Re: virus: Strange attractors and meta-religions (was God and Level-3)

David Kennerly (
Thu, 3 Apr 1997 17:49:09 -0800

> On Wed, 2 Apr 1997, Tony Hindle wrote:
> > >I don't think David is arguing against "positive thinking". He's
> > >arguing against intentional "self-deceit".
> > I would like to be certain of this. David in fact ANYONE. if
> > could swallow a tablet right now that would have the effect of making
> > you believe the world got better and better (imagine anything you like)
> > would you? (you forget you've taken it instantly etc)

Tim wrote:
> Oddly, there's an entry in my journal to the effect that I was about to
> swallow such a tablet. Although I don't recall ever doing it. Funny,
> that. Oh, well... Sure is a great day today isn't it? And I hear
> tomorrow will be even better! Things sure are looking up around here!!!

Recently I was reflecting on several self-help books I've absorbed, and on
memetic theory. The two produced an offspring. Every sentence you say is
cannot be an absolute observation. Every sentence affects you. Every
belief is a script to be followed at a later time, if formulated as such.

At least half a dozen of the most popular self-help books use (among a bag
of other tricks) the present-tense positive affirmation. E.g. "I am a good
listener." or the nearly century-old "Every day I am getting better and
better in every way." Now, this statement has two notable possible
effects, depending on another variable. How accurately does your
perception of yourself match the thought-behaviors you are actually
engaging in. If your perceptions are relatively accurate, then such an
affirmation is self-fulfilling. The reason is: to make the sentence
appear true, you must think-behave in the manner prescribed. If, though,
you are prone to self-deception (neurotics being examples) then all you
change is your perception of yourself. Like the Emperor who wears no
clothes. The two part key, then, to maximizing success is:

1. Perceive yourself accurately. E.g.: keep a journal of key
thought-behaviors, and back up beliefs with evidence, and continue to look
for counter-examples to your own beliefs. In effect, allow your belief
system to be a market for competing memes, in which the criterion for
utility is a good ratio of explanation-to-honest perception.
2. Positively affirm in the present tense.

In memetic terms: An affirmation is a baby memetic creature. By making it
present tense and caring for it with the adult-like memetic creature of
honest self-perception. The meme is spread to other time slots of your
thought-behavior. It may only begin as 0.01% of your think-behaving, but
the present tense affirmation causes your honest self-perception to CREATE
the reality of the affirmation, thus increasing the percentage of your
think-behaving that makes the affirmation true.

Self-transformation: changing memetic reality in oneself.
Propaganda: changing memetic reality in others.
Brainwashing: slaughtering and replacing memetic reality.