RE: virus: Absolute Truth

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Tue, 21 May 1996 17:15:16 -0700

(1) Waste of Time Undocumented Meme.

Richard wrote:
>The point is, while we're debating these questions, life is passing us by.

This is exactly what Feather Forestwalker said more poetically a few days
ago and Richard replied with:

>We should start compiling a list of heresies. Feather points out a good
>one to start with:
> Living unconsciously is better/more "human"/more natural
> than living with conscious purpose.

With one difference: Feather was not one of the sides of the discussion. I'm
sorry, Richard to find another undocumented meme: the WoT (Waste of Time) meme.

Person A says: "I believe X is true". Person B says: "X is not true, and
besides, it's a waste of time to discuss it. I don't even care if X is true
or not", and on the same breath: "it is childish and comforting to believe
X is true -- of course it is not true (as other comforting beliefs)!"

It is a very practical meme in a power struggle. Nothing is said about X.
Bystanders are scared (they don't want to appear childish). Person B is
gaining power.

What would be a disinfection technique for this meme?

>=) Tad is right to always be looking for linguistic tricks from people
>who know the tricks!

No more tricks, Master, please.

(2) Bundling is a good technique and it does not explain anything.

Richard wrote:
>I bundled those in hopes that it would shock people that I think
>Absolute Truth is in the same category as God and Karma. I want people
>to think about why that might be so.

I see a big difference. A belief in a friendly God who I imagine can help
me in difficult situations may help, even if in fact God does not exist. A
belief in God is a useful meme, as Richard explains on p. 197. I agree with

A belief in 2 + 2 = 4 (ie. if I have 2 cows and I buy 2 more cows I will
have 4 cows) is also a very useful meme. It allows us to plan, set goals,
and build airplanes. The more we learn about the world, the more we improve
our beliefs, as Jason pointed out we do not believe in flat Earth any more.
We are improving our beliefs toward something, don't we? Isn't it the
Absolute Truth?

Here is a very good quote from Jason:
>Our theories may not represent the ultimate truth but they are
>certainly more accurate that the flat-earth/turtle theories. And
>if they are more accurate, doesn't that imply there is some
>ultimate truth by which various theories are judged?

A belief in God is useful, even if there is no evidence that God exists. A
belief in Absolute Truth is also useful, but -- to the contrary -- there is
no evidence against it.

How does it relate to "It's good to live consciously" meme? Isn't living
consciously striving for a better approximation of objective reality (both
in physical and social life)?


(3) Memes evolutionary target

I wrote:
>>Genes evolve to match the reality of the physical world.
Richard replied:
>I don't know what that means, Tad. Genes evolve to be better
>replicators, no?

What is a "better repicator"? The better the genes match the reality the
better they can replicate. An organism with an eye is a better tank for a
gene than a blind organism. "Better replication" is a *consequence* of
being able to receive and process more information about the environment.
"The fittest" are not the fittest because they just happen to know how to
replicate well.

>Briefly, memes are evolving to be better replicators. Truth
>has nothing to do with it. How well they can take over our minds has
>everything to do with it. That's why we need to use all the tricks in
>the book to spread the memetics metameme.
>I think the Absolute Truth meme is used far more
>often to conquer and war than is the No Absolute Truth meme. I think
>Hitler, the Crusades, gay-bashing, and so on all made or make repugnant
>use of the Absolute Truth meme.

These are perfect examples of "My Truth" memes. It was Hitler who was
saying "we need to use all the tricks in the book to spread our ideology"
and he did. The reason he lost is not that his memes just happened to be
poor replicators, but these memes were not consistent with the Absolute
Truth about how people can co-operate on Earth (which we may not exactly
know yet, but after Hitler's experience we are getting a little closer to).

>One needs to stand behind one's morals, not have them imposed
>externally. Then one can truly lead a principled life.

What is "a principled life" if there is no Absolute Truth?

Where does one take one's standards from? I agree it is not good to adopt
other people standards without conscious effort to understand them. But I
also do not recommend to adopt standards because "they are good replicators"
or just because "we need to use all the tricks in the book to spread the
memetics metameme" or even because some prophet from planet TeTa says so.

>Thanks for the meaty discussion, Tad.

My pleasure. I find it stimulating.

Tad Niwinski
from TeTa where people grow.