RE: virus: Beyondism (a case of parallel memetic evolution?)

Richard Brodie (
Wed, 8 Jan 1997 16:01:13 -0800

>1. That evolution is the prime process visible in the universe,
>to which we have to conform, and should do so in good will.

I can think of several processes more visible than evolution. Entropy,
for one. Should we conform to that too?
>2. That human evolution proceeds ultimately by natural selection
>among groups, which determines and is determined by natural
>selection among individuals, genetically and culturally.

The breakthrough in memetics, of course, is that human evolution
proceeds by natural selection among MEMES.
>3. That natural selection among groups and individuals requires
>as a precondition adequate variation among groups and individuals,
>genetically and culturally.

I can see where this is leading... This is the "...and so diversity is
good" argument. In reality, there is pressure for and against diversity
in different situations. And we don't have to will it to happen, it just
>4. That one important factor in group survival resides in the laws
>that govern its internal structure and the desirable mutual
>behavior of individuals. The evolution of the best interindividual
>ethical values is therefore based finally on the processes of
>intergroup differential survival, the competitive conditions for
>which must be maintained. The ethics of a particular group are
>fixed, additionally, by aiming to survive in relation to its
>particular aspirations and circumstances.

Getting very abstract. Most people don't live by abstract ideals, but by
unconscious memetic programming. Often this is seemingly inconsistent
case-based programming.
>5. Historically, "revealed" religions are attempts to congeal the
>naturally, evolution-derived ethical systems and to aid their
>practice by priesthoods, rituals, and imaginary after-life rewards,
>etc. Historically, they made the imperialist mistake, however, of
>extending the within group derived values of any single group to
>universal values among men, thus conflicting with (2) above.

Doesn't conflict with (2) if you realize it's the memes that get
selected, not the individuals.
>6. The spiritual life of Beyondism arises, in part, like that of the
>other religions, from genetic urges unsatisfied in everyday life,
>unavoidably in any culture with genetic lag. Beyondism differs in
>shaping those desires explicitly to logically indicated evolutionary
>needs rather than, as in revealed religions, inventing subjective
>beliefs to meet and fit the accidental frustrations.

I'm ALL FOR #6!
>7. Beyondism necessarily regards many beliefs and practices of
>revealed religion as inadequate or misleading. For the notion of
>a loving father God, it substitutes faith in the purpose of evolution.
>It regards mankind as no "apple of God's eye," but as one species
>among millions, in a universe that is neither favorably nor
>unfavorably disposed to us. Our individual immortality is also
>restricted to what we pass on to the life of our group. This greater
>emotional austerity of Beyondism will slow down its universal
>acceptance, but develop a new sense of spirituality.

What is the "purpose" of evolution????? And why is the concept of a
group so special?
>8. There are six main entities to which an individual's ethical
>values can be functionally oriented: fellow group members, the
>group government, other group governments, members of other groups,
>individuals committed to a Beyondist Ethic, and, above all, the
>Evolutionary Purpose. Each of these objects calls for precise
>alignment of its loyalties, in a situational hierarchy among them.
>For example, a man's ethical loyalty to his own group exceeds that
>to members of "mankind" generally. However (a) the injunctions of
>the different "object" ethics are different, mostly, in kind, and
>(b) circumstances put emphasis on the primary survival of all groups,
>if the total existence of man is threatened. The rose diagram of
>ethical values (Figure 8-1) should answer many ethical questions
>now troubling teachers and religious-political parties.

Too abstract. Also, what about a man's ethical values toward himself?
>9. The only ultimate test of the fitness and progress of a group's
>culture-genetic make-up is whether it survives, historically. However,
>just as individual eugenics avoids the cruelty of in-life selection
>of failures, so the disasters of cultural death and genocide among
>groups can be lessened by foresighted changes based on objective
>health measures understanding the comparative morbidity of cultures
>and races, akin to a medical watch on individuals.

Once again, this treats cultural selection as if it is among individuals
and groups. In reality, memes will diffuse from group to group.
>10. The cultural and genetic evolution of groups are alike in that
>variation -- largely inaccessible directly as to evolution of
>desirability -- must occur in both, followed by natural selection.
>The process is well understood in genetics, but has new, as yet
>unorganized, principles in the evolution of cultural elements.
>Culture changes by the mechanical and social inventions of leading
>persons, and by borrowing (willing or forced) from other cultures.
>As Graubard (1986) points out, "exceptionally radical inventions
>are the work of exceptionally gifted individuals." In addition to
>the direct molding effect of inventions, there are side effects
>from their interactions with economic, population, meteorological,
>etc., material pressures. Cultural elements survive on their own
>merits, independently of the genetic group using them, and show
>continual elaboration, though there is interaction of survival with
>the genetic suitability of the group, and the group's situation.

>11. Being the work of superior intelligences, culture, as a whole,
>is likely to demand more complex adjustments from the general
>population than they are genetically suited to make. This discrepancy
>we call genetic lag. it has some correspondence to the difference
>between the instinctual reactions of the old brain and the
>adjustments made possible by the cortex. Genetic lag is the cause
>of many social problems.

I would say instead that memes take off on their own and don't give a
hoot about the needs of the individuals in the short term.
>12. The saying that "man adapts his environment to himself instead of
>suffering selection from environment," is a half-truth since his
>cultural adaptations are to environment. His cultural developments,
>however, are of two kinds: "p-culture" which adapts as outlets for
>his frustrations, as in poetry, music, and drama, and "r-culture"
>which actually fits him to environment, as in engineering, medicine,
>and science. The convolutions of p-culture may be training for
>r-culture, as well as for temporary emotional adjustment; but it is
>primarily by r-culture that he survives.

>13. Eugenic measures seek to reduce the genetic lag; but the adjustment
>sought is partly to the universe generally and partly to a particular
>culture and its situation. The discrepancy of genetics and culture
>arises largely from the movement of culture by "inventions"
>An adventurous society will deliberately create genetic mutations to
>see what they will do toward creating a new culture. Evolution is thus
>an interaction of genetic and cultural mutations, each shaping, by
>survival contributions, the other. Genetic advance on a broad front
>is dependent on man's adventuring beyond horizons. The spirit of
>adventure is therefore a central value in Beyondist ethics, and
>contrary to many "universalist" revealed religions.

>14. Beyondism calls for an examination of the internal rules of
>progress, and concludes first that a substantial freedom for
>individuality is required. In revolution, advanced and atavistic
>groups (detesting culture) operate together. In reaching the same
>"revolutionary" changes by evolution, lesser genetic lag is
>probably a precondition. When ethical rules are scientifically
>derived from social research, egoistic, antisocial individualism
>can be treated in distinction from creative individualism. The
>id constantly chafes for "human rights" rather than duties, and
>rights are not "God given," but, truly, contractual and
>situationally fixed by the conditions of group survival.

Blah blah. Everybody's got their own agenda.
>15. Beyondism calls practically for a vast increase in social
>research, with such objectives as making national comparisons,
>defining ethical systems, clarifying the ethical and cultural
>values of each group, and so on. For each group should follow
>its own divergent adventure, racially and culturally, in
>cooperative competition with a world federation of groups, each
>with its own sociobiological research institutes.

What about groups whose adventure is to wipe out other groups?
>16. The spirit of Beyondism is one of common human adventure, of
>risk taking, and of an austere acceptance of nonsentimental
>alues, and the constant existence of tragedy. Our situation in
>the universe is more precarious than we commonly accept, and it
>behooves us to evolve in intelligence, and secure command of
>possible environments at the fastest possible pace. With every
>gain of security, from science, much of the gain has been socially
>lost to further support of science by expenditures in sentimental
>support of trivial id demands. We have to control suecorant behavior,
>just as every instinct needs control, away from unbounded "social
>welfare" into knowledge-producing support. If survival is the final
>test of ethics, our ethical values, and the political practices
>resulting, need serious re-education, e.g., toward a simple even
>income tax, and the acceptance of direction by qualified elites,
>democratically watched.

I hardly think survival is the final test of ethics, or were the Nazis
more ethical then the Holocaust victims?
>17. Since Beyondism sees survival to be as dependent on genetic as
>cultural bases, one change of present values indicated is in an
>altogether more enthusiastic pursuit of eugenics. This involves the
>acceptance of genetic individual differences, without envy or
>malicious obstruction, and of better education for the gifted.
>Probably a positive eugenic condition could be most simply established
>by an ethic of more children from the socially more successful.
>The mechanics would require some economic laws, since a bright
>child, going to college, is decidedly more of a family economic
>burden than one of average intelligence. The particular goals of
>eugenic selection can be democratically set by the needs of each
>society and its ideals. One of the main sources of antieugenic
>thinking and dysgenic practice is the absence of school education
>of the voting body particularly in biology and statistics.

Blah. Who decides which genes are "good"?
>18. Races formed in the past, due largely to geographical isolation,
>are of only transient and esthetic particularity and importance. The
>genetic groupings (races) of the future will arise from self-conscious
>selection by each cultural group. Their development requires regard
>for the efficiency of language barriers and for migration control
>considerations. In a long term view, the genus homo sapiens would
>be wise to split, by conscious segregation of ideals, into more
>than one species. This may involve "genetic engineering" or become
>achieved as a side result of solar system colonization.

>19. The main cultural development that Beyondism requires is a quite
>unprecedented increase in support of socio-biological research. Many
>ideas in this book are "promises" of advance, and it is hard, for
>example, to substantiate such views as that the advance of culture
>occurs through restriction of sexual activities, by any indubitable
>present evidence of relation. The research institutes that need to be
>set up are both national in roots-attending to the particular national
>adventure-and international, obtaining laws of social effects by
>cross comparison of national cultures. The issues to be investigated
>are as mind-boggling as the most sophisticated problems in, for
>example, modern physics. Scientists in sociobiology will only rarely,
>with special selection for truly genius level of talent, be able to
>make the needed progress.

Yes! Send your millions now to memeticists!
>20. Beyondism is a coherent system of beliefs that scientists can be
>expected to understand and, in the main, support. At this point in
>history there has been a startling increase of interest in the bearing
>of psycho-biological discoveries on human organization. If a sufficient
>body of scientists and others can be brought together, in sufficient
>accord, the time has come for the development of an actual Beyondist
>organization to begin affecting political, educational. and economic
>decisions. An appeal is accordingly here made for Beyondists to get
>together in a fellowship of discussion.

Get together? I thought you were into diversity and separatism!
>Richard Brodie +1.206.688.8600
>CEO, Brodie Technology Group, Inc., Bellevue, WA, USA
>Do you know what a "meme" is?