virus: Power

Ken Pantheists (
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 22:52:09 -0700

Hi everyone.

Nice to see the virus list is still percolating. And some new people
posting too!

I've been lurking for the past couple of months, but keeping up with the

Forgive me if I rehash too much:

Tristen wrote:
>My point is only that Brodies' way of thinking could get one killed.
>To think any different would be suicide.

Some very interesting and thoughtful posts have already addressed this
broad disregard for reason. Reminds me of the yellow press warning
children against groups of people. "Beware the (fill in the blank) they
will kidnap, boil, eat, molest you."

>All this stems from my impression that Mr. Brodie is a pacifist.
>My impression of Mr.Brodie stems from Mr.Brodie ( what and how he writes ).

I don't understand how the label of pacifist got thrown onto memetics--
or more specifically-- Richard. As a matter of fact, I've found
Richard's "position" (for lack of a better word) a bit dodgey. :) But
generating controversy puts bums in the seats.(theatre saying)

The threat continues:

> Vicki,
> If you do not believe in the predator/prey analogy, I know some
>neighborhoods in San Francisco,Los Angeles,San Deigo,and even Sacramento
>that people like you are very,very,very, welcome to come into breathing
>pacifist thoughts. Yes, you would be VERY welcomed indeed.

Oh well. If *I* had a nickel every time someone told me that I'm
damned/screwed/nuts for my ideas I'd have... well... 45 cents.

So, until not thinking pays better...

KMO retorted-- (Very agile and succinct btw--)

>How does this observation support your contention that predatory >behavior
>in humans is unavoidable and therefore morally justified? -KMO

Which illuminated, for me, a thought that's been nagging me for a couple
of weeks:

It can be very easy to jerrymander and abuse memetics. Just like
theories of genetic evolution can be used to promote very silly and
destructive ideas of gender difference-- memetics can be blamed for a
lot of human short-comings. (eg. It wasn't me. My memes made me do it.
Hey, I'm a victim of my memes.)

Memetics is a scary, threatening concept really-- because what we are
dealing with, ultimately, is the construction of the subjective
experience. We *love* our subjectivity. Why not? We are subject to it.
We can trust it to get us through a lot of shit in life and we use it to
really enjoy the good stuff. In the theatre studio, we sometimes analyze
popular movies for the act structures. Some students just hate this,
because it "spoils the magic". And it does. But you end up *really*
enjoying the really good ones.

(This is an old horse. I remember now, riding it a few months ago)

My feeling is the first steps toward understanding memetics involve a
fear of *losing* power-- of giving up the old guard. In this case, it is
losing a sense of your self as self-owned. (Not that you aren't
self-owned, it's just that you probably mistake your memes for your

The most important thing to know is that memetics provides an
opportunity to make choices about things that we *think* lie outside of
our power to control. For the disenfranchised this means a great deal.
The power of choice. For the enfranchised it also means a great deal--
new threat-- resulting in any number of defences. (eg. the world just
doesn't work that way, if you think that you'll die, or I'll kill you

The nagging thought comes in here. Richard (and, I guess, all of us as
well) has sent two different messages regarding power.

1) Memetics gives you back the power you have given away by making you
conscious of the forces that influence you. (I think: Promotes
advancement of humans as a whole--good)

2) It is an eat or be eaten world of information out there and
understanding memetics lets you really clobber your competitors. (I
think: Promotes hidden agendas and turns memes into a currency for

Both of them sell books =)

Here's what I've come up with:

(clomp clomp) -- the sound of me getting up on a soap box.

"I think the Virian Church should promote the first one as the true path
of Virianity."

clomp clomp -- off soap box.

Any takers?

Ken Pantheists
Virus Theatre
TooBa Physical Theatre Centre