virus: Manipulation Lesson 12

David Rosdeitcher (
23 Feb 97 21:47:56 EST

This morning I posted a question about possible names for memes that are
detrimental. I came back this evening to find 2 good suggestions ('parasitic
meme' from Martz and 'low-profit meme' from Corey) but there was no indication
by anyone that such a word existed to convey a detrimental meme. So, here is--

Manipulation 101 Lesson 12--Preventing Others From Identifying Reaity

An effective form of manipulation is confusing people by preventing them
from making identifications about reality. If people don't have the words and
concepts to understand how you are controlling them, they will not be so aware
of how they are being manipulated, much less stop your manipulation.
For instance, one country that has a really corrupt judicial system is
France, where people are guilty until proven innocent. So, anyone who is
arrested and cannot prove innocence, might be thrown in jail or executed. I read
somewhere that the French language has no word for "fair play". This lack of
identifying a code of ethics makes it possible for people to legally rip other
people off in the name of "standard procedure".
Here's another example: The Popes of the Catholic Church used this technique
to gain credibility: Great artists like Michelangelo sculpt statues and paint
murals for the Church. People would make connections between genuinely great
artwork and a completely bogus religion and would then think that the Church was
great and had credibility. People did not have the word *non-sequitur*
(meaning--it does not follow logically) to help them understand that there
really was no logical connection between, say, Michelangelo's work and a silly
religion. (A memetic term I've seen that is similar to a non-sequitur is "Trojan
In the field of memetics there is a language problem in which people have
trouble identifying which memes are detrimental to people and which are
beneficial. This is partly because the term "good meme" refers to memes which
spread well among the human population. And, the term "bad meme" is for memes
that don't spread too well. With these ideas of "good" and "bad" having
different meanings, the slots that mean beneficial or detrimental are taken and
it is unclear which memes are good or bad in the traditional sense of these
words. This is like a situation in George Orwell's "1984" (I thought of this
analogy before reading Tad's post) where the government controlled people by
confusing them through changes in language.
In religion-based memetics memes are rated in terms of "good" and "bad" and
there really are no moral judgements, since language is considered by some
religion-based memeticists to be just arbitrary "distinction-memes". This idea
allows for rationalizing the spread of any kind of meme, whether or not it is
beneficial for others. Some people can control other people by spreading "good
memes" that are detrimental and the victims would not be able to identify what
the problem is since they have no word for a detrimental meme.
Here are 2 examples of manipulation through discouraging identifying

>> The objectivist axioms-existence, consciousness, and identity-are
>>that are self-evident in all conscious statements or actions. They are
>>in all knowledge and need no proof or definition.

>And wouldn't you think that something "implicit in
>all knowledge" would be self-evident to at least SOME people who haven't
>been brainwashed by Rand or Neo-Tech?

>Why don't you, Tad and
>David, restate your "Lessons" in terms of how people attempt to influence
>others (for good or bad, after all, we use the same devices for both),
>leave off the examples (if we need 'em we'll ask),