Re: virus: Destroying CoV

Dave Pape (
Wed, 5 Feb 1997 21:35:27 GMT

At 12:39 05/02/97 EST, David R wrote:
> The Church of Virus is an evil hoax that can be quickly destroyed as soon as
>it's understood. Here is a general overview of Church of Virus.

David, however clumsily I'm doing what I'm doing, I'm doing it genuinely.

Also, I've said before that I don't think CofV /should/ become a proper
church, and
I certainly think that, at the moment, it looks much more like an internet
mailing list than an organised religion.

> What is Church of Virus and how does it operate? Church of Virus is an
>internet mailing list,

Grand. And it's not a hoax mailing list, I don't think.

>in which a certain behavior of confusing and ridiculing
>others is replicated. Here is how it works:

Have you seen any of the other posts? A thread between me and Lior, maybe?
Where differences were aired, and I answered in terms of how I think memes
work, and we left the thread non-aggressively? Even though Lior believes (I
think) in free will and I don't?

> People express certain ideas, making various assertions about various
>subjects. Those ideas, like any ideas, are made up of a variety of 'memes',
>which are units of information that get copied and transmitted to other people.

I agree.

>These memes can be true or false

I disagree. Imagine I have an apple, and I say "this is an apple". You might
say, "that meme is true", but then what if I rub or sand off tiny bits of
the apple, and after each rub transmit the meme "this is an apple". After
which rub, which molecule of apple flesh, will that meme become false?
Presumably some time before I have no apple flesh left at all... so which
molecule is the divisor which dictates the truth or falsehood of the meme?
As far as I'm concerned, memes aren't ever 100% true or 100% false; that's
not how I'd like to have them benchmarked. I'd like to see people discussing
how effective they are at replicating, what benefits that meme might confer
on its host, etc.

>and can mean a variety of things depending on
>their context. As people express ideas through e-mail posts, established
>"memebers" of CoV reply to the posts by not addressing the ideas
themselves, but
>by addressing particular memes contained in those ideas.

The ideas ARE the memes. In my opinion. Bearing in mind your objections,
though, I'm trying to attack the content of your post quite squarely now,
and would hope that yuo'd do the same in response. Interestingly enough, so
far you've used quite a few "not responding to the text" strategies yourself
in your arguments; I started pointing this out in my last-but-one post
because of your initial claim that the Internet promoted rational
discussion, and then you started using racially disrespectful tactics, and
seemed to become very emotional very quickly, neither of which are rational

And I've been established for about three months. I didn't know who set the
list up for two of those, and I was away for two weeks. If I seem aggressive
and domineering that's because my memes are attacking yours, and because
memes are the thing I love talking about most.

>They either attack the
>memes or distort them out of context.

I DEFINITELY attack your memes. That is the very memetic process behind
argument. This is you trying to make me think how you think, versus me
trying to force you to think how I think. Or, my memes attacking your memes
for control of your brain, if you like.

>As a result, the person who expressed
>certain ideas, gets completely confused and goes through what's known as a
>"belief crisis" in which they have an uncertainty about what their beliefs

This is just doubt. But don't worry: because of the evolutionary nature of
memes, and because memes co-evolve into stable ecologies (they're under
evolutionary pressure, kind of like genes are, and genetic entities, too,
form ecologies), personalities and belief systems tend to re-boot, and I'd
guess that coming out of this argument you'll soon synthesise a perhaps
slightly new, but certainly quite stable belief system.

Of course belief crisis is painful; I think that you emerge from the
interaction of your memes, so any disassembly of the structure of that
interaction is like you yourself being disassembled. But human personalities
are genetically programmed to reform. You will build yourself up again.

> What happens next? The confused victim then turns to the experienced
>"memeber" or "higher memetic being" for guidance and is led through a
process in
>which one realizes that the safest and most powerful position is to take is not
>to express one's ideas, but to become like the other "memebers" and attack the
>memes of the ideas of others. This is how the virus replicates itself.

I thought that "the virus" just meant any meme, the word being chosen to
highlight memeticists' belief that all memes replicate and spread through a
population of human hosts. If "the virus" means a belief in memetics, then
I'm a bit shocked, because I think that it's a bit of a dangerous way of
naming your hobby.

> Why is this replicating process so effective?
>We have all grown up in a
>grotesque civilization where parents, teachers, and the media have infected us
>with false and contradictory beliefs. As a result, almost anyone's ideas can be
>attacked and distorted.

Once again, you attack my ideas when you argue with me. Memetics has no
problem with cultures having contradictory beliefs. Indeed, because everyone
perceives the world from a different angle, and lives in a different
context, different behavioural strategies will be optimally effective for
those people. So... I'd expect different (and, yes, often contradictory)
ideas to be selected for in the memetic ecologies of different people's brains.

>And, it is easy to justify becoming a parasitical virus
>instead of a drained host.

"I" am not a virus. "I" am a host, in that my brain provides a cognitive
resource which can support memes. It's those memes that behave like viruses,
in that they vector from person to person, and replicate as they go. Your
ideas are as much viruses as mine, because your ideas are memes, like mine.

> Is the Church of Virus a real "church"?

The mailing list is a place where memes can be transmitted from one head to
another... if Church of Virus is a real church, I'd say that all
universities and lunch clubs and evening classes and support groups are AS
MUCH like religious churches as CofV.

>Just as the churches in the
>non-cyber world are for organized religions, the CoV is an organized virus. It
>has a similar hierarchical structure to a church.

But in my view, if you accept that personalities are tiered structures,
ecologies, of memes, then a church- any social group- is like a meta-ecology
of memes. So personalities function memetically like mini-churches.

>For instance, people like
>Richard Brodie and David MacFadzean are the "high priests", while people like
>Dave Pape are their stooges or monks that do a lot of the "dirty work".

That's not true in my opinion. Well, I've not got a problem with not being
senior. But I'm in no way asked by anyone on the list to write these posts.
In fact I'm slightly worried that they all want me to shut up and stop
making you aggressive.

I do this work willingly, because when you post memes as aggressive as that
one, the memetic structure which is my personality fires straight and
genuinely back with memes like these. And secondarily because it allows me
to air my favourite memes.

As I've said before, human beings are primed to look for seniority dynamics
in social situations. This is an artefact of the human species' evolving as
a social animal- being sensitive to group dynamics helps a lot of people not
get their heads kicked in. BUT...

The only way we ever "know" other people is to form ideas based on our
perceptions of them. I don't KNOW what my brother Jim thinks, because to do
that I'd need /total/ access to his thoughts; I only think I know what I
think he thinks. I model a personality that I call my brother, I use that
model to predict his actions, and
I fool myself into thinking that I "know" the real him.

So, as animals, our strategy for knowing and predicting people (and thus,
groups of people) is to form memetic models of them, based on always
imperfect perceptions, and to then impute what they think from that model.

I believe that neither of us has enough perception of how the personalities
behind CofV work to have an accurate model of what CofV actually is. And I
think you're deeply wrong about it. Although I could be wrong myself. But
critically, I'm not saying with any force what I think it is.

I think you're mistaking me arguing with you, with there being an organised
system of humiliation in the Church. I think you'll find that there are
other new posters who I don't argue with... typically they'd be the ones
that I don't disagree with, and who don't call me punk or stooge.

>That's enough to digest for one day.

Cool. I'm out for a couple of nights, but keep posting and I'll pick up at
the weekend.

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

Phonecalls: 01494 461648 Phights: 10 Riverswood Gardens
High Wycombe
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