virus: The Virus Homepage stuff

Dave Pape (
Wed, 5 Feb 1997 23:13:01 GMT

Hey wait a minute. I just looked at the Virus homepage (I think I found the
list by AltaVista-ing "meme memetics mailing list", thus bypassing it) and
am a bit upset that it does seem to have the intention to become some kind
of alternative church.

>Virus was originally created to compete with the traditional (irrational)
>religions in the human ideosphere with the idea that it would introduce and
>propagate memes which would ensure the survival and evolution of our species.
>The main advantage conferred upon adherents is Virus provides a conceptual
>framework for leading a truly meaningful life and attaining immortality
without >resorting to mystical delusions.

If religions didn't have some element of benefit to the human race, why
would they persist as memes for so long?

I think that religions work because they can hold large groups of people
together, by specialised groups of people devoting a high proportion of
their memetic processing resource to developing a meme structure
corresponding to a god... whose authority people from different tribal
groups can be persuaded to obey, allowing settling of intertribal disputes.
And also by promoting a set of habits (eg fidelity, marriage) that stop
people winding each other up.

Obviously mass transmission helps a great deal, but I think we can identify
core benefits (how about promotion of a common language, eg Latin in 9-10th
century Europe?) which positively imply a selective advantage for many of
the memes associated with religions.

>If a new religion is designed around the premise of continuously integrating
>better (more accurate, more useful) concepts while ensuring the survival of
>its believers, it could conceivably achieve true immortality.

What, do you mean until the sun goes red giant, or all the way, until
everything decays to radiation?

Another thing about established religions: they're continuously integrating
better (more accurate, more useful) concepts, like eg Catholicism accepting
the idea that the Earth moves round the sun, and other scientific concepts.
No belief system remains static, surely? I rewire as a personality, as far
as I'm concerned my 6 year old self is effectively dead as a memetic entity.
I CAN'T think like he did.

AH: You're using "promise of immortality" memes as hooks.

>Everything is a system. All systems (except perhaps quarks) are composed of
>causally related components which are themselves systems. All systems
(except >perhaps the universe) are part of one or more supersystems. Perhaps
all that
>exists are physical and temporal patterns, ie. information.

Lovely. I love this idea. And I love feeling really cheeky as I sometimes
think "nah, I bet there are systems from which quarks are an emergent

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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