virus: Re: X-periment

Ken Pantheists (
Thu, 26 Dec 1996 01:30:57 +0000

By 'sensationalist' I don't mean "based on sensual appeal" or even
"based on sense" but merely, "making something out to be more power-
ful than it really is".


But that's my point. If you delve into the root of the word and into
"our" (I am north american of european descent) history with the meme as
a culture, you can see where we bias ourselves.

I am suggesting that even though you say you don't mean that-- you
actually do (at *some* level) because you are employing the meme.

Anyway, take your above discussion of where you're using memetics
for a class. That could be made scientific by having two large
groups of students, all Pepsi drinkers, all kept unaware of the
experiment; only one of which is taught about memetics in your
course. Bombard both groups with Coke advertisments at every
opportunity. Then see if their is any statistical difference in
consumption of Coke by students in either group.
Your experiment sounds worthwhile.

But (I think) there may already be a large body of data already compiled
somewhere from identical experiments conducted in past years.

(Just foor the record, I don't recall saying that I do advertising
workshops with my theatre students. if i said something like that--
sorry for misleading you. My use of memetics has been as an adjuct to
discussions of liminal cultural texts-- it came in handy while studying
Elizabethan rhetoric and the Rennaissance world view for a Shakespeare
I'm sure it will make a great model on which to hang a dicussion of
pre-revolutionary Russian industrialism when we do Chekov's "Cherry
Orchard" at one point or another.

I'm afraid my use of it in the classroom has been limited to the
confines of dramaturgy-- And although it may sound like i'm one of those
people who say "it's just like behavioral psychology or --- fill in the
blank--- I have only used what I feel confident using. I acknowledge and
agree that it is a much more powerful paradigm.

But getting back to your experiment.

Would this be a decent experiment?

get a group of people who feel oppressed by something or someone in
their lives.

Split them into two groups.

Do a week long writing workshop on letter writing. Group A simply learns
how to write an effective letter. Group two learns how to Write a letter
*and* the basic tenets of memetics.

At the end of the workshop the final project is to write a letter to the
thing/person who opresses you.

Would there be a fair method for determining which group does a better
job of defining or clarifying their relationship to their "oppressor".

(I am loosely basing some of these thoughts on the work of dramatist/ex
political prisoner/healing arts practitioner Agusto Boal- author of
"Theatre of the Oppressed")


Sorry John. I really tried to follow your explaination of fourier
analysis. But I don't know what a polynomial is:

Here is what it translated to me as:

Memetics can be represented on a number of levels and one of them needs
to be as a formula if it is to work scientifically.

Assuming I'm somewhere in the same city as the ballpark-- memetics is
about subjective space and organizes subjectivity in a way similar (But
not in any way like) freud's models of the mind. There are no formulas
for that.

Agreed, but what if the sky is black (which it is, more or less),
and this person is actually right, and the people who oppose his
methods of argumentation also disagree with his sky-theory simply
based upon his brash discourse?
Then the person should focus his or her energies into clarifying that
theory without relying on smoke, mirrors and headgames to do it.
Memetics, after all is the instrument people use to see through that
nonsense. It seems sadly ironic that a person thinks it's the best way
to build integrety in a group like this.

In short- there has to be something under all of it. If you just rely on
name-calling and group-building tactics to deliver your model of reality
then you are reproducing the same memetic lies that create words like
nigger and faggot.

Perhaps there is a Black sky.
Memetically speaking, it's silly to even wonder whether ther *is* or
*isn't*-- Both are always possible. It comes down to the hosts
effectiveness at spreading that infection. So yes, we absolutely have
the right to reject a theory based on how it is argued. The infection
failed to spread.

Memetic survival of the fittest hosts. Xtinct-YZ ;)

Memetics: the scientific method is a meme-complex.
Science: memetics is an offshoot of social/behavioral science.

I think these are both true (and useful) statements; they are just
spoken in two different languages.
I totally agree.
I don't think anyone on this list would argue differently.
So why has there been a seven day discussion on whether or not memetics
is scientific? Because XYZ created the crisis-- created the need to
argue it through involving our emotions, by calling us stupid and
inattentive so that if we fail to reply we concede to him/her through
silence. (It has been a great experiment in itself. You couldn't create
one that was better)

To extend the coke pepsi theme: XYZ gave us a taste test and put two
colas on the table. There's no room for you to say-- "well, actually I
drink orange juice or scotch or coffee or even to say I drink both or I
don't care"

Before all of this we were dicussing *information*, now we are
discussing "scientific information" and "Non-scientific information"

Who beamed these values into our lives?

Memetics would be great for the art world because it would treat the
tickle-me-elmo with the same degree of attention as Bernini's pieta- as
information-- erasing the value judgements and getting down to what
makes them tick as infectious thoughts and pieces of culture. It's
already being done in postmodern writings-- but memetics is inclusive,
applying to all kinds of ideas outside of the issues of representation,
performed texts-- things like that. (And you don't have to schlog
through so much pomo lingo.)

Maybe elitism is too strong a word-- I have loaded it with the silliness
of this week's frustrations.

Divisive may be better.

Is it useful for us to be divisive?

  Ken Pantheists