Re: virus: Objectivism vs Astrology in Cyberspace

Dave Pape (
Sun, 9 Feb 1997 22:54:40 GMT

At 14:17 09/02/97 EST, David R wrote:

> Which ideas dominate cyberspace? Let's look at an instance in which 2
>different idea systems, astrology and objectivism, were compared.
Astrology is
>an occult ideology in which positions of stars and planets correlate with or
>determine events on Earth on a personal and global level. Objectivism, the
>philosophy of Ayn Rand, is an ideology that holds each individual
responsible to
>guide his or her own life by their own rational judgement. Here are some
>statistics about the popularity of these idea systems that were taken from the
>AltaVista search engine:(Courtesy of Dave Pape)
> Search Term Count of matches
> *********** ****************
> Astrology 86781
> Objectivism 9861
> You don't have to be an Einstein to see that astrology is certainly more
>popular than objectivism in cyberspace. (Although the 9 to 1 ratio is low
>compared to supermarket check-out counters.)

Supermarket check-out counters rule EVERYONE's lives, man.

> Speculations about such changes in belief systems, or even technologies,
>over the next few years or decades can be uncertain since people are not
>omniscient. But, there is reason to believe that the coming changes in idea
>popularity that will occur, will be from those that favor higher external
>(ie. positions of planets) to those that favor rational minds of individuals
>(ie. objectivism).

WHAT REASON? *Tell* me what reason! Then I can criticise that reason, or
submit to it, and I won't then HAVE to distort your context to attack you!

> Because there are so many truths, such an emphasis on THE truth can lead
to a
>corrupt legal system and a truth machine as described could not work. It is not
>truth, but honesty that is the key concept for justice. Unlike truth,
honesty is
>the same for everyone-it is the act of putting facts in context-of integrating
>reality. And what ideology supports honesty? Objectivism!

As far as I'm concerned, honesty means:

Imagine a brain, during a year. Imagine that, during that year, a meme X has
a competitor X' (Imagine X="I like ice cream" and X'="I hate ice cream"),
and furthermore, for that year, meme X is, for most of the time, dominant
for access to the brain's processing resource over meme X'.

Honesty, that year, for that brain, would mean that X is tranmitted in
preference to X'.

Maybe next year X' becomes activated by an ice cream glass contamination
food accident, meaning that X' comes to outcompete X for access to
cognitive resource in that brain the next year. Well, then, transmitting X'
would be honest.

So as far as I'm concerned, sir, honesty is independent of which belief
system (ideology) is incumbent in a brain... as long as dominant memes are
transmitted, that's honest.

What happens if an astrologer, after a lifetime's training (not having
questioned their teachers very much about whether astrology actually works),
reads someone's chart and gets this overpowering thought which says "this
person will have a good time this month", and they say "You're going to have
a good time this month!"? IS THAT DISHONEST?

I don't think so. I think it's honest. I don't believe that Objectivism is
any more honest than any other belief system. I think what matters, in terms
of honesty, is that overall dominant memes are transmitted from your memetic

I think that the reason people are DIShonest is that sometimes, transmitting
memes which don't mesh optimally well with their memetic ecologies can gain
them more benefits than transmitting dominant/meshing memes... and I reckon
that the reason people hate others being dishonest with them is that it
stops them being able to predict the liar's behaviour, meaning that they can
be taken advantage of for little or no benefit.

In principle, I think it would be possible to have an honest used car
salesman. However, most used cars being shit, he'd get outcompeted by
salesmen who were dishonest.

The problem with honesty is that, in a world where everyone is honest, one
liar can make a killing by cheating. This is why, I believe, that in all
professions, we see people being mostly honest most of the time kind of.
Because, with people they deal with a lot, they're honest because they don't
want to get caught and because they feel their honesty may be rewarded, and
because, with people they only meet sometimes, they feel that the chances of
their cheating being discovered, and of their honesty being rewarded, are
low, so dishonesty becomes a more profitable tactic.

I would predict that a world in which individualism is promoted would result
in quite high levels of dishonesty.

Dave Pape
Culture told me to do it!

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