugate that one!)

I have family in one of the smallest counties in England. They don't even know
what pasta is. You should have seen what the Chunnel did to their insulated
little idea of themselves as the "island nation". Made me smile and shake my