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

D. H. Rosdeitcher (
06 Apr 97 23:22:40 EDT

Mark H. wrote:

>This is a cute game we're playing, but it's more eristic than inquisitive.
>Regardless of what personal coping mechanism I speak of, you can make it
>look useless or fatalistic by formulating some scenario in which it would
>be inappropriate. You aren't offering an alternative view on things at
>all, only trying to make yourself look witty. Destroying an argument is
>easy - it's creating a plausible idea that takes some thought.

I don't consider this to be merely a "cute game". CoV is a forum where someone
makes a statement which can then get criticized by others. And the argument may
continue. For instance, you are taking a guess that the stoic ideology has
value, and I am criticizing your position. Apparently, this process is very
stimulating and can lead to a better understanding of a situation, among other
When I first came to CoV about 10 weeks ago, I thought it was just a memetics
discussion group, knowing nothing about the structure. It seemed like everyone
was just attacking me, and not offering their ideas. I think that the structure
of the forum should be made clear from the outset. To give you an example, Tad
posted what Richard wrote during my first week here:

Richard Brodie wrote:

>David, I truly appreciate your hanging in with us. The reason you feel
>attacked is that you are on the verge of a Level-3 breakthrough and your
>Level-2 mindset (ego) is turning its defense mechanisms on full bore. I
>believe most of the participants here appreciate your honesty and
>rationality and simply want to share the value of the memetics paradigm
>with you.

Does this look like a memetics cult or what?(And David McF. said I was attacking
strawmen when accusing people of being mystical.)

Mark wrote:

>Henry Ford was an exception, an anomaly. I'm not ruling out that a small
>percentage of people will be truly extraordinary, nor am I saying that no
>one should aim for that. I was merely addressing what I consider a decent
>method of coping with the world around us without losing your marbles. I'm
>thinking of everyday life, not the progression of the species of the
>destiny of the universe; sorry if my focus is more prosaic than yours. I
>meet people every day who wig out over the smallest things, and yes, I
>think they could use a dose of stoicism. Would this turn them into a
>collection of apathetic catatonics? No, I don't think it would - it didn't
>do that to me.

The structure I mentioned of someone making a statement which then gets
criticized is based on a philosophy called 'pancritical rationalism'. One of the
key points of 'PCR' is that inductive reasoning does not lead to definitive
proof. Saying that here's a person on the verge of a nervous breakdown who just
needs to cope, and here are more people like that, does not make it valid to
make a statement for people as a rule. If Henry Ford does not fit into that
category, then it is not a fair statement to say that the nature of people in
general is that they are on the verge of a nervous breakdown and need a coping

>Nice of you to sum up two millenia of civilization so succinctly. The
>Greek civilization had fallen apart by the time the Romans were in full
>bloom, so I'm not sure how you decide who were 'losers' and who were
>'winners' or whatever. You're borrowing language, ideas, imagery, history,
>and just about everything else from those who came before you - does this
>make you a loser?

The Greeks made great accomplishments in science, art, etc. through people like
Archemides, Aristotle, Hippocrates. They made real achievements--this took a lot
of work, creativity and talent. The Romans, on the other hand, got their pride
not from real achievements, but from political power. They manipulated and
conquered other people. They touted the Greeks' achievements as symbols of their
"status", but did not improve on what the Greeks did. There might not be
anything wrong with the Romans' borrowing the Greeks culture, but there could be
something wrong with not improving on it.

> To me, we should seek wisdom and try to do what's right,
>rather than just striving to do something no one's pulled off before. I
>don't see the significance (heh heh) of your concept of originality.

I am contending that we'd be better off "striving to do something no one's
pulled off before". That seems to be the best way to improve things, as opposed
to "seek wisdom and do what is right". (What do you mean by that, anyway?) Not
going for something original would just lead to our deterioration.