Re: virus: C of V: Another Religion

Dave Pape (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 21:59:43 GMT

At 14:43 29/01/97 EST, David Rosdeitcher wrote:

> What is implied by the 2nd axiom, consciousness, is the ability to
>understand and integrate reality. This validity of consciousness, in turn,
>implies that there is volition or free will, because if there was no free
>our thoughts would simply be a result of random neuronal patterns that
>would not
>necessarily need to correspond with reality.

I disagree that thought without freewill must be random, because it's the
patterns in the external universe which drive the consistency (such as it
is) of our ideas.

My evidence for this is that, if you deprive yourself of external sensory
stimuli your consciousness and sensibleness fall apart. Experiments in which
graduates were asked to stay in a cushioned, totally darkened and silent
room for a week resulted in subjects reliably breaking down eomtionally or
hallucinating, typically after only 24 hours.

Furthermore I don't believe in freewill. I believe that I've never generated
a new idea which isn't explainable thus:

1 A combination of an idea already in my mind with an idea which
originates from another (outside) person... ie I hear something novel (to
me) then this idea gets into my head and interacts with an idea/meme already
in my mind, producing a hybrid idea which seems new- which may seem new to
2 A combination of ideas already established in my mind, and
perception of a phenomenon or pattern in the outside non-social world,
interact producing a "new" idea. An example would be your idea of "kettle"
interacting with your perception of a jug in your kitchen, and thus
"inventing" the idea of a jug kettle.

I don't decide to have a new idea, I either have one or I don't, and I'd
propose that this process is one of memes interacting, in my brain, the way
memes do.

And to me, a decision is the resolution of a competition between conflicting
memes/ideas in my brain. Not "me" "freely deciding" what to do... just one
meme outcompeting another for expression in my behaviour.

>Furthermore, if you had no
>free will, and you were just like a robot or computer that gets programmed by
>genes and memes, there would be no point in attempting to improve your
>situation, since we're all going to do whatever we're programmed to do.

You're /programmed/ to want to improve your situation. You have no choice
but to. And I'm afraid that, at the end of the day , there /is no actual
point/. But I know I'll carry on making myself more comfortable, trying to
get more money, trying to learn more skills, and feeling terrible if I sense
I'm not making progress.Why?

...I'm sure I've said this before: if there were two strains of hominid
competing for resources somewhere, and one strain was genetically programmed
to think it was important that it survived, and that there /was/ a point,
and the other strain didn't care about itself, was happy to make do at
whatever level of comfort it found itself in, and didn't think there was any
point in making life easier for itself, which strain of hominid would
outcompete the other? There's an evolutionary selection pressure in favour
of organisms that think there's a point and that want to improve themselves.

> It seems to me that the Church of Virus is promoting a mystical notion by
>denying free will and claiming that the 'meme' is a higher power that controls
>individuals and societies.

I don't think memes are a higher power than me. I think that individual
personalities ARE ECOLOGIES OF MEMES. Societies and cultures ARE ECOLOGIES
OF MEMES. I believe that /you/ feel /yourself/ to exist because /YOU/ are a
rich, multi-layered ecology of memes. It's not a case of "The Virus" being
out there and reaching in to control you; memes arise because of the way you
share ideas with other people. You are participating in the system from
which memes emerge. If people stop thinking together, no more memes.

The Metasystem Transition website implies that culture CONTROLS human
thought. It's very tempting to think "Memes are more abstract, therefore
they're in charge". But, as social human beings, we're ALWAYS thinking "hmm,
who's in charge here, who can I dominate socially, who'll kick my ass if I
disrespect them?", so I can undertsand why we look at these abstract systems
and want to find that one system is "in charge of" another.

I don't think it's valid to see memes controlling little personal ideas, or
indeed little personal ideas controlling memes. I think that simple ideas
interact in the competitive, associative way that ideas do, and generate
more abstract ideas (which may or may not be limited in their geography to
the size of a single skull), which in turn interact in JUST THE SAME WAY as
the simpler ideas.

Dave Pape
The memetic equivalent of a G3 bullpup-design assault rifle blowing a full
clip at my opponent. (Alex Williams 1996)

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