Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 16:43:31 -0800

Sean wrote:
>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?

Very good point: what is the purpose of memetics? Studying how ideas
spread? Like math is studying numbers or accounting -- recording finances?

>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.

Mathematicians do not say which numbers are good or bad. How come,
memeticists claim they know which memes and "harmful" or "useful"? Good/bad
has nothing to do with studying how ideas spread, does it?

>>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.

Astrologers had substantial control over kings, as they claimed to be able
to predict future from the stars. Accountants have substantial power as
they claim they can lead a company by knowing how to manipulate numbers.
Memeticists claim (sometimes) that they are capable of teaching what's good
and what's bad. The comparison with spirits occurred to me when I read some
posts which -- when the word "meme" was replaced with "spirit" -- sounded
like deeply religious statements.

The clergy claims to know how to "get past OK" because they have the
knowledge "handed to them from God". The name "Randy" does not seem to be
as impressive as "God", but sometimes it may work. In lack of a convincing
authority, one can try to control others with her superior knowledge of some
not-very-well-understood-yet branch of science, as memetics, for example, by
intimidating with statements like "it should be obvious to anyone who
understands the first thing about memetics". Eliminating God when teaching
gospel is difficult.

Memetics is NOT a science about how to live your life, although it looks
that we often assume it is.

>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?

Good example. How about if we can spot 4Ps on this list. Has anybody tried
to divide people into different categories here, for example, those who are
capable of grasping the "meme-space flexing on the fly" concept and those
who are not?

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159