virus: Four Principles Digest

Reed Konsler (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 11:35:22 -0500 (EST)

From: Tadeusz Niwinski <>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 1997 02:02:17 -0800

David McF wrote:
>> From: Richard Brodie <>
>> Date: Friday, March 28, 1997 9:04 PM
>> It should be obvious to anyone who understands the first thing about
>> memetics why I don't want to repeat harmful memes.
>It should be obvious to anyone who understands the second thing about
>memetics that attempting to hide harmful memes is no way to fight them.

It should be obvious to anyone who understands the third thing about
memetics that attempting to hide memes one is secretly using increases their
chances of winning (see "mores and hypocrisy", pp. 115/116, you know where).

Ha! I agree with Tad.

I so wanted to come up with a fourth thing, too. But I think that's just
too good to add to.

I'm wondering, Richard, when are you going to throw off this "prophet
meme" (that's a pun, get it? ;-) ) which is infecting you? Or do you
consider it an "acceptable self-deceit"?

I think I have to side with David: Accuracy is better than comfort in
beliefs. A single "point-of-view" makes us susceptible to
manipulation...but accepting as valid any "point-of-view" not based
in reason and subject to external criticism makes us far more
manipulable. The first time you conciously accept a lie as the truth
you compromise your integrity. Who, then, do you expect to trust
you? The gullible? I believe all kinds of false things, I'm sure...
but not any I can get my hands on.

You've given up the quest for truth...but the quest is the end in
itself. If you continue to learn your reality will always be expanding
and former models will have to fall away.

We are all somewhat inconsistent, and ought to be honest about that,
but when Emerson says:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"

What I understand him to say it that it is foolish to defend your own
previous beliefs THAT YOU NOW KNOW TO BE WRONG just
becuase you held them previously. It is foolish to try to be consistent
with your former, inconsistent self.

Why does he use the word "little"? It would be redundant for him to
be re-expressing a concept like "foolish" ignorant, or simple. I take
him to mean "petty" or "ego-driven". It is the petty person who is
unwilling to accept their own error and move beyond it.

I don't think that Emerson, though, is advocating total inconsistency. His
point is that we must speak our own truth, so that others might benefit,
and might modify it. We have to express our inner life in order to TEST
THE SOUNDNESS of our inner thoughts.

And we must be ready to throw away our old ideas, our old beliefs,
in light of new evidence.

That's science: reasoned criticism.

I think, Richard, you're misinterpreting Emerson's thrust. He isn't
advocating inconsistency of mind, he is advocating inconsistency of
being. Don't confine who you are today by who you were yesterday.

But the person you are at any moment needs to be more or less
self-consistent. I interpret what you've been saying as a disagreement
with that, and I don't think you've provided enough evidence to
support such a stance. Zen parables don't count.

I asked you this question before, why are you combining a good
introduction to memetics with this Level-3 stuff? I'm beginning
to wonder if Tad is right, is this a test? Sort of a reverse-Groucho
Marx club: if you're a member, you didn't get it?


Reed Konsler