Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

sean laraway (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 11:43:51 -0500

Tad wrote:
>Bad/good behaviour was often associated with demons/angels. The same
>behaviour may be judged bad in one religion and good in another. It all
>depends on who is the judge. With demons it used to be the clergy. When
>we say "let's program ourselves with best possible memes" it's like saying
>"let's follow what angels tell us rather than listening to devils". The
>only problem is who those angels and devils work for. We tend to follow a
>priest if we believe he understands God better than we do. We tend to
>follow an authority in memetics in "programming ourselves with memes". The
>problem of what we consider "good" and what we consider "bad" is still the
>same. A "meme" is just a new name for the old problem. It's not a solution.
i guess i was implying most of this, i just didn't spell it out that far.
as far as good and bad go, i don't really think that memetics will tell us
a whole lot, but is this the purpose of memetics? i think that any
discussion of good and bad will depend on the purpose, the context, the
authorities, and the level of vantage one uses in assessing morality. my
point was that the good/bad distinction is also a technique of control. it
seems to fit right in with the four principles.

>If I say "angel" I will tend to turn to a priest for answers, if I say
>"meme" I will tend to listen to experts in memetics (and let them become my
>priests). I suggest we try replacing "memes" with "angels" and "devils"
>(just as an "Angelica de Meme" experiment) and see how it changes our
>perspective in each case.

a few hundred years ago, if someone said "stars" s/he would have turned to
an astrologer (and still may), if someone said "elements" s/he would have
turned to an alchemist. many phenomena of interest start out with
supernatural/mystical explanations; as these explanations break down over
time, new ways of describing things are introduced. i think that memetics
has potential as a better explanatory device than the angels/devils scheme,
but i'm interested in how you think it might change our perspective.

>>Alot of this seems
>>related to the four priciples stuff: controlling rewards/punishment (e.g.,
>>who lives or dies); association (e.g., don't associate with witches);
>>information (e.g., God speaks to Us only); control of thoughts/language
>>(e.g., don't say God's name).
>This is a very interesting observation. It means it was not only Hitler,
>but many other social systems (religions) were using the four principles.
>Do you seriously think Richard (or others) were trying to use the 4P's on
>this list? Can we consider some specific examples?
>Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa
> (604) 985-4159

i don't think that anyone on this list is using the 4 Ps, although i may
not be sophisticated enough to know better. however, i do know that many
social systems, including the USA, ca. 1997, use some or all of the four
principles to control the populace, although today information control is
slipping quickly (but not without a fight, see the CDA). i think a good
example of the fed's use of the 4Ps is the war on drugs; can you spot the
4Ps being used against you in your own life?

just a thought,


"in order to climb into the depths one does not need to travel very far;
no, for that you do not need to abandon your immediate and accustomed
--ludwig wittgenstein