virus: FW: Toxic Memes: Identification, Containment, Prevention of Re

Wright, James 7929 (
Tue, 01 Apr 97 14:07:00 EST

There has been a considerable discussion lately regarding the motives,
methodology and results of the author regarding the existence of a
meme-complex he regards as toxic: the four principles.
To continue the discussion in another direction, I ask the following:
1) what obligation does the discoverer of a toxic meme have in relation
to the rest of the memecology?
Possible alternatives:
a) do nothing. Hope that no one else will discover it. Disclaim any
responsibility for someone else discovering it, and propagating it
throughout the memecology.
[The Nazi toxic meme-complex slaughtered many millions of innocents. The
Communist toxic meme-complex slaughtered many millions of innocents. The
capitalist toxic meme-complex wreaks environmental havoc throughout the
world, slaughtering the occasional innocent (or more, see Charles
Dickens' stories). I cannot accept this alternative, personally.]
b) Publicize it, loudly and clearly. Depend on the strength of the
memecology to withstand the onslaught of the toxic meme, immunize itself
against it, and create antibody memes to defeat its propagation.
[This appears to be the consensus of the mailing list regarding the
initial example. However, those who use search engines to gather
information risk wandering into a trap; any reference to a toxic meme
that does not include the information that it IS toxic might induce
propagation of a toxic meme, an undesirable result. See examples above. I
can almost accept this alternative, but worry about the effects on the
memecology as a whole. 39 perished recently due to overexposure to the
Heaven's Gate toxic meme-complex.]
c) Point to it, discreetly, while advising those interested enough to
pursue it that it is in fact toxic, and that it should be approached with
care and an extremely critical mind.
[This appears to be the approach taken by the author in the example that
generated this message.]
2) Are there other alternatives? What do you propose?