virus: Virion Tarot

Reed Konsler (
Sat, 28 Sep 1996 11:18:36 -0400

>From: David McFadzean <>
>Date: Fri, 27 Sep 1996 10:39:22 -0600

>...I believe the same as true when we are presented with a random set of
>symbols (as in a tarot, or palm or psychic reading) and forced to find
>meaning in them. It comes so easily that it forms the illusion that the
>meaning is in the symbols (cards, palm lines, whatever) but it's not,
>the meaning is in our minds. So, with that understanding, I think the
>tarot has potential to be an excellent instrument for introspection, to
>explore our current set of beliefs and memes and see how they collectively
>form meaning in our lives.

It's also a good infection strategy. Another old story is how Marxist
language both explained and in some sense created class distinctions. By
intelligently constructing a deck one can expand, limit, and focus the
deck-users subjective experience.

I don't know. On the one hand, I think it would be effective...on the
other, maybe it's against the point of this excersise to create a
subliminal meme-set. After all, aren't we in the process of finding them
out? Maybe if we were very explict in the packaging that this was an
attempt to infect the user with a set of ideas that might be doubly
effective (sort of like the intro to David's web page).

As an aside...has anyone ever seen the game "Credo!" about the resolution
of the early Christian debates into one dogma during the late Roman empire?
It's a really interesting game, in that the outcome is rarely the set of
ideas that the Christians settled implication the game describes
these tenets (as in "there is one true god, invested in three aspects...da
da da") as the result of political manuverings and not divine inspiration.
It is thus an effective infection strategy for religion-critical
playing the game one must temporarily accept it's rules... Often the credo
resulting from the game is no less strange and inconsistent than the
historic one...makes you reflect doesn't it?

I think that people are particularly vulnerable to games (to what extent is
our version of capitalism affected by Monopoly, the most popular board game
in modern history, behind chess?) becuase within a game we act out a role
which we might otherwise be resistant to. Since games (Monopoly,
Civilization, Mortal Kombat) are an expression of culture they are a method
of memetic propogation. Like all such methods the explict concept of
memetics allows us to attempt to engineer such processes.

Has anyone ever played "4-square" in grade school with that red rubber
ball? Where I came from, the game was less about athletics and more like
Diplomacy...If you wanted to move up you did so by breaking other people's
alliances or making a target of somebody else. People let their guard down
during games...they suspend disbelief in the same way one does when reading
fiction or watching a play. I think games are even more effective, though,
becuase they demand active participation. Instead of just watching or
reading (and thus engaging only perceptual/cognitive parts of the target's
brain) a game forces the person to allow a meme to express itself in their
own's like one allows oneself to become temporarily
infected...and I suspect each "temporary" infection helps to focus the
target's mind into the game's paradigm.

I propose "Virus! a game of ideas". Boy, all the different levels such a
construct could operate one just make me salivate.


Reed Konsler