virus: Hypocrisy

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Sun, 26 May 1996 21:12:23 -0700

"But following sexual mores makes you behave in the interest of *everyone
else's* DNA, not your own. So the optimal selfish-gene strategy, before
people became conscious and had the possibility of a life about something
other than spreading their DNA, was to participate in spreading mores, but
to secretly ignore them whenever an opportunity arose to mate counter to
them. That is the evolutionary explanation for hypocrisy."
From: Richard Brodie, "Virus of the Mind"

If a person who preaches "adultery is bad and wrong!" secretly says "it's OK
if I do it, because I do not call it adultery..." then this person is a

Nathaniel Branden in his book "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem" explains how
parents can influence their childrens' future successes in life. The
chapter's title is "Nurturing a Child's Self-Esteem"; the sublitle "Urgent
Issues". The very first item: "When you were a child, did your parents'
manner of behaving and of dealing with you give you the impression that you
were living in a world that was rational, predictable, intelligible? Or a
world that was contradictory, bewildering, unknowable? In your home, did
you have the sense the evident facts were acknowledged and respected or
avoided and denied?

A belief in a rational world increases self-esteem and chances for success,
as people like Bill Gates and his close friends must know very well. The
optimal selfish-meme strategy is to participate in spreading beliefs in an
"unknowable" world, but to secretly ignore them. This way more people with
lower self-esteem will follow them and work for them (longer hours). Those
people are easier to control. They can be told what they *should do* and
what a "principled life" is.


When David McFadzean wrote:

>At 02:19 AM 17/05/96 -0400, Bill Godby wrote:
>>Again a fundamental aspect of
>>postmodernism is that is denies that there is *truth* rather there are=
>>truths, thus the relativism. It's the response to logical positivism. It
>Deron Stewart mentioned in a recent message that there is an implicit
>Virian belief in one objective truth that is true for all people. I think
>that is true (for all people :-). The claim that truth is subjective is
>self-inconsistent. Either that proposition is an objective truth (which
>obviously makes it false) or it is a subjective truth. If it is subjective
>then it implies that someone else can truthfully claim that truth is
>objective, which again makes the original claim false. This seems to imply
>that there is indeed a way that things are: an objective truth. prompted me to say:

"I am glad you've mentioned that. Many people believe that: because we are
not able to find the exact truth, there is no Absolute Truth. I would like
to challenge Richard on that. On p. 216 of "Virus of the Mind" he says:
"the more you understand your memetic programming, the less anything in life
looks like the Absolute Truth". His NFL example is more about choosing not
to be too *accurate* for practical purposes, but it does not convince me
that there is no Absolute Truth."

and to start the whole exciting thread renamed to "Absolute Truth". I am
sure a lot of misunderstanding comes from a different definition we have for
"Absolute Truth". Richard's NFL example:

"They decided that stopping the game and interrupting the fans' enjoyment
wasn't worth the additional truth they got from the process. They saw the
tradeoff between enjoying life and knowing the truth and decided in favor of

...clearly explains what he means by "Absolute Truth". It is the objective
reality or David's elephant which exists outside of our minds. This is a
belief in a rational, predictable world. From the example that sometimes it
is not good to be too accurate (I agree with that) Richard somehow jumps to
a conclusion that the "Absolute Truth" does not exist and brings Hitler to
it (followed by Bill's Yugoslavia) -- a perfect push-button technique.

It's been a very stimulating discussion and I can see the selfish-meme
hypocrisy more clear now.

Richard ridicules me instead of answering my question about what he means by
"principled life". In fact he believes there are "best memes" or "most
useful memes". Obviously he believes in "the truth" (see the NFL quote
above). What are "the most useful memes" Richard suggests we program
ourselves with? How do we find them? No answer...

To me we can either believe that the world is "rational, predictable,
intelligible" or that the world is "contradictory, bewildering, unknowable".
Whatever we name it the second belief is being spread by "cultural
relativists" (as I believe Richard Dawkins calls them). Apparently some --
otherwise wise men -- spread it too. A clear example of MEMETICAL=

I wrote:
>I've had enough of this Absolute Truth discussion! Let's talk about
>something more useful.
>Before we program ourselves with "the most useful memes" we should explore
>the Absolute Usefulness.

This was my joke which apparently was misundersood. I believe:
(1) If one has enough of a given thread one can shut up, rather than saying
"I've had enough" which is a stupid manipulation. We can start new threads
whenever we like and there is no need of criticizing anybody for saying "too
much" -- which was the case in the Absolute Truth thread.
(2) There is no diference between "most truthful" and "most useful" memes.

I think the slogan "a scientific goal to program ourselves with the most
useful memes" is meaningless if we do not define what we mean by "most
useful". How do we "scientifically" measure the usefulness of a meme? Can
anybody help? Richard, maybe?...

To my question:
>>How else are we going to measure "usefulness"? If we are not going to
>>measure it, we are going to follow some prophet. Can anybody see any other
>>logical solution? I think this is an important question.

Peter =D6kner responded:
> I'll bite on this one since i never understood what Ricard meant in
>the first place; Accurate against what frame of reference?
>Memes can have two relationships with our genetic code. Symbotic
>or parasitic. The symbiotic means that the success of the memepatterns
>somehow has a positive effekt on the success of our genetic patterns.
>The parasitic means that the memepattern simply freeloads on our
>symbiotically developed skills of spreading memes. Since we are being
>more and more controlled by parasitic memes; i.e. getting a new state of
>the art computer rather than another kid, or spending so much time
>listening to bad news on the TV that we decide the world is not fit
>for kids in the first place; its important to specify what you intend your
>memes to be usefull for. Making babys, securing the ones you allredy have,
>or entering further into virtual reality. (thats Meme Heaven)
>It's still difficult to measure usefullness but keeping the two diffrent
>biological and cultural, apart is a nessesary step on the way.

Good point. The question is still open.

>> I see a more interesting
>>question I have been trying to bring up: if genes evolve to be well suited
>>to their environment, what is the direction memes evolve towards? Well
>>suited to what?
>Well it used to be humans; then it became books, radio,television and
>eventually it'll be virtual reality and artificial intelligence.
>Of course there will always be a few evolutionary dead enders left
>to keep us company. Or am i beeing pessimistic today?

Books, etc. is also humans, isn't it? We are memes' food. What is their
direction? What are they evolving towards?

I wrote:
>>OK. Let's make it a scientific goal to program ourselves with the most
>>useful memes so we can lead a principled life. Those who are not with us
>>are against us and will be disinfected (not to worry, it's a painless

Ken Pantheists responded:
>That is an extrememly bleak view of the uses of meme technology. I=20
>sincerely hope they don't run things that way on Teta. (Maybe that's why=20
>you came here)

This was a joke, Stephen, I am sorry to confuse you. After saying so many
times that slogans about "useful memes" and "principled life" mean nothing
if we do not define them, I thought my intension was clear. Answers "I
don't mind waiting for memes' evolution" do not help either... On TeTa
(thanks for asking) we believe in a "rational, predictable, intelligible"
world; that's why we can travel all five dimensions up here.

>That is a question that is too much of a headache at this point in time.=20
>And I'm not sure that the answer would contribute anything of value to=20
>the list. So I will respectfully refrain from answering it.

I am sure it would contribute a lot. Knowing why one holds certain beliefs
is a good thing. As an actor you express a lot of thoughts which are not
yours. Somebody said it was easier to live a life of a character in a play
than one's own. Apparently it is true.

Stephen prompted me to ask several people how they know what's good and
what's bad. I was surprised with answers. I think this is a very good
question for anyone who is interested in conscious living (the first pillar
of self-esteem, according to Nathaniel Branden).

Thank you all very much for listening. I will be dematerializing soon and
going to TeTa. Will be back in late September. When I come back Richard's
book will be available in Polish (it all depends on Marek now). It was nice
meeting all of you.

Tad Niwinski from TeTa where people grow
There is no Absolute Truth, although we are getting closer and closer to IT.