Re: virus: Angelica de Meme

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Thu, 03 Apr 1997 17:49:08 -0800

Tony wrote:
> Take the temptation Tad. That is what everyone else has been
>doing. That is what we all do all the time.

That's not a rational reason, is it?
Well, I guess, I do take the temptation to respond...

>I made a specific mention to
>you and David because to me you represent a position most alien to
>Richard's (as in VotM).

Here is my position on VotM: I think it is a very well written book. The
language is easy to understand. It is a humorous, inspirational great book
about manipulation, influence, and evolution. The Polish version of it will
be ready in May (it was supposed to be published in September 96, but the
translator, Marek, who was also on the CoV list has vanished from our
meme-space in a mysterious way). Here is a translation of my Polish
introduction to it, written on May 30, 1996 (the part about Marek needs to
be changed):

This book reveals the deepest secrets of propaganda. Precisely, mercilessly,
clearly and explicitly. In a country, which changed from one kind of
propaganda into another one, or two... this book is a must read for
politicians, managers, teachers, psychologists, and all thinking people. Can
we save future generations from brain-washing through advertising, politics,
religious cults, and... our own instincts, which practically haven't changed
since the stone age?
The authour of this book is the creator of "Microsoft Word", the most
popular word processor in the world. Working side by side with Bill Gates,
who is considered the richest man in the world, Richard Brodie has had good
sources for inspiration. He is one of the founders of "memetics", a new
branch of science, which is developing as rapidly as an avalanche [Polish
expression]. The "meme" concept was first made popular by the biologist,
Richard Dawkins, whose famous book, "The selfish gene" has just been
published in Poland.
Memetics is the science of ideas. Intellectual analogy to genetics,
memetics explores how ideas, concepts, traditions, religions, and political
trends "reproduce" and "fight for survival". Similar to "selfish genes" ideas,
maybe, "want" to use us... Are we going to let them?
Based on facts and psychological experiments, this book is written in
an easy to understand language and a great sense of humour. On one hand,
it is factual and almost cynical in the way it discusses how we are governed
by memes; on the other hand it is full of deep thoughts about the meaning of
life. Every year I teach success seminars in Poland and this philosophical
aspect of "Virus of the Mind" has touched me the most. Although with some
of the book's statements it is not easy to agree, all of them encourage
thinking. The authour writes about three levels that people live their
lives at.
The highest one is available only to few. How can one reach it? Does it
exist at all, or is it just propaganda?...
Amazing growth of interest in memetics is proof that humanity is
entering a new stage of intellectual development. A new tool has been born,
the power of which we are not able to fully understand yet: the Internet. So
far it was available mostly in universities, but in 1995 it went under "country
roofs" [Polish expression]. Let the history of the translation of this book
explain what I mean.
I have learned about the existence of "Virus of the Mind" through the
Internet on April 19, when the book was not yet available in Vancouver
bookstores. In one week's time I had it in my hands and read it at one
sitting. From the very first moment I knew it was one of the most needed
books in Poland. I put aside everything and by May 7th I had the authours
consent for the Polish edition. Two days later I had a highly knowledgeable
translator in this field, Marek Jedlinski, who was wholeheartedly devoted to
it. In such a short period of time we have exchanged countless numbers of
messages on the Internet. I have never seen nor heard (even on the phone)
neither of them, although we have become good friends!
We are witnessing an information and intellectual revolution. This
book is "dynamite", which can be used for the good of humanity, or only for
"us"... Who is going to use this knowledge and how? We are publishing
this book with a clear conscience, as we believe that knowledge should be
widely available, and not hidden as in ancient Egypt. Today's slaves are
slaves by choice. Those who choose not to read this book have only
themselves to blame.

>I dont believe you are jealous and yet you
>frequently post warnings of his manipulative motives, thus setting up
>cognitive dissonance in me.

Thank you, I am glad I do. Which postings do you have in mind? I'll be
glad to discuss something specific.

>I want to give you a chance to program me
>with something different to the "you are jealous" meme in order to
>reduce this cognitive dissonance. I want something better than this meme
>otherwise I know that I will find myself dismissing all your attacks on
>Richard as Jealousy driven.

Richard calls it "when are you going to stop beating your wife" technique.

>That is not to say that I wont be continuing
>to accept as many of your other memes as possible, you both have
>contributed elegantly at times.

Thank you and you are welcome.

>>>May I remind you I am ready to run naked through buckinghham palace
>>>screaming "I must eat the queen's pussy, Take control, learn memetics"
> Here is the context taken from "murder, fucking and quantum

You did not answer my question. Why do you want to do silly things to
encourage people to learn memetics? What do you want me to do? Run,
scream, and eat with you? Btw: as far as I understand, your way of joking
about the Queen is a criminal offense in Great Britain (I am her Canadian
subject and I am not sure if I take part in this crime right now :-)).

About memetics. It occurred to me just recently that memetics is like
astrology. We know that the position of the stars when we are born is
different for different people and it may explain differences between us.
Nobody did any research on HOW it may influence us, although astrologers
claim they know. I am interested how I can improve the quality of my life,
but it has nothing to do with positions of stars. [I just saw a great movie
"Shine" where the main character is proposing to a lady-astrologer, she is
not likely to consider him, she says "how do I know" and he answers "ask the
stars" with full confidence; she consults a computer program and they get

We know memes or ideas or concepts exist and are transmitted in some ways
from one person to another. Can we claim that because of this knowledge we
know how to live? It's good to know the techniques of manipulation and
*how* ideas influence people, but it does not answer any of the
philosophical and psychological questions.

The fact that I know math does not make me an expert in any field which uses
numbers. The knowledge of math may by necessary in that field, but it is
*not enough*.

The knowledge about how to brainwash people is not an answer to their
questions -- it is a good way of controlling them. A notion that you know
how to live because you know how to program peoples' minds seems to be
highly immoral to me.

In marketing, appearance is often more important than the product. Anything
can be sold if wrapped properly -- unless you learn how to concentrate on
the product and not on the cover. Any useless idea can be defended for a
long time with proper manipulation techniques -- unless you learn the
techniques and recognize them.

My favourite example of an excellent product which is not marketed well
enough is the theory of six pillars of self-esteem by Dr. Nathaniel Branden.
If it could be wrapped in a "new science" package... Nathaniel Branden's
books answer many questions about how to live a better life. An excellent
tool to consciously program your "memecology" although the word meme does
not appear there once. Not to mention the meme-space-flexing-on-the-fly
post-rational concept.

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