RE: virus: Four Principles Digest

Wright, James 7929 (
Thu, 03 Apr 97 09:56:00 EST

Tony Hindle wrote:
>> What about spreading benign strains of the smallpox virus so
>that to allow imuninty systems to evolve?<
>>This is an interesting proposition. How do you test a "benign strain"
>>a virulent toxic meme? How do you contain it?
> These are difficult and important questions. I am skeptical
>about any reasons for censorship whatsoever (except self
>censorship, a personal choice I believe we all have and use). What
>I find I cannot believe is that there exists a written record of a
>set of memes that can be used by anyone to start a mass movement
>that was as evil as Natziism. I know this is not true (because the
>alternative is simply inconceivable, too frightening). <
Regrettably, such a lack of conception or fear did not constrain Adolf
Hitler, and there are those alive today who consider him a model.
Fortunately for the rest of us, they are a minority, but then again
Hitler himself was only one man.
Evil appears to be reproducible. The existence of positive-number murder
statistics suggests this. The reproduction of great evil would therefore
appear to be merely a matter of sufficient time, resources and motive.
Today, we have even better methods!

>I believe the war was our disease from which we acquired immunity to
>However that immunity (rife as I believe it is in this list) needs to be
spread >everywhere. Censorship/control of free information channels is
what could let our >immunity fade..
(I might substitute antibodies for immunity; there are still National
Socialists around.)
Good point, and I am not in favor of outside censorship either; I believe
that self-discipline is the only kind that is ultimately successful.
Brodie attempted to use self-discipline (I believe) in regard to the Four
Principles, and was maligned roundly as an elitist censor when he
withheld the exact description of the principles in his post.
"I have discovered a wonderful proof of this theorem, which the margins
of this page are too small to contain." -- Pierre Fermat, shortly before
his death [in a duel, if I remember correctly]. This may be the only
successful example of self-censorship yet known.
<Snip example thought-experiment>
> I see the problem thus: suppose you and I were working on
>the imunity to all strains of natziism memes. The original natziism
>which caused the war is never going to spread because imunity today
>is too rife. But we might memetically engineer new versions of it
>and realise that unless people realised [X] it could take off and
>cause evil once more. X would be a vaccine we would spread.<

I would suggest that others have already memetically engineered new
versions of Naziism, and the results of their handiwork are seen daily in
Bosnia, Rwanda and throughout the globe. I would be delighted to help you
design Meme X, and suggest that this mailing list is a work in progress
on this and other vaccine memes. There are also other projects going on

> The Danger in all this would be that both of us became
>convinced that a meme we had engineered would be a great way of
>making the world a better place and released it. Whereas in reality
>the meme was a strain of evil-causing natziism that bypassed our
>immunity system.( this would be a case of X being the evil meme) Mmm
>I think if ever we begin such work it might be better to have more
>than just the two of us. We should work in an isolated area and be
>prepared to execute one another if one of us became infected with a
>truly evil natziism meme.

There are this and many other dangers. Others are already hard at work
memetically engineering, and their experiments proceed daily, with
diverse results. I hardly think that we would be any WORSE at it than
they, but that does not lead me to practice carelessly.
This mailing list is occasionally viewed by some as some kind of plot by
the author Brodie to perpetrate meme-experiments on the rest of the list.
I find this an incomplete view; all of us are ceaselessly trying to
perpetrate meme-experiments on each other. David R.'s seems to be the
spread of Objectivism, mine the spread of Zen and other thought-patterns,
Brodie's the spread of memetics, Tad's whatever he says it is, and so
Beware of practicing memetic engineering in isolation; I could make a
case that the 39 recent suiciders were doing exactly that.
<snip backquote virus/meme/vaccine discussion>
> I think the meta-meme "memetics" is an antibody meme for
>general application. That is why I am ready to run naked through
>buckingham palace screaming "I FEAR I NEED TO EAT THE QUEENS PUSSY,

You would make a truly unique spokesperson for Memetics! (VBG!)

> I am still awaiting Tad/David's refutation of this.
> All this gives me the eery feeling that it is here in CoV
>that the memetic engineering is all being done.

Unfortunately not. It is being practiced by the uninhibited upon the
unwary, all the time, everywhere.

>It makes me thankful that we have a big presence of pancritical
>but in my nightmares we are just evolving the next deadly mind
>virus. I hope we never have to execute one another.<

Please define "pancritical rationality". I am not familiar with it.
Our mind viruses cannot be deadlier than those in current use; at least
we appear to try to consider the results of our mediations before
inflicting them on the world at large.
I will not execute anybody, although their eyes may go dim from reading
my posts.

> Of course I am wrong again. It is in the big corporate
>advertising and marketing agencies that the real evil is being

Not only there, but in many more places (government agencies, think
tanks, some civic and church organizations, more).

<snip sig. file>
This is an oversimplification. Advertising of good memes could be useful;
packaging and presentation of this mailing list would influence few to
improvement and put most to sleep, negating the delivery. Perhaps CofV
should consider enlisting the services of a good PR firm when/if we
develop a worthwhile product - but then again, presumably such a product
would promote itself through success.
I am stuck in a recursive loop here!