Re: virus: Re: Rationality

Robin Faichney (
Mon, 10 Mar 1997 12:09:00 -0000

Alexander Williams wrote:
>Robin Faichney wrote:
>> What does "true" mean here (or anywhere)? If a meme is very
>> ingrained and affects many behaviours, and it's use is not
>> generally detrimental in practical terms, why should we worry
>> whether it's "true"? Surely what matters is, it's functional.
><Black people are inherently inferior to whites.>
>What were you saying about memes without reality backing that are strong
>motivators/activators in a given memesphere?

Only this morning, driving to work, I flashed on just what a powerful
meme-complex racism is. But..

>Thinking <I'm conscious>
>can be almost as destructive in a more abstract sense, because while it
>doesn't drive you to physical harm against others, it causes you to
>overrate your own memetic importance and downplay observations which
>would contradict it.

Surely, only if you think, not "I'm conscious", but "only I am
conscious." On the face of it, equating thinking "I'm conscious"
with racism is ridiculous, and on giving it some thought, it looks
even more so. This meme is dead in the water!

>I don't believe /you're/ conscious (nor I, for that matter). Why am I
>continuing to parley on the subject with you?

Because you care what I think?

But in any case it looks like you're confusing '"consciousness" has
no concrete referent' with 'nothing is conscious'. And in the process
redefining the word to mean something other than most of us
understand by it. Thus inhibiting rationalisation of the (big)
memesphere (sp?).

Isn't "conscious" in fact a highly useful short way of saying
"I believe this thing is likely to behave as if it experienced
pleasure and pain, and so I'll treat it differently than I would a
block of wood"? Don't you think an anti-"consciousness" meme
would inhibit the making of that distinction, and thus be

Sure, "consciousness" is an abstraction, but so is "meme"!
(And "matter"!!)

Robin Faichney